Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Season 2 Episode 18

Tempus Fugitive

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 26, 1995 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
91 votes

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Episode Summary

Lois and Clark need to travel to 1966 with the help of H.G. Wells and his time machine to prevent a villain from the future who wants to destroy the baby Superman. The villain tells Lois about Clark's most important secret...his secret identity!

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  • H.G. Wells finds Clark and Lois to stop a psychotic mad man from the future traveling to the past to kill Superman before he grows to be the man of steel.moreless

    The story is nothing completely new it's pritty familar to Back to the Future and The Terminator, but it's written well and done right. The plot is not really all that important in this episode, it primary focus is solely on character. We get two new charcters that appear a few more times in the show, H.G. Wells who is a humble, naieve, but smart and moral man full of wisdom. Tempus is sort of a Loki character, has a hunger for violance, a smart alec, and wants to spread chaos and mischief everywhere.

    One of my favorate moments was when both Tempus and Lois were engaged in a facinating conversation about the future and Tempus reveals the truth to Lois just to be mean to her for fun and to see the priceless look on her face.

    Tempus: "One question always comes up, How Dumb Was She?" (Snatches glasses from H.G. Wells and puts them on.) "Look I'm Clark Kent." (Takes glasses off) "Look I'm Superman." (Puts glasses back on) "Mild Mannered Reporter" (Takes glasses off) "Superhero, Hello, Duh Clark Kent Is Superman!"

    I find this ironically funny because probably not in his specific words, reflects how a lot of fan felt when they wonder why the heck she never suspected Clark of being the Man of Steel. Didn't ever cross her mind remotely once, how could she not see though those glasses?

    But thoughout the episode we discover this isn't really a Clark/Superman episode, it's actualy a Lois Lane episode. Lois is this time more in the active role while Clark is slightly more of a supporting character. Teri Hacher is at her best presenting Lois with all kinds of feelings like anger, confusion, vunerablilty, happyness you name it there there. This works because most of the story is though her eyes it's main theme is on discovering more about someone you love just to get to love them more by knowing more about them. And hope for a future.

    It's also hope for the viewers because the whole episode is rather prolific and forshadowing the direction the TV show and the Superman comic book series was about to go. From how much further things with both Clark and Lois will go, dicovery of Superman's identity and being able to live with it, but most of all marrage and kids along the way. This was a good thing because it was another comic book romance that helped break the curse of long time comic book romances never moving to the steps of marrage and commitment. I always thought if a romance was stuck at a certain point for too long it got boring. But if it developed like any real romance and gone further without stoping then it's interesting, which was why the 80's and current Superman comic books remains sucessful and why Lois and Clark are a couple that has worked thoughout the course of time.moreless
Terry Kiser

Terry Kiser

H.G. Wells

Guest Star

Don Swayze

Don Swayze

Jesse James

Guest Star

Joshua Devane

Joshua Devane

Frank James

Guest Star

Lane Davies

Lane Davies


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Anachronism: In 1866, Marshal Kent refers to the visitors from the future as "weirdos." The word "weirdo" did not enter the English language until about 1955.

    • Goof: After Clark floats himself and Lois over the gate, it is obvious they step down off the lift before they start to walk into the field.

    • In the teaser, Tempus looks at a movie poster for a movie called The Penetrator, which reads across the top "Ranco Entertainment in Association with James Bagdonas". James Bagdonas is the director of this episode.

    • Tempus is the Latin word for "time". The title of this episode is likely a pun on the phrase "time flies", which in Latin would be tempus fugit.

    • The date of Clark's arrival on Earth as an infant in the spaceship is given as May 17th, 1966. In the previous episode, "Resurrection", the year of death of a character who just died is engraved in their tombstone as 1993. This makes Clark roughly 26 years old at the beginning of the series.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Frank James: (after Tempus' semi-automatic pistol outperforms Jesse's revolver) Jesse, it happens to every man once in awhile.
      Jesse James: Not to me!
      Frank James: Look, it's not your fault. His was just plain bigger.
      Jesse James: Size never made no difference before.
      Frank James: You gotta get your mind off this Jesse, or it could affect your future performance.

    • H.G. Wells: I won't let you hurt him, I will fight you with my last breath.
      Tempus: Really?
      H.G. Wells: (resolutely) I swear it.
      (Tempus slaps Wells, who falls unconscious)
      Tempus: Sorry; can't have you swearing in front of the baby.

    • Great Great Grandpa Marshall Kent: (to Lois and Clark) Gone, which is exactly where we'd like you and the naked lady.
      Lois: Naked? I'm not naked. These are just new fashions from... uh... France.

    • Martha: It's just I'm not able to have children... But I know that if I were to find a baby, I would be the most grateful woman in the world.
      Clark: And the world's best mom.

    • H.G. Wells: What's the matter, my dear?
      Lois: Oh, you've been to the future, Mr. Wells. Is it true what Tempus said about me?
      H.G. Wells: Oh, yes. You're as highly-revered as any woman in history.
      Lois: Oh, no, I meant about being galactically stupid.
      H.G. Wells: No, no, no, Miss Lane, not stupid, blind. It is one of the many things that makes your story so timeless. Why children never tire of hearing it at bedtime. Why parents never outgrow it. Generation after generation, we are all blinded by love, Miss Lane. Especially that one great love that changes us forever.
      Tempus: Excuse me, but I'm in danger of choking on my own vomit.

    • Lois: If you wanna kill Superman, I don't know why you're going to Smallville or 1966.
      Tempus: She doesn't know yet. Oh, this is good. This is really good. Um, Lois, did you know that, in the future, you're revered at the same level as Superman? Why there are books about you, statues, an interactive game. You're even a breakfast cereal.
      Lois: Really?
      Tempus: Yes. But, as much as everybody loves you, there is one question that keeps coming up: How dumb was she?

    • Lois: I couldn't stand the idea I might lose you and I'd never get to tell you... to say that... I ...
      Tempus: Please. I'll go to jail, I'll strap myself into the electric chair -- but don't make me listen to this!

    • Clark: Glasses, secret identity... seemed like a good idea at the time...

    • (After Lois finds out about Clark's secret identity, Clark rushes in)
      Clark: Lois, I'm so sorry, I was--
      (Lois slaps him)
      Lois: Don't pretend that hurt...Superman!

    • Tempus: Superman, let me ask you something...why tights? Why a cape? You're a grown man; don't you feel ridiculous?
      Superman: My mother made it for me.

    • Lois: (to Clark) You are the lowest form of life imaginable.

    • Lois (to Clark): Is this going to feel as weird to you as it does to me, knowing you are Superman from now on?

    • Clark (to Lois): You haven't said anything since 1866.

    • Clark (to Lois): Superman is what I can do. Clark is who I am.

    • Tempus: A world of peace, a world with no greed or crime, a world so boring, you'd blow your brains out, but there are no guns. You want to know the future, Miss Lane? No one works, no one argues, there are 9000 channels and nothing on!

    • (Tempus puts on glasses)
      Tempus: Look, I'm Clark Kent. (takes them off) Look, I'm Superman! (puts them on) Mild mannered reporter... (takes them off) Superhero! Hello?! Duh! Clark Kent IS Superman! ( laughing at Lois' stunned expression) Well, that was worth the whole trip, to actually meet the most galactically stupid woman who ever lived!

  • NOTES (2)

    • It's Perry White's birthday, but Lane Smith does not appear in this episode.

    • H.G. Wells was born in 1866. In "Tempus Anyone?" the older H.G. Wells says that he was from 1916 and the younger H.G. Wells from "Tempus Fugitive" was from 1899. That makes H.G. Wells from "Tempus Fugitive" to be 33 years old. That also makes the older H.G. Wells from "Tempus Anyone?" 50 years old.


    • When Tempus puts on a pair of sunglasses after shooting up a gun store to the sound of some blues rock guitar chords, this is meant to parody a scene from the movie Terminator 2, where the Arnold Schwartzenegger Terminator grabs a pair of sunglasses and rides away from a biker bar to the tune of George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone".

    • This episode contains several allusions to the Back to the Future science fiction film trilogy. This series, written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, focuses on the adventures of high-school student Marty McFly and inventor Doctor Emmett Brown as they travel through time. Specifically, H.G. Wells mentions that his time machine is powered by a flux facilitator - Dr. Brown's key invention was the time-manipulating flux capacitor. Further, when Marty travels to the past and accidentally sets off a series of events that causes his future self to cease to exist, he begins to fade out of existence, becoming invisible. Clark also slowly becomes invisible, starting with his hands, as Tempus tries to kill baby Superman.

    • Tempus: You're Jesse James! And that's your brother, Frank.

      Frank and Jesse James were American outlaws known (somewhat erroneously) for their gunfighting prowess. In 1866, their group, James-Younger gang, executed the first armed robbery of a US bank in post civil war peacetime.

    • Tempus: This isn't the 1960s, unless that's Bob Dylan.

      Bob Dylan is a highly awarded American singer-songwriter who established his career during the 1960s with songs whose lyrics are heavy with social and political commentary.

      Ironically, the man to which Tempus gestures is carrying a guitar, Dylan's original instrument of choice, and speaks with Dylan's characteristically raspy voice as he inspects a water pump and mutters "ain't got no handle." This is a reference to Dylan's song "Subterranean Homesick Blues", which contains the follow lyric: "The pump don't work / 'Cause the vandals took the handles". This song was Dylan's first American Top 40 hit, recorded in 1965 on the album Bringing It All Back Home.