In Review: Quantum Leap (S1 – EP 8) Stand By Ben

Ben leaps in the body of a 16-year-old boy with Autism who has escaped from a Youth Camp with 3 other teens who all also have various issues.
Ben

Synopsis: Ben leaps into one of a group of troubled teens in 1996, escaping from a youth camp. Back in the present Magic and Jenn’s efforts to track Janis Calavicci hit a roadblock. 

 

The Story

Ben leaps in the body of a 16-year-old boy with Autism who has escaped from a Youth Camp with 3 other teens who all also have various issues. In the original timeline, the 4 teens go missing when the vehicle that they stole rolls over into the woods. So it falls upon Ben with some help from Addison to make sure the kids remain safe and are kept out of reach of the people that run the youth camp.

Meanwhile, in the present-day segment, Jenn is getting closer to finding out where Janis Calavicci is operating her Quantum Leap imaging chamber from. But just when she finds out where Janis has located a redundancy that Janis implanted into their systems kicks in and locks Jenn and Magic in a lift, which allows Janis to escape.

Back in 1996. Ben begins to remember the reason that he leaped.

 

The Acting

This episode was loaded with some pretty good young talent. Anthony Turpel put in a great performance as Roy who was one of the teens that Ben is traveling with. In the story, Roy is dealing with a drug problem and a number of issues that make him feel alienated from people irrespective of whether he remains clean or not. There’s a great scene between Ben (Raymond Lee) and Roy where the two have a really honest conversation about it. We also get great performances from Raquel Justice and Ciara Riley Wilson as Stacy Thompson and Leah Valencia who are the other two teens that Ben is on the run with. Justice is brilliant with her performance as Stacy who is very much the leader of the group.

Raymond Lee is pretty solid throughout and Ben’s conversations with Addison in front of other people finally get addressed in this episode as he pretends that Addison is an imaginary girlfriend to the other kids whenever he is interacting with her.

 

Overall

The one thing that I wasn’t sure about was the portrayal of Autism in that it felt like a bit of a missed opportunity for the series to maybe give a bit of insight into Autism, which is referred to as Aspergers in the series, which is a term that is no longer in use as part of the DSM. As someone that has lived with Autism for most of my life. I didn’t really feel that Ben’s character represented Autism particularly well. In that, he was too much in control throughout. There wasn’t any exploration of how the sensory experience of being on the run had on Ben’s character. The imaginary girlfriend aspect notwithstanding, which felt like more of a plot device than it did of any kind of representation. There wasn’t really insight into an Autistic person’s struggle with sequencing tasks that most people would take for granted because that struggle with day-to-day stuff is something that is common across the whole autism spectrum. So this sort of felt a little like a wasted opportunity to me. Absolutely, there are positives to being on the Spectrum as in we all have something or a few things that we are very gifted at. But there are deficits as well.

All of that aside. I still quite enjoyed the episode. Although am not overly thrilled about the reveal at the end. I feel that we haven’t got the whole picture yet so I’m still going to stick with it.

 

9.3
Quantum Leap (S1 - EP 8) Stand By Ben
  • Story
    8.5
  • Acting
    9.7
  • CGI & Stunts
    9.3
  • Incidental Music
    9.5

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: ian@scifipulse.net
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  • Dominic Walsh
    9 November 2022 at 10:22 am - Reply

    I’d say the most accurate autistic characters (for me at least) are Donald and Izzy from Mozart and the Whale. Jane from Jane Wants A Boyfriend is also a good portrayal and shows Jane’s relationship with her NT sister (played by Eliza Dushku) from both characters’ point of view.

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