The Incredible Hulk: Slaves (1982) – Marvel SUPERHERO TV SHOW REVIEW

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By Geno McGahee

I wonder. If David Banner (Bill Bixby) is in need of a haircut, does the Hulk’s hair become longer too? I think so. In the episode “SLAVES”, the Hulk’s hair it longer than usual and it almost looks like he’s becoming a fan of the hair bands of the 1980s. Rock on Hulk. Rock on.

As in most episodes, David finds a damsel in distress. This time, he finds Christy (Faye Grant), after a car accident. I really like Faye Grant and remember her mostly from V, the great alien mini-series where she led the resistance to beat those filthy lizard bastards. She was also on THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO and she was good there too. She is great in this episode of HULK, but she has a terrible accent that comes and goes throughout. I know she was supposed to be southern in this, but she could have gotten away with talking normally and not forcing an accent. Shame on the director.

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David and Christy begin hitching together when Isaac (John Hancock) drives up and offers them a ride. They take it and he seems nice enough at first, but when he drives them to a ghost town and informs them that they will now be his slaves and work down in the mine, he shows just what a jerk he is. He has an even bigger jerk as a partner in Roy (Charles Tyner). Roy is constantly creepy and, of course, focuses his attention on poor Christy.

In the mine, the duo meets up with their partner, Marty (Jeffrey Kramer), and he is a beaten man. He’s been down there for a while and his brother, Harry, died recently trying to escape. He is now just a yes man for Isaac and just works every day breaking rocks and looking for gold. David and especially Christy aren’t big on the idea and resist but they are working alongside Marty before they know it. Unlike Marty, they are planning an escape.

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What was immediately strange about Isaac was that he had gray hair when he picked up David and Christy but had jet black hair when he entered the mine. I know that I seem obsessed with hair in this episode, but where the fuck was the continuity person? Why didn’t Hancock realize that his hair was different? I can’t imagine that they shot this episode across a large period of time. They had to pump these out. I’m sure when they watched the footage, the continuity person probably said “well fuck me in the ass,” after realizing the oversight.

As time goes by, Roy becomes more and more of a pain in the ass and we learn about the criminal team and how they met. Isaac was in prison for murder and Roy was a guard that helped him escape in hopes of becoming rich with this family gold mine. The problem that Isaac is having is that Roy can’t stop drinking and won’t shut up. At one point, Isaac notes to the slaves that Roy was “all mouth.” Was he referring to the rambling or were they more than friends in prison? A person that is all mouth is one that I’d want to keep around if I was locked up. I was hoping that he would follow up with the most obvious sentence: “He can suck a bowling ball through a garden hose.” Unless it’s in the deleted scenes, it’s not there.

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Isaac is kind of likable in this story, but not Roy and Charles Tyner overacted something fierce in this. He is maniacally laughing throughout and keeps on giving a creepy smile to anyone that will look at him. At one point, he lights a stick of dynamite and throws it at the group, only to have it extinguished, but he was so amused by his own antics that he could not stop laughing. What kind of fucking prison guard was he? I bet he threw down the inmates soap and laughed maniacally as they bent over to pick it up.

We go on and on and no Hulk, but then the green bastard finally appears. When Roy starts feeling up Christy, David intervenes, which upsets Roy. He now makes the match and forces Marty to fight David. At first, both refuse, but then Roy starts talking about how much better Marty’s dead brother was and that infuriates him and the battle has begun. Man, without the Hulk side of him, David is a real pussy. Marty was nothing and he was getting his ass handed to him? Then again, maybe he wanted it that way so he could Hulk up and bend Marty over with ease and split him like firewood. I bet that’s it. He needed to be riled up to bring out the green machine.

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During and a little before the fight scene, this terrible fucking music was playing throughout. It was that music that they play in the old west movies on those pianos that play themselves. Fucking wretched music and you’re going to have to get used to it. Until the Hulk comes along and destroys the piano, the music is rather loud and distracting. I was nearly ready to shut off the episode.

The group finds gold and now the plan is to kill the trio…at least that is the plan of Roy. Isaac, even though he’s a prick, has a heart and is conflicted over the entire situation. He just wants to keep the trio there and just wants to keep digging while Roy wants to bring in professionals to get the gold and make them both rich. I can kind of understand where Roy is coming from. Why dick around? You broke Isaac out to get rich and now he wants to keep the process as slow as humanly possible? No. Fuck that noise. Roy may be a creep and a drunk and a pervert rapist, but he has a point on the gold. All the other stuff, I can’t back him up there. I guess drunk ain’t too bad. The creepy rapist thing is where I draw the line.

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As tensions rise, Roy gets more drunk and starts throwing lit dynamite at Isaac, as sort of a joke, I guess. Unfortunately, one of them blows up and causes a cave in, trapping Isaac under rubble. Marty, Christy and David make their escape, but David leaves no man behind. He goes to rescue Isaac, but another cave in traps him and we get our second Hulk sighting and he helps Isaac. I don’t feel right about this. OK, Isaac was sort of likable, but he still made David a slave and had he been there longer, he may have been turned into a sex slave. That’s how these things work. He also made them eat slop. The Hulk should have taken one of the falling rocks and beat Isaac over the head and then shoved the rock up his ass for all the things he did, but the Hulk helped him.

Roy sees the Hulk and runs into a shop and gets his favorite weapon, lit dynamite, ready to throw, which he does. The Hulk catches it and throws it back, blowing Roy right out of the window and he survives, remarkably. It’s remarkable because Roy is old and that launching through the window should have killed him. If my grandmother had dynamite thrown at her and was blown right through a bay window that’s boarded up, she’d be dead. I’d conduct the experiment right now to prove it, but she’s already dead. Damn. We were almost there.

The bad guys go to prison and Marty and Christy escape, but there is no sign of David and this is what really pissed me off about this episode. David always says goodbye to the people he’s grown to like, but he lets Christy think he’s dead. She’s a wreck and he just walks his stuck up ass down the road like nothing happened. He should have at least told her that he was leaving and wished her well instead of leaving her with guilt that she will never overcome. And then, to make matters worse, Marty makes a move on her at the end, inviting her to go trucking with him. Keep it in your pants you prick.

SLAVES is a mediocre episode of Hulk. Faye Grant is awesome even with the bad accent and big props to Hancock and Tyner in this too. They made the most of it, but this didn’t really feel like a Hulk episode. This is one of those that Hulk is sort of forced into the story. Despite that, it’s worth a watch if you are a fan of the Hulk like I am. There are far worse episodes out there.

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Rating: 5.5/10