December 07, 2023


Quantum Leap | Review - A Kind of Magic (207)

Quantum Leap | Review - A Kind of Magic (207)
Fate's Wide Wheel: A Quantum Leap Podcast
Quantum Leap | Review - A Kind of Magic (207)

Dec 07 2023 | 00:57:15


Show Notes

“A KIND OF MAGIC” (Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT) Ben leaps back to 1692 – the farthest he’s ever been – where he finds himself on trial for practicing witchcraft. With limited records online, the team must race to save him before he’s put to death.

In this episode, Sam Fain discusses episode 207 of Quantum Leap, 'A Kind of Magic.' They express their appreciation for the episode and its place in the season. The unique storytelling of season 2 is explored, as well as the technical excellence of the episode. The meat of the story and its historical context are discussed, along with the dynamics between the characters. The writing and performances are praised, and the significance of the project scenes, particularly Magic and Addison's conversation, is emphasized.

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00:00 Introduction and Appreciation of the Episode

07:27 Discussion on Patreon and Supporting the Show

09:35 News and Notes

11:02 Exploring the Unique Storytelling of Season 2

16:56 The Leap-In and Ben's Fish Out of Water Experience

19:20 Technical Excellence of the Episode

22:06 The Meat of the Story and the Historical Context

29:36 Discussion on the Character Dynamics

46:19 Observations on the Writing and Performances

49:39 Importance of the Project Scenes, Particularly Magic and Addison's Conversation

50:08 The Interplay Between Characters

50:57 Rachel's Help and Nanrisa's Role

51:25 Magic and Addison's Scene

52:19 Personal Context and Recovery

53:18 Nuanced Acting and Choices

54:11 The Cast's Chemistry

54:58 A Beautiful Moment

55:55 The Impact of the Episode

56:25 Comparing Episodes

57:21 Focus on the Leap

58:17 Overall Enjoyment and Reaching Out

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] You. [00:00:01] Hello, fellow travelers. Welcome to Fates Wide Wheel. I'm your host, Sam Fein. This week I'm here to talk about a kind of magic episode two seven of Quantum Leap. [00:00:12] This one is a really, really great episode. I do wonder what people are going to think about it in the context of coming between secret history and Nomad. No spoilers on Nomad, but I do think it's a fantastic episode. I think it's an exceptional episode, quite frankly, of Quantum Leap. And I thought Secret History was also an exceptional episode. I think a kind of magic is, by any other standard, exceptional as well. Would I consider it to be as exceptional as Secret history and Nomad? I don't know. Comparison is the death of Joy. I'm not going to talk about that too much, but I will be interested once 208 has aired, once Nomad has aired, what people kind of think of a kind of magic in the context of coming between these two and in the context of the first eight episodes of season two. Because again, I think a kind of magic is an incredibly strong episode. But I do wonder kind of where it will place in people's hearts and minds. [00:01:08] Before we get into the episode, I do want to take a moment, of course, to thank everyone for being here. Anyone who is watching or listening to the podcast, thank you so, so much. I really, really appreciate it. The support means a lot, and I know that each and every one of you that has hit that like and subscribe button or commented or sent an email or a message through Patreon whatnot, it really means a lot and I greatly appreciate it. I'm glad that you're here. I'm glad that you're part of this community, this fandom, this quantum leap fandom. But even beyond that, of course, as Fateswide Wheel explores other territories that you'll be joining along for the ride. It means a lot. Of course, I did mention Patreon. If you are interested in supporting the show. Great. That's awesome. I would love to have that support. But before you do, especially this time of year, there are so many opportunities to reach out and support Your community, whether it's donating clothes, food items, money, or your time. Please, if you are able, go for it. Do it. Make a difference. Right some wrongs. What would Sam do? What would Ben do right? [00:02:13] If you're looking for stuff in the world at large, more global scale, I will always recommend the Trevor Project and Doctors Without Borders. They are two of my favorite charities. I think they're incredibly worthy, noble causes. Of course, there are many, many others out there as well that you can contribute to. [00:02:29] And I think now more than ever, we all need a little help. So if you're able to do that, please do. And if after all of that, you still want to support this podcast, first of all, thank you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Helps keeps the lights on, and there are definitely fees that go into making the show, believe it or not. So head over to slash Fateswide wheel. You can subscribe at any donor level. You'll get an access to all of the stuff, including the exclusive behind the scenes videos with JJ Lindell into the creation of his posters. If you've seen the kind of magic poster, I love it. I think it's fantastic. And I loved JJ's process. A lot of really cool stuff that he drew upon. And you can learn about all of that in that exclusive video over on Patreon. So go over, subscribe for a dollar, check it out, see if you like it for a month. Awesome. If you don't, no worries. But you'll get access to all of those videos, including the ones that he did for the Doctor who Daleks poster as well as the secret history poster. So we've got three videos over there now. We'll have another one for Nomad and work on some more stuff to come, which I'm really, really looking forward to. I've got a couple of things, at least in the pipeline, one of which will feel very kind of adjacent to a lot of the Quantum Leap Doctor who kind of vibe, one of which will likely not. It'll be completely different. So we'll see what you think of that. But thank you so much to all the Patreon supporters. I cannot thank you enough. I really, really appreciate it. I'm always very humbled by the fact that people want to support the show financially. It means a lot to me and it enables me to keep the show going because without it, I wouldn't be able to. That's just completely honest. [00:04:10] Being one person and doing all this and with any sort of out of pocket expense, just with the life that I lead, it would likely not be possible to do the show. So you make the show possible, and I really appreciate it. [00:04:25] News and notes, nothing really new to report right now. I'm recording this Wednesday, December the 6th at 02:00 p.m. So pretty much right before editing and uploading and getting ready to drop post show tonight's airing. [00:04:43] So as of right now, really no new big news specific to Quantum Leap. I suppose one of the big things is the SAG after agreement with AMPTP was indeed ratified, around 78% voted yay, with around 21% or so voting nay on it, which, hey, I respect everybody's decisions. They had their reasons. But I think it's great that it was ratified. I think that it was the right call for the right time, in my humble opinion, as someone who's not a member of the union and knows probably only very little compared to others that are involved, but based off of what I do know, I would say that I think it's the best call at this particular point in time for all parties. [00:05:30] So that's cool. [00:05:31] And I think that it'll be interesting to see where things go, especially over the next year and a half or so, as the box office continues to struggle a bit, as streaming services are finding themselves kind of at a loss for what to produce, how to produce, et cetera. Scaling back a little bit here and there, maybe cutting some corners. We'll kind of see what trends kind of come out of all of this, because I do think it's going to have a huge impact. I think that there was already a lot of momentum for changes in the industry before the strikes, but I think that the strikes probably amplified some of that, put a little bit more focus on certain issues. So it'll be very interesting to kind of see how the industry reacts and rebounds after all of this, especially as it concerns this show in Quantum Leap, what the networks are going to be doing and how the networks will be kind of evolving. [00:06:29] So I have absolutely no thoughts or opinions that I can offer because they would not be informed. I would just be pulling stuff out of thin air, which isn't necessarily different from things that I've done in the past, but I'm not going to do that right now. [00:06:42] So that's really about it. For outside news and notes, this is probably going to be a short one, especially compared to others that I've done in the past. I don't have any interviews. I don't have any of that stuff to kind of draw on this week. A lot of that is probably just scheduling, communication, et cetera, blah blah blah, blah. There was some stuff that was tentative and got moved around or never really got firmed up. It happens. Obviously, we're talking about extremely busy people who are working on this television show pretty much constantly. So I'm lucky to have had some of the conversations that I have had with people who work on the show recently, and I'm grateful for that. And I'm grateful for their support. [00:07:24] And I know that as soon as people are able, there will definitely be some more guests and some more interviews soon. Very soon. But I've spoken at length with a couple of people, and I'm just very grateful for that because the nature of those conversations, frankly, had very little to do with quantum leap. [00:07:43] I'll leave it at that. But as it does pertain to Quantum Leap, this week, we got a very interesting episode on a number of levels. I think primarily, of course, this is the furthest back that we have ever gone in time. [00:08:01] As far as we are aware, none of the other time travelers have ever gone this far back. [00:08:08] Not Sam, not Aliyah, and certainly not Ben until now. So that'll be kind of an interesting aspect to explore, to talk about, to think about, not just over the course of the next 2030 minutes or however long I ramble, but also, I think, just over the course of this season and the lifespan of this show and kind of what that means, and if we'll see leaps that go back even further anyway. So, yes, a kind of magic, episode 207 of Quantum Leap, season two, episode seven, that is. [00:08:39] I know there was a question I saw earlier on Facebook about all the numbers, the 207 two eight, all that sort of stuff. And, yeah, it just breaks down to season two and the episode number. And in general, those are production codes. So the idea is like, 207 would be the second season, 7th episode. Now, if you go back and look at production codes from shows that were made, like 30, 40 years ago, it's really fascinating because they often don't line up with air dates. So you would see 2423-2721 that sort of stuff. But nowadays, obviously, things are shot a little bit more in linear fashion just due to the demands of television production in general, you don't get a lot of stuff that's kind of like, flip flopped around in the order, especially with continuing storylines and story arcs and that sort of stuff. Every once in a while you might have an episode that was written with the intention of being like episode five, but it ends up being episode seven, but in the production order still remains 207 because it was still intended to be the 7th episode shot, even if it was written as perhaps being the fifth episode. That sort of stuff. I'm not saying that happened with this show, but I'm just kind of trying to offer a little bit of an explanation for anyone who might be curious about those numbers from time to time. So, yes, season two of Quantum Leap, episode seven, a Kind of magic written by Margarita Matthews, directed by Avi Yuabian and Margarita has written a number of just wonderful episodes of the Quantum Leap revival thus far, including last season's finale and Leap, die, repeat, of course, as well as the one that's on that poster right over there, oe of little faith. Marguerite is wonderful writer, and I think that this is an interesting episode in kind of the context of what she's done prior to this. Because while I think that there are some things that might be a little bit in common, it is also very different. And I think that one of the things that I love so much about the run of episodes that we've gotten this season is that each episode has reinforced what Quantum Leap can be and the type of stories that they can tell that are radically different from the type of show that just about any other television program can be, with the exception maybe of something like Doctor who. [00:10:55] But in all sincerity, I do. I just feel like this season has in some way, done a better job of establishing what this show can be than the first season did. [00:11:07] And again, I love the first season. There's a lot of great episodes in that season, but the run, as far as I'm concerned, from episode three, especially until episode eight, is pretty remarkable with the type of storytelling that's been done. You just look at that run of episodes, and I defy you to find another television program that can really kind of engage in that kind of storytelling, that kind of genre hopping. [00:11:38] Again, it's not just the genre that's different. It's literally the types of stories that are being told, and it's great. [00:11:47] It really stands out from the pack compared to all of the procedural stuff that we have that is inundated on the air, especially when you look at NBC, between the Chicago shows and the Law and order shows, and then you see something like Quantum Leap, and you're just sort of like, this is completely different, which is great. And I think that a kind of magic, even within the context of quantum leap, feels different. And a lot of that genuinely does have to do with the time and the place. But also, it's a different kind of story. [00:12:19] It's part courtroom drama. [00:12:22] It's part paranoia. [00:12:26] Mass hysteria, kind of. I hate using that word, but I mean, that's the term. But anyway, that mass paranoia, mass delusion almost type of story as well, mixed with that, of course, it cannot help but derive inspiration from not only the real life events that occurred, but Arthur Miller's play the Crucible. And I think when you look at the parallels between this episode of television and Miller's play. [00:12:51] There's clearly some wonderful use of his work, in a way, as being kind of inspirational for this episode, which, of course, his play was based on historical fact, but also was a play. There was a lot of dramatic license. [00:13:10] John Proctor, for instance, was, like, in his 60s in real life. Anyway, I think that, of course, there's more to it than that. And it's wonderful because you look at the stuff at the project and you look at the kind of continuing growth of these people, these relationships, the things that are happening in present day, although it's not really present day anymore because now they're in 2026. I digress. [00:13:36] It's great to kind of have that side by side. This is the first episode in a while, I will admit, where it does feel a bit like the project scenes are not as interwoven with the leap. And here's the interesting thing I have been championing all season long how much I think that it's wonderful to see the project and the leaps working, kind of the synchronicity between the two. The great thing is, I feel like they earned a spot to not do that now, and that's exactly what they've done with this episode, is they took an opportunity to say, like, I'm not saying this was intentional. I don't know. Again, my apologies for not being able to ask anybody this question, but I don't know for certain. But I do wonder if there was some intention behind the idea of for the last six episodes, we've kind of had the Leap and project stuff mesh in this great way, telling the same story, really. I think maybe this is a chance for us to not do that, and it works really well. And I think part of it is because the project gets to give us a great sense of humor. Although there's some wonderful, beautiful bits of humor in the Leap as well, it does give us a little bit of information about the continuing storyline. [00:14:56] What's going to happen with the chip? Is Rachel on the level? [00:15:00] I think she is, but there's just enough doubt for me to be. Hmm. What's going on? [00:15:06] You know, what does Rachel's boss really? [00:15:10] So that kind of gets. Gets added to, but it's not the focus, and I love that. I think, again, that's a really smart decision to not try to focus on some sort of season long mystery. Although, to be fair, it is kind of been a season long mystery. So again, it's working out well. It's not pulling focus from the leaps, it's not pulling focus from the characters. And the relationships, which I think is of the utmost importance. And again, some of the stuff that the project stuff does is it really helps to deepen some of those relationships, in particular, the relationship between Addison and magic. I think that they get some really wonderful moments over the course of the episode. [00:15:46] And it does reinforce, not necessarily leap specific stuff, but it does reinforce relationships with Ben, which is also really great. So it's interesting the way that this episode feels a little bit more devoid of some of that meshing between project and leap. And yet, when you look at the character stuff and you look at the relationships between these human beings, it's definitely still interwoven pretty tightly, which is fantastic. [00:16:12] So let's get into a couple of specifics. [00:16:17] I think the leap in is wonderful. [00:16:21] This has definitely been feeling, I think, more fish out of water than we have seen him in quite a while, which is really nice in a way. It almost took me back to the bounty Hunter episode in season one, which the title is escaping me. And I'm sure someone out there is probably shouting a decent proposal. That's what it is. So someone was shouting a decent proposal at me before I said it. And it's fascinating because I don't mean that because Ben has leapt into a woman again, but I just mean that there was that same kind of sense of being disoriented that we see in a decent proposal. And not that we haven't seen it since then, but that was just kind of what popped into my head, I think, right away, even without having seen a trailer for the episode or a season long trailer, which lets us know that this was the witch trial episode, I think right away you get the vibe. You're just sort of like, oh, okay, I know that costume. [00:17:24] I know this vibe. I think anyone who has any kind of experience with this setting, this time period, this kind of story, I think immediately you're kind of prepared that this might be the direction that we go in. [00:17:39] And it's great, too, because it's like they're doing this innocent thing, right? Just picking the petals off the flower to decide if William loves Ben's leapy. [00:17:52] But at the same time, it. It feels a little ominous because the wrong person seeing this could absolutely think that Elizabeth and her friend. That's Ben. Sleepy Elizabeth. Elizabeth and her friends are doing some sort know witchcraft here, right. [00:18:11] And how these childhood games are not so far separated from what was interpreted as witchcraft. Right. You look back at kind of like, the historical record, and oftentimes it was like groups of young women or girls together, dancing in circles, singing songs, chanting things about people that they knew, all this sort of stuff, and you're just sort of like, yeah, this is what kids do. [00:18:35] So, anyway, I love the scene. I love the innocence of it. And yet there's definitely an undercurrent of something else at play. This is a moment, I think that's great to kind of just talk about the direction. I think the direction in this episode is fantastic. I think the editing work in this episode is superb. [00:18:54] There was never a wasted moment, in my opinion. The story moves very fast, which is also a testament to the script. But I just think when you get to fuse all the elements together, right, when you have this splendid synergy between the direction and the cinematography and the editing and the writing and, of course, the performances, it really creates something kind of special. And I feel like this episode just has so much atmosphere. It has so much speed. It feels pretty lean. [00:19:22] There's not a lot of wasted effort or wasted emotion, even, for that matter. [00:19:27] But everything from the camera angles, the choices that are made, the color palette of the episode, the costumes, obviously are brilliant as well. It's just a really well crafted episode, especially on the leap side. I mean, I'm talking specifically to the leap side. Project stuff is fine, but that doesn't change much. But the leap side of this episode is really quite wonderful. It's a testament to the way that this production team can continue to kind of meet every sort of challenge that comes their way. And I would imagine that when it kind of came across that, like, we're going to do an episode set in 1692 outside of Salem, Massachusetts, I can imagine there were some folks that were like, we're going to do what now? [00:20:08] And it pays off, the atmosphere of it. Everything feels wonderful. [00:20:14] And I just think that, technically speaking, the episode is incredibly sound. Beyond sound. It's superb, and I hope that other people are able to kind of recognize just how wonderful it is. Again, I think that color palette, the lighting, the costumes, the editing work, just the economy of the storytelling, the scenes flow really well. [00:20:34] Shot composition, everything about it just feels very well done. And it's the type of thing where it doesn't stand out. You don't necessarily notice it. I mean, yeah, I noticed it because I'm kind of watching it with that eye on on one of the occasions when I watched it. But even after that first viewing, I was like, wow, that was just really well put together in that respect. So, technically, it's a fantastic episode. [00:21:00] I think we get to the kind of the meat of the story really quickly. And I love the choice to kind of set things here at the funeral. [00:21:09] Clearly, the town is struggling. Clearly, these are people that are on that razor's edge. And susceptible, I think, to believing these rather unbelievable things. And it's interesting because know clearly kind of takes some risks here. We do get Ian in the imaging chamber again. [00:21:30] It's always wonderful to see them and Ben together. [00:21:34] And I love the fact that initially it looks like it's going to be Jen. But Ian is just like, no, it's my turn. You got the last one. And they go into the imaging chamber. It's great to see them there. They seem to be kind of enjoyable parts of it. I love that. I love that they're kind of delighting in certain aspects of the setting, the location, the idea of know this sort of Ben. It's interesting because, again, Ben continues to feel more fish out of water in this leap than we've seen him in a while. [00:22:07] And I really like that he's very kind of off mean. It's got to be overwhelming, right, to ask a question like that. It's such a weird thing to do. But it has to be overwhelming to realize that you are so far back. [00:22:22] That this isn't a time period where you could see a picture in a book or watch film on a TV or whatever. This is so far back that there aren't any photographs, right. That there is no video footage or film footage. You know what I mean? This is such an alien kind of world to him, in a way. [00:22:41] And as he's trying to navigate all of this. And hearing this kind of fire and brimstone approach to everything. And the life that these people lead. Being so different from anything that he necessarily knows. I think it's reinforced by a lot of the choices that Raymond Lee makes as an actor. Because, again, even though Ben is clearly invested in the mission. Wanting to figure out, why am I here? What do I need to do? How do I help these people? [00:23:15] And also the idea that a mistake is made, in a way. Right, by saving William, which is the right thing to like, yeah, let's save William. It ends up kind of perpetuating the momentum that was already there to drive these people to this mass paranoia, this mass delusion that there are witches in their midst. And they must burn them at the. [00:23:41] You know, again, I was kind of fascinated by a lot of what's going on. Of a lot of the things that kind of were there to disorient us a little bit. To kind of, like, tug at the rug and make us feel like we're not on even footing. Whether that's Ben's reaction to the leap, whether that's the idea, know, oh, Ben's doing a good thing. He's saving someone. But it went sure. Like, I think. I think you're watching the episode and you're like, oh, this is not going to work out how you think it's going to work out, Ben, because nobody knows what the hell you're doing. It's not been invented. [00:24:16] So I'm not trying to say that it's like a total shock or surprise, but I do think that it's nice that it subverts a little bit of the idea of Ben being the good guy, doing the right thing, and that that's always going to pay off. And in this instance, it's like, nope, this actually gets him into hotter water. [00:24:34] And now all of a sudden, we have know, I haven't mentioned some of the guest stars, but this is a perfect opportunity to mention Madeline Hortru plays Goody Smith, Bridget Goody Smith, and of course, she's one of the accused. [00:24:52] And they are immediately kind of thrust together out of the circumstance that they're both being accused as witches. And the fascinating thing is that we then get another character, Morgan McKenna, played by Amanda Jaros, who, in her kind of defiance, in her own kind of liberation, of being clearly her own person and not falling into step with everyone around her, gets lumped in with them. Right? Like, the idea is, it's like, if you're not with us, you're clearly against us. You're a witch too. Indiego. [00:25:32] So I'll take a pause here to talk about something that I kind of glossed over. Another thing that happens early on is that Ziggy kind of loses it when Ben goes back. That Ian, they're very concerned as well, because it's like there's not preparation for something like this. The idea that Ben can travel that far back in time seems to be abnormal. And of know, we've talked about before, I mean, just in the fandom, articles are out there, other podcasts. This podcast, we've collectively talked before about the decision to allow Ben to travel outside of his own lifetime, compared to Sam, who was restricted to his own lifetime until he wasn't. [00:26:17] But anyway, and so I think that this is a convention that the revival had already kind of opened up, had already said, no, Ben can go all the way back to the Old west, right to the 1870s or whatever, and yet we find ourselves in this episode going farther back than ever before, both for Ben, for Sam. I mean, as far as we know, any on screen representation. I'm speaking on screen only. But even if you factor in the novels, really, no one has ever traveled further back than this. So I think that the thing that's interesting about it is the notion that they, not just meaning Ian, but they, the team, they are not prepared for that. And I think that that's kind of interesting. It's an interesting little tidbit, and it's something that might be inconsequential, might never be revisited. But I do think that is just as far as texture to the story, texture to what the expectations of the team are, what this time travel project is. It's fascinating to me that this seems to defy even those expectations, which is kind of cool. [00:27:23] And I think just worth filing away potentially. [00:27:26] We'll have to wait and see. I think this is a perfect time to talk a little bit about historical context. I mentioned earlier, of course, that Salem Witch Trial is obviously very real, very famous play, the Crucible, written on it. There's been film versions of the play as well, most famously with Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder. [00:27:46] The play has had numerous revivals. Liam Neeson and Laura Linney. Most recently, Ben Weishaw did the role of Proctor as well. I'm very familiar with the play. I was in the play. I actually played Proctor twice. And so, yeah, I mean, the notion of this world can seem a little either very foreign, very alien, or could seem something like we just take for granted, like, oh, yeah, that happened, and moving on. But I do think that it's important to just have a little extra context. [00:28:25] At the risk of throwing stuff out there that everyone is aware of, I will say that at this particular point in time, one of the things that's fascinating is that Europe had already experienced a number of witch trials, famous periods in time of witch trials, and, of course, this colony, because that's the other thing that's important for this contextualization. At this point, of course, Massachusetts is still a colony of England. [00:28:54] The country is not born yet, so there's no United States. And at this particular point in time, that kind of mass delusion paranoia had started to make its way across the pond. And even though it had started to die out in Europe, now, here those flames were being fanned here in the colonies, and it resulted in the execution of hundreds of people. [00:29:26] And not just in Salem, but Salem, of course, was probably the nexus in a lot of ways, the most famous, and certainly one of the most famous examples of mass delusion in this country's history, even though, of course, this is pre us. But at that particular point in time, thinking about, there's been a lot of turmoil recently, not too recently, but you look at the constitutional turmoil of the 1680s, the idea that New England had, of course, been settled by religious dissenters, and they focused very much on building a kind of a religious society, a society based on the Bible, steeped in tradition, and that anything outside of that, there was not much room for. And that at this particular point in time, anything that was considered other was considered bad, was considered wrong. And in a white, male dominated society, part of that was also women. So women were more sinful. They're lustier. There's something other about them. And that's why the overwhelming majority, of course, of people who were accused of witchcraft and indeed executed for witchcraft were women. So you've got all of these kind of fascinating religious, political, and gender issues at play in the entire notion of this witchcraft accusation period in time. [00:31:06] In Salem, the witch trials were, I believe, from February. [00:31:15] They lasted over a year. It was like almost all of 1692 and into 1693. [00:31:20] But, yeah, they started in February, ended in May 1693. [00:31:26] You had 19 people in Salem alone who were executed by hanging. One other died under a form of torture, if you're familiar with the play, or, of course, the real history, that's Giles Corey, who had stones placed upon him. More people died in jail as well. Anyway, I do think that it was just kind of a fascinating time when you had, for the most part, young girls accusing mature women of witchcraft for a variety of reasons and everyone else just believing in it. It was the idea that these adults were so willing to believe that other people in their midst had committed these crimes that, for the most part, young girls were accusing them of. Because the young girls, of course, they're pure, right? [00:32:20] They're not the sinful beings that mature women are. [00:32:27] I think that it's interesting to think about the fact that at this particular point in time, the nature of this community was that it was a theocracy. And the trials, the fallout from the trials, the realization that all of this was bunk and that there had been so many false accusations. I mean, they were all false accusations, obviously, really kind of shattered the idea that a theocracy could survive or thrive without being susceptible to this type of thing, which. Which is a positive thing. I think it's one of the things that helped, quite frankly, less than 100 years later, again, a bunch of white men. But it helped them decide that God, good, but not what we should be founding our country on. And I think that that's something, obviously, that a lot of people struggle with to this day. But it's true that that was something that was not part of the plan. There was never a desire that this country would be run by any one religion. So, anyway, I do think that that's important to kind of think about in the context of the episode. The other thing that's important to think about in the context of the episode is the notion that when the play the crucible was written, the country was in the grips of the red scare. Communism, bad. [00:33:59] If you're a communist, there's something wrong with you, and you need to be outed and pilloried for it. We're not going to execute you. We've matured a bit, but we will do everything we can to, in the modern parlance, cancel you. [00:34:13] And the entertainment industry in particular was hit incredibly hard by this because the thought was that that's where the commies are. They're on Broadway and they're in Hollywood, and we're going to get them. [00:34:23] Writers, actors, producers, directors all lost their livelihoods, were blacklisted. People wouldn't work with them. Now, you did have some people. Kirk Douglas is actually pretty famous for this. Kirk Douglas was responsible for making sure that blacklisted writers still got work to the point where Spartacus is an example of this. Basically told the studio, he's like, if you don't let that guy work on this script, you don't have a movie, or at least you don't have your star. [00:34:52] And he was indeed able to get work for some of these writers in particular. At a time when no one else would hire them, they often had to write under pseudonyms or go uncredited. But I still think something like is worth mentioning. So anyway, with, you know, these Senate hearings, the Red Scare, that was the environment that Arthur Miller was writing this play under. And it was a very intentional parallel because he had friends. He himself had been accused like he had friends. And the idea was that you might be better off just to say, like, yeah, I'm a communist, and take whatever punishment than you are, than to draw this out and be ruined for it because they'd come at you from every angle. Right? It wasn't just if you were a communist. It was, are you a philanderer? Are you gay? It was everything they could do to ruin your reputation. At a time when America was pretty damn conservative overall, not to try to make light or put too much importance on things or whatever. But this is pre rock and roll for the most part. And this is a time when people were very given to a certain kind of nationalism, patriotism, coming out of World War II, where anything that could be equated with fascism or the Nazis or what we saw from the Japanese or ET know this is talking about people's perceptions at the bad. You know, even the Russians and know who had been an ally at times it was like, now they're the bad guy because communism bad. [00:36:33] And so the idea that this sort of mania with which Joe McCarthy approached outing these people and giving this very public, again, pillaring these people to the extent that their careers were lost, their livelihoods were lost, if not necessarily their lives, although indirectly. I mean, there's definitely circumstances where people committed suicide or drank themselves to death or et cetera, certainly never recovered from it. So I think that that context is actually important to understand in the episode, because, again, in an episode that can't help but be influenced by a piece that is so famous and is so popular that what influenced that piece, I think, is kind of important to think about and just pointing the finger and how easy it was to get one finger, two finger, three finger, four finger, and all of a sudden, everyone is in on you. And that's the situation that these people are living under right now. And that's the fear that they're having to deal with. And part of it also is that you look at what's happening in the town and these deaths that are occurring. [00:37:44] It's the idea that there's so much grief and mourning and fear and anger, and they're looking for an outlet for that. And as soon as the witchcraft part comes into play, now all of a sudden, we have someone to blame for all of this. It just happens that Ben, of course, has leaped into someone that they can blame. [00:38:07] I think we've got some great scenes that come out of their imprisonment. [00:38:13] I really, really enjoyed the conversations that we see between Elizabeth and the other women, Morgan and Bridget. And I think that seeing the three of them together and there are three very different perspectives on all of almost. Ben is almost incapable of playing the part. Like, Ben's not an actor. Ray is, and he's a damn good one. But Ben, he just decides, I'm going to bring all of my 2020 ideas into this, my 21st century perspective into all of this, and I'm going to share that with you. And it's fascinating, because even Morgan, who is clearly very progressive in terms of this society, has her doubts about the stuff that Ben is saying, Bridget certainly does, to the point where it creates almost this antagonistic relationship between the two of them at times. Now, eventually, Bridget certainly comes around and is like, yes, I'm with you, I'm with you. But wavers later on in the episode as well. And I think that that's an interesting way to go. I like it. I think that it gives us a little bit more tension to play between the characters. [00:39:27] The character of William is know. William, of course, is so under his dad's thumb that in public, after being resuscitated, being brought back to life by Ben, he is willing to point the finger at these women, right? But then he is also willing to come and see them and see Elizabeth and maybe, hmm, I don't know. I'm going to help you. And, of course, eventually does help them. We also get the opportunity for the guard who's feeling bad about all of this, and the guard is sort of like, I don't know, maybe we shouldn't be doing this. But then, of course, he gives into it, right? Because Ben says something that makes him think, like, how can you possibly know this? You are a witch. Burn in hell. All this sort of stuff, of course, gives Ben the opportunity to lift the keys. [00:40:14] This is when they go to Morgan's. And the other thing that's interesting about Morgan, especially in this point in time, 1692 New England, Single Woman, owns her own business, is obviously an other from all of these other people in many, many ways. [00:40:34] Just even physical characteristics. Her red hair, the sound of her voice, she's from Ireland. She sounds different than these people. [00:40:44] It's almost a surprise that she wasn't cast out as a witch prior to this, but she's willing to try and help them, although she also seems to be a little bit more in it for herself, which, again, is kind of an interesting route for the character because she doesn't necessarily come off as. [00:41:06] I don't feel like we've got this trio of heroes that we're sitting here rooting for the whole time and that they've come together. There's this ensemble, and they're fighting the man, and they're doing whatever they can to save their own lives or whatever. It's very much about survival, and I think that that's a brilliant piece of writing. It would be so easy, right, to just kind of say, like, let's throw them together, and sure, we'll have them antagonize one another a little bit, but at the end of the day, girl power. The three of them are fighting for one another, and they're going to get out there and save themselves and maybe some other people along the way. And instead, it's like obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. Her shop is ransacked, her horses are stolen. [00:41:55] She ends up riding off alone. She ends up getting captured, and. And they almost escape, but then they decide at the last minute to come back, know they think, know they can't let Morgan die. [00:42:11] It's really interesting, the moral dilemmas that are posed over the course of the episode do nothing but support and strengthen these characters and their choices. And again, it's just a really incredibly well written episode. [00:42:27] And the other thing that's fascinating is that unlike secret history, which has kind of this amazing, wonderful, awesome action adventure kind of plot with substerfuge, and it feels like kind of Indiana Jones in a way, right. But also Indiana Jones with Hitchcock Blonde, it's propulsive and so is a kind of magic, but it doesn't necessarily have the same kind of adventure quest vibe. And I just think, again, that that's such a testament to the writing quality that we're seeing this season across the board, really. [00:43:01] It's an incredibly well written episode. [00:43:04] And the only thing, I'll point out a couple of things, Morgan's character in general and the introduction of her character, it feels to me like it's a necessary shorthand, and I certainly don't want to belabor this, and I definitely don't want to point it out as too big of a criticism by any stretch, but I do feel like it's one of those things that you have to do sometimes, especially, like, network TV, 42 minutes, right, where I'm going to just kind of show you or tell you, really tell you who this character is in this shorthand way. And now, you know, and now I'll throw them into the pot, as opposed to having the time, having the opportunity to kind of hint at the character, give the character a little bit more of a full, fleshed out introduction, as opposed to just being like, oh, yeah, I know who she's supposed to be, which is also fine. I mean, there's an economy to that storytelling, which is great. So it's not even necessarily a criticism, I suppose, as much as an observation. But I do feel like her introduction, it's a moment where you're just kind of like, okay, yeah, she's that character. [00:44:12] But I should add, of course, that Amanda Jaros is great. [00:44:15] I think it's a lovely role, and I think that the wonderful thing is that for as kind of, like, strong and independent as she is. [00:44:23] She does end up, by turns, being just as vulnerable as the other women that are involved, just as at risk as these other women, while also being someone, I think, that has the reason to be able to maybe shift people's opinions if they were not given over to this mass delusion or mass paranoia, which I think is, again, it makes for an interesting character, and it's a really great performance. [00:45:01] There's definitely a lot of strength there behind the performance. Speaking of performances, Madeline Horcher as Goody Smith is fantastic. I love the layers that she brings to the role. I love that it would be very easy to see her in one light, and yet we get so many other layers written in along the way. And I think she is more than capable of kind of really kind of bringing all of that to life in some wonderful ways, including the idea that at the end, she's almost like, you know what? No, I'm going to Boston. Peace out. Like, I don't need this. I don't want. [00:45:35] I'm. I'm done. And so I think that, yeah, I enjoyed that, and I thought that it was brought to life very well. [00:45:44] Character of William. William is a delight. And I do love the fact that there is this pining for Elizabeth, apparently just enough that the two of them are going to be an item. [00:46:00] And it's worth mentioning, of course, that in the original history, like, William dies, right. [00:46:05] Betty dies, Bridget dies, Ben saves a lot of lives through the course of this, and he saves even more at the end when he realizes the well has been poisoning these people. [00:46:17] And I think that that's the other thing that this episode does in kind of a unique way, is that the mission. Right. McBen's mission feels bigger than just one person. [00:46:30] He really does. He saves a town, right? Like salvation or bust, he has to save the whole town. But in this way, it's like he's saving the soul of the town. He's saving these people's lives. He's saving the soul of the know. He's finding a way to kind of get through to, like, Reverend Crane, for instance, who really kind of leads the charge. [00:46:46] And I think that the episode holds together very well due to that. [00:46:53] Even without a singular kind of mission, the town, this community. This community is its own character, more powerful in some ways than any individual character. And I think that that lends itself incredibly well to the type of story that's being told here with the mass delusion, mass paranoia that's taking place, moving away from the leap, which, again, I loved and I think is just wonderful. The step back at the project, which there's not quite as much of, is pretty important. And the most important. Of course, I mentioned this briefly earlier. It really has to be the scene between magic and Addison, and I'll get to that in just a second. But before I do, let's talk about some of the humor. And I love that it's not necessarily strictly played for laughs, although obviously there's some laughs to be had. [00:47:47] Ian does a seance. [00:47:50] I love them, and it is amazing and wonderful. And Jen, of course, doesn't buy any of it. And Risa is fantastic and awesome, and just the interplay between the two of them, it's so wonderful. [00:48:06] And the seance obviously doesn't work out. [00:48:09] I failed to mention Ian, of course, is the observer in the early part of the episode, and then Jen steps into the chamber. Always awesome to see Nanrissa in that capacity. Of course, we got to see her in secret history, as know. She has some great moments in the courtroom. It's lovely because she goes out and gets the right. Like, it's like none of this is on a computer, none of this is. I'm going to read a know. She gets the information, she comes in, she's able to help Ben out. But anyway, back at the project. Yeah, the seat stuff is very amusing. [00:48:37] And I think, again, it gives us a much needed levity in an episode, which could feel incredibly heavy otherwise. [00:48:46] I mentioned Rachel earlier. It was great to see her back. It's great to see, know, helping the team out and especially being there for Ian and how important they are to her. [00:48:58] It's really lovely. And again, I do have that question. It's like, is she on the level? [00:49:04] I really hope so. I think so. Right. She's got to be. They're not going to do that. Anyway. [00:49:10] Then magic returns. Everybody's happy to see magic, of course, and there's hugs. And Addison and magic share a scene, which is an incredible scene. And it was very powerful to me. And as anyone know, I've certainly had my struggles in this time of year. And right now, not just this time of year, right here, right now, I am having a really hard time. I am struggling. And I have been incredibly lucky to have some wonderful people. One person in particular who's really, really helped me a great deal, kind of my own personal observer, if you will. And they've been fantastic. [00:49:47] And quite frankly, got me to my first AA meeting. I've been sober for over four years. Four years, three montHs. And twelve days, I believe, and I'd never been to a meeting in that time. I'd never sought any kind of treatment in that way. I was incredibly fortunate and lucky to be able to just kind of make my way through it. Right. With the understanding, of course, that I cannot have one drink, that I am incapable of doing that, and that it would lead me on a road to ruin, if not immediately, certainly long term. So that is my experience coming into seeing this episode. And I saw the episode before I went to the meeting for the first time, but it still struck a chord because it was something that I felt like I needed to seek out, but I didn't know how to. I didn't know how to say yes. And then somebody came along and somebody was like, hey, do you want to go? I'll take you. And I said yes, luckily. And they've been amazing. So anyway, with that said, that gives you a little personal context into this, because seeing this scene and seeing magic talk about going to a meeting, seeing a sponsor, we know Beth obviously has been there for him, or certainly we hope so. [00:51:06] And the way that he is able to talk about recovery and community and relationships, and it's incredibly well written. And Ernie is amazing. And Caitlin is the way that she kind of receives this, listens to know and is there, and also, this is something else. It's kind of one of those things that, as an actor, it can be incredibly difficult to do in a nuanced way. But the way she makes the choice to go back into the imaging chamber, it's a lovely moment. The whole thing is just lovely. Her support for magic, her shift from hearing what magic has to say. And magic, of course, it's kind of magic. He gets to say the line, right. It's just a really lovely scene. [00:52:03] It's just a testament to what each individual in this cast kind of brings to the table and how awesome it has to be to kind of be able to play with all these ingredients. If you're a writer, if you're in the writer's room, if you're a showrunner, to be able to kind of say, like, let's get them together to do this thing, this. [00:52:26] That has got to be a joy, because in this know, seeing the two of them together. Of course, we've seen Addison and magic have great scenes together before, but this one is really wonderful and deepens the relationships not only between Addison and magic, but I think most importantly, perhaps between Addison and Ben. Addison's able to come back. She gets into the imaging chamber and it's really, really fucking nice. [00:52:52] As much as I kind of had talked about secret history being kind of like this. Exhale. After so much of what we had gotten beforehand, which I stand by seeing Addison pop back in and seeing Ben's reaction, it's just a beautiful moment. Ray's phenomenal. Caitlin's phenomenal. [00:53:13] It's an exceptional moment. And again, it's another affirmation of just how incredible this cast is and how the situations that have been crafted for them to kind of play in over the course of this season, specifically, not to ignore the first season by any stretch, because you had to build a lot to get to that point. Right. But talking about what they've built, this season alone is really wonderful, and it's touching, it's moving, it's engaging, and most importantly, it makes you ask the golden question, what's next? And I just thought that the way that this episode ended and what happened between the two of them was really lovely, and I can't wait to see what's next. Spoilers. I have seen what's next, but that's all you're getting out of me. All right. [00:54:07] So kind of closing know, again, I really enjoyed the kind of magic a great deal. It's hard for me to think of that title and not think of Freddie Mercury or Highlander, if you know, you know? [00:54:22] And I do think that it's a really great episode in so many ways. And I think it's an episode that will grow in esteem for me, and not because I don't like it now. I love it. I just think that there was something about secret history that just was like, bam. And then there's something about nomad that feels very similar. It's like, whoa. And so to have this episode in betwEen, it's great. It's perfect. You couldn't necessarily. I don't think you could continue in the same vein. You wouldn't want to. There's something about this episode that feels different and yet still connected to the narrative, but much more focused on the leap, much less focused on kind of the overall character arcs that we've seen growing. Yes, there's elements of, like, Rachel's boss and the chip, and that's in there, too. The developments between Addison and Ben, that's there. But this feels much, much more focused on, like, this is the leap, which is. Is. Which is, again, you know, I think that the project stuff, while certainly still connected to the leap, I mean, whether it's the seance, the mean, clearly they're still working on the leap felt a little bit more between the scenes with magic and Addison, between the stuff with Rachel. At the beginning, it felt a little bit more connected to its own story, to its own narrative, to facilitating the character development, as opposed to being completely intertwined with the leap, if that makes sense, which is a good thing because we've seen so much of that, which I love and I think is the way to go overall. When you do get something different, you can appreciate it a little bit more. I think if that was the norm, I would appreciate it far less. If the other was the norm, I think I would still appreciate it, though, because it's so engaging. [00:56:11] But yeah, overall a kind of magic. I really enjoyed it. I'd love to hear what you have to say. So please like subscribe, leave a comment below, send an email, whatever you want to do. Reach out. [00:56:24] Reach out. Reach out. Not necessarily to me, although you're welcome to, but if you need help in any way, reach out. And most importantly, if you don't find yourself capable of reaching out, know when to say yes. That can be really hard. It puts you in a very vulnerable position. But knowing when to say yes is incredibly important. So say yes when you can. [00:56:48] If you're in a position to be there for somebody, do it. Do it. We all need somebody. We all need somebody and I am grateful that you're here. Thank you so much. [00:56:59] This has been fun. Hopefully I did get it out in time. We'll see. Take care of yourself. Take care of one another. Stay safe out there. And remember, always leap responsibly. Bye.

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