My mom was watching NCIS: New Orleans earlier tonight, a show that my brain fights against every time it’s on TV. It might be good, but Scott Bakula is the main character and I just can’t make the mental shift away from him on Quantum Leap. Plus his southern accent is pretty terrible.
In this episode, an old friend came to visit him at the NCIS office, who revealed that he’d been poisoned, he’s going to die and there’s no cure.
“I need you to find out who did this to me…”
“Before it’s too late.”
Sure, it builds an appropriate amount of suspense right before the first commercial break, but it also brought up something else that my brain started fighting against:
Too late for what?
“Too late” suggests there’s a deadline, a point in time when you have to have solved a problem. If someone wants $1,000,000 by midnight or he’ll kill the person he kidnapped, get him the money by 11:59 or it’s too late. If a bomb is set to explode in ten seconds, disarm it before the timer reaches zero or it’s too late. You can prevent something from happening if you accomplish a task before that point in time.
Conversely, Scott Bakula’s friend has been poisoned and there’s no cure. His death is inevitable. So what’s the problem to be solved before the deadline? What danger can be averted? There’s no “Find a cure to the poison or I’ll die”, no “We won’t catch the culprit if I die”… it’s just a request for help to find the bad guy. There is no “too late” in this scenario.
If the threat had been “I’ve been poisoned, there’s no cure and if you can’t fake a decent southern accent by the end of this episode, you’ll never work in television again”, well, that’s another story. That’s definitely something he could do before it’s “too late”, but whether he could realistically solve the problem… I suppose he could always hope for a Quantum Leap reunion.