The Incredible Hulk

Season 2 Episode 6

A Child in Need

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Oct 20, 1978 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

David is working as a gardener in a suburban school, where he befriends a boy whom he notices is covered in bruises. The school nurse informs David that it's not the first time it's happened, and he soon suspects that one of the boy's parents is abusing him. With no-one willing to listen or help, David sets about putting the situation right himself.moreless

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  • The show's take on child abuse. Very good.

    Child abuse is without a doubt a very real problem. Not something that can be solved in a half hour or an hour. Thus, it goes without saying that many shows that deal with the issue goes unresolved.

    By that I mean, many shows go by the formula. The main character befriends a victim of child abuse, the victim passes it off as an accident. By the time that the victim acknowledges that his/her parent(s) abuse him/her and seek to do something about it, the episode ends.

    This episode on the other hand allows us the chance to see the abusive parent getting a taste of his own medicine. Sure it's not realistic, but it gives you a good feeling that justice (albeit fictional) is served.moreless
  • Socially commendable...but also well portrayed and (considering the special effects of the time)nicely filmed.

    This is a great episode for two reasons. First, hopelessly looking around for someone to help him (or a phone) save the child from danger, Bixby does a fantastic job of portraying the hulk-out as an experience that he's AWARE of happening, not just something reflexive to painful stimuli. During the series run, Banner's transformations triggered only by anger and frustration translated better than most caused from pain (David gets a beat down, thrown into a grove of catci or his hand injured in some way...) Second, after the first transformation, the Hulk saves the child (by removing him from the house)and eludes the police. In an alley the Hulk reverts back to Banner with the boy in tow. Using intermittent lighting and what appear to be several body doubles (one of which was most likely Ferrigno himself--sans make up) the director, quite effectively, shows how much size is involved in the metamorphosis.

    Catch it on YouTube.moreless
  • The victim of a bully and the bully being bullied.

    This emotional episode which concerns child abuse. David tries to help this kid deal with his abusive father and the man jumps on him. It is satisfying to see the father being bullied back by the hulk after what he put his son through

    and realizing what was happening before it was too late. The

    episode also shows the Hulk's human side as he can be a friend to someone who has nobody because the mother is covering up the father's abuse. In the end it shows how far

    our hero David would go to help somebody who definitely needed help from a friend.moreless
Sandy McPeak

Sandy McPeak

Jack Hollinger

Guest Star

Dennis Dimister

Dennis Dimister

Mark Hollinger

Guest Star

Rebecca York

Rebecca York

Mary Walker

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Just before David's first transformation into the Hulk, when he makes a last-ditch appeal to a woman across the street, he looks toward the Hollinger house and the shot cuts away to the Hollinger house. If you pause the DVD just before the shot returns to David, you'll notice that his eyes are already white!

    • When Jack Hollinger is trying to beat up the Hulk during the second Hulk-Out, you can see Lou Ferrigno's green makeup smudged onto his shirt in several places.

    • Alias: David Baxter
      Job: Gardener
      City/State: Lincoln, NE

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Mark: (has seen the Hulk change back into David) The green man - it was you!
      David: Y-yes.
      Mark: How?
      David: It's rather difficult to explain.
      Mark: You change?
      David: Yes.
      Mark: I wish I could. How's it come in real handy?

    • David: I want to talk to them [police] about your father. And I think one day he may hurt you pretty badly. I don't want to see that happen.
      Mark: Will they put him in jail?
      David: No.
      Mark: (alarmed at his abusive father returning) Then he'll come back to us!
      David: Mark!
      Mark: He'll start all over, except that he'll just be madder!
      David: No, no, Mark, you've got to understand - your-your father's not a criminal. He doesn't want to beat you.
      Mark: Then why does he do it?
      David: Because he has a problem. And we may be able to help him - if we go to the police.

  • NOTES (3)

    • GOOF: At the end of one shot Mark is eating his ice cream and you can clearly see bite marks from him eating it at the top. The shot then goes to David talking and when it returns to Mark, the ice cream is brand new and has not been bitten into.

    • This story was one of several episodes from popular TV shows of the era to highlight child abuse – an issue that was still a largely unacknowledged at that time. A couple other examples are Starsky & Hutch third season episode The Crying Child and Charlie's Angels fourth season episode Angel's Child which also deals with a similar cases of child battering.

    • Although first shown as part of the second season, this episode was originally made as a first season episode (hence first season version opening music).
      Some re-runs follow the original production order (as opposed to original broadcast order), thus showing it amongst first season episodes.