NBC’s rebooted sci-fi series “Quantum Leap” is tackling cosmic mysteries, time travel, and the possibility of unknown visitors from beyond in this week’s spacey episode, titled “Closure Encounters.”
Feeding off of the flying saucer frenzy that struck the nation beginning in the summer of 1947, Project Sign was a U.S. Air Force study of UFOs that acted as a precursor to Project Grudge and the famous Project Blue Book.
“Closure Encounters,” which premieres on Wednesday (Oct. 18) and is directed by Chris Grismer, treads this historic ground. Temporal adventurer Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) is teleported to 1949 New Mexico, where he inhabits the role of a government agent involved in Project Sign.
“Quantum Leap” Season 2 stars Raymond Lee (Ben Song), Ernie Hudson (Herbert “Magic” Williams), Nanrisa Lee (Jenn Chu), Mason Alexander Park (Ian Wright) and Caitlin Bassett (Addison Augustine) as they bounce in and out of pivotal cultural moments in the timestream.
In “Closure Encounters,” Ben bounces back to New Mexico just after World War II. Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!
Ben finds himself assuming the identity of Agent Robert Cook, a renowned team member of the UFO hunters at Project Sign. Dressed in stylish ’40s attire, he’s dispatched to Starlight, New Mexico to investigate the case of a brightly lit craft that supposedly ran two girls off the road. History shows that the passenger, Melanie Hunt, fell into a coma and died, leaving the surviving driver, named Carrie Becker, in prison for manslaughter.
Ben has Carrie recount her recollections of that fateful night from the hospital, but she neglects to mention the alcohol found in the vehicle at the time of the crash, per the local sheriff, her grandfather. After cruising over to the crash site — to try to prove within 24 hours that UFOs are real, to save Carrie from prosecution — Ben and the sheriff find proof that there were others at the location that night, leading to a far deeper mystery.
What unspools is a satisfying procedural spanning decades. The case involves a dangerous local drug runner named Russell Hunt, expired oil leases, a newfangled machine called a helicopter and an elaborate coverup to keep a lucrative secret under wraps.
Toss in a clandestine military base, an experimental jet aircraft, a black box program operating on private land and even a clever nod to Groom Lake’s Area 51, and “Closure Encounters” becomes an eerie atmospheric entry in the popular TV series. That makes the episode a good one to help usher in Halloween later this month, especially if your interests are steeped in UFO culture and fun period-set mysteries.
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“Quantum Leap’s” “Closure Encounters” airs Wednesday on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.