As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history,
the more that fact and legend become intertwined.
It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
May 5, 1993
The final episode of Quantum Leap aired on NBC.
Mirror Image was the 22nd and final episode of Season 5 of Quantum Leap, also the 96th and final episode of the series. Written by series creator and executive producer Donald P. Bellisario, the episode, which was directed by James Whitmore, Jr., made its premiere airing on NBC-TV on May 5, 1993.
August 8, 1953 Sam leaps into a bar in Cokeburg, PA, a coal mining town, at the exact moment of his birth, when he looks into a mirror he sees his own image looking back. As he converses with the bar's owner and bartender Al (Bruce McGill), viewers soon learn that it was Sam who wanted to put right what once went wrong; that's why he created Project Quantum Leap.Sam is given a choice to return home or continue leaping. Sam says he wants to return home, but first he feels he needs to fix one more thing, for his friend Al. Sam leaps back to April 1, 1969 (Episode: "M.I.A.") to tell Al's first wife Beth that Al is still alive and will come home.
The episode ends with captions that state Al and Beth never divorced but instead had four daughters. The final caption reveals that Doctor Sam Beckett never returned home.
Two alternate endings for this episode are known to have been scripted in case the series was renewed for another season, both of which included a present day scene between Al and Beth, having remained married in the new timeline, discussing Al leaping himself to look for Sam. Production stills were found in February 2018 suggesting that at least one of these endings was filmed. A third, simpler alternate ending was also produced showing a family photo of Al and Beth with their four daughters instead of the ending title cards.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".