Chapter 1: Sacrifice: Hulk 1982 Series Conclusion
Author's Note: Not a story, exactly. More like a script abstract. I wrote this (a couple of years ago at this point) because I did a marathon watching of the series and then was very disappointed that it just kind of stopped because the show was canceled in 1982 without warning. I know there are Hulk tele-movies out there, although I haven't seen them, but I wanted to bring the original series itself to a conclusion, as if they had shot a concluding episode in 1982 as an ending to the fifth and final season. And it seemed to me that to do so must involve David Banner and Jack McGee coming to terms with each other. I used the unfilmed script for 'The Trial of Jack McGee' as a jumping off point, and stuck to the show's formula of two hulk-outs per one hour episode. I hope you like the story.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction based on characters from the television series The Incredible Hulk created by Kenneth Johnson. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Jack McGee is on trial for his life and only David can save him. But coming forward will put David at risk. Is he willing to make that sacrifice for his nemesis? How the TV series might have ended if it hadn't been canceled.
Hulk Series Ending: Sacrifice
- Two Hour Episode -
Other episode references/clips:
The Pilot, Married, The Snare, Danny, Mystery Man, Proof Positive, Equinox, Prometheus, The Harder They Fall, Interview with the Hulk
David Banner (episode pseudonym "David Barrett")
Rudy, Country Club Supervisory Grounds keeper
Trimble, Country Club Grounds keeper
Country Club manager
Mob Thug #1
Mob Thug #2
various police officers
Con man in jail cell
Vagrant in jail cell
Judge and courtroom extras
McGee's editor or possibly Pat
Emerson Fletcher, National Register reporter
various other reporters
Prometheus Project officer
Suburban Chicago country club. Establishing shot of demolished marble fountain in garden. McGee confronts grounds keeper Rudy, who had called him about seeing the Creature but now denies it. Rudy is ill-tempered person and punches McGee. McGee leaves but vows to be back. Evening falls. Seeing that McGee is close on his heels, David gives notice to manager, goes to Rudy's office for final pay check. Rudy spots Trimble doing shoddy work in the garden. Rudy confronts Trimble while David waits in the office. Trimble and Rudy have similar builds and are both dressed in gardening uniforms. It is just after dusk. Two mob thugs appear. They have come to kill Trimble but shoot Rudy instead by mistake. Trimble and David, from opposite ends of the garden, are witnesses. Trimble runs off. Thugs chase Trimble but don't catch him. When they take off after Trimble, David dashes out to see if Rudy is still alive. When he realizes Rudy is dead he runs away. Thugs spot David running from the body but before they can pursue, McGee re-enters. He has the dart gun in his belt (ever-ready to take down the Creature or 'John Doe' if he finds him). On the way in, McGee angrily asks club manager where Rudy is. Manager replies he's out back with "Barrett" and Trimble. Manager sees the gun in McGee's belt. McGee also spots David running from the body but can't make out the face. Insert shot of Mystery Man and Equinox encounters. Murmurs "John?" questioningly. When McGee reaches Rudy's body thugs knock him out, frame him for Rudy's murder. McGee arrested.
David's apartment - David packing to leave. Hears on news that McGee has been arrested for Rudy's murder. David looks stunned and troubled. He goes to Trimble's house. Minutes later thugs arrive to trash the place. Trimble pulls David into detached garage where Trimble, wife and children are hiding. Neighbor frantically calls police while thugs continue loudly to trash the house. After a few minutes they withdraw. David asks who those men were. Trimble explains that he was a mob accountant who at first offered to turn states' evidence but then lost his nerve and ran away, taking along incriminating evidence as insurance against the mob coming after him. But it hasn't stopped the mob from pursuing him. Trimble says now they've found him and he must protect his family. The Trimbles prepare to flee. David urges Trimble to testify for McGee. Trimble says David should do it. David explains that he (David) will lose everything if he comes forward. Trimble fires back that he will also lose everything, but his everything includes a wife and two kids. Tells David he knows he's not brave but he's a survivor and he intends to live to see his children grow up. David evinces sympathy for his predicament but urges him to testify.
Trimble pretends to agree to go to the police, provided David goes with him. Says he just needs to get the documents against the mob, which are hidden in a satchel in his house. Trimble's wife begs him not to reenter the house. David volunteers to get the satchel. The thugs have been lurking outside Trimble house, hoping he'd return. When they see David go into house they start after him with guns, thinking to threaten him into revealing whereabouts of Trimble. Police arrive at Trimble's house, unwittingly scare off the thugs and arrest David for burglary. Trimble, watching from detached garage, decides this is his only chance to get away. He runs out the back with family.
Jail house. David booked for attempted burglary by officer, who takes his fingerprints. David placed in group cell adjacent to McGee's cell, with a vagrant and a con man. A solid wall separates the cells with a small window grate high at the top. Since he can't see him, David doesn't realize McGee is there. Guard says loudly, "In you go, Barrett," which immediately gets McGee's attention. David tells guard that he's innocent, there's been a mistake, he must get out of there. David has brief conversation with con man, just long enough to establish that con man is not a nice guy. McGee has heard everything. McGee's cell is separated by a wall so they can't see each other, but McGee tries to initiate a conversation at the bars. Recalling the name "Barrett," McGee asks if he worked with Rudy. It is clear by David's expression that he recognizes McGee's voice. McGee asks if "Barrett" saw who really killed Rudy and begs him to tell police McGee is innocent. David says nothing. McGee tries again: "Say, Barrett, have we met somewhere before? Your voice sounds familiar." David remains silent. Shrinks to opposite corner of cell. Con man takes note of David's reaction. Guard calls lights out.
Later at night. Vagrant is sleeping. David is sitting with his head in his hands in the bunk furthest from McGee's cell, lost in thought. Con man playing solitaire in bunk closest to McGee's cell. In flashback, McGee hears snippet of David's voice from Equinox or Mystery Man. Murmurs again "John?" Quietly gets con man's attention, asks him to describe "Barrett." Con man does. McGee asks con man if he's heard of the Creature and $10,000 reward. ($10,000 was a more impressive amount of money in 1982!) Is he aware that there is a man who turns into the Creature? Yes and yes, although con man has never believed that man-to-hulk metamorphosis stuff. McGee says he thinks "Barrett" is John Doe, and tells con man the reward is his if he'll show David's face through the grating. Con man wakes the vagrant without alerting David and whispers to him to help man-handle David. They grab him and try to hoist him up to the window grate. David struggles wildly. Hulks out before McGee can see his face. Creature tosses the men aside, rips out the bars to his cell and escapes, leaving McGee still trapped in his (McGee's) cell.
McGee's trial. Trial goes badly. Thugs follow the trial to make sure McGee takes the fall for Rudy's murder. David seeks out Trimble to testify but Trimble is long gone. Deep moral quandary, much soul-searching. Then a look of philosophical resignation, almost a faint smile. David calls McGee's lawyer, saying he will be at courthouse the next morning. McGee's lawyer announces to press that he'll have "a surprise witness for the defense" the next day. Thugs hear this, surmise that "surprise witness" must be either Trimble or David, both of whom they want to get their hands on. Thugs waylay David as he enters the courthouse. Start to beat him, demanding to know where Trimble is. Hulk-out. Thugs subdued.
David comes to in an appropriately isolated woody area somewhere near courthouse. It's past noon. He realizes time is running out to testify on McGee's behalf. Finds new clothes and enters court just as defense is about to reluctantly "rest." McGee absolutely stunned as David takes the stand. David stares straight at McGee with almost defiant look as he gets sworn in, saying slowly and deliberately, "I, David (beat) Bruce (beat) Banner, do solemnly swear to tell the truth (beat) the whole truth (beat) and nothing but the truth, so help me God." Cue "Hulk" theme, fade out.
A few days later. Television reporter outside courthouse files report recapping "the stunning developments that took place earlier this week." Dr. David Banner, believed dead these five years, testified and Jack McGee is free. Fingerprints confirmed Banner's identity and witnesses from around the country confirmed that Banner is the elusive John Doe who metamorphosizes into the Creature. Banner now in protective custody while police, going on Banner's description, hunt for the real murderers of Rudy. Reporter notes that DA hasn't ruled out bringing charges against Banner for crimes allegedly committed by the Creature, i.e., suspected murder of Dr. Elaina Marks and five year's worth of assaults and massive property damage.
McGee talking to his editor (or Pat?). Editor and random passing colleagues congratulate McGee on his vindication. Editor says this story will put McGee back on top again, restore his reputation and his weekly column. Says, "I always knew this Hulk thing would pay off one of these days." Suggests even a raise may not be out of the question. McGee is surprisingly unenthusiastic, appears troubled and conflicted. He goes to Emerson Fletcher and muses that he never expected "John Doe the freak" to turn out to be Dr. Banner - someone he knew and respected. He realizes now that he was holding Dr. Banner responsible for the death of his closest colleague Elaina Marks, causing Banner to pretend to be dead, to stay cut off from his family, on the run. Asks Fletcher why Fletcher never told him "John Doe" was David Banner. Instead of answering, Fletcher gives McGee the Interview with the Hulk tapes so McGee will understand what David's been through over the past five years. We see flashbacks of the events referred to in the tapes as McGee starts to review them, particularly the auto accident that caused the death of David's first wife and led to his reckless experiment, and his relationship with Dr. Caroline Fields (including insert shot of her dramatic death in Married).
Cut to jail house. David lies on a bunk in a cell, utterly drained and despairing, staring at the ceiling. Through the bars an officer from the Prometheus Project is talking to him, although David makes no response. The officer says the government can make all his troubles go away if he will join the Prometheus team. Officer speaks in awed tones about the military benefits of harnessing the Creature's power. When that doesn't get a reaction, officer connivingly suggests the regenerative properties of the Creature's high metabolic rate should be studied for potential cures to disease. Notes David's recovery from paralysis in The Harder They Fall and speculates that the Creature's cells might have held the cure for Caroline's illness, if David and her doctors had only had the kinds of resources Prometheus could offer. Promises that Prometheus will "take good care of" David. David turns to the wall, signaling that the 'conversation' is over.
Shot of thugs getting instructions from their boss on the phone - find out what David knows about Trimble's whereabouts if they can, but in any case they must kill him.
McGee goes to see David. Tells David he has heard Fletcher's tapes and now understands everything. McGee apologizes for hunting David all this time, says he no longer believes the Creature killed Elaina. David says that whether they try him for Elaina's death or not, he will never be free again. Prometheus team already making plans and McGee knows better than anyone what that means. Even without Prometheus, his face and identity have been broadcast all over the national media and there is no where he can go to find peace or rest. McGee says David saved his life more than once, including most recently saving him from life imprisonment. Story be damned, government be damned, McGee will do everything he can to help David.
Cut to shot of money changing hands. Thugs have bribed a police guard to sneak them into the police station so they can kill David (and McGee since he's around). Thugs take down the guards around the cell, start to attack McGee and David. David hulks out in front of an amazed and intimidated McGee ("Oh my God"), tosses the thugs around, picks up McGee and runs. Thugs come to and stalk McGee and David through the police station, a la "Terminator" but with less massive firepower.
Creature transforms back into David in front of McGee. McGee's response: "Remarkable." David finds a shirt somewhere, and he and McGee elude the thugs as best they can. On the way, in a series of quiet moments while hiding and evading, a heart-to-heart between the two men. These short scenes are inter-cut with brief shots of the thugs fending off the cops and continuing the chase. McGee offers condolences for Caroline's passing. David is very moved, recognizing this reference to Caroline is sincere, in contrast to the Prometheus officer's cynical attempt at emotional manipulation. David says wistfully that, in an odd way, McGee is his closest friend in the world. McGee is the only person who truly understands his situation because McGee's life has also been dominated by the Creature. David says they've both lived lonely shadow lives for the past five years. They've both been running - one chasing the Creature and one chasing the cure. Lost time, lost chances, lost love. (Possible flashback of Pat from Proof Positive to reflect McGee's lost chances.)
We see in flashback Caroline dying in the Creature's arms, and then the Creature crying at the death of Elaina Marks. Finally, we see a flashback of the Creature smiling at the infant Danny (Danny) or perhaps holding a nest of baby birds (The Snare). David says he knows the Creature feels other emotions besides anger and asks McGee to tell him about the Creature's personality when he isn't raging. McGee describes a child-like being, bewildered yet curious, innocent, tender and surprisingly gentle. David smiles at this.
With difficulty McGee confesses that since the trial he has been tormented by the realization that his relentless and selfish pursuit of David has sabotaged David's efforts to stay in one place long enough to find a cure. David forgives him. McGee promises to persuade the National Register to use the $10,000 reward money for research to cure David's condition (note: $10,000 went a lot farther in 1982). When David asks how the readers will feel about that, McGee dryly observes that the public loves happy endings. David is sad and skeptical, tells McGee he fears that he will become a lab rat, or worse, the military will try to force him to experiment on others. Ominously vows he will destroy himself and the Creature rather than let that happen. McGee looks very worried.
Final confrontation. David and McGee flee to the roof of the station house. The thugs are hot on their heels and David is shot once in the shoulder. The rooftop door is jammed and David, in a combination of pain and frustration, hulks out trying to get it open. Thugs continue to fire at them as they run through the door. The Creature shoves McGee ahead of him onto the roof and shields McGee with his body. The Creature takes one bullet in the leg and one in the back, and staggers onto the roof. His gun empty, one thug rushes McGee. They struggle and are knocked over the ledge. Thug falls to his death. The Creature grabs McGee's arm to keep him from falling. McGee is dangling over the edge. Second thug shoots at the stationary target of the Creature, hitting him in the chest two more times. At this point the Creature is badly wounded and in a kneeling position, breathing with difficulty. One arm is useless and he looks like he's going to pass out and let McGee fall. The thug moves cautiously towards him, preparing to shoot him in the head, when the Creature, with one final massive exertion, swings McGee around like a club and knocks the thug away. McGee lands on the roof and grabs the gun. Police gain the roof and subdue the remaining thug.
As he lies bleeding to death the Creature transforms back into David. McGee tells him not to move, help is on the way. McGee starts yelling at the cops to get a medic, but David says, "It's alright. I'm ready. I'm free." David dies.
Final long crane tracking shot upwards and wide as we see McGee start (manfully) to cry over David's body while police arrest the remaining thug. Fade out. Cue "lonely man" piano theme and roll credits.