Believe it or not, prior to his transformation into a supervillain, Dr. Otto Octavius was a respected nuclear scientist. Then he got exposed to excessive radiation, gained the ability to mentally control his mechanical harness, and went insane.
This episode features an equally intelligent but crazed scientist. He has radical (not 80s-slang-for-interesting, the regular "extreme" kind of radical) scientific theories that put him at odds with the scientific community.
During his P.E. class, Peter Parker eagerly waits for his upcoming science class. Not for the reasons you might expect; he has a crush on his red-headed classmate Sonya.
During the class he ignores the lecture about the new nuclear power plant that has been constructed. It has some impressive stats: 5 years to complete, multi-million dollar funding, able to generate 10 million kWh of power per ounce of uranium. Instead he daydreams about swinging around town with Sonya in his arms. He's in costume, but she knows his identity. [He's got the hots for a red-head. They've done that much right.] After class Sonya asks if Peter can tutor her tonight. He practically jumps at the offer.
While Peter happily swings across town to Sonya's place, someone breaks into the new power plant and locks himself inside. Calling himself the Master Technician, he provides the necessary exposition by means of soliloquy. This is commonly referred to as "talking to yourself". He recounts the many people who have laughed at him and his theories [Maybe it's the fact he refers to himself as the "Master Technician" instead of, oh, "Jerry"]. Having commandeered the plant, he has modified the equipment to prove these theories in a highly public manner.
His first demonstration creates an earthquake in Manhattan. This grabs the attention of Spider-Man, who would prefer to be elsewhere at the moment. Once again putting his personal needs aside, he resigns to investigate the earthquake.
A crowd gathers around the power plant. The Master Technician makes an announcement that he is responsible for the earthquake. People must pay for their insolence. He explains that he created the earthquake to loosen the bedrock of the island. He promises to cause an even bigger disaster if his demands are not met. When they are ignored, he harnesses the power of the plant to manipulate the "anti-gravity rays" and lifts the island of Manhattan into the air. Master Technician then demands $100 million, a reactor or his own, and amnesty or he'll drop the island [Wouldn't that kill him too? Bad plan, dude.]
Before he tries to stop the Master Technician, Peter decides to call Sonya and check on her. [At first I thought that was a mistake, but the entire island was lifted. The phone lines, power, and everything else should be intact.] She desperately wants him to stay with her but he lies, claiming that he has to stay with his aunt. She knows his aunt is out of town and thinks he's ditching her for another girl. She then hangs up on him.
Annoyed with the Master Technician for wrecking his date, Spider-Man makes this battle personal. He knows that a frontal assault is out of the question because the plant is protected by the "anti-gravity" rays, so he decides to enter the plant from below.
Carefully swinging underneath the city from outcropping to outcropping, Spider-Man makes his way to the plant and enters the facility through the heat/air conduits. This is exactly what the Technician wanted.
He correctly theorizes that Spider-Man's powers are the result of radioactivity. He has a special surprise waiting on him when he arrives. Upon Spider-Man's arrival, he uses his "anti-radiation" to weaken Spider-Man. Even in his weakened state, Spider-Man is able to dodge the laser blast meant for him, which damages the master control panel. This sends Manhattan plummeting to the ground.
Spider-Man webs up the Master Technician and manages to stop Manhattan's free fall by using the modifications the Technician added.
When Peter calls Sonya to check on her, she has already moved on to another guy - his rival Rodney Rogers.
I remember watching this episode when I was a kid. I didn't care too much for it then, but for the sake of objectivity, it's not too bad.
For some reason, this episode marks the beginning of the series practice of coloring the villains a shade of green. There is neither rhyme nor reason for this decision. If it was to help identify who Spider-Man was going to punch, kick, or web then it was overkill.
The swinging sequences weren't drug out too much. It actually seemed to fit the story instead of pad it.
3 webs. The plot was relatively sound, surprisingly enough. The Master Technician had only one real flaw - a nasally laugh. He was competent but clearly insane; that's how we like our villains.