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Earthquakes Happen - The Incredible Hulk Classic TV Series.

Updated on October 10, 2014
David has some difficulty answering Dr. Joseph's questions about himself.
David has some difficulty answering Dr. Joseph's questions about himself.

This episode opens with David posing as a nuclear facility safety inspector, Dr. Patterson.

His aim, of course, is not plant safety but gaining access to the Gamma ray inversion equipment at a nuclear power plant. While at the plant, David dodges Jack McGee and meets with Dr. Diane Joseph, a nuclear scientist at the plant. Dr. Joseph is tasked with showing Dr. Patterson around the facility, but David just wants to ditch her and head to the Gamma Lab.


Dr. Joseph cleverly excuses herself for a phone call while she checks up on "Dr. Patterson".
Dr. Joseph cleverly excuses herself for a phone call while she checks up on "Dr. Patterson".

Things get interesting when Dr. Diane Joseph gets suspicious of "Dr. Patterson" and cleverly excuses herself.

While she checks on the real Dr. Patterson, David manages to finally get into the Gamma Lab.

Things are coming to a head as David prepares for his experimental treatment, the scientists in the control room notice the reactor is online when it shouldn't be and Dr. Joseph leads a search for David, whom she now knows to be an imposter.

Just before David's experiment can begin, Dr. Joseph stops him, but before she can truly confront him an earthquake upends everything.

Lou Ferrigno broadens the Hulk character with his portrayal of the Hulk as a caring creature, concerned about the Dr's injury.
Lou Ferrigno broadens the Hulk character with his portrayal of the Hulk as a caring creature, concerned about the Dr's injury.

The final act of the episode consists of David, Dr. Joseph and a few other survivors trying to escape from the devastated power plant while the core of the nuclear reactor approaches meltdown.

In the end, only the Hulk has the strength to open a critical valve to the cooling system, and the meltdown is averted.

This is also a common theme in The Incredible Hulk: David's attempt to cure himself of his affliction fails, but the very circumstance that caused the failure can only be resolved by David's ability to transform into the creature. In essence, if David had been successful in his attempt, he would have lost the ability to save himself and others from the earthquakes devastation.


The confrontation is interrupted by an earthquake, but is it a fortunate or un-fortunate turn of events?
The confrontation is interrupted by an earthquake, but is it a fortunate or un-fortunate turn of events?

Why Earthquakes Happen made the list.

The production team made extensive use of stock earthquake footage that adds to the earthquake's realism, but also detracts a bit due to heavy (and obvious) use. But that's not what makes Earthquakes Happen a standout episode. Here's why it made the list of the 11 Best Episodes of the Classic Incredible Hulk TV Series ...

This episode, like the Pilot, portrays a strong and smart female counterpoint. And the story carries on theme of the desperate scientist searching for a cure.

We see a glimpse of just how desperate David is becoming, as he is driven to outright forgery and identity theft! This is a new level, past his usual steps to protect his true identity. He is not simply changing his name and assuming a new fictitious identity, he is masquerading as a different person.

This is done smartly by the show's writers as well, because it doesn't go according to plan. Impersonating a nuclear safety scientist is clearly out of David's league, and Dr. Joseph is too clever to be so easily fooled. This is another credit to the show - a female character in a prominent scientific role, and one who does not stupidly believe what she is told for the sake of plot expediency. In other words, she's believable. She's not merely a token woman cast in a prominent role for the sake of promoting (or appeasing) a feminist agenda.


David gets lucky and avoids McGee while protecting his stolen identity.
David gets lucky and avoids McGee while protecting his stolen identity.

Jack McGee's presence marks another recurring theme - avoiding the dogged reporter.

The character development in this episode is not quite as strong as in The Incredible Hulk Pilot but this is only an hour's worth of television, and has a more action/event based focus in the second half.

If we accept character development and the action sequences as both being high priority, then I think the production team did a superb job balancing the two. They managed to provide an interesting story with good characters and action to go along with it, all while maintaining a good pace.



Dr. Diane Joseph (Sherry Jackson)

Fans of the original Star Trek series will no doubt recognize Sherry Jackson, who plays the beautiful and clever Dr. Diane Joseph. Sherry Jackson also played the beautiful, and not-so-clever android, Andrea, in the episode: What Are Little Girls Made Of?

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