Quantum Leap

Season 1 Episode 5

How the Tess Was Won

Aired Friday 12:00 AM Apr 14, 1989 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
92 votes
  • As a veterinarian in 1956 Texas, Sam is unsure if his goal is to heal a sick piglet, or to win the heart of a rancher's tomboy cowgirl daughter, in which he is in a contest with a cheating rival. A bit dragged out in places, but very likable...

    This review contains spoilers.

    Although probably not one of the first season's very best episodes, I really like "How the Tess was Won". It's a big slow in places, but has a nice, likable vibe, and captures the immense "fresh" feel that the show had in its first and early second season.

    In the previous episode, "The Right Hand of God", Al mentions that they had expected Sam to leap into 1956 Texas, which Sam actually does in this next episode; a nice touch of continuity.

    As a huge fan of 1980s action-adventure shows, it was nice to see the always reliable Lance LeGault ('The A-Team's Colonel Decker, and also 'Magnum, p.i.'s Buck Green) in this episode, and a change for him not to be playing the bad guy for once.

    When Sam is forced to ride the bucking bronco in the contest for Tess's affections, it is a welcome relief that Al is not the solution for this predicament. In both the Pilot and "The Right Hand of God", Al had "ghost guided" Sam, so it is a nice change that Al is not able to help Sam out here – being called away to sort out his love-life in the "present".

    There are some nice little touches in this episode, most notable the unknown young vet's assistant, who at the end turns out to be a young Buddy Holly, and – with a little helping hand from Sam – comes up with the lyrics to 'Peggy Sue'.
    It is also a surprising and refreshing change that Sam does not actually get the girl at the end of this one.

    One niggle I did have, was that when Sam finally saw his reflection, right near the end of the story, his "host" was wearing glasses – yet Sam was not. This stood out to me a bit, as usually Sam is seen wearing whatever clothing and accessories his host is wearing.

    I find "How the Tess was Won" to mostly be a really enjoyable story, but I will admit that it is too slow in places, with the plot feeling slightly dragged out to fill the run-time. (It also maybe isn't as re-watchable as some other episodes). This is the main thing that knocks my rating for this episode down a bit, but I still really like this episode, and give it a reasonable 8/10.