Quantum Leap

Season 5 Episode 22

Mirror Image

Aired Friday 12:00 AM May 05, 1993 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
109 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

August 8, 1953: Sam lands in a not-so-ordinary bar in a coal-mining town, where strange things are happening and familiar people don't know him. With the help of another Al, he still has something to set right ... or is there more than one thing he needs to change?moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Good Series and Almost a Good Final Episode

    Every episode Sam Becket is helping others, in this final episode he helps Al by saving his marriage in the past. I assume they didn't know that this was going to be the last episode, because if they did they definitely could've had Sam return home to his family. It wouldn't be a hard or expensive scene, so they must have not known and added those titles when they found out. Still they could've at least said that he returned home, because the end made him seem dead or stuck in leaping into others to help them.moreless
  • The last episode, many questions, and a feeling of being let down just a little...

    Understandably not a good ending as the producers were apparently thinking they would be back next season - so the cliffhanger became an end. I do wonder where it was set to go next episode...?

    Some very interesting things come up in this episode. Sadly there is too little Sam and Al together time and when they do get together there isn't a more meaningful final conversation, although Al saying he'll do whatever it takes to get Sam back is lovely. Very little Al time at all, in fact. The identity of the other leaper is also not revealed - though I guess it could be Sam.

    There is also the matter of Sam's body no longer in the waiting room - so this is an interesting change of the rules, which makes the idea of the next season that never was so intriguing.

    In the end I could have lived with the final card stating Sam never made it home, but it was just very abrupt. Having him go back to correct Al's life is a lovely end. I read a script somewhere that had a final scene with Al and his wife looking at a photo of their daughters and Al saying he's got to go find Sam, and his wife telling him she understands as he leaves for the Quantum Leap Lab. To me, just having the scene would have been a better ending, giving us a view of the new Al's life (rather than telling us with a card) and giving us hope that things would continue with both Sam and Al together.

    In the end the story was about both Al and Sam righting the wrongs, and I needed to see more of a resolution with both of them. As I didn't, I feel just a little let down but not by the plot, just the way it was done.

    In saying that, it was still a good episode and a must-see for anyone that has watched the others. It still brings a tear to my eye when I watch it. I just wanted a little bit more.moreless
  • in this episode sam leaps into a mineing town on the day he was born and he looks in a mirror and sees himself al has trobles finding him because his body is not in the waiting room.moreless

    THis episode is a weak ending for the series it was kind of funny that al couldn't find sam and needed to stand in the waiting room with that vortex thing swinging around him and he was getting sick the idea that sam was leaping himself around in time was just stupid if he was doign it eh would have leaped home at the beginning it was also stupik that sam stop al's first wife beth form geting remarried when al was mia in viatnam so al was never got married 5 time but, only once that just ruins everything.moreless
  • Leap to Forever

    Like all good/great shows I'm always sad to see them go because sometimes the content can be so strong there is always a chance of more possibilites which is why you don't want to end, but it's an inevatable truth every story always has to have it's end.

    There really isn't much I can say about this episode so I'll be brief. To me this is one of the best conclusion I've seen on TV, most shows sometimes have conclusions that disapoint me but this one didn't and personally I can't think of any other way it could of ended nor do I want to. Personally I felt this was one of the most emotional episodes and conclusions I've seen.

    The episode really by it's nature is simple it just doesn't seem that way at first. Like all mysteries it's sort of like putting together a math equasion to add up to the answer.

    I won't say anything about the first and second half of the episode it's really what happens at the final half that matters the most. In that half Sam finds out the truth about his destiny that all this time has leaped at his own subconcious will, you can say it was a superpower he just didn't know he had it. We see Sam at his emotional best, he is different emotions at once both amazed and a little sad. But as a quote from "Spider Man" goes "With great power comes great responsibility". Sam then says something that corresponds with a classic hero/superhero dillema.

    "I want to go home but I can't."

    Sam knows in his heart that the lives of many outweigh his own. Being a Leaper is Sam's role and destiny, it's his mission to protect and avenge the innocent thoughout time, change their lives for the better. He can't come back because there is no one else that can do it and he's the only one that can.

    What we see at the final minutes are bittersweet as we've seen Sam does what any best friend should do, help Al. For some reason I don't know why but I've always felt that mission was destined to come, the tragic portion of Al's life always was a reacuring issue of the show. Sam leaps to Al's wife to deliver her a message which was great and we see Al's life has finally changed for the better, Al is leaping to his new destiny while Sam leaps into his. The final sentence I'll admit is heartwrenching when we see Sam never came back home. Good bye Sam where ever you are.moreless

    I totally agree with txpsycho (below) I am sure we all wanted a happy ending for Sam, he to be reunited with his wife… (As Al was). The bar man (the other Al/God i think)said it was up to him when he leap home, I thought Sam would have want back saved Al's marriage, then returned to his own time living "with the story book ending" he was talking about.

    Quantum leap faced the problems no other show did like racism, Sexism, Homophobia and all the discriminations in the time frame Sam was in, and for that the show will be one of my all time favourites. Quantum leap…love it.moreless
Dean Stockwell

Dean Stockwell

Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci

Scott Bakula

Scott Bakula

Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett

James Whitmore Jr.

James Whitmore Jr.

Police Captain

Guest Star

Susan Diol

Susan Diol

Beth Calavicci

Guest Star

Brad Silverman

Brad Silverman


Guest Star

Dennis Wolfberg

Dennis Wolfberg


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Sam's Driver's License Reads as follows:

      #5738457 EXP 1998
      Date of Birth: 08/08/53

      P.O. BOX 555

      87501 is an actual zip code for Santa Fe, NM.

    • Despite being the series finale, this episode marks the time that Al and Sam interact the least. The two only share a single scene together.

    • In typical Quantum Leap style, you can visibly see several instances where character lines heard differ from what we see them say:

      Sam and "Gooshie" both say Stawpah's back condition was caused by slate while their lips say "coal".

      Before he leaps, Sam says "I have a wrong to set right for Al" while his lips say "I have a wrong to set right first."

    • Nearly every guest star in this episode appeared in a previous episode of Quantum Leap:

      Susan Diol (Beth Calavicci) reprises her role from M.I.A. (Season 2)
      James Whitmore Jr. (Police Captain) was, in addition to directing multiple episodes of Quantum Leap, Bob Crockett in 8 1/2 Months (Season Three) and Clayton Fuller/Mirror in Trilogy: Part 1 (Season 5),
      Brad Silverman (Pete) was Jimmy/Mirror in both Jimmy and Deliver Us from Evil (Season 2 and 5, respectively),
      Richard Herd (Ziggy Ziganovich) was Moe Stein in Future Boy (Season 3),
      J. D. Daniels (Kid #1) was Josh in A Tale of Two Sweeties (Season 5),
      John D'Aquino (Tonchi) was Frank LaMotta in Jimmy and Deliver Us from Evil (Season 2 and 5, repectively),
      Dan Butler (Mutta) was Frank Dorleac in Southern Comforts (Season 3),
      Michael Bellisario (Kid #2) was Martin, Jr. in A Tale of Two Sweeties (Season 5), Mike Genovese (Mr. Collins) was Don Geno Frascotti in Double Identity (Season 1), and
      Bruce McGill (Bartender Al) was Weird Ernie in Genisis, the pilot episode of Quantum Leap.

    • Sam encounters several characters that have the same names as people who work at Project Quantum Leap, including a fellow leaper named "Gooshie" (the head programmer of PQL), a miner named "Ziggy" (the Supercomputer at PQL) and a bartender named "Al" (the Observer at PQL and Sam's best friend).

    • When Sam leaps to talk to Beth, the background song she is dancing to is "Georgia on My Mind" by Ray Charles. The song was excluded from the Season 2 episode ("M.I.A.") as originally aired when Universal released it on DVD; however, the song DOES appear in this episode on the DVD release.

    • In addition to Al creating shadows, he often walks up/down steps, hills, and his clothes even blow in the wind! Since he isn't even really there, how can this be explained?

      I was also wondering about the size of the imaging chamber - the distance he walks at times means it must be the size of a football stadium!

    • Sam asks Al if when he leaps he turns all blue with energy and Al says he doesn't know because he's gone before he does. But in the episode "Good Morning Peoria," when on the radio station roof Al turns blue with energy and says he's leaping but Sam says he's not and just reacting to the energy from the satellite or whatever they were by on the roof. So both Sam and Al knew what it looked like to leap before this.

    • Throughout the series Al casts a shadow as any person standing in the same light would, except when he is walking through something. Then there is no shadow. Throughout the series: If children and animals see Sam as Sam and never who he is replacing why does Al, the person connected to Sams brain, see who he Leaps into? I.e. "What Price Gloria" Sam leaps into a beautiful woman (Samantha Stormer) and Al keeps talking about how beautiful Samantha is and says "If you weren't my best friend I'd...".

  • QUOTES (10)

  • NOTES (11)

    • Though it has not been verified, it has been suggested there was a third ending to the episode which leaves the door open for a subsequent movie.

    • After NBC cancelled the show, Donald Bellisario tried many things to try to get the show renewed. He even tried to get a stand alone movie approved in hopes to drum-up a second series.

    • We find out that Sam's birthday is August 8, 1953 which is remarkably similar to the birthday of Donald P. Bellisario, the show's creator, August 8, 1935.

    • Scott Bakula (Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett), Dean Stockwell (Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci), Dennis Wolfberg (Gooshie) and Bruce McGill (Al the bartender) are the only actors to appear in both the first and the last episodes of the series.

    • There were originally two endings to season 5:
      1. The one that aired;
      2. The one that aired, with the addition of a picture of Al and his family.

    • Most of the characters in this episode also appeared in previous QL episdoes. This was not originally set up to be the final episode, but a season end to another series that would have Sam leaping more into the future.

    • In the original network airing there were some crude jokes that everyone laughed at. These jokes have been taken out.

    • Bruce McGill also appeared in the first episode of the series (although presumably as a different character), adding a nice touch of synchronicity.

    • While in the bar, Sam watches television and sees the opening credits of Captain Z-RO, a fifties black-and-white television series that featured the time-travel. This is a parallel to one of Sam's previous leaps.

    • The original arrangement of the QL theme makes its only season five appearance in this episode, which uses an opening sequence edited mixing elements of the second, third, fourth, and fifth season openers.

    • At the end of the episode, Sam leaps back to the house of Al's first wife, Beth, and tells her that Al is alive. This was his second chance to set right what went wrong in Al's life, an alternate ending to the original outcome of Episode 31, "M.I.A.".


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