"The Beast Within" is the fourth episode of season one of the sci-fi/superhero television series The Incredible Hulk, which aired for five seasons from 1978 to 1982. The episode was directed by Kenneth Gilbert and written by Karen Harris and Jill Sherman. It first aired on CBS on Friday, March 17th, 1978. In this episode, David Banner takes up a job at a zoo so that he can get close to a scientist who may hold the key towards controlling his anger issues. Doing so however, drops him in the middle of a conspiracy between several of the zoo's administrators. Plus, the Hulk fights a gorilla!

Synopsis Edit

Incredible Hulk 1x04 001

Claudia Baxter and David Banner.

David Banner assumes the alias of David Bradburn and takes up a job as a janitor at a zoo. His true reasons for accepting the position however is so that he can get close to Doctor Claudia Baxter, a scientist who has been working on a theory concerning behavioral traits in animals. After engaging in some chit chat with the chief custodian, Joe, David manages to get himself introduced to Doctor Baxter. She dismisses him at first, and it becomes clear that she is a woman completely consumed by her work. David shows off his scientific prowess and Claudia realizes that he is more than just a mere janitor.

Claudia invites David into her laboratory where they discuss the theory that aggressive behavior in animals may be biochemical and not psychological. This is a theory that interests David at length, but he does not reveal why. Claudia is also knowledgeable of the work of the "late" David Banner, whom she considers brilliant albeit long-winded. Claudia has developed a compound called AGD-4, which she uses in her test subjects. Together, Claudia and David agree to further Banner's theories by testing an experimental behavioral process on a gorilla named Elliott.

As time passes, David learns more about the inner politics of the zoo itself. He discovers one of the head animal handlers disposing of a supposedly deceased chimpanzee. David takes a quick glance at the animal and suspects that it may not be dead at all. Karl curtly dismisses David's concerns and goes about his work. Claudia is charged with performing the autopsies on all of the deceased animals at the zoo, but her boss, a doctor named Malone blocks her efforts at every turn.

David overhears Malone and Karl conspiring with one another about the growing rate of animal deaths at the zoo. A third man named Jagger is present and is clearly in charge of some nefarious secret operation between the three of them. David has no idea what they are involved with, but he knows they are up to no good.

Incredible Hulk 1x04 006

The Hulk roars at a gorilla.

Karl, suspecting that David may be getting too close to the truth, goes to Claudia's laboratory. He injects Elliot the gorilla with Baxter's experimental drug, knowing that it will cause the beast to fly into a rage. He then locks David inside the cage with the animal. The normally docile Elliot begins pounding his chest and growling as David tries to back away. He leaps upon him and throws him against the bars of the cage. David knows that there is no way he will be able to maintain control and he transforms into the Hulk. The Hulk tosses the gorilla back and forth across the cage, before finally bursting free himself. Claudia Baxter enters the lab just as the Hulk breaks out and runs off into the zoo. Several visitors catch sight of the Hulk including a bus full of tourists and a little girl who feeds the Hulk a handful of peanuts. The Hulk hides in the great cat preserve and eventually turns back into Banner.

Claudia Baxter continues to press Malone into yielding details about the various animal deaths. Her autopsy reports are doctored and countermanded, which makes her look incompetent. Malone tells her that the board is not happy with her findings and that she is dismissed. David comes into the lab just as Claudia is cleaning out her stuff. She tells him that she has been fired and knows that there is something else going on at the zoo. David tells her how Karl locked him inside the cage. When she asks if he saw the creature, David replies that he must have been unconscious at the time. When he came to, the bars of the cage were open. He tells her that Elliot was behaving uncharacteristically aggressive and that she should have his blood tested. Upon doing so, they find that he had been injected with the AGD-4 compound.

Incredible Hulk 1x04 008

Don't monkey with the Hulk!

David asks her where all of the apes originated from and she tells him that every specimen who has died came from South Africa. As an afterthought, David picks up a copy of the National Register and reads an article about a diamond smuggling operation. He correctly theorizes that Jagger, the South African he saw earlier is smuggling diamonds into the US inside of the apes. Enraged, and tired of being bullied, Claudia wants to blow the whistle on the entire operation.

Malone and Karl learn that Claudia and David are onto them and decide to do something about it. Karl seems to have measurable control over Doctor Malone who reluctantly does whatever Karl tells him to do. Karl captures David and Claudia and marches them to one of the animal houses at gunpoint. He has Malone tie David up to a post and instructs him to inject David with a lethal dose of AGD-4. He takes Claudia outside where he intends on killing her and disposing of her body in a remote location. David senses that Malone is not as evil as Karl and pleads with him to let him go. So far his only crime is smuggling, but he refuses to believe that Malone is a murderer. Malone is undeterred however and prepares to kill Banner. David transforms into the Hulk and breaks free, knocking Malone backward onto the ground. Instinctively, he knows that Claudia is in danger and races outside to find Karl's car. He stops Karl from escaping and picks him up, tossing him into a lake.

The following day, Claudia returns to her laboratory as if it were business as usual. David shows up with his duffel bag and tells her that he must be heading on. Claudia wants to David to stay and even offers to make him her partner to further their work together. David smiles, but she knows that she cannot change his mind. David gives her a tender kiss and says good-bye.

Cast Edit

Principal Cast Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • Co-writer Jill Donner is credited as Jill Sherman in this episode.
  • Actress Billie Jean Beach is credited as Billie Beach in this episode. This is Billie's first and only work in episodic television. She previously appeared in two television movies.

Allusions Edit

  • A little girl in the zoo refers to one of the elephants as "Dumbo". This is taken from Dumbo the elephant, the titular character from the 1941 Walt Disney animated film Dumbo.

Bloopers Edit

  • When the Hulk runs away from the laboratory following his fight with the gorilla, the absence of green makeup on the bottom of his feet is clearly noticeable. This was actually a common mishap throughout the course of the series as it was impractical to put makeup on the bottom of Lou Ferrigno's feet. In the same scene, a thin strip of white skin can be seen just above the Hulk's waistline.
  • When the Hulk turns back into David Banner following the first transformation, Banner's shirt is suitably torn, but otherwise fits him well. His pants however are in perfect condition. This too was a common inconsistency throughout the show.

Quotes Edit

  • Joe: She'd sooner spend her time with her microscope and lab animals than anything else.


  • Doctor Claudia Baxter: He's not dangerous. He's got the strength to pull out both your arms if he wanted to , but he's got a temperament of a pussycat.
  • David Banner: That's very comforting.

See also Edit

External Links Edit

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