For a series’ seventh episode, Quantum Leap‘s “O Ye of Little Faith” is a rather effective little work of television, an hour that both provides a proper entryway into a more existential version of the series, and a wildly satisfying one-off story about a family in 1934 Maryland trying to save their daughter from a demonic possession. Energetic and focused, “O Ye of Little Faith” is easily the best episode of the Quantum Leap revival yet, an exciting display of realized potential for both the characters and overarching stories of the series.
The core of “O Ye of Little Faith” is simple and goofy – agnostic Ben Seong finds himself in the body of a Catholic priest, making a house call for a teenager possessed by the devil. Quantum Leap has slowly been learning the benefits of developing and leaning into its one-off stories with a bit more than a couple lines of exposition; that richness comes through in the portrayal of the family surrounding the possessed Daisy, an important building block for what becomes a surprising (and surprisingly ambitious) story about faith, family, and the evils that cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Without devolving into a play-by-play of that story, Ben’s interactions with each of the family members, and the town doctor, as his own mental state is slowly declining, makes for some feverishly entertaining television. It is Quantum Leap going full Evil for 40 minutes, and its an absolute blast: like CBS’s underappreciated drama of horny humans and demons, Quantum Leap leans fully into the human perception of uncanny events, exploring Daisy’s situation through equally fascinating lens of skepticism and faith, as what Ben sees begins to unravel his own beliefs and reality.
“O Ye of Little Faith” builds out rich subtext in Ben through Daisy’s family members, unraveling a story of generational resentment, fundamentalist religious beliefs, and old-school inheritance murder mystery in a way that is abundantly entertaining. Ben, who is trying to maintain some level of faith in himself since he can’t remember why he started leaping, finds himself in a bit of a crisis, isolated from Addison and relying on his (unreliable) senses to guide him to science-based conclusions about Daisy’s afflictions.
Of course, “O Ye of Little Faith” provides that answer (via a surprisingly satisfying final act twist, no less); but it is the journey that proves to be so rewarding, as Quantum Leap takes a moment to consider Ben and Addison, and how they’re coping with supporting decisions they don’t understand, or may not even agree with. Though Addison’s warmed up to Ben a bit faster than one might like to see, how the episode’s pushed through that to begin building genuine connection and chemistry between the two (see: their terrific banter in the one scene they spend together early on) – and here, does so with them separated for the majority of the episode, which is impressive in its own right.
I also really enjoy that even though “O Ye of Little Faith” knows it has a banger of an exorcism story on its hands, doesn’t have to completely sideline characters like Addison and Jenn to work – and in fact, gets better when it puts the two together, continuing to build the bond between the Quantum Leap team in Ben’s absence. It also throws in little asides like Ian’s mention of Sam Beckett’s belief of God’s hand guiding the quantum accelerator – which, is an interesting idea, and one I hope the series explores further, as it begins to unravel the motivations behind Ben’s still-unexplained drastic actions to slingshot himself through time.
For now, we have our time with Ben and Daisy, which culminates in Ben’s slightly horny fever dream where he begins to piece together the (mostly) rational story of what’s going on in the family home. And that story is just full of energy, bits of personality (Ben’s awkwardness when trying to bullshit his way through a situation is becoming a rather potent device for the series to employ, in particular), and just enough unexplained touches of the supernatural – it is an episode fully engaged with forging its own identity as a series, with a confidence in both craft and delivery that was direly missing in the show’s underwhelming pilot and earliest leaps through time.
Of course, complications like Janis hacking Ziggy and Magic letting politicians fuck with time to better their lives look to re-tether us to 2022, which has proven to be the least interesting aspect of the series to date. But again; “O Ye of Little Faith” leans on Addison to carry the chemistry in these scenes – and with no Magic providing a guiding hand over the team, it is an important moment in firmly establishing Addison’s place on the team, and adds intrigue to the eventual reveal of why Ben was so eager and willing to fuck that up.
But mostly, I like “O Ye of Little Faith” because it allows its leads to loosen up and have fun a little bit, at the same time when its asking much deeper questions about faith and its ability to heal, or pondering the inherent goodness (or evil) of man. A true Devil’s Snare of an episode, “O Ye of Little Faith” is not a traditionally flawless 42 minutes of TV – but it certainly represents a perfect distillation of this show’s exciting potential, which it is slowly starting to realize. It’s an hour that ponders what defines us as human beings, what causes to change and challenge our faith – and also has some cheesy ass Excorcism riffs and Ian saying “e-meow-gencies” while wearing cat ears, a balance few shows have been able to strike consistently, but one this episode finds rather gracefully. Quantum Leap‘s desperately needed a personality boost, and “O Ye of Little Faith” has it in spades, offering a blueprint I am praying to the gods of TV (and beyond) this series embraces moving forward.