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Quantum Leap

Season 2 Episode 2

Disco Inferno

Aired Friday 12:00 AM Sep 27, 1989 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
65 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Disco Inferno
April 1, 1976: As a stuntman, Sam is to save the life of his younger brother, while trying to convince the pair's obsessive father to let the younger son go his own way, even if it means going into country-western music, rather than following the family tradition of stunt work.moreless

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  • In 1976, Sam leaps into a stuntman who must save his younger brother, an aspiring musician being pressured by their father into also becoming a stuntman, which will see the boy killed in several days unless Sam can stop it. Could have been better...moreless

    This review contains minor spoilers.

    Although not an out-and-out terrible episode (and there would certainly be weaker instalments later on), "Disco Inferno" represents to me how, after the wonderfully creative first season, the show was gradually slotting into a 'template'. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I suppose due to the limitations (and budget) of shooting such an ambitions weekly series, with completely different settings in different eras each episode, the stories did start to become slightly more ... well, not as "special" as those in the first season. (Also, the writers no doubt were challenged to find interesting new stories as the show returned for a longer run.)

    Thankfully, this wouldn't always be the case, and the series would pull some real corkers at times, but "Disco Inferno" to me kind of represents a more half-hearted, not particularly outstanding fare.

    Things start off with a red herring, of Sam in the middle of a bustling 1970s disco – only for a gunman to burst in and shoot him, sending him crashing through a window. Thankfully, he's actually a stuntman, and that notion forms the concept for this story. It is a nice red herring – so maybe the April 1st date given is fitting.

    The bulk of the story concerns Sam's character trying to save his younger brother, who will be killed in a stunt accident in a couple of days unless Sam can prevent it. This is all well and good, but I just felt they could have had so much more fun with Sam as a stuntman, and maybe this episode is a bit too serious for its own good (which is something else I noticed around this point – much of the quirkiness from the first season started to be toned down).

    This goal of saving the stuntman's younger brother also triggers memories from Sam's "Swiss-cheesed" memory of his own brother, setting of a plot arc that will span the second season (and beyond).

    The guest cast do what is required of them, but I didn't feel there was the needed bond between Sam and his "brother" in the same way of Sam and his "sister" in the first season's wonderful "Camikazi Kid". I also didn't feel there was much real urgency for Sam to try and deduct when and where his "brother" would die to try and prevent it.

    This episode may have fared slightly better tucked further into the season, but as the second episode as the second season, I can't help but wonder why they didn't pick any of the number of stronger episodes from early in the season for this slot instead.

    Regarding the DVD version, I originally had the Region 1 version of Season 2, which had many pieces of period music, including a number from this episode, removed (causing uproar from fans). I later purchased the complete ("Ultimate") collection of the series on Region 2, and thankfully, from what I can tell, all of the original pieces of music on the R2 version of this episode are as heard in the original broadcast version. (As mentioned on my review for the previous episode, "Honeymoon Express", the DVD version still doesn't feature the original early second season version of the opening credits though!)

    Anyway, in-all, I don't *hate* this episode, but it did very little to really grab my attention. As I say, I feel they could have had so much more fun with Sam as a stuntman (even making it more of a comedy episode), and the whole instalment just feels to be lacking that extra something. It's okay to watch once, but has little re-watchable value in my opinion. I can only give "Disco Inferno" a lower than usual 7 out of 10.moreless
Dean Stockwell

Dean Stockwell

Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci

Scott Bakula

Scott Bakula

Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett

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