Quantum Leap

Season 4 Episode 12

Running For Honor

Aired Friday 12:00 AM Jan 15, 1992 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

June 11, 1964: As a track star in a Navy college, Sam must prevent the death of his ex- roommate, who was expelled because he was gay, and who is slated to die at the hands of a group of bigoted cadets.

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  • The official Quantum Leap "gay episode".

    Quantum Leap had lesbian villians in "One Strobe Over the Line" and "Goodnight Dear Heart", but "Running For Honor" is a noble attempt to address gay rights concerns (as the series did with civil rights and feminism) that ends up with too many questions and cop-outs.

    Sam leaps into a BMOC (Big Man on Campus) at an east coast navy college that has a 4.0 GPA, the school's race track star and dating the general's younger daughter. He seems to have it all, but for some reason is risking it to help out Philip Ashcroft, a former BMOC and Sam's host former roomate who was kicked out of the college when it was discovered that he was gay.

    In keeping with the rules of time travel, Sam is not sure if his host is gay or not. Ziggy says it is about a 88% likelyhood, but throughout the episode Sam is not sure if he is "just like" Philip (who lives in a warehouse and manages to publish an gay newspaper) or simply a shy kid helping out a friend.

    Yet either way, Sam feels that a person's "choice" of a "sexual peference" should not be grounds for discrimination, and lectures Al who is not comfortable with gays in the military (implying that in the Qunatum Leap future that gay people might be not truely free). Their are plently of interesting loss ends in the episode (i.e. when Philip decides to publish a list of all the gay cadets), but everything quickly focuses on Sam trying to prevent Philip from being the victim of a gang of navy cadets that have been bashing gays.

    The obvious message is simple; gay-bashing is wrong and the episode's theme could be read as a larger endorsement for gay rights. However, the episode has too many unanswered questions in its storyline, much of the diolgoue initially seems to be defending straight, but senititive guys to ensure that Sam does not have to leap into a host that was in a relationship.

    Incidentialy, the official Quantum Leap comic book series had a comic sequal (Up Against A Stonewall) to the episode "Good Night, Dear Heart" that took place during the Stonewall rebellion.

Dean Stockwell

Dean Stockwell

Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci

Scott Bakula

Scott Bakula

Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett

Anthony Palermo

Anthony Palermo

Ronnie Chambers

Guest Star

John Finn

John Finn

Admiral Spencer

Guest Star

John Roselius

John Roselius

Coach Martz

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Does Philip run the underground newspaper all by himself? How is he able to find the money to rent out the builiding and produce the paper?

    • When Philip learns that Ronnie is the head of the Chain Sam says that he [Philip] was even more sure that he wanted to print the names of every gay cadet. Was Ronnie on that list?

    • At the shows end it mentions that Philip goes to work at the Stonewall Inn and helped start the gay liberation. While a riot at the bar in 1969 was a turning point in the U.S. gay liberation movement, it was not the beginning.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (3)

    • In this episode, we learn that Al is homophobic, although he is convinced otherwise by the episode's end.

    • The episode aired during a national debate over President Clinton's promise to lift the ban on gays and lesbians in the United States Armed forces. The end result was a compromise called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" and eventually "Don't Harass" was addded on to the slogan.

    • The original script took place in a high school but was changed to a college to cool complaints from religious conservatives.


    • When Al says he thinks that drinking tea is homosexual, Sam, insulted, asks him if he thought the Boston Tea Party was a "great big gay party".

      The Boston Tea Party was an American response to the numerous "Taxation without representation" that was opposed onto the populace by the British government, who had control of the continent until the end of the Revolutionary War.