My Year With The A-Team: Season 2, Episode 10 – Steel

Hannibal, Murdock and B.A. work as window washers

“All the hard-luck people on this show are single dads and daughters – this is during the Great Mom Shortage of ’83, remember.”

Here’s something interesting: in reading back the recaps from earlier in this project, I developed a very intense cold right around episode 10 of season one. What you are reading now is the recap of episode 10 in season two. And guess what I’ve developed?

Actually, this time the viral infection is taking a grand tour around my system, so it’s a little more intense than the Season One Health Calamity. It’s also a fan of variety, meaning every day brings a new set of symptoms. I went to the doctor on Wednesday and tried to describe what was going on: “On Saturday I had a sore throat, and I still do now, only not quite as sore, but my congestion has gotten worse, and it hurts when I swallow, but that’s even not as bad as it was this morning…” My poor doc must have wondered why he asked – “what hurts” is a pretty straightforward question, and I’m giving him a complicated, overly-qualified run-on ramble. “Dude, I’m just asking if you have a cough,” he must’ve thought. “You’re not in Faulkner class. Just keep quiet and let me do my job, ass.”

To counteract the germs’ penchant for switching things up, I’ve begun a period of complete routine. I wake, eat, sleep and work at the same time everyday, and eat nothing but Spaghetti-Os. I figure this will either cancel out the germs and make me well, or it’ll confuse me so badly that I forget what day it is, and another week of being sick will go by without me noticing. Either way, I’ll be restored to health in time to get sick in the middle of Season 3!


Steel

Wild Guess Preview: The A-Team’s old connection at the State Department, the one who got them out of Colonel Lynch’s clutches in Season 1, has a new mission for them: he needs an outside group to negotiate a new set of steel tariffs with the Soviet bloc. The team tries gamely to represent America’s trade interests, until they realize the lead Soviet negotiator isn’t just after steel, he’s a cyborg made of steel. So they blow him up.

The Recap: Looks like they’ve mixed the intro up a bit – I see Murdock in his Captain Cab getup BUT I DO NOT SEE TRIPLE A. We’re on a construction site, where an older guy named Mickey and his niece are upset that their construction project is going slower than expected. “It’s Denham’s fault,” says the guy. I notice a lot of the hard-luck people on this program are single dads and daughters, or men and their nieces – this is during the Great Mom Shortage of ’83, remember. Uncle sort of stumbles and clutches his chest, and then something blows up (“like a storm raging inside you”? No, it’s the construction office). Denham’s thugs show up and laugh at Mickey, but he vows not to give up.

Face looks at his past
Oh crap, does Lloyd Bridges work at this park too?

Transition! We’re at the water park that Hannibal likes to use as an HQ. Mickey did have a heart attack, but he’s well enough to have visited “Mr. Lee” at the Chinese laundry, so we know who they’re looking for. They get off the tram ride and bump into Hannibal, who’s in his Aquamaniac costume from the pilot! Face is standing nearby; a Cylon robot walks past and he does a double-take in a clever reference to his past life on “Battlestar Galactica”. They all pile into a tram car and drive away to talk amidst some beautiful rear-projected nature scenes. “We’re being sabotaged by Carl Denham,” says Uncle Mickey. Denham, you see, muscles out his competitors by underbidding on contracts and then using substandard materials to keep costs down. He’s also got a lot of political clout, which begs the question how did Mickey get this building contract in the first place? B.A. is intrigued: “I think I’d like to meet this dude, maybe help him with his bridge work – like busting up his mouth!” Sounds like a mission to me.

Murdock gets a dog biscuit
The wackiest retelling of “Cujo” to date!

So Face has to go spring Murdock from the hospital, which we haven’t seen him do in a while – this time Murdock says he’s contracted rabies from Billy the invisible dog! Face, who’s posing as an Animal Health board guy, says the rabies was actually from “dogs… who escaped… from Germany.” He feeds Murdock a dog biscuit while locking one of the orderlies into Murdock’s room.

Beethoven: The Berlin Affair movie poster
Well it’s a dog who escaped from Germany, isn’t it?

The awesome van stops by Mickey’s construction site while Denham’s muscleheads try to steal Mickey’s workers away. B.A. and his sharp-looking gold hardhat inform the thugs that they need to leave, but one of them tries to get the team to sign their roster. Hannibal, amused, tears the roster out of the clipboard and hands it to B.A., who eats it. “Got anything else you’d like us to chew over?” Hannibal asks.

B.A. eats the roster
This is what people had to eat before Fourthmeal was invented.

The roster is just a snack before the main course of fistfighting, of course, so Hannibal and B.A. start wailing on the dudes and Face and Murdock show up in Face’s cool 80’s Corvette. (As he pulls up, Face sees the fistfight getting underway and says to Murdock, “It’s almost predictable by now, isn’t it?” Ha!) Punches, punches, punches, and then B.A. tosses most of the thugs into a wheelbarrow and hauls them away. Face notes Denham’s thugs will let Denham know about the team and will retaliate, but Hannibal says why let them send the warning “when we can do it so much better?” No one says it but it sounds like Hannibal’s on the jazz.

Denham has his own construction site, and he’s adamant that the building Mickey’s working on should not be torn down. A thug named Carl says don’t worry, tomorrow is payday for Mickey and since they blew up his payroll at the beginning of the show all his workers will walk off the job. Denham says good, but I’m still probably going to have you killed. Hannibal is watching all this while dressed as a hardhat guy; he tells Face to follow the limo while he investigates Denham’s finances – see, Denham is paying his workers in cash and he’s not taking out FICA, which Hannibal says “undermines everything this country stands for.” So Hannibal believes America’s greatest virtue is payroll deduction? He confronts the thugs just as Murdock roller-skates by a sign that says “high explosives, no short wave frequencies” and throws a radio at it, causing a big explosion. Hannibal punches out some guys and makes a getaway in the catering truck; the thugs chase him, but the awesome van arrives and Murdock fires machine gun rounds at the thug car’s tires and they flip over and that’s the end of that. The thugs make tired, worried faces, because Denham is gonna be really mad over this.

Face is apprehended
Is Gordon Jump’s clone really the best casting choice for a thug role?

Denham’s limo pulls up at some posh looking place, and Face is right behind him; he has a whole scam worked out where he’s going to hand over a wallet the guy “dropped” outside. But then he gets a good look and recognizes the guy as Tommy Tillis – aka “Crazy Tommy T.” He calls Hannibal to make him aware – see, Crazy Tommy is a big-ass mob boss. They don’t yet know why Denham is working with him, but Hannibal wants Face to stay on him, which Face is all too not eager to do. A goon brings Face over to meet with Tillis, and he has to cook up a story that he’s a reporter working undercover on a story. Tillis wants his car keys – eep, Face doesn’t like this. Tommy takes a call from Denham and gets very mad about his thugs getting beat up and his money getting stolen, so they take Face along to scope it out.

The rest of the team is doing some window-washing on a high-rise building. Murdock is singing along to “Roxanne” by The Police! Ooh, now there’s an idea for an episode: Sting contacts the A-Team to investigate the little black spot on the sun today. Or to do surveillance on whoever he’s singing about in “Every Breath You Take.”

The A-Team: Regatta de Blanc
But wouldn’t Murdock be more likely to sing “Voices in My Head”?

B.A. gets annoyed by the singing and tosses the radio to the sidewalk, many stories below. But that’s just as well, because Hannibal, who’s listening in on a surveillance type wire, hears Tillis telling one of the henchmen that the building Stern is demolishing used to be his warehouse – and that his old partner is buried within its walls! The henchmen offers to help deal with Stern’s buddies, but Tillis says he’ll do it himself – after all, he’s already got one of them. Hannibal realizes they’re talking about Face and they have to get downstairs fast, to Tillis’s limo.

Face is, in fact, in the limo; he borrows a light for his cigar from the guard, and sniffs some sherry. Then he spills sherry all over and lights it and runs for it, just as the A-Team van pulls into the parking garage. Face dives in and they head out. Tillis and company get into the limo even though it was on fire a second ago, and they give chase… until they run over one of those spiky strips and their tires immediately flatten. The thugs waxes eloquent and detailed: “It was them!” Tillis is furious – he wants “soldiers” with “automatic weapons” so he can take the team out for good.

The team drives off to regroup, realizing that they’re now a long ways away from the little business dispute they thought they were hired on to fix. But at least they know where the bodies are buried – literally – and so they warn Uncle Mickey and his crew off the job for the time being, while they do a preparation montage, loading up their guns and going straight for the stash of large explosives. Hannibal has control of the wrecking ball, which seems wise and safe. So the thugs arrive; Tillis blasts many rounds into the construction trailer, but there’s no one around and so they drive over to find the partner’s body. Hannibal greets them and explains there’s a hard way and an easy way; shortly, he and the team will open up Tommy’s worst whoopass nightmares and he’ll “wish that the earth opened up and swallowed you whole.” Tommy says what’s the easy way, then? “That was the easy way,” snickers Hannibal. Good one. Then along comes Face in a big bulldozer driven by B.A., and he’s firing a machine gun. Hannibal starts shooting too, as do Tillis and his friends. Murdock is lobbing sticks of dynamite at them, which gets a few guys to fly in the air and subsequently flee; also, B.A. picks up one of the cars with his bulldozer and makes it explode. Hannibal drops the wrecking ball on Tillis’s car and says “Nice.” By the way, where are all the “soldiers” Tillis wanted? He brought the same six guys that he had all along! Tillis and company have no choice but to raise their hands and surrender.

Hannibal drops the hammer
Existential joy is dropping big things on thugs

Time now for Uncle Mickey to thank the team for their help and wrap things up. Hannibal notes that Crazy Tommy T is looking at a long time behind bars, as is Denham – Mickey adds that his crew just “found the evidence” that Tommy’s old partner was buried there. Murdock starts up his dog routine, but before B.A. can tell the fool to shut up, Hannibal reminds B.A. that he’s due for a haircut. Whaaaa? He and B.A. head off to the barbershop. That’s where the show ends – a trip to the barbershop.

So the post-Triple A era of the show kicks off with a bang, though there’s definitely a shadow cast here by her absence. And with no excuses made about that absence, either! Did she quit the team? Was she on assignment? Did a mobster bury her in some concrete? All we know is that her roles seemed to slide further and further down until she wasn’t doing anything but escorting the other female characters around, and then she was gone completely. Controversial, perhaps, but a little closure would be nice.

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