Magnum, P.I.

Season 3 Episode 5

Past Tense

Aired Unknown Oct 21, 1982 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
37 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Past Tense
T.C.'s double-booking leads to him and Higgins being forced to break out a prisoner, but a crash landing forces Magnum and Rick to find them all.

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  • Friendship and Comradeship…

    This episode is an important mark in the development of the relationship between the four main characters in the series.

    The ordeal that TC and Higgins go through in this episode shows how much these characters have developed a relationship between them since the begging of the series. Also, we see Magnum and Rick doing everything they can for their friends, including facing a very dangerous situation in the end of the episode.

    The final scene of the episode, where everyone, except Magnum, is complaining about something the other did, clearly shows the comradeship that exists between this men and how their friendship is now very clearly developed.

    For all this, I believe this is a landmark episode in the development of the characters in the series and their relationship.

  • TC is skyjacked along with Higgins in order to break a prisoner out of jail.

    I'm not sure why this episode wasn't rated higher by viewers. I enjoyed it. The best aspect of the series was the friendship between our four leads and is showcased nicely in this episode.

    I liked the scene with Magnum at the car accident. I liked how the scenes bounced and connected nicely between TC/Higgins and Thomas at the beginning of the episode.

    Who would have thought TC and Higgins would spend that much time together without TC calling him "Higgy Baby" one time? Although the two of them have never seemed close, it was nice to see their loyalty to one another.

    My only complaint about this episode is that there should have been more information on what happened three years ago to get Lydell to want to kill Thomas. It was a little confusing about the relationships between the French guy who died in the car, Lydell, and whoever the heck the guy was in the jail cell and Magnum.

    I was, however, entertained from beginning to end.moreless
  • Moral: We all need our own doofy "Rick" character around to make us look good.

    **** SPOILERS **** This is an awesome episode with lots of the red Magnum shirt and some great Magnum P.I. acting on a hokey 1980's stage. It starts out my favorite way - Magnum living my dream, enjoying a Hawaiian sunrise on the beach with no real responsibilities for the day ahead. Of course, if I had no responsibilities, I'd probably stay out late at night, sleep until noon, and never see the sunrise… but I support Thomas getting up early. The tranquility of the morning is marred by a car/truck wreck and, of course, the obligatory 1980's gas tank explosion. The accident is supposedly a "message" from the episode's villain that's so far fetched tie it deserves no further consideration or comment. T.C. gets skyjacked by a couple of guys while Higgins is in the copter. Supposedly Higgins was double-booked for that time slot, but we all know it was divine intervention so we could enjoy Higgins bugging the crap out of some bad guys for 40 minutes. T.C. is forced to fly his helicopter into a prison yard that's guarded by one legally blind guard who's packing a BB gun. They pick up the main bad guy, "Lyden", who's played by James Wainwright. Lyden looks about 60 yrs old in the episode, but he acts and talks tough as nails. A quick search on imdb shows that he was only about 45 at the time of filming and passed away in 1999 from lung cancer at age 61. Man, this guy was in every 80's T.V. series you can imagine. He seems like he was a cool, successful guy. Anyway, in contrast to Lyden, his henchmen are a couple dopey guys who look like badly dressed accountants or insurance salesmen. After the prison break, they start abusing the hell out of T.C. by crashing his copter, shooting him, and then shoving him around while he staggers for miles over rough terrain. The whole thing is designed to lure Magnum to a beach so that Lyden can shoot him from a cement pill box or bunker or whatever. Magnum decides he needs some help to save T.C. and Higgins. He considers his choice of partner carefully. Who has no skills, no courage, no intelligence, no endurance, and no coordination? Oh, I know! Rick!!! Rick whines the whole time, twists his ankle when circling around behind the bad guys, and ultimately just falls into a hole in the ground. Rick's cries for help create a perfect diversion for Magnum to grab the old man's gun and beat the crap out of him. Well played, Magnum. We all need a doofy "Rick" character around to make us look good - even when we're smacking around an old man. Whoops, we're at 59 minutes. Smile, Magnum. The episode is over!moreless
  • Two thugs hijack T.C. in his helicopter – and Higgins with it – and force them to help an inmate escape from prison, before they crash-land on a deserted island. Magnum tries to find where they've ended up, but is walking into a trap. A classic episode...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    This is one of my favourite third season episodes. Granted, it does have a couple of areas where the plot could have been clearer, but even so, it is a great story with those key MPI ingredients – humour, drama, and action.

    When T.C.'s helicopter crashes on the island, budget kicks in as it goes down behind some trees (even the announcer when this episode was shown on Channel 5 here in the U.K. picked up on that). When the Ferrari was destroyed at the start of the season in 'Did You See The Sunrise?', it could be assumed that Robin Masters, being so rich simply replaced it with another one; quite how T.C. gets his helicopter back in subsequent episodes to this one, however, is harder to explain.

    Undoubtedly the best thing about the episode is the moments between Higgins and T.C. When the series started, Higgins was there just to act as a thorn in Magnum's side in plots, but as the series was growing, so was the relationship between the different characters, not just Magnum and Higgins. The moment that T.C. insists that if the bad guys shoot Higgins, then they'll have to shoot him too, is a very noble one indeed.

    James Wainwright makes a good villain as Morgan Lyden, one of the season's best in my opinion. Of course, TV bad guys being what they are, they decide not to kill Higgins and T.C., even when they start killing each other!

    This story is also notable for the first time we see Rick's aging underworld contact Ice Pick (first mentioned but not seen in season two's 'The Last Page'). However, he is played by a different actor to usual, Walter Chotzen. It is the character's only appearance in the season; Elisha Cook Jr. would take over the role starting in the fourth season.

    I love the final scene of this episode, where the gang all walk away (and T.C. stretchered) complaining – especially at Magnum. It is an amusing ending to a pleasing story.

    I do agree with some other reviewers that the plot could have been clearer (not least as to who that other guy was in jail; I didn't quite get that), but overlooking these small holes, I love this episode for it's great character moments, and it has a lot of action too. I personally give this one a 10 out of 10.moreless
Frank Atienza

Frank Atienza

Warden Gilmer

Guest Star

James Wainwright

James Wainwright

Morgan Lyden

Guest Star

Drew Snyder

Drew Snyder

Jack Curry

Guest Star

Kwan Hi Lim

Kwan Hi Lim

Yoshi Tanaka

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Magnum: (narrating) This morning in paradise was not much better than the one yesterday. In other words, it was perfect. And morning in paradise is the perfect time of day. A quiet run, then a swim—it's a time you're truly alone, a time when you're allowed to fully appreciate the rhythms of living. Besides, Higgins was going to be gone all day, and that made me appreciate the rhythms of living even more.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The German episode titles are "Die Ausbrecher" ("The Jailbreaker") and "Alte Waffenbrüder" ("Old War Buddies"). The French title is "Le rythme de la vie", meaning "The Rhythm of Life". The Italian title is "L'evaso", meaning "The Fugitive".

    • In this episode, the character of Ice-Pick makes the first of many appearances, but is played by a different actor (Walter Chotzen) than would be seen in later episodes (Elisha Cook, Jr.).

    • T.C. seems to suggest that he has been flying commercially for seven years.