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quantum-leap-205-magic.jpeg

Al's Wife, Beth, Returns to 'Quantum Leap' To Connect the Original Series in a Surprising Way

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 3, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 3, 2023 |


quantum-leap-205-magic.jpeg

This week’s episode of Quantum Leap put aside the drama between Ben and Addison, and the potential threat posed by Tom, and instead continued to connect the series with the original. To wit: This week, we saw a lot of Beth Calavicci, the wife of Al, played by Susan Diol, in both the original series and the revival.

It’s important to remember, however, that the Beth we remember best from the original series — the lovesick, heartbroken woman who believed her husband had died as a POW in Vietnam and subsequently moved on with another man — is not the same Beth in this series. In the original show’s otherwise nonsensical finale, we learned that Sam Beckett managed to travel in time to Beth and tell her that Al had survived the war and that she should wait for him. Al was a sad alcoholic who had burned through four marriages in the O.G. Quantum Leap, but after what Sam did in the finale, Beth waited for Al, they remained married, and they had four children together before Al passed away.

That context is important here because it reminds us that Al had a problem with alcohol. It’s also important because guess who Beth is dating now? Magic! When Ben disappeared from the Quantum Leap project for three years, Magic turned to the bottle, but Beth helped him get sober. Magic and Beth have been together for a year now.

(For those who may have forgotten, the character of Magic is also from the original series — Sam leaped into his body and saved him from being killed in the Vietnam War.)

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Because of Al’s addiction, however, Beth is worried about Magic getting involved again with the Quantum Leap project, especially as a hologram, now that he’s replaced Addison (at least for the time being). Beth doesn’t want to go through that turmoil again.

Magic, meanwhile, goes back to 1992 and the L.A. riots following the acquittal of four police officers who beat Rodney King. There was a lot of violence, and Ben — with Magic’s help — prevents the death of the father in a family-owned shoe store (played by Dexter’s C. S. Lee). The father, after Ben convinces him to stop being racist, also prevents the Black friend of one of his sons from being beaten (or worse) by police officers who mistake him for a looter.

The whole episode leaves Magic rattled, not because he returned to the Quantum Leap project to help Ben, but because of PTSD he suffered as a result of a 1967 incident in which cops had beaten him and his cousin during race riots in Detroit. After the mission with Ben, a shaken Magic calls Beth to ask her to take him to an A.A. meeting, and she is reassured that Magic will not repeat Al’s addiction problems.