[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Quantum Leap Season 2 Episode 6 “Secret History.”]
He first met her as a waitress in New Mexico, and now, he’s at Princeton a few years later (soon after Albert Einstein’s death), and when men from the Atomic Energy Commission approach the visiting professor he’s leaped into, she’s with them. Ben tells her everything during his time there to save her life — and she believes him. Then, as he’s about to leap, he lets her ask one question, and she chooses his name. As she’s explaining why she’s so sure she’ll see him again, he kisses her.
Below, Lee and Taylor break down those pivotal moments and tease what’s next.
That kiss! Considering these are two people who we just saw talking about facts and science, talk about your characters acting on emotion in that moment.
Eliza Taylor: I think it’s very bittersweet for Ben and Hannah in this moment because they’ve established this wonderful connection. I think they’re falling for each other, but they don’t know if they’re going to see each other again. So it’s tricky. It’s a really tough situation but a beautiful moment.
Raymond Lee: Yeah, I think for both of our characters, hope is a prevailing theme, and the fact that we can both lean on the fact that there is hope for not only a better future with using our knowledge, but the hope that we might run into each other is a very exciting prospect.
What makes Ben kiss Hannah — her asking his name, the science, everything?
Lee: Yeah, I think all of it. I think it being golden hour helps, but also that they narrowly escaped death. They managed to catch a Nazi. They did a lot of amazing things together — and they did it together. And I think for Ben specifically, he hasn’t been able to physically be with anybody else, let alone see another person twice. So for him, there’s this sort of longing to be with somebody, and here comes Hannah, who is, for all intents and purposes, a mirror image of the things that he likes and is into and is the same nerd about the same specific thing, and she’s very beautiful. There’s just so much there. Then the one question that she asks, it could be anything, but it’s to want to know Ben’s name, and I know Ben was extremely moved by [that]. For somebody to see him was so impactful, and so essentially, it was very self-serving. He just wanted to do it. He just had to do it.
Do you think it’s also the scientist in Hannah that had her ask his name because maybe she can understand there’s only so much she should know about the future?
Taylor: Yeah, I think that’s a really good observation. I think Hannah’s very accepting of her surroundings and most likely accepting of whatever will be in the future will be. But here is this person in front of me that I’m falling for, and I want to know who I’m talking to.
Why does Hannah believe Ben about the time travel? Is it mainly because, as she says, her heart knew? The science of it?
Taylor: My personal take on it is that this is something that she’s probably been theorizing about ever since she fell in love with science and physics. And she says in [episode] 203 that she believes in all kinds of impossible things. She really does see the world differently, and it’s not too far of a stretch for Hannah, which I love, and it makes her a really unique character in that way.
Why does Ben trust Hannah? He could’ve been very suspicious of her after running into her on a second leap.
Lee: More so than trusting Hannah, I think that he sees somebody who he can possibly save the world with. He sees somebody who understands the fate of the future in the same way he does, and they’re essentially speaking the same language. So even with the shorthand of time and space being relative through Albert Einstein, that’s not something that everyone knows, and there’s the moment of like, “Okay, we both have photographic memory, holy crap. We would be an unstoppable duo, and we just happen to have an attraction towards each other.” But I think in that moment when Ben reaches out and says, “Agent Robert Cook,” and reveals that last piece of the puzzle, he knows that he’s throwing everything into a possible chaos scenario. But yet, to your point, the trust, you just kind of have to take a leap of faith there and hope that this person is not out for nefarious reasons and that she is really the person who she says she is.
And then there has to be relief that it seems like he’s right so far to trust her.
What can you say about why Hannah recognized it was Ben? She said that she knew it was him, but does that have more to do with who she is, their connection, something else we’re going to be seeing down the line?
Taylor: I think that Hannah, even at the very beginning of the episode, there is something — maybe it’s the way he speaks. I think that Ray’s developed Ben in a really specific way. He has a manner about him and sort of a rhythm to the way that he talks. And I think that it’s familiar to her, but she doesn’t quite know why. I don’t know. I think that, like she says, her heart kind of broke through all that and saw that it was someone she knew.
What can you say about the next time that we’ll see Hannah?
Taylor: I can’t tease too much, but it’s very safe to say that it’s not going to be the same year. So she will have grown a bit, she will have evolved, and it’ll be in a very unexpected way.
And what about where Ben will be at that point? Because, presumably, he’ll have gone through a couple more leaps.
Lee: Yeah. The only thing that I might be able to say is that we might not be in the same country.
What can you say about their dynamic since the last time they saw each other? It did end with that kiss.
Lee: There must be something lingering, right? This is the first time we’ve seen Ben really explore a relationship outside of the physical world. And as two people being of very hopeful backgrounds, there has to be a lasting something there, right? It’s just like, “God, I just hope it happens again.”
How much did you know about who Hannah is from the start? Her character description was very vague.
Taylor: I was really lucky to be able to sit down with Dean [Georgaris] and Martin [Gero], who I just think are brilliant showrunners and brilliant people, and they really talked me through Hannah’s arc this season, and I got to know where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what makes her tick, which is really special and something that you don’t necessarily get to know as someone coming into a show. So yeah, I’ve got the lay of the land, I think, although it can always change. So, as far as I know, I’ve got a pretty good idea of Hannah’s arc.
Can you say if she has ties to the Quantum Leap project?
Taylor: No. [Both laugh] I can’t say.
Because Ben’s the one leaping, he’s unaware of what’s going on back home with the quantum chip, and it’s not like that’s something that Ian (Mason Alexander Park) or Jenn (Nanrisa Lee) is likely to tell him in the middle of a leap. But what can you preview about what’s coming up there and when he might find out?
Lee: I can’t preview much because, frankly, I don’t know much. But I feel like if I was the writers, I would plan a moment where they tell me without wanting to tell me, and now it’s just another wrinkle in Ben’s chaotic mind where he has to try to press that wrinkle out, even though he probably has no control over doing it. But knowing him, he’ll probably try to take it on. But yeah, why not add some more chaos?
What’s been your favorite scene to film together so far?
Lee: I would say it was that nine-pager. That was a very exceptional experience because we agreed during our lunch break that we had this massive scene that we were going to tackle together, and there’s an act break in between, but it’s essentially one scene, and we shot it as one scene. And it’s hard enough to just do a nine-page scene anywhere, but [it’s] chock-full of information, and we’re speaking Greek, and there’s other characters that come in. A hologram [Peter Gadiot‘s Tom] comes in at one point. And if you look at a topography map of it, [there’s a lot]. We handled it with the kind of care that it needed. So we got together during our lunch break, we rehearsed the scene, we presented it to our camera guys, and they were like, “Okay, cool. You gave us so much to work with here.” And it’s a very memorable experience, just even outside of the show, to have that, to share that with another professional. Yeah, I’ll remember that forever.
Taylor: Yeah, me too. And I totally agree. That was my favorite to shoot, as well. And it was the big reveal that Ben is a time traveler and everything that goes before and after that, and there were so many pivotal moments in that scene, and to be able to spend that time to really flesh it out was so special, and it felt like we were doing a play. I loved it.
Should we trust Hannah completely? I feel like we should, but should we start questioning that?
Taylor: I don’t know how to answer that. I think it’s safe to say you can trust her for now, but, hey, who knows what’s going to happen down the road?
Lee: Life is crazy.
Taylor: Life is so crazy.
Quantum Leap, Wednesdays, 8/7c, NBC