Parents are a powerful force in a child’s life. They shape a child’s worldview and protect their progeny by any means necessary. “Let Them Play” digs deep into the culture war of a community grappling with a “big” threat—a teenager expressing herself in a way that is unique and unprecedented in school history.
Quantum Leap fans knew going into this episode that the leap centered around the story of a trans teen and that the episode was directed and written by an extraordinary talent: Shakina Nayfack. Shakina also guest stars in the episode as poet, activist and bar keep, Dottie. In the revival series to date, Dottie is the second person we know of who has experienced losing time as a result of being leapt into…the first person was Magic, the project team’s fearless leader.
Shakina recently shared her experience with Quantum Leap to E! News:
It was very emotional, and it was very healing. I think the thing that was so important to me was that I was giving voice to the spirit of my friends who I had lost. Gia, who was named after my friend Gia, represents a whole generation of trans kids that we have lost. Quantum Leap is about going back in history and rewriting time and so the idea here is that, in some symbolic way, I’m restoring life to my besties, but also helping to preserve the lives of a whole new generation of trans kids.
Back in the realm of Quantum Leap fiction, Ian (Mason Alexander Park) shares their own story about their attempt at a young age to end their life. The fear of losing Gia hits close to home since Ian graduated from a neighboring high school and remembers Gia from the news and the gossip around the time of the basketball game.
In a fascinating moment, Ian exemplifies what happens when the past is changed…all the people affected by that past event experience a shift in their memory. In the original timeline, Coach Carlos does not let Gia play, the Lady Lions lose the game and the Mendez family tragically loses Gia. Ian was there then and, in the here and now, their memory is instantaneously reshaped to reflect the results of Ben’s putting right what once went wrong.