Homecoming - The Incredible Hulk Classic TV Series.
David Banner is settling in for another Thanksgiving alone, when he sees a news report on a wealthy land developer buying local farm property in David's hometown. He sees his sister being interviewed about their father's farm and decides it's time to go home.
It doesn't take long for David to get involved helping his sister, Helen Banner(played by Diana Muldaur), find a cure for the insects plaguing his dad's farmland. As a condition to helping Helen find a solution, David makes her promise to keep his presence a secret. She doesn't understand why, but knows he must have his reasons for feeling so strongly and agrees anyway.
There's a fair amount of a scientific theme at play here, though it is not related to David finding a cure for his condition.
Instead, it's focused on using biology and chemistry to halt the infestation of insects that are plaguing the family's crops. David sleeps in makeshift lab in Helen's house, complete with bubbling beakers and test tubes.
This provides an interesting backdrop to the real story: David's past.
At the nexus of where the past meets the future..
On the surface, there's a theme in this episode of choosing the past versus the future. The future is represented by the evil land developer, pushing for "progress." This is a rather thin, and tired cliché. But it's passable as it provides the contrast to the thread of the past, which is really what the episode is about anyway.
What really drives this episode is the glimpse into David's relationship with his family. He and his sister are close, but he and his dad are estranged.
We also see a glimpse of his mother, sick and dying when David was a boy. This helps flesh out David's backstory and sheds some light on why David and his dad are estranged, as well as what drove David to become a doctor.
David's family relations are further strained when his father discovers him by his mother's graveside and David refuses to answer any questions about where he's been or the nature of his "disease."
The Incredible Hulk: Homecoming Trailer
His Dad wanted David to follow in the Banner family business (agriculture), but David wanted to be a doctor. He is driven by the guilt and helplessness caused by his mother's death and wished he could have saved his mother. This led to an acrimonious departure for David after highschool.
He stills blames himself for the bad blood between he and his dad.
Among some of the other reasons Homecoming made the list of standout episodes is this revelation:
The Hulk cries when he confronts his dad. This implies that the Hulk is at least somewhat aware of memories and experiences of David - though perhaps only those with a high degree of emotion attached to them?
That's something new, and has the potential to alter the way we view the Hulk's actions. Kudos to the team for that little nugget of character development!
All in all, Homecoming is a good story, but the character development of David (and the Hulk) and the glimpse it provides into David family dynamic are where it really shines.
The ending is particularly poignant as well. As McGee shows up, hot on the trail of the latest Hulk sighting. He is given David's place at the Thanksgiving table, and David is seen turning away from the house and beginning his walk up the road alone.
Cue the Lonely Man piano theme...
Where to watch This episode
- Watch "The Incredible Hulk Season, Homecoming" on Amazon Instant Video
Amazon.com: The Incredible Hulk Season 1: Amazon Instant Video
- Watch The Incredible Hulk Online | Netflix
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