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The Psychic - The Incredible Hulk Classic TV Series.
-Act 4, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."
The time: 1980
The Place: The West Coast
The Hulk is on the run. As Lou Ferrigno put it in an interview of the day, "The Hulk is always running." Running away from sirens. Running for safety, away from people.
But this time the sirens catch up, and when the police catch site of this 7 ft tall, gamma-green menace, he is standing over the body of an injured teenage boy.
The Hulk runs again and escapes into the night...
Later, after his transformation back to human form, David reads an account of the "attack" in the paper. He believes the Hulk is responsible for the boy being in the critical care unit at the hospital.
David decides to go to the hospital and shadow the boy's mother in the hopes of learning the boy's progress.
While at the hospital, David crosses paths with a psychic named Annie. Annie sees psychic visions whenever she comes into contact with emotionally distraught people, and she has seen his secret after brushing up against him on the sidewalk earlier that day. Despite her initial reaction of fear (at seeing visions of David become the Hulk), she forms a bond with him.
A show unlike other Incredible Hulks
David and Annie are kindred spirits, trying to exist within society while at the same time keeping it at arms length.
It's this relationship that makes this one of the standout episodes of the series. The story continues the original premise (and promise) of the pilot. It explores the impact of the transformation on David Banners's life. At its core, this is what sets the series apart from just about all other forms of The Incredible Hulk. This is not about a comic book creature. This is not a show about "Hulk SMASH!"
At the heart of the series, it's a tragic story of one man's heartache, loneliness and desperation caused by the loss of his wife and the repercussions of his impatience to unlock the hidden strength in all of us. David has been living with the outcome of his experiments for the better part of 3 years at this point, and it is all coming to a head.
All of this leads up to some of the best dialog of the series.
David Banner, past hope
After Annie shares her heartache of a recent mistaken interpretation of a vision, David learns that the teen has died and feels deeply responsible. A visit by David's nemesis Jack McGee on top of this is all David needs at this point to lead him to contemplate suicide.
While trying to talk David down from the fire escape, the follow dialogue ensues:
Annie : "David, suicide is not the answer."
David: "This isn't a suicide. This is an execution. The power of the creature has gone beyond the power of the courts. I must be the judge and the jury ."
Annie: "But you are not the creature, and you have a right to live."
David: "At the expense of how many innocent people?"
Annie: "But you'll destroy yourself!"
David (with resignation in his voice): "Day by day the creature has been destroying me. David Banner is dead. But I am taking the life of a fugitive... The curse may not be the creature that I turn into, but the man that I've become."
It's at this point that Annie delivers information that she believes will put David's mind at ease, but it only makes him realize that he cannot end his life; not yet.
It's later revealed that the teen who died was a member of a street gang and the Hulk only came upon his body after he was injured by a rival gang. Thus reaffirming that the Hulk is not a murderer, despite David's lack of faith in this assumption.
The story behind the story
While being a major emotional point in the story, it also renders it exceptionally ironic given the backstory...
Annie is played by Brenda Benet, and this episode was filmed in 1979, while Bixby and Benet were still married. They divorced less than two years later after their only child, Christopher, died tragically during a ski vacation. It is believed that the death of her son and subsequent divorce caused her life to spin out of control, and eventually led to her suicide on April 7, 1982.
Watching Brenda's portrayal of Annie, and the dialog between Banner and Annie with this knowledge in mind renders an whole new level of deeper sympathy with the characters. At least it did for me.
Be that as it may, The Pyschic is a solid bit of television drama and holds true to the original premise of the pilot episode. Definitely a "must see" for fans of the series, of anyone interested in what the series has to offer.
The Incredible Hulk: The Psychic Trailer
Where to watch The Psychic
- Amazon.com: Watch The Incredible Hulk Season 3, The Psychic
Amazon.com: The Incredible Hulk : Amazon Instant Video
- Watch The Incredible Hulk Season 3, The Psychic Online | Netflix
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