[00:00:02] Hello, fellow travelers. Welcome to Fates. Wide wheel. I am your host, Sam, and this week we're here to talk about episode two five of the Quantum Leap revival, one Night in Koreatown. The channel has a lot of content this week, so I am going to try to get straight to things because I was able to interview Benjamin Rabb and Derek Hughes, the writers of this week's episode, as well as the director Tamika Miller. Thanks to Albie from the Quantum Leap podcast, who invited me to join him and interview Tamika. That will all be presented here on the channel. Of course, you can also check out Quantum Leap podcast interviews as well.
[00:00:41] But yeah, you'll see the Tamika Miller interview here, as well as my interview with Benjamin Rabb and Derek Hughes. Super excited to have all of that.
[00:00:49] You can even pause this right now and head over and check out those interviews if you want to. Ben and Derek are great. They'd been on the show before, of course. They also wrote Paging Dr song last season.
[00:00:59] Had a wonderful time talking to them. We were able to chat a bit about the WGA strike. We were able to chat about getting back to work ever so briefly. But we really focused on the episode quite a bit, and we focused on all sorts of aspects of the episode, of course the historical context of the episode as well as the personal stories and moving the ball forward with these characters in very human and wonderful ways. It's an interesting episode to talk about, and I have a lot of thoughts about it, and I kind of want to share that in a sort of chronological order with my initial impressions of the episode and then go into some of my deeper thoughts upon my rewatches. But before I do all of that, I want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone that has subscribed to the YouTube channel in the last week. We picked up, I think, like, over 25 new subscribers, and I am so grateful for that. So please, if you're watching this and you have not subscribed yet, please like the video subscribe to the channel, it really helps me out and it'll give me the opportunity to do some cool things going forward once I kind of reach that magic 500 number. So please help the channel out. I'd be grateful, and I will continue to endeavor to bring lots of really cool content. There's some great stuff already in the works. And speaking of things already in the works, the Patreon. Thank you so much to the new Patreon subscribers and the folks that have been donating to the show. I really appreciate it. It means a lot, and not only does it help me out, but it allows me to do more with this. I've been looking at some upgrades. I've been looking at some new video editing software and stuff that I can do to just make things pop even more. And I'm committed to working hard and bringing new innovations to fate's wide.
[00:02:49] So I really, really want to say thank you, and primarily I will say thank you to Sophie Gilbert, the newest Patreon subscriber. Thank you so much, Sophie. I really appreciate your support. It means a lot. And I'm still just so grateful and humbled by the fact that people are supporting the channel monetarily. It means a lot to, of course, always, always check your community, look and see what you can do around you, volunteer your time, your money, if you're able to the world at large. There's so many things going wrong right now, and if we can try to put at least one thing right and be a force for good and a force for positive change, then I am all about it. And I would encourage anyone who's watching this or listening to this to do just that.
[00:03:30] It's worth it. It's worth it. And if after all of that, of course, you wanted to stop by and support the show, head over to Patreon Fateswide Wheel and know that you have my gratitude and also the knowledge that if they're over here supporting the show, they must have done something good, they must have absolutely made a wrong right. So you're a hero. I appreciate it. Thank you very much. If you are looking for causes to support, of course I will always throw my support behind the Trevor Project. And right now, especially crucially, Doctors Without Borders, they are working right now on situations that are occurring in this world that I'm sure we are all aware of, that I will not wade into for many reasons because we have so many strong personal feelings about them. But that said, there's work occurring right now that Doctors Without Borders is doing to save lives, to save lives that are being torn apart by acts of violence and the types of medical treatments that we should never even have to think about, much less put ourselves through or witness. And Doctors Without Borders is sending that aid and doing whatever they can to help out right now. So obviously Doctors Without Borders cause I support as well as Trevor Project and those always get my vote. But if there's some research out there that you've done and there's a cause that you want to support, yeah, go do it. Help out any way you can. Again, whether it's time or money, if you're able, that's awesome. And again, you're a hero. You're Sam Beckett and Ben Song as far as I'm concerned. So thank you so much for listening to my spiel.
[00:05:05] I also wanted to touch base briefly on just podcast happenings. As you're aware, by the time you're watching this no watch party this week, they're on hiatus for right now. I am, surprisingly enough, working actor in the Chicagoland theater.
[00:05:20] So I am currently in rehearsals on Wednesday evenings and I'm unable to watch the episode live or take part in the watch parties and that sort of thing. Or live tweet, which I'll miss. That's always been fun. Or live post now, I guess.
[00:05:34] Anyway, so I appreciate your patience with me. However, I'm certainly going to endeavor to make sure there are lots of goodies coming for Patreon subscribers and exclusive content. I'll be doing an interview this coming weekend, which you will get to see first if you are a Patreon subscriber. Of course, no content will ever be locked behind a paywall, so that will be available to everyone. It'll just come a few days after it drops on Patreon, so be sure to be on the lookout for that one. It'll probably drop Sunday night or Monday afternoon, I would imagine. If you're watching this kind of in real ish time, if you're watching this on Wednesday, November 1, that'll give you an idea. Otherwise it might already be available. Just like those interviews. Did I mention I interviewed Benjamin Rabb and Derek Hughes? And Tamika Miller? Because I did. So you can check those interviews out. There's well over 3 hours worth of content on the channel this week about One night in Koreatown. And it's the episode that deserves it. It really, really is.
[00:06:29] And I think the best thing that we can do right now is to dive in so that we're not waiting through 4 hours worth of content or something.
[00:06:38] One Night in Koreatown, of course, is the fifth episode of the second season of Quantum Leap, the 2022 revival. This episode was written by Benjamin Ravender Hughes. Of course, they were responsible also for Paging Dr. Song last season and directed by Tamika Miller. Tamika has worked on shows like The Equalizer as well as directing a film called The Christmas Lottery. Albie knows a lot about that one and she's a delight and she was wonderful and she was very patient with some of my questions and I really appreciate that because I felt awkward on a couple of them. But she was awesome and I appreciated her grace and her knowledge.
[00:07:15] She's just a great director, too. There's a number of moments in this episode that really stand out and I appreciate so much the way that she articulated working with the actors.
[00:07:24] Obviously, that's something that's big for me. And I love hearing about that kind of collaboration, because I've read I've read and heard stories even from other actors that I know that have worked on television series where sometimes the directors come in, and it's literally just like, set it up, get the shot, and move on. And there's hardly any FaceTime with the actors at all.
[00:07:41] Or if there is, it might be about one particular moment here or there, but it sounds like Tamika had opportunities to really connect with the actors, whether it was Susan or Ernie or Ray whatnot. And that's really cool.
[00:07:55] I hope she is back on the show sometime, not this show. I mean, I do hope she comes back to this show, but quantum Leap.
[00:08:03] The episode, of course, has to do with the unrest and uprising in Los Angeles on April 29, 1992. As a result of the verdict in the Rodney King beating trial, four officers were put on trial for excessive force.
[00:08:22] The incident was filmed by a local resident who saw the beating of Cream from his balcony and grabbed his video camera, George Holliday.
[00:08:30] He would later give that footage to KTLA and they would decide to air the footage. He recounts that when he first told them about it, they didn't really seem that interested, and they were like, yeah, send it to us and we'll see about it. They did not lead with this story that night on the news. They actually kind of buried it halfway through the newscast that night. However, after that news broadcast went off the air, george holiday's phone started ringing off the hook and everybody wanted a copy of the footage. It wouldn't take long, of course, for the story to be the lead on a lot of news broadcasts and news channels. It's important to remember this is something that Ben and Derek and I talked a little bit about. We're kind of pre 24 hours news cycle at this point, like it's beginning. The nascent phases are there, in particular, with Desert Storm, Desert Shield coming shortly after, and then the OJ trial a few years later.
[00:09:25] Clearly, we're in the beginnings where that is going to be the reality, and by the time we get to 911, it is it's 24/7 all day every day.
[00:09:34] And the truth of the matter is that between the first Iraq War and the Rodney King trial and the unrest that would follow the verdict and the OJ trial, those really are kind of the three events that really propelled us into that 24 hours news cycle as we see it today.
[00:09:52] I'm sure there's other factors, and I'm sure there are people that can speak to it much better than I can, but that's certainly my impression of the events.
[00:10:00] Once the verdict was released, it did not take long for unrest to begin, but let's go back just a little bit from 1992. We'll just take it back to the year before, or actually a couple of years before. Let's go to 1989 with the release of Spike Lee's. Do the Right thing.
[00:10:24] I bring this film up because the film actually illustrates some of the tensions between African American residents and Korean American residents.
[00:10:35] And it does so in a way that the tensions that had kind of been simmering for a while had a lot to do, of course, with economic inequality.
[00:10:52] Korean Americans at the time had a little bit more upward mobility than a lot of African Americans did. And they were opening stores, they had shops, and they were doing this in communities that served a lot of African Americans and accusations of shoplifting and things like that didn't help, quite frankly. And there were, again, just a lot of simmering tensions, cultural differences, language barriers.
[00:11:25] You can read this over at Wikipedia. I'm going to many Korean shop owners were upset because they suspected shoplifting from their black customers or neighbors. Many black customers were angry because they routinely felt disrespected and humiliated by Korean store owners.
[00:11:39] And that was a reality that people were living in at the time.
[00:11:43] And about a week after the beating of Rodney King, a young black woman, 15 years old, was in a Korean shop and she was purchasing a bottle of orange juice. She placed the bottle of orange juice into her backpack before she had actually paid for the item. Two eyewitnesses speak to the fact that she was going to pay for it. That the shop owner's defense of saying that Latasha Harlan's, the young woman's name. Pardon me for not mentioning earlier that Latasha had know what? Orange juice? I don't have any orange juice. But there were two eyewitnesses that said that was not the case.
[00:12:22] Altercation occurred, angry words were exchanged, and eventually the shop owner, or the wife of the shop owner rather, pulled out a handgun and shot Latasha in the back of the head, killing her instantly.
[00:12:36] There were also a couple of other incidences shortly after this when there was a liquor store that was held up and two employees were shot and killed and the assailant was African American. So you can see how the tensions were building between those two communities. And we're already really reaching fever pitch. And this is something that had been going on for a while, much like, of course, the tensions between white residents of these neighborhoods and black residents of these neighborhoods and quantum Leap, the classic series, covered events in Los Angeles in the mid 60s in a brilliant episode, Black on White on Fire, penned by Deborah Pratt. Originally actually as a stage play, it morphed into a Quantum Leap episode. There was no Sam or Al or anything initially in the play morphed into an episode of Quantum Leap black on White on Fire. Not only is it a brilliantly written, acted, and just well constructed episode from top to bottom, but it's also one of the very few episodes where we don't get a happy ending.
[00:13:38] Sorry, spoilers for something that aired 25 years ago. That said, the episode aired in 1990 and it put a focus on the Watts riots in 1965. Of course, the long, hot summer is name checked in this episode, which occurred in 1967. Detroit being kind of the flashpoint in many ways, being responsible for some of the worst unrest that this country had seen in like 40 years.
[00:14:07] So all of these events happening are not isolated incidents. Unfortunately, they're hung on a timeline. And much like Magic's line in the episode, the sparks of injustice may vary, but systemic oppression will always light the fuse. And no matter how much progress we make, that will never change. That sense of hopelessness is completely understandable, considering that these events are repeating themselves in so many ways. We ourselves are not that far removed from the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests following George Floyd's murder. So the events that we're seeing crop up, we've always sort of sought to kind of contextualize things a bit, right? What it meant when it aired, when it was set. And from our standpoint now, obviously, with the new series, it's a little different in some ways because it's airing concurrently as we're talking about it. We're not talking about something that aired 25, 30 years ago. So it's different, to say the very least, the conversations that we're able to have, maybe because we don't have some of the same perspective.
[00:15:13] However, this episode is interesting because in itself, it kind of is able to contextualize the events occurring within the leap with the events of 25 years prior to the Leap and 25 years after the leap, which is fascinating, and I really enjoyed that aspect of it a great deal.
[00:15:31] One of the things that's important to remember, too, of course, is law enforcement played a huge part in this or the absence of law enforcement at that time. Los Angeles, the police force was run like a small military force, quite frankly. And that's where Daryl Gates, who was the police chief, that's how he came up. And he came up at a time when racism and systemic oppression was basically encouraged.
[00:15:59] Don't bring me a white face. Bring me the usual suspects. And those faces were often people of color.
[00:16:06] And you need only watch the first, like, 20 minutes of La. Confidential and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. And that really was the LAPD in a lot of ways at that time. And that's what Darryl Gates came up in. That's what Darryl Gates wanted to perpetrate in so many ways. Perpetuate in so many ways. And the truth of the matter is that he cared more about power and law and order than he did really serving and protecting the citizens of Los Angeles. And that shines through and through with the events of April May 1992. So all of these simmering tensions, everything that's going on, lead up to the verdict being returned. And when the verdict is returned, it doesn't take long for the unrest to begin.
[00:16:50] A young black male threw a brick at a passing police car. The police car stopped. This is at 71st in Normandy and Florence. And Normandy was where a lot of the unrest moved to shortly after.
[00:17:02] You can Google that, address those cross streets and these events will come up, for instance, and once things kicked off in the episode, they talk about how it lasted for six days. And that's true without a doubt. But it was really those first three days where I think the worst of things happened. And by the time all of a sudden done $1 billion in property damage, 63 people dead, I believe like 1200 people injured, multiple incarcerations would would come out of this as well.
[00:17:45] The rage and frustration had reached their boiling point by seeing four white men exonerated for the beating, the blatant beating of a black man. And they were tried in a county that was notoriously white, conservative, and the residents of a lot of law enforcement.
[00:18:07] The jury was comprised almost entirely of white faces. I believe there was a Latino man and an Asian American man on the jury as well.
[00:18:17] The prosecutor was black, but it was not a fair situation, to say the very least. There was nothing equitable about it.
[00:18:31] And so the events that occur during this episode are, of course, a result of all of that. And we hear in the very beginning of the episode, we see the news broadcast with the verdict coming back, and Ben knows right away that it's April 20, 1992.
[00:18:47] La. Burning and La 92. Two fantastic documentaries that I would urge you to check out.
[00:18:54] There is also a book, either coming out or has just been released, that I think will also provide a lot of interesting context, especially considering the events of this episode. It's called Rising from the Ashes by Paula Yu. It's actually being published this month, November of 2023.
[00:19:21] As Google tells me, it's a compelling nuanced account of Los Angeles's 1992 uprising and its impact on its Korean and black American communities. Something worth noting is the impact of these events are still being felt to this day. So much so that politically, the spectrum that people find themselves on today, the inciting incident for so many people, were the events that occurred in April, May 1992 in Los Angeles.
[00:19:45] For the communities living there, the trends are there. You can do the research, you can see more about it, but it is absolutely the case that people shifted their political Ideologies as a result of what happened at that time.
[00:19:59] I believe it was Derek that mentioned Paula's book in our interview.
[00:20:03] I'll put a link to it below if you want to check that book out. I think it would provide some further context for the events of the episode. One of the things that I have always loved about Quantum Leap and continue to love about Quantum Leap is when it kind of pushes us to dig a little deeper into our own history, because that's the other thing too important. This is ours. This is our history.
[00:20:26] Whether you're a white face like mine or person of color, someone who was there in 1992, someone who wasn't even born yet. The thing is that it is all our history. And while I firmly believe that there is absolutely a place for putting black history, korean American history, gay history, et cetera, great. That's fantastic. But at the end of the day, it's all ours, and we have to bear responsibility for it. I firmly believe that. And I think one of the things that Quantum Leap has done for me personally and I know for a lot of people watching and listening to this show is it pushes us to learn more about that. It's one of the h's, right, that Deborah talks about history, heart, hope, humor, and history. History. And this episode really brings that in some lovely ways, in a very direct way, very in your face way. Some of the other episodes that we've had over last season and this season, they bring that history. They do. They just might be a little bit more nuanced about it. And that's not a criticism. I'm not saying this episode isn't nuanced. There's definitely nuance to the episode. I'm just saying that this is a bit of a more direct way of addressing some history as opposed to some of the other ways that have been done in the past. And that's true, of course, of the original series as well. There are some episodes like Black on White and Fire, where it's like, this is history. Here it is. We're going to tell a story about these events. There are other episodes that take place. While there may be some historical event happening surrounding it, but it's not necessarily about those events. Anyway, I love that an episode like this pushed me to go learn more, even though I was alive when they happened, even though I watched some of this stuff on television, even though I have done reading about it after the fact, even though I watched one of those documentaries six years ago when they aired. Even though, of course, I watched Made in America. The OJ. Simpson Story, which the first episode of that, I can't remember how long it is right now. That documentary series focuses a lot, a great deal on these events.
[00:22:21] If you watch The People versus OJ. Simpson, the American Crime Story, television dramatization, which is very good. It's brilliant. In fact, the first episode of that focuses some on these events because these events were crucial.
[00:22:37] Not only the death of Latasha Harlans, the murder of Latasha Harlans, but also, of course, the beating of Rodney King, and then, of course, the uprising that followed. So I just want to offer some of that context so that now we can talk about the episode One Night in Koreatown, because I do think that that context is important. And I did like a less than Cliff Notes version. Okay? There's so much more depth. There's so many more factors. There's so many more angles to look at all this from. It's just what I could kind of bring to bear to the situation. And if you learned something awesome, if you knew all that already, let's carry on. So One Night in Koreatown, it kicks off in an interesting way. Magic's making breakfast. He's got those earrings that he was checking out in episode two and who should come down the stairs but Beth Calavichi. Magic and Beth are together, and I love it. I was privy to some information last season that there was an episode, I believe it was episode 16, where there was a scene between Magic and Beth where they were a little flirtatious, and that scene got cut, unfortunately, but I was aware of it. I knew that they were kind of flirting a little bit. I didn't really think anything was going to come of it. I honestly didn't even know that Susan would be coming back, that we were going to see Beth again. And here we are. Beth is back, and Beth and Magic are a couple.
[00:23:55] This has obviously happened in the three year gap. They've been together for a year now, officially. And it's a really lovely, fun scene. And Beth seems very swept off her feet by magic thinks that Magic is just really paying attention and making her feel good and good for her. Good for her. I think that it's interesting. I'm wondering what the fandom is going to think about this, especially in light of the division amongst the fandom over the current situation between Ben and Addison. Addison should have never moved. Know. Oh, it's totally fine. Of course it's know. All opinions are valid. I really, truly believe that. It's totally fine. Hold your opinion.
[00:24:39] It's good to be engaged with the show and moved by the show, regardless of which direction you might know. Me personally, I get it. I understand it. And that's how I feel about Beth also moving on.
[00:24:54] We can sit here and talk about Al being the love of her life. We can talk about know.
[00:25:00] He's been gone for what, like four years now, probably, at this point.
[00:25:05] And I think for Beth and Magic to have found one another, especially with what we learn later in the episode, is really quite nice, really beautiful. And it gives Ernie and Susan returning to the show now some really great stuff to play with as well. I think Ben and Derek do a great job with the scenes with Beth and Magic. I think the scenes between Beth and Magic are fantastic. There's one in particular that might be one of my favorites of the whole, you know, I love the fact that we start off with Magic because I feel like in a lot of ways, magic is the focus of this episode. Magic is kind of the spine. He holds everything together in a really lovely way.
[00:25:40] And much like episode 204, I feel like this episode is one that you cannot break the leap in the project stories apart, they all tell one story, one beautiful story threading in and out of one another. And Magic is really kind of the key to that in many ways.
[00:25:58] We talked about in season one a lot of times, the parallel stories about how something was happening at the project that might parallel the leap or the project was doing the investigative work to complement the leap but to see the storylines these human stories develop in this beautiful way where it just feels like one story.
[00:26:18] They're hitting on something. They really are. And it's fantastic. And I love seeing Know. It's funny because Beth has this concern over Magic being the hologram and going in and supporting Know. She's seen this before, right? Like, she knows what this job is and she's seen what it did to Al in particular with the fact that they lost Sam, basically, much like they thought they lost Ben.
[00:26:49] We get it kind of reaffirmed that Ben's like a son to Magic and the stakes are high in a lot of ways, especially for Magic. And it's nice to know that he's got someone else in his corner in addition to the rest of the team. Someone that he doesn't have to have that paternal quality for. Someone he doesn't have to order around. Someone who might order him around a little bit.
[00:27:14] But Magic is going in, and it's cool. We get this kind of scene where it's just sort of mason Ian has the line, Are you ready to trip the light quantastic. Which is just absurd in so many ways, but they're lovely.
[00:27:32] It's making me laugh right now. So mission accomplished and Magic does go in. We learned, of course, that Ben at this particular point is Daniel Park, Danny Park, and he's working in a shoe shop that his father, Jen Park, owns and his brother, Sonny Park, works at as well.
[00:27:50] Louisa Rojas has come in to buy some shoes. They've raised the prices on the shoes, which this is another little wonderful facet. We learn about the fact that there's a Foot Locker that's moved in down the street and that Jen has got to do the best he can to kind of stay alive. And so that's why the prices have gone up.
[00:28:11] That sort of economic disparity. The fact that this mom and pop shoe store, right, that's been serving this community now has to compete with this corporate entity that's just coming in and trying to take over.
[00:28:24] It's reality. And it's something that happens continually throughout our history.
[00:28:30] It's not new. It's not happening just now. It didn't happen just then. It's happened a lot over the past century or so. Anyway, that aspect is interesting because it, of course, adds that tension to Jen having to keep this store open.
[00:28:48] Of course, Jen is played by C. S. Lee from Dexter, a very different character, I might add. It's lovely to see him in this role. I learned. Apparently, that CS. Lee and Raymond Lee are golfing buddies. So that's cool.
[00:29:03] Another interesting little tidbit, a choice tidbit about this episode. Speaking of Raymond Lee is apparently this is something that Ray pitched during season one about a type of story. That he wanted Quantum Leap to be able to tell, which I thought was very cool. So it was one that they knew that this was a story that they were going to tell at some point. And for Ben and Derek to get the opportunity to do that is pretty cool as well.
[00:29:29] Danny Kang. Excuse me? Plays sonny we have Benjamin Flores Jr. Who plays Dwayne, and Annalisa Velez, who plays Louisa the nurse, Luisa Ross. And we get this group together pretty early on. We see them early on, but then they kind of go their separate ways, right? Like, Luisa leaves, she's got to go to work. Dwayne leaves because he gets the shoebox of money. After the interaction with Jen, which is not a positive one, we're seeing those tensions that we were talking about beforehand firsthand between Jen and Dwayne, and Jen accusing Dwayne of potentially being a shoplifter or being some sort of criminal or whatnot.
[00:30:10] Yeah, it's an interesting moment. And it's shortly after this, of course, that Ben sees the TV report and Magic and Ben realize that Ben is there. On April 20, 1992, when the uprising in Los Angeles is about to begin, we get the great bit of dialogue from Ian. They're talking about the fact that the riots were evolving so fast and things were happening so quickly and there were all these shifting perspectives and recontextualizations of events, even to this day, that's occurring. In fact, if you look at a lot of the scholarship that came out like six years ago at the 25th anniversary of these events, it really shifted a lot of the perspectives on the events. And to think that that is like right before we would see Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd protest, it's fascinating to kind of just to see that history reevaluated and then shortly after, unfortunately, be going through events again and having to witness and see the fallout of all of that.
[00:31:16] In addition, of course, to those shifting perspectives, a lot of that's motivated by anger and mistrust. You know, how can I trust your point of view on this? How can I trust your point of view on this? And you know, that kind of idea that from a certain point of view, this means this and this means that. You call it a riot, I call it an uprising.
[00:31:39] It's that thing where until you can get people to sit down and communicate and talk and have the conversation, it's going to be really difficult to not give in to that anger, that mistrust.
[00:31:55] My perspective is better than your perspective.
[00:31:58] And that's just not true. Right?
[00:32:02] You have a perspective, and there's a reason you have that perspective. And if I can figure out why you have that perspective, then maybe I can start to understand your perspective and then maybe we can start to finally reach some common ground. Maybe we can finally reach some understanding.
[00:32:17] It's that idea that people aren't bigoted, that people aren't racist, that there are racist and bigoted ideas that people have. And you might not be able to change a person, but maybe you can change an idea.
[00:32:30] Maybe not. Maybe that's not true, but I'd like to believe it is.
[00:32:36] So once things kick, know, the nurse comes back. At this point, we learn that Jen is going to die as a result of this, from blunt force trauma to the head. And they've got to try to get Jen somewhere safe. That's what Ben thinks, anyways. Let's get everybody and and Luisa has a car. Great. Luisa has a car. She can take us there.
[00:33:00] We get this really wonderful moment because so much of this episode takes place, like, indoors, right? Like in the shoe shop or in the project.
[00:33:08] There's a sense of kind of claustrophobia about some of these scenes, even when they're back in the stockroom, for instance, and we see that two different times. But this is a moment where we get wide open out on the streets in the harsh daylight. That's the other thing.
[00:33:27] When things started, it's daylight, right? It's April 29 at like, 04:00 in the afternoon. So when things first started, you can shine a camera on it and you can get everything in the harsh light of day. And we get this wonderful crane shot as Ben walks down the street behind Luisa. And we see these Korean American shop owners standing on a marquee with their guns.
[00:33:54] That's real. You can find that newsreel like that is what happened.
[00:34:02] And to see these people going to that extreme right, I have to defend my home. I have to defend my property. There were literally gun battles that were occurring in Koreatown.
[00:34:17] And again, that's know, the footage is there. You can find that newsreel footage.
[00:34:24] And they get to Luisa's car and find that it's already been vandalized.
[00:34:29] And Luisa's angry and understandably know, and she's looking at it as not I'm not somebody that caused this. I'm not somebody that thinks that this should have happened. I'm angry and upset about this verdict, too. And I think it's such a wonderful moment.
[00:34:45] It was really smart to put a moment like this in the episode, to see someone who is a victim of these events who otherwise would be on the side of justice, quite frankly, on the side of the people who are angry and frustrated. And now here she finds that anger and that violence, prejudice in general, odly enough seems to be pretty indiscriminate when it comes down to that boiling point and that anger. They go back to the store, of course, there's a lot of concern over what's going to happen.
[00:35:24] And we also get a news blurb about Reginald Denny. If you're familiar at all with the events of April 20, 1992. You're probably familiar with that name. It was a horrific attack and it was televised.
[00:35:45] I'll just leave it at that. Honestly, it was a horrific attack and it was televised.
[00:35:52] Luckily, he survived. One of the things that's also very important to remember, I will add a little context to that. It's important to remember is that a number of these events, a number of these things that happened, the violence that was being brought as a result of these events, especially when it targeted, kind of so indiscriminately.
[00:36:15] The people that were often the helpers were the same people that were angry and upset.
[00:36:26] Black men and women who looked out and saw like, this person didn't do anything. And Reginald Denny is a perfect example of that. A fellow truck driver, actually, he was one of the people that was responsible for rescuing Denny and got into the hospital and the doctors told him under no uncertain circumstances, had it been 30 seconds later, he probably would have died.
[00:36:51] There's an instance where a photographer who was documenting the events at 71st in Normandy when things really first started, a white photographer who was targeted because he was a white guy and the cops had left, the cops had just decided, you know what? We don't need this. That's the other thing. The cops just said, like, Nah, hell with go. We're going to go chill. And that's what they did. They were nowhere to be found for quite a while. And Daryl Gates, the police chief, is offered a fundraiser, a banquet, and he would later say he didn't stay very long, but there's a video footage of him leaving the banquet. After the banquet's over, you look in behind him and you can see empty tables, people cleaning up. But he didn't stay very long.
[00:37:36] Even 30 years later, it still pisses me off anyway, as this photographer is being attacked again. It was a black resident of that same community who got him to his car and told him to take off. That awareness, that idea, the saying like, look, people are angry, people are pissed off. No one's safe here. And it's understandable. It's understandable.
[00:37:58] Just get out.
[00:38:01] Get away from me. I don't want you here. I don't want you here. I don't want you here because I'm trying to save you. I don't want you here because you represent the problem, whatever the case might be.
[00:38:11] So as they see the news footage, ben gets pulled out and has to go back. And it turns out that he's back because Beth is there now.
[00:38:23] Magic's storyline throughout the course of this episode moved me a great deal.
[00:38:28] I could connect with it, quite frankly, as a recovering alcoholic. And that's what we find out here, is that Magic had a drinking problem after Ben got lost. And Beth finds an empty bottle in the trash. He says he found it at the back of the cabinet. He emptied it out and he threw it out. And he didn't want her to see or didn't want her to alarm her or anything, but that he's not drinking. Again, susan is phenomenal in this scene because what she does, and anyone who's watched the episode already knows this, but I'm just going to reaffirm it, is she is able to bring all the subtext of her relationship with Al to bear on this scene without saying it, without making it explicit.
[00:39:24] The dialogue supports it to a degree, but it's not a scene about Beth and her memories of what she went through with Al. Right. But she's still able to bring all of that, and it's phenomenal. It's just fantastic work.
[00:39:41] As she was doing it, it was like, I didn't need her to talk about going through this with Al having a drinking problem after Vietnam. I didn't need her to go through all the history at all. It was there. It was there without her ever saying a word. And it was lovely.
[00:39:55] And Magic is clearly he's know. He's ratled because of what's going on. He's ratled because of this.
[00:40:05] And I love the way that things get left. Things are left in a way that you almost wonder, is Beth done? Is Beth going to break up with him? She doesn't in that moment, but they don't necessarily leave on the best of terms. You almost could get the sense that dinner is going to be the breakup dinner. You know what I mean? That I can't go through this again, dinner.
[00:40:28] And I like that, too. I like that it's unresolved. I like that it is unresolved.
[00:40:33] It plays really well. And again, it gives Magic Ernie some wonderful stuff to play with as well.
[00:40:40] And we learn later that Dwayne is Sonny's friend, and they've been working on a shoeline together. They want to do their own custom shoeline. Ben, of course, is like, all behind this. Like, shoes are going to know. It's a great idea. And another thing that we learned about Raymond Lee is apparently he loves shoes, too. He's a shoe guy, so having the right shoes there was really cool for him. Apparently, they're kind of barricading things. They're trying to salvage the store, save the store, keep people out, save Jen's life. Right? That's what Ben's there to do. Dwayne has come, knocked on the window, but before they can let him in, he runs off. He's scared. And Magic is like, you have to go after him.
[00:41:27] They go after him. And in an amazing moment and look, we can talk a little bit about some of the shortcomings, quite frankly, of 42 minutes of network television, backlot budget, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:41:50] My initial impression of the episode was filled with a lot of that, with the fact that we'd seen a number of episodes recently that had the good fortune of being shot on location, whether that was at the Disney Ranch or whatever the case may be. We weren't getting a lot of Hollywood backlot stuff that's easy to spot and can sometimes take you out of things.
[00:42:13] And in this episode, it felt a little jarring because now all of a sudden, it's clear I'm back on the lot.
[00:42:21] And it just doesn't have the same feel that some of the other stuff does.
[00:42:29] They wanted to shoot this in Koreatown. They wanted to there were conversations about it. There was scouting. It just wasn't possible for a variety of Know budget obviously being one of them. The episode had seven days to shoot instead of earlier. You know, when I talk about Ben seeing the shop owners on top of the Marquee with the guns and the car being vandalized, and then here we're in the alleyway. Yeah, we're on the back lot. But I have to say, on my second watch, all of that kind of evaporated, and I was just paying attention to the human story and what was occurring here. And this scene worked so well.
[00:43:11] The fear that Dwayne has for his life, the shot of Dwayne underneath the dumpster, hiding, looking up, is phenomenal.
[00:43:28] I like that it wasn't a scene that focused up close on his face the whole time or that it focused on the feet of the officers from his POV underneath the dumpster that we got to see this young boy, this man laying on his back underneath the dumpster, afraid for his life, is a very visceral moment.
[00:43:50] Eventually, of course, they all get back to the shop, and before that happens, Magic says, I can't do this. It is a beautiful moment of weakness for Magic. He's crumbling and he leaves. He hightails it on Ben.
[00:44:09] And there's some question as to whether or not can he get Ben through this?
[00:44:17] And we go from that back to the shop. We get this wonderful piece of interaction where Sonny says that he's going to go get provisions for them. They're going to need food and water and that sort of stuff. And Dwayne has this comment about, you know, you're going to go looting. That's pretty ironic. And it is this nice moment of just know, look, we can work together on this shoeline, but there are still differences here. Right?
[00:44:42] And my background is not your background. But again, we can find ways to work together. And Jen, of course, is not happy about Dwayne being, you know, is carrying his gun and threatening Know. Dwayne, of course, has this moment I might be getting a little out of order, I apologize, but Dwayne has this moment where his frustration reaches that boiling point. And Benjamin Flores is great here.
[00:45:17] He lashes out at Jin.
[00:45:21] He's sick and tired of being seen as a thug, as a criminal, and he's near top of his class. He's got offers from three Ivy League universities. He's going to do something with his life. And it's a nice moment for the character.
[00:45:42] There's, you know, back at the project, there's some really lovely stuff that happens between Magic and Jen. And it's one of my favorite scenes in the episode.
[00:45:55] We get some lovely reaction shots of Jen's face as she's taking this in. Magic tells us that he was in Detroit in 1967, that he was stopped by police, that he was threatened, that he was beaten, that he experienced this, that he knows what this is.
[00:46:16] Ernie was in Detroit.
[00:46:22] It's a powerful moment, and it's a really amazing bit of context, further context for the events that are occurring in this episode, and a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do. Things weren't fixed then. Like some ten year old in St. Louis thought, things aren't fixed now. I was the ten year old in St. Louis, in case anyone's confused. Things aren't fixed now, and they weren't fixed in 1967 either, obviously.
[00:46:50] So it's yeah, it's really it's really beautiful. It's just it's just a great scene.
[00:47:01] Magic goes back and he and Ben have this beautiful scene as well. It is a further confirmation of the fact that Raymond Lee is one of the finest actors working in network television today. Television today. Whatever. I don't care if it's network or not.
[00:47:16] There is a moment when Magic tells Ben that he's an alcoholic. He says, I'm an alcoholic.
[00:47:23] And that's what he does. He has an inhale, and it's like he takes the poison in the air of that statement and he bears the responsibility for it. It's not guilt. Guilt would be self indulgent. It's not that. It's something better, more noble. It's beautiful. He takes responsibility for it.
[00:47:44] He forgives magic, basically.
[00:47:50] And sometimes that's just what you need, right? You need somebody to just kind of say, like, it's okay. And yeah, he takes a lot of the blame himself. Right?
[00:47:59] I made a choice to leap.
[00:48:05] Yeah, it's some beautiful stuff. And after what we've seen in episodes three and four in particular, with the stuff happening between Ben and Addison, it's so great to see this connection here, now, between Magic and Ben in that respect.
[00:48:23] We then get the drop that Magic is 353 days sober.
[00:48:30] And I love this.
[00:48:32] It might seem like a small thing, but I absolutely love the fact that we get 353 days.
[00:48:40] And the reason why is because he and Beth have been together for 365 days.
[00:48:49] The fact that he found someone and he was still in that place, and it took him time to make that commitment to himself.
[00:49:01] Twelve days, sure, but still, there's just something really lovely about that, and I don't know if I can fully articulate it.
[00:49:15] Ben, reassures, magic. We're family.
[00:49:19] Addison is a beast.
[00:49:21] We find out she's working out in the gym at Project Quantum Leap, and Ian comes in and they're feeling pretty guilty, too. And it's lovely because, again, there's parallels between these characters journeys in a lot of ways, for sure, with the guilt that Ian is feeling here, with the difficulties that Magic might be having, the difficulties that Ben might be having Addison's had, et cetera. And I just love the examination of kind of, like, guilt and the burdens that we carry and how do we manifest those upon others? How do we manifest that upon ourselves? How do we heal? How do we move forward? How do we grow? And so often, especially with what we're seeing in this show, is you need somebody. You need somebody. You can't do it alone.
[00:50:09] And that's lovely. And the scene here between Addison and Ian is they say that they dropped a nuclear bomb and everybody's been dealing with the fallout. And it's funny because they didn't even do it. Their future self did. It their future self who may no longer actually even exist because things have been changed. So it's really incredible, right, bearing the responsibility for stuff that technically you didn't even do, which is something, I think, that is incredibly human. And you don't need science fiction to set up, right? We do that as human beings.
[00:50:42] But it's a really sweet scene, and I love it. And we don't get a lot of Addison this week, but I really enjoy the scene that she has here. It's a little bit of a different tone in a lot of ways, and it's really nice. And it's great to see Ian get the opportunity to do some of this stuff, too, especially because they're reeling, obviously, from the stuff that happened in the last episode, especially with Rachel and who knows, did Rachel break up with them?
[00:51:06] Are they single again now? I'm sure they don't want to be, but, yeah, there's this moment where, when we come back, the moment I was talking about with Know, his frustration's boiling over, jen grabbing the gun, pointing at Dwayne, ben steps, know, we got to cool it. We got to settle down. We got to get through this together.
[00:51:33] And then Sonny is coming through the back door. They don't know that Sonny jen is on edge. Jen points the gun at the back, fires. He just shot his oldest son.
[00:51:48] I mean, things took a wrong turn, to say the very least.
[00:51:54] Now Jen survives, but Sonny's going to die if they don't get things fixed.
[00:52:01] So I think that there's a couple of things coming out of that. Jen shooting, Sonny on accident, where I start to get into a bit of I know, my initial impression of the episode, it's again, the constraints, right? 42 minutes, network TV. There's only so much that we can do. And also, how satisfying could it possibly be, given the circumstances of this situation, as Ben says from the very beginning of this episode, right? I can't be here to stop this from happening. I can't be here to save Los Angeles, to save these people.
[00:52:46] And he's not. He's there to save Jen.
[00:52:48] And part of saving Jen is not just saving Jen's life, it's also saving Sonny's life, because that's part of Jen's life. Too, right.
[00:52:58] We talk about this oftentimes. I feel like, as a fandom, know, what was Sam really there to do? What was Ben really there to do? Ben saved Jen. Shouldn't he leap now? Well, no, because now he's got to save Sonny, because as a result of the way that he saved, know, the store gets looted and destroyed. Pretty. And the emotional reaction that that provokes in Jin obviously leads to everything else. Interesting quick note about that is that they shot this out of sequence, basically in reverse, because it was easier to shoot the scenes where the store is destroyed first and then go back to setting it up as opposed to setting it up and then destroying it anyway. I think that it's an interesting meditation on what it means to leap and what it means to set a wrong. Right. And we've seen this before, too, like the idea of in 203, for instance, enclosure encounters. Was Ben really there just to get grandfather and granddaughter together and figure out what was happening? Or was maybe part of his leap also to help Hannah, to set Hannah on a path, to get this education, to get her out of that place? Because that's when he leaps, right? It's like in so help me God. In the original series, was Sam really there to exonerate his client? Or was Sam really there to give her the reader so she could learn how to know? Was that really the point? And what kind of chain of events, what kind of little butterfly effect might happen that changes the nature of the leap, right? And how much trust can we really put in ziggy getting it right every know, I digress in some ways, right? These are questions maybe perhaps for another time or whatever. But the point that I'm trying to make here with this is, know, now that Sonny's been injured and we have to get to our resolution, we see that our resolution also incorporates a little something else.
[00:54:58] Dwayne is the one that's going to drive the ambulance because there's an ambulance down the street that's been abandoned. They get to the ambulance. Luisa is trying to use the supplies. We get this great line about like, I've seen plenty of gunshots in my time, like a reminder of our time and our place and our culture and our society, and let's not go down that path too far. But then they got to get Sonny on the ambulance, they got to get into a hospital. That's the way they're going to save his life. And Dwayne's going to see if the keys are there and he's going to take the ambulance, and two cops see him and they draw their guns on him, and Jin steps in.
[00:55:38] And it's interesting because upon first viewing, I looked at it and I thought to myself, I'm going to be pithy here and I apologize, but I thought to myself, oh, great, we solved racism. Jen all of a sudden is, okay, he's going to save Dwayne's life, and they're going to shake hands and RA and I thought about it some more, and then of course, I rewatched it and I'm like, that's not what happens at all.
[00:56:08] Jen is doing this because his son is laying out bleeding and and maybe I was just too dumb or heading my ass that day or whatever to really, truly see what was occurring know, jen is trying to save his son's life.
[00:56:27] And if that means making sure that dwayne can drive this ambulance, then so be it. And furthermore, he doesn't stop the cops. The cops, as they did in reality, get pulled out, told to drop back, go protect the rich neighborhoods, because that's what they did.
[00:56:50] So I think that in this particular moment, what we're really seeing is a father fighting for his son's life and is he evolving before our eyes? Are we starting to see a step towards that? Yeah, sure, great. All for that. But in no way is this like jen all of a sudden is like, oh, I'm not racist anymore.
[00:57:16] Even the line he has to dwayne afterwards, just get my son to the hospital.
[00:57:21] It's born out of a place. And, yes, it means 42 minutes of television. And we want to feel good about ourselves. We want to feel good about these characters, et cetera. So of course there's some kindness there.
[00:57:29] He's not just sort of like using dwayne, but in a way, he kind of is right?
[00:57:34] And then we get a nice, beautiful wrap up.
[00:57:38] Sonny lives. Danny comes back from the military. Forgot to mention that earlier. Jen's afraid of losing his family, right? Sonny's going to go start this custom shoeline. Danny's going to go into the military anyway.
[00:57:50] We learn that when Danny comes back from the military, he goes to business school, he becomes the CFO of the company that sonny and dwayne start, which becomes this huge shoe empire. Jen is one of their first investors with the insurance money from the destruction of his shoe store.
[00:58:07] It's a great wrap up and it's really nice tale and it's wonderful that that's kind of where we leave our leap book. Ending the episode, however, is the reminder that magic is the spine of this episode. And we get a beautiful, beautiful scene and one that really resonated with me and one that really moved me a great deal.
[00:58:29] And seeing magic take out his phone and cancel dinner and say that he needs to go to a meeting and that he needs help and he wants Beth's support.
[00:58:46] Oh, well done.
[00:58:51] I applaud Ernie for not being afraid to show weakness or vulnerability. I don't want to say weakness. Weakness is the wrong word. Vulnerability to be a fully realized human being.
[00:59:06] I applaud the writers and the team for taking chances with these characters, you know, for allowing magic to be human and be vulnerable in ways that we've not previously seen because it generates these genuine, human, beautiful moments like this that someone like me, a viewer like me, can connect with in a very real way.
[00:59:40] There's power to it, and it's a wonderful reminder that there's power to being able to ask for help and that the show continues to reaffirm, that we survive and we thrive because of the people around us, the family, the chosen family, especially, that we create.
[01:00:08] And if that continues to be part of this show's message, I will never stop supporting, loving and telling everyone I know that it's one of the best shows on network TV, period. Bar none.
[01:00:20] End of conversation. Because it's a message that is so incredibly important. And to see such a wonderfully, inclusive family is beautiful as well.
[01:00:39] To know that we have a Korean American actor who is the lead on this television show and is so fucking phenomenal at what he does can suggest a story like this because he feels like it's a story that could be told through this show, this wonderful empathy engine. We need more stuff like this. And if Quantum Leap ends up being the show, then great, I will hitch my wagon to it and let's ride off into a better world. But this episode does some really beautiful, beautiful things and turns out to be really remarkable in ways that I didn't fully appreciate the first time I saw it, if I'm being completely honest.
[01:01:25] But the amazing thing about it is it does not buckle under the weight of all of this stuff that's going on. There's a lot of stuff happening in this episode. It's an episode that I would encourage people to watch again.
[01:01:37] It's an episode that stands up to that repeat watching. It gets better, almost, with the repeat watching. And to go at an issue, to confront something like this, a story like this, the history of this, the issues that surround it so directly and to have characters speak directly to those things, like Dwayne's monologue about going to school and being fed up and everything, to have those moments can at once appear, I think initially, especially depending on the perspective you're going into it with. Maybe heavy handed, right, maybe too direct. But then you sit back and you think to yourself, why shouldn't he say that? Because that's the reality.
[01:02:23] It's the same thing with that final scene with Jen protecting Dwayne, sheltering Dwayne from the cop's guns. It's the idea that Jen's trying to save his son.
[01:02:40] It really evolves.
[01:02:43] And I'm so pleased, as a fan of this show, to see an episode like this, to enjoy an episode like this, if you will.
[01:02:55] It's great. It's great. And I really, genuinely hope people like it as much as I do.
[01:03:05] And then we get our leap out.
[01:03:07] And the leap out takes us into Know Alid first Sean Lacare territory, it looks like. And. I'm really excited about episode six written by Drew Lindo.
[01:03:18] We'll see what we get. I do have a feeling, and this is based on a couple of things, we might not get a new episode next week. We may already know that by the time you're watching this, because NBC will have told you following this episode of Quantum Leap. But I have a feeling that we might get a couple of preemptions with our final three episodes.
[01:03:41] Nothing major.
[01:03:43] It's not like the old school preemptions where it disappears for a month and you never know when it's coming back. I think it's just going to be probably a week or two here or there before they air six, seven and eight in sequence due to a number of things, political conventions, et cetera, et cetera. So be on the lookout for that. I will certainly, obviously on social do my best to update people and let them know even without an episode I will obviously continue the podcast just might not necessarily have as much specific to talk about. Which also means that your eyes and ears will get a little bit of a break and you won't have to have 3 hours of me like you do this week if you so choose. At your disposal between the review, the interviews with Ben and Derek and Tamika respectively. So check those out if you haven't already. Again, I just love so much of what Ben and Derek had to say about the episode, about their context, about their perspectives, respectively. Also about the strike as well. Hearing from Derek, who's on the board of the WGA, was really cool to get a lot of his perspective on that, which is fantastic. The Tamika interview was great. Albie is wonderful and asked questions that I certainly don't think of at all.
[01:04:57] And I had a lot of fun doing that interview with him. You can check it out here on this channel or Quantum Leap podcast, either one. But Tamika was amazing.
[01:05:08] I just love getting to talk to artists. I just love getting to talk to artists, right? Because at the end of the day, that's what I am. And getting that dialogue and being able to hear about their approaches to the work and that sort of stuff, some of it is interesting. Sometimes I ask a question that I think I might know the answer to already, and I hear the answer and I'm like, oh yeah, okay. That's what I thought. And then sometimes I ask a question that I think know the answer to and I'm like, oh shit, I didn't know anything. And I love that. I love both sides of it's. It's it's been a lot of fun to be able to get the opportunity to do those interviews again.
[01:05:43] So that's one night in Koreatown. I hope you enjoyed the episode, I hope you learned something from the episode. I hope it pushed you to learn more because again, it's a situation with a lot of facets and a lot of perspectives that are worth exploring. Again, La burning. That's the documentary that John Singleton participated in. Director of Boys in the Hood, poetic Justice, Higher Learning, so on.
[01:06:08] And Singleton was there. He was like boots on the ground. They were filming Poetic Justice at the time. And he and I think one of his camera operators and somebody else, the three of them, when they heard that The Verge was coming in, they were like, the hell with this. Call the day, this is history. Let's go see what happens. And then, of course, what happens. So it's really interesting to get his perspective on some of that stuff as well. La 92, the National Geographic documentary is very well done as well. Those are both great. And then last of all rise from the ashes. By Paula Yu. That's Y-O-O. That book is coming out very soon. Coming out this month about the uprising in Los Angeles in 1992 with a specific perspective on the Korean and black community.
[01:06:57] Be in the show notes. Thank you all so, so much for everything, for your patronage, for the likes and subscribes. Have you hit that subscribe button yet? Please do. I'd really appreciate it for following along on my journey as well as the Quantum Leap journey. I can't thank you enough. Be on the lookout for JJ. Lindell's poster, by the way. It's probably going to be a really good one and they usually are.
[01:07:22] And I will be back next week with a brand new episode, even if it is not about the next episode of Quantum Leap, because again, I don't think we're getting a new episode next week, but maybe we are. I don't know for sure. Thank you all so very much. Take care of yourselves. Take care of one another. Stay safe out there. And remember, always, always leap responsibly.