“The lead villain is threatening goldfish. Would it be easier if I took these guys out?”
And we’re back for season three! I apologize for the delay; I’d been told that while I worked outside in the garden, Mother Nature would be in the house writing A-Team recaps, and that I’d come back in and write on rainy days. We’ve just gone through a pretty long, dry heat wave, and I’m very disappointed to find out Nature hasn’t been keeping her end of the bargain. I did my watering, dammit!
Anyway, we’re looking at a steady run on this season now that we’ve resolved these personnel issues. And it’s just in time, too, because we’re entering what’s often the prime of a show â€“ characters are fleshed out, growing pains are behind us, long-lost cousins have yet to arrive and inject new, unwanted life into the series… it’s going to be great.
Bullets and Bikinis
Wild Guess Preview: A TV-hating terrorist steals Bob Barker’s hair coloring, and the producers can’t tell Bob apart from Hannibal Smith. Neither can the A-Team, oddly; they try to catch the villains, but as they’re taking orders from Bob Barker, all they end up doing is figuring out the price of a sumptuous new living room set. Hannibal, meanwhile, ends up hosting â€œThe Price is Right,â€ and by that I mean he gets into a grenade fight with announcer Johnny Olson, while Janice, Holly and the other Beauties throw flaming Plinko chips into the audience.
One of these things is not like the others…
The Recap: Season Three introduces itself with a slightly updated opening sequence and a slightly risque beach montage with tanned dudes and gals swimming, running and sunning, all set to the tune of â€œSurfin’ U.S.A.â€ There’s also a person in a gorilla suit, just because. And there’s a smallish hotel run by two women, Tina and Sandy, only they’re trying to fend off two guys in atrocious Don Johnson suits who want to shut them down. â€œMy name is trouble,â€ says the one clown, and then he gently knocks over a couple tables – ooh, I’m scared. The head clown, Joey, is in their office, threatening the hotel’s goldfish. Would it just be easier if I took these guys out?
Despite the striking ineptness of their opposition, Tina and Sandy fly to an L.A. nightclub. Hannibal is there, posing as an Irish bartender, and Face is there, posing as a well-dressed dude who likes to ogle women â€“ er, nevermind. Soon they’re discussing the case with Murdock and a very cranky B.A., who’s dealing with a bad tooth. In lieu of an upfront payment, the gals offer the team all the hotel’s profits, so long as they run the place. Jeez, switch Joey out for a ghost or two and this is an episode of â€œScooby Dooâ€! Face and Murdock sing a few bars of â€œSurf Cityâ€ to seal the deal.
Mr. T is tougher than gingivitis
Just one last piece of business before we start this week’s mission: B.A. is off to the dentist! Face knows a good doc, so he comes along and reassures B.A. that he might get a sucker once the dental work is through. â€œA sucker is what I feel like for being here,â€ says B.A. His confidence is buoyed by the pretty hygienist, who leads him into the office to be gassed and then says to Face â€œgive him my phone number when he wakes up.â€ I guess this gas lasts long enough to get B.A. on a plane, because everybody’s in Florida all of a sudden, with Murdock trying to convince B.A. they drove for two days. They all drop by their new hotel and meet the thugs, who they promptly beat up and send back to Joey. â€œI like owning a hotel,â€ laughs Hannibal. â€œNice, quiet life, eh, Face?â€ The next A-Team mission should totally take place on Marvin Gardens or Baltic Avenue.
You guys, Stephen J. Cannell is up there, and he’s only wearing a… ewwwww
Fun is fun, but now it’s time to get some business in the door or the Beach Cove Hotel won’t be around to be hassled by thugs much longer. Face’s long-range marketing plan is to find foreign women on the beach and enlist them to hand out fliers. Meanwhile, Murdock and B.A. (whose tight red beach bodysuit is a major fashion statement) are scoping out Joey’s high-security penthouse suite at another hotel and bickering over who gets to pretend to be the lifeguard. Sandy and Tina aren’t the biggest fans of Face’s other business decisions, namely hiring bikini girls as staff and holding wet t-shirt contests, but Hannibal says it’s all part of a grand plan to defeat Joey, or at least get bought out by a leading men’s magazine.
Speaking of Joey, he’s chewing out his help in a very fast, annoying Richard Dreyfuss-ey patter, and he mumbles something about needing to take over the Beach Cove in the next four days or â€œninfoijeekn fnifoniof eh8ywqer8oweyuâ€ (that’s what it sounded like, anyway). They use a bikini lady to lure Hannibal into their limo, so he can meet Joey face to face. Hannibal pulls a nice bluff, saying that he knows why Joey wants the hotel so badly; Joey’s rattled by this enough to send Hannibal out to sea for a little death action. But the team’s been watching the whole time, and they rescue the colonel before any deep-sea demise.
A little something for the ladies.
Joey is now calling someone called Mr. Carlin to beg forgiveness for screwing up the Hannibal caper and claim to be â€œon top of everything.â€ Hannibal, who got a little roughed up in Joey’s office, is getting his ribs taped and concocting a brilliant plan: they’ll go after Joey’s girlfriend and find out what he’s really after. One of the hotel sisters says the girlfriend swims on a private beach every morning – â€œand usually without her clothes on.â€ Meaning this is a job for Face.
I hear the Murdock comin’… he’s rollin’ round the bend…
The Faceman drops himself onto the aforementioned private beach and pretends to drown, and the girlfriend takes the bait right away, and helps him to shore. She sends the bodyguards off to fetch supplies, and Face drops his cover and ends up getting a date for that night. She says Joey will be at an â€œimportant business meeting,â€ but he’s actually already there, badgering a city council guy called Prescott about turning the town into â€œthe new Las Vegas.â€ The waiter drops by and steals their table’s candle – oh wait, it’s Hannibal, stealing back a hidden tape recorder. Now that they know the whole plan, the team snatches Councilman Prescott off his yacht and ties him to a railroad track, Dudley Do-Right style, until he signs a paper saying he won’t allow rezoning or gambling in town. (Best moment is when Hannibal points at B.A. and says â€œhe’s a notary publicâ€ – even B.A. laughs at this one!) Prescott, hearing the train in the distance, decides to sign, but they leave him in place to freak out… and then we see the â€œtrainâ€ is actually Murdock on a bike with a sound recording of an approaching train. Nice scam. Prescott is miffed, but at least he didn’t wet himself.
The team drops Prescott off in town and suggests he take a long vacation to avoid Joey, but Joey’s already on the scene along with his thugs, and this time they’ve got the jump on the team. Joey’s girlfriend tells Face she’s thought it over and â€œdecided not to see you.â€ Ouch.
Joey takes the team to a hotel that’s under construction and demands to know where the councilman’s signed statement and recording are, but Hannibal says they hid it. Joey then sends his thugs to go find Sandy and Tina, figuring Hannibal will talk if he threatens the clients. He locks the team in a storage room with a concrete door â€“ but Hannibal’s smiling, which means there are like a million construction tools in there. Brilliant work, Joey. And it’s montage time! The team builds some cool-looking makeshift guns out of drill parts and welding torches. â€œThis is almost unfair,â€ laughs Face.
Joey arrives with the gals, and the inevitable firefight begins â€“ Hannibal’s shooting… oil? Water? Not sure, but it makes the thugs run out of the hotel; Murdock continues to take Polaroids of the goings-on. Then he and B.A. shoot some makeshift rockets and thugs are blown into the air and thug cars turn over in midair and things are wrapped up pretty nicely. The toppest thug, Mr. Carlin, arrives expecting a tour of his new hotel from Joey, but instead gets held at gunpoint by Face and Hannibal, who sing â€œMoon Over Miamiâ€ for him. Love all the impromptu singing in this episode!
So everything’s cool again â€“ the gals have their hotel back, the team had fun in Miami, Murdock bought pigs feet… but B.A. has just seen the date and realizes he got to Miami in a day, not two days of driving like everyone told him. And there’s only one answer: choke Murdock. Which is where we leave off.
Not bad! It’s a little more traditional than some of the episodes we had at the end of season two, but visiting Miami was fun and the team came up with some clever new tricks, so it was enjoyable. Only downside? The villains â€“ these guys were absolutely bottom-drawer. Stick to yelling at goldfish, dudes.