I really enjoyed this episode and not for the story but for two reasons. The shots taken from New York especially the era around Time Square and Park Avenue but also for seeing the hulk running at Time Square. Again Bill Bixby gives an excellent performance. Just see how his anger grows in a yellow cab.
The end credits do roll over a shot of David walking into 42nd street. For horror buffs or porn addicts this is a must see. A lot of cinema's and theatres were build in the late 30's but once television came in the street had to offer what television didn't. In the 1970s these theatres were put to new use as venues for exploitation films, either adult pornography and sleaze, or slasher horror and dubbed martial arts films from Hong Kong. But home video destroyed 42nd and around mid 90's 42nd was cleaned and became Disneyfied. For those ever walked on 42nd, as I did just before it's end, it's a must see but not only for that, just see the games at the arcade.
Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 3/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
"Awful" is probably going a bit too far with this ep, but it does hit low points in two elements of the series formula. First, the Hulk transformations. The second transformation is the most jaw- dropping convenient one of the season. David is on his way to stop a shoot- out, when he transforms. The Hulk then travels to David's exact destination and acts precisely to avert the shoot-out from happening! The TV series (as well as the comics) has always indicated that the Hulk has no memory of his time as Banner, and vice versa, so this utterly ruptures all sense of coherency or logic to the episode.
Second, the woman. Having a new comely female hanging around David in every episode isn't a real problem, though it is overly formulaic and lowest common denominator. But usually David is a gentleman; he knows that he can't stick around, so he doesn't deliberately lead women on. Not so in this episode. David actively courts the lady, and isn't even bothered when her father hints that she's thinking about marrying him! And just to twist the knife, he kisses her right before leaving town.
Yes, I know David also got in a kiss at the end of "The Beast Within", but there it was treated as David showing Claudia that she can be loved. Here it comes off as "Gotta break her heart before I go."
The plot is really small beans: a gangster (Robert Alda) demands a 40 % cut of the profits from local businessmen in return of "protection and security" (meaning in order for them to remain alive and well in exchange of not dying or being seriously harmed). Bixby's David "Blaine" (the newest last name used in the current tour of America to find a cure for that annoying great creature that arises when he gets his feathers ruffled) is working at an arcade in New York City for a sweet old businessman named Norman Abrams (Jack Kruschen). Norman is one of Alda's victims, while David finds himself in a potential romantic relationship with Norman's daughter (Pamela Susan Shoop; Halloween II (1982)). Other local businessmen want to unite against Alda's Jason Laird and stop him from exploiting their willingness to give away so much of the profit cut in order to remain "healthy if not happy". When Jason's thugs start roughhousing David when he is believed to be another NYC gangster's secret spy, the Hulk emerges and bodies start to fly. The Hulk startling folks on the streets and sidewalks of NYC could be the whole reason to see this yeah, let's be honest, this is the reason. The Hulk tossing guys around is nothing new, so when Alda's goons get thrown into warehouse boxes and across cars, viewers aren't seeing something they haven't before. Although, the taxi cab door being ripped from its hinges as the cabbie freaks out is pure gold. However, the sheer pop culture value of the Hulk in Times Square adds a cool dynamic the rather average story benefits from exponentially. Alda, to his credit, nails the Park Avenue, Armani-suit crook part, while his equally repellent soldiers fulfill the requirements of staring David in the face and warning him without blatantly saying he's about to take a dirt nap.
What I thought was a nice touch is how Laird, after his background check revealed nothing but a mystery, assumed David is a spy infiltrating his area of NYC for a competitor. This is the kind of situation David will obviously have a hard time avoiding considering his real identity must be kept secret. Investigative reporter, Jack McGee (Jack Colvin), is in the city (of course) looking for another story about the Hulk, his golden goose. McGee rarely is a major contributor to the show, besides always serving as a thorn in David's side. Often, McGee is a catalyst in David moving on to the next stop. At the beginning of the episode, David was trying to contact a geneticist, but that proved to be unsuccessful (out of the office).