Lois & Clark:
The New Adventures of Superman
Season 4, Episode 5
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Air date October 20, 1996
Written by Tim Minear
Directed by David Grossman
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The People v. Lois Lane

Demented scientist Vida Dodson creates a machine that drains people's youth, leaving Jimmy and several others old men in a matter of days. But Lois is distracted from the case when she learns that Superman's powers grant him extreme longevity.

Plot

Lois and Clark return from their honeymoon to learn that Jimmy has achieved his first byline, with an article on a change in library hours. An agitated old man enters the Daily Planet building and pleads Jimmy for help. He collapses dead, and his identification shows that he is Benny Rockland, a 22-year-old classmate of Jimmy's from middle school. Perry declines Jimmy's request to be assigned the story, saying he is too personally involved. Jimmy disregards his orders and, finding a business card for a pizza place in Benny's wallet, decides to go undercover.

Dr. Vita Dodson breaks elderly bank robber Connor Schenk out of prison in exchange for his legendary stash of millions of dollars. However, he refuses to lead her to the stash until she uses her machine to de-age him.

Lois shows a skin sample from Benny to Dr. Klein, who is puzzled as there is no indication of any foreign agent to cause the rapid aging. He likens it to the opposite of Superman's biology, revealing that his molecular structure greatly retards his aging. This troubles Lois, who realizes that Clark will remain young while she ages, and will long outlive her, perhaps eventually finding a new woman to share his life with.

Jimmy gets a job as a delivery boy at the pizza place and uses their records to learn that Benny's last delivery was to Dr. Dodson. Since Dodson's machine requires a donor, she abducts runaways and delivery boys to provide the needed youth. When she orders a pizza to get a donor for Schenk, Jimmy takes the call and snoops through her house. Before he can find anything, she forces him into the machine and uses him to de-age Schenk. Schenk intends to kill Jimmy, but Jimmy regains consciousness, knocks Schenk out, and escapes. Dodson stresses the need to get the stash, since without purchasing plutonium she can't perfect her machine; as it stands, the donors die in a matter of days and the test subjects even more quickly revert to their true age. Schenk tells her that his "legendary stash" is just that - a legend. He points out her oversight: his bank robbing career was during the Great Depression, when banks had little money to steal. He plans to get the money for the plutonium by robbing another bank.

Reviewing the contents of Benny's digestive system, Lois deduces from the tranquilizers and his last meal that he was staying at a hospital or nursing home. Jimmy returns to the Daily Planet, disoriented and amnesiac over his encounter with Dodson. The staff assume he is recovering from a drinking binge in his grief over Benny.

Investigating nursing homes, Lois and Clark find the highly suspicious Leisure Park: no walk-ins are considered for residency, funding comes from a private foundation which the administrator refuses to identify, and the residents are kept constantly sedated. Clark hears Schenk's robbery attempt. Schenk has accidentally locked himself and six hostages inside the bank vault. By the time Superman gets the vault open, Schenk has reverted to his true age, allowing him to slip away as witnesses can no longer identify him.

Lois finds the foundation which funds Leisure Park is run by Dodson, who became a specialist in aging after her husband of 23 years left her for a younger woman. Clark tells Jimmy to try to figure out how Schenk got past Superman. Lois and Clark interview Dodson at her home. They find Dodson is a cold, acerbic woman, embittered by her husband's abandoning her. Clark senses something wrong with Lois and afterward presses her for an explanation. She tells him what Dr. Klein told her. Clark is stricken by the revelation and unable to find words sufficient to comfort Lois.

Lois and Clark return to the Daily Planet to find that Jimmy has identified Schenk by comparing surveillance footage from when the hostages entered and left the vault, but has also succumbed to old age.

Between the interview and their visit to Leisure Park, Dodson realizes Lois and Clark are on to her and calls the plan off. Unwilling to remain old, however, Schenk forces her at gunpoint to call Clark and arrange for Superman to donate his youth to both Schenk and Jimmy. Schenk and Dodson can then escape while Superman is dazed from the process. Superman agrees in order to save Jimmy's life. However, realizing she can no longer trust Schenk, Dodson de-ages him all the way back to infancy. She then restores Jimmy to his natural age.

Dodson and Schenk are imprisoned, and he quickly reverts to old age. Dr. Klein is unable to determine how much having his youth siphoned into Schenk and Jimmy has affected Superman; he may still outlive Lois by decades, or he may be dead of old age by 50. Clark arranges for the purchase of an apartment that he noticed Lois liked, wanting a place that is "ours", rather than individually his or hers.

Cast

Main cast

Recurring role

Guest starring

Special guest star

Co-starring

Trivia

This was not Caroline McWilliams's first time playing a medical researcher on a superhero TV series; she previously played Dr. Claudia Baxter, a specialist in animal aggression, in a 1978 episode of The Incredible Hulk, "The Beast Within".

Jack Larson, who did only a tiny handful of acting jobs after Adventures of Superman, pays homage to his role in that series by portraying an aged Jimmy Olsen in this episode.

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