You know an episode is going to be good when you have to pause it before even 5 minutes has passed to process all your feelings. Quantum Leap 2×03 “Closure Encounters” was exactly that kind of episode. I doubt I was even five minutes in when I had to text my fellow Fangirlish editors about the fact that this season is not playing around.
Little Green Men?
With an episode as good as “Closure Encounters,” where do you even begin? Quantum Leap‘s take on little green men was the most fun I’ve had watching an alien investigation since The X-Files at its best. And, believe me, that is a high compliment. Also? Ben (Raymond Lee) being responsible for Area 51? That is exactly the right amount of cheese to make my little heart happy. Ben, honey, you’re doing an excellent job. Keep up the good work.
Of course, in true alien investigation fashion, the culprit isn’t little green (or any other alien-like color) men, after all. The writers were fully channeling their inner X-Files fans with this one, because the government/military is the culprit, all along. And the lengths Ben goes to in order to prove it would make Mulder (David Duchovny) proud. Not to mention being a creative (and fun/terrifying) way to use one’s Friend in Holographic Places.
I loved everything about this episode. Yes, even the pain. (Don’t tell the writers that, though. It will only encourage them.) In a lot of ways, between Ben’s physical imperilment and emotional turmoil, it was a very intense episode. But there was also a touch of absurdity to it. As there is any good alien investigation episode. That balance helped keep the episode entertaining, rather than emotionally overwhelming. I don’t know how the writers consistently toe that very difficult line, but they toe it very well.
“You Didn’t Have To Do That”
While my inner alien conspiracist geeked out over this week’s Leap, my shipper heart continued to be battered and bruised. Addison (Caitlin Bassett) broke my heart last week when she processed her conflicting emotions over Ben’s return. Ben apparently looked at that and said “Hold my beer.” Because he destroyed me.
When the show established that Addison had moved on, following Ben’s “death,” I knew there would be an emotional price to pay. We would eventually have to see Ben deal with that knowledge. I thought I’d braced myself for it. But I didn’t brace myself enough.
Throughout the first season, star Lee proved himself to be a versatile actor. (One who wears period costumes like he’s on a personal mission to bring them back into style.) It isn’t easy to portray Quantum Leap‘s level of earnestness while making every moment feel absolutely genuine. However, Lee has not only done so throughout the series to-date, he’s made it look effortless.
A scene in which Ben has to come to terms with everything he’s missed – and everything he’s lost – was inevitable. And, knowing what a good actor Lee is, I knew it was going to hurt. But he somehow made it hurt even more than I’d expected. Let alone braced myself for. When he finally let go and told Addison she didn’t have to let him go…my heart ached for him.
I stand by what I said last week. Ben loves Addison, and he would want her to be happy. Eventually. If he never can find his way back to her, he would want her to find love. But right now he’s grappling with grief over everything he’s lost. And grief is complicated. Particularly when it’s clouded by guilt, as Ben’s is. When he made his first Leap, he did so with the absolute best of intentions. It was the only way he could see to keep Addison safe. But because he made that Leap, he might have lost the woman he loves forever. It’s…a lot to deal with.
Bring On The Pain
So. Since the writers have decided to rip out my heart every week, I say they go for broke. Was it just me, or were there some definite sparks between Ben and Hannah (Eliza Taylor)? I don’t know how it would work, given Ben’s rather peculiar situation, as I discussed in my last review. But if the show wanted to explore that dynamic a little bit more…I’d be (tentatively) down with it. Provided don’t treat Hannah as just a point in a love triangle. And provided they don’t do creepy things in non-consenting host bodies.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still all about my ship. If Addison and Ben don’t find their way back to each other, I will riot. But there has probably rarely been a pair of lovers more star-crossed than those two. Their relationship is literally impossible at this moment. So if I’m going to hurt anyway, I might as well go for broke. And Addison getting a little jealous over Ben and someone new? I hate love triangles, but can it really be called a love triangle when one part of the triangle is living in an entirely different decade – and body – at any given moment?
If Quantum Leap 2×03 “Closure Encounters” reminded me of anything, it’s that I’m a glutton for punishment. At least when it comes to my ships. So, yeah. If I’m going to hurt, give me some fun out of it. Give me jealous Addison. Give me flirty, happy (though still in his heart-of-hearts in love with Addison and of course always respectful of Hannah and not using her as a diversion) Ben. I want all the fangirl feels. Bring it on, show.
But, seriously, nobody give the writers any more ideas about how to hurt me.