“Why was Face only in two scenes here? Were they each recording solo albums that month or something?”
It’s a new week, and what better way to start it off with some of my favorite Mr. T video moments! (This is not a way for me to avoid writing something for this recap, by the way. I always planned to do this. I am always prepared, seriously.)
This may be the most complicated plug for cereal ever – if you buy our cereal, you’ll be “eating with the team that’s teaming up with Mr. T.” Wouldn’t it have just been easier to say you’re teaming up with Mr. T? Or is there some rule that civilians must remain two degrees away from T for their own safety?
If you’re looking to complete this nutritious breakfast, why not go apple picking with the big guy as well?
And let’s wrap up this morning’s fun with a clever remix pitting Mr. T’s Clubber Lang character against a very Rocky-sounding Superman and a very, very Burgess Meredith-sounding Hawkman.
File this under “dramatic renewal of purpose”! Now let’s get down to business:
Wild Guess Preview: You know how Murdock has that video game in his room at the VA hospital? Well, one day he manages to set a new world record on the machine, and the world is totally into Murdock-mania. But the former record holder is enraged and develops the “E.T.” game for the Atari, a game so bad it nearly cripples the video game industry. Murdock and the team have to develop their own game before it’s Game Over on electronic fun.
The Recap: Hell yeah, the Aquamaniac is back! Hannibal is back in Hollywood, filming some new scenes, only he has to take a phone call from Face, who says he’s conducting some “business” but is actually just cavorting with some swimsuit ladies near a swimming pool. “Hef” says he’ll fly back to L.A. in a few days, that Murdock and B.A. are driving back ahead of him, and that, despite their pronounced differences, they “should get to LA in one piece.”
And so we check in with B.A. and Murdock, who are… laughing together? They haven’t had any fights or any van problems in two full days on the road – “luck is on our side now,” Murdock says. They pull into a gas station, both of them busting out with laughter; B.A. goes in to fill up on milk while Murdock refills the gas tank. Nearby, two guys in a blue car steal a pocket calendar – their getaway car won’t start, so they carjack (or, technically, vanjack) Murdock, even though Murdock warns them that taking B.A.’s beloved van “is like taking downtown Tokyo away from Godzilla.” They flash their pieces by way of insisting, and so Murdock drives off with squealing tires (the crooks wonder where he learned to drive. Murdock: “I saw ‘Cannonball Run’ five times.” Man, Murdock’s on a roll this week.) B.A., laden with milk, sees the van peel out, not realizing Murdock’s being taken hostage. He yells out “Where you going, fool?” and then tries to follow in the blue car, which fails to start again. Finally he gets it started and peels out to follow his own van.
A milk and gas run they would never forget. But neither would their attackers.
As if the scene weren’t complicated enough, the police are on scene at the gas station, and for some reason they think B.A. and Murdock were teaming up with the carjackers, instead of unwilling victims: “there were four of them,” says the one cop. “They had a van and a four-door Chevy!” B.A. catches up to the crooks at a police roadblock; he and Murdock knock the thugs out, but the cops move in and hold them all at gunpoint, arresting them for armed robbery.
And we were having such a good road trip! Now we’re at the police station; B.A. warns the fingerprint officer that he “better make sure nothing happens to my gold.” Murdock is cranky, too: he promises a “$35 million lawsuit” against the police, mostly because nobody offered him lunch! The sheriff says the two crooks, Logan and Malcolm, pinned their whole armed robbery on B.A. and Murdock; they insist they only went along because B.A. threatened them. Murdock is incensed- pointing at B.A. he says “Does he look the kind of guy who would threaten somebody?” Pause for comedic effect. “Let me rephrase that.” Murdock uses his jailhouse phone call to warn Hannibal, who promises that he’ll drive right out to help. He also warns that Decker will certainly be there too, once B.A.’s fingerprints go through the system. Which is exactly what happens, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
I’m Colonel Decker. My associate, Lieutenant Black, is busy cleaning up another case. Ha!
The cops send B.A. and Murdock to the work farm, where they meet up with George Clooney and go on a madcap adventure through Depression-era Mississippi. No, actually, they get a rundown of the rules from a Cool Hand Luke-style prison guard, and a little taunting from the two robbers. Murdock sure hopes Hannibal has a good plan, and yeah, it’s a beaut: Hannibal introduces himself to the small town cops as… Colonel Decker! “The military moves fast when it comes to the A-Team,” he says. “We’ve been after this Baracus for a long time.” He gets the arrest records and personal effects and heads out – just before the real Decker shows up. Sheriff Bickford gives the traditional “ruh roh” look.
Lao Tzu said if a man rushes at you carrying a giant board, best to hold off on an attack.
Hannibal’s on his way to the work camp, and he fills Face in on the mission by phone as he drives. (And that’s all the Face we get in this episode – first B.A., now Face?!?) B.A. and Murdock are trying to play it cool at the camp, but Logan, one of the two crooks, tries to attack B.A. with his pickaxe. Not wise – B.A. defends himself by pulling a wooden support beam from the ground – but then a woman drives up and holds the whole work crew at gunpoint, so as to help Logan and Malcolm escape. Logan handcuffs B.A. and Murdock together just to be a jerk, and the getaway lady shoots a guard before they exeunt. The teamers decide to take the guard to the hospital even though it means they’ll probably give themselves up.
Decker’s at the hospital too: “This has Hannibal Smith written all over it,” he says. He and the sheriff (who looks like the lovechild of Harry Dean Stanton and Townes Van Zandt) seal off the exits – well, sort of, because five seconds later Murdock pushes B.A. out the door in a wheelchair, posing as an orderly. He takes a moment to apologize for having to give up B.A.’s gold at the police station. “That’s all right,” says a magnanimous B.A. “If I don’t get it back I’ll just have to kill you.” Decker tries to follow, but Murdock managed to dislodge a fire hydrant in his getaway and this slows the MPs down.
Murdock had warned Hannibal that Logan was planning to go to Russell Farm and pick up some stashed loot from a past robbery, so the colonel makes his way to Russell Farm just ahead of Logan’s dudes. They lock the doors and stay low, and when Logan and company arrive the guns start a blazin.
Death Race 1985, starring H.M. Murdock as Frankenstein and Mary Woronov as B.A. Baracus
Back in the ambulance, Murdock, who’s never really been a fugitive like the others, is kind of enjoying himself – he even psychoanalyzes B.A., saying that the reason B.A. hates to fly is because he has a need for control, and can’t simply be a passenger. B.A. responds by taking over the driving in the ambulance, and because of the way he’s cuffed to Murdock that means H.M. has to ride on the outside of the vehicle. Fortunately for Murdock the engine overheats shortly thereafter, but it also means they’re without wheels just as Decker’s en route to their location. They have to hide under a big pile of brush to avoid Decker, using the ambulance’s oxygen masks to breathe. Decker drives away and they’ve bought themselves a little time to find Hannibal.
Hannibal escapes to the Orkin Man underground
The colonel is still under heavy fire at Russell Farm, where Mrs. Russell explains her late husband was Logan’s partner and that Logan thinks the money from their last bank job is on the premises. Hannibal rigs up a flamethrower using some old garden hose and the kitchen stove, but he says it can’t last forever and is counting on his friends to come by soon and help.
Wind powered, yes, but where’s the armor plating?
Those friends are running toward Russell Farm, but they stop because Murdock hears the wind howling?!? They head back to the ambulance and start up a montage, building and then driving a wind-powered dune buggy! B.A. says “it sounded like a dumb idea, but I gotta hand it to you, Murdock…. it works.” They make it to the Russell Farm, only a tad late – Logan has driven his car through the wall, punched Hannibal and yelled at Mrs. Russell about finding the missing money. Hannibal, eyeing Logan’s big knife suspiciously, fibs that he can find the money, it’s in the field out back. So Logan makes him dig for it.
Ishtar memories flooding back… can’t handle it… aaaagh
B.A. and Murdock are scampering around the farm, cutting themselves free from the handcuffs with a hacksaw and looking for a way to help the colonel. Murdock disguises himself as a scarecrow, although he actually looks more like one of the characters in “Ishtar” (I’ve repressed which one). B.A. lights the Russell pickup truck on fire, which is a big enough diversion that Hannibal can take out some of the thugs. Murdock launches himself about 100 feet from his scarecrow perch and tackles the other dudes, and B.A. takes out Logan himself with some punches. Everyone loves Murdock’s disguise: “Not bad, Murdock,” says Hannibal. “For a strawman,” laughs B.A. Mrs. Russell asks if Hannibal’s ever thought of hiring himself out to help people. Hannibal laughs. “We ought to think about that, huh, guys?”
The sheriff arrives to find Logan and his men all taken care of, so Mrs. Russell gets a reward. “I suppose there’s a reward for the A-Team,” he adds, but she won’t turn on the guys because they saved her life. The sheriff says ok, we’ll look for them ourselves. But Hannibal, B.A. and Murdock are already driving toward the state line in the Corvette. Murdock says don’t worry, I have my lucky rabbit’s foot again. B.A. thinks the foot has brought them only bad luck, and sure enough, they cross paths with one of Decker’s cars at that moment. So B.A. throws the rabbit’s foot out the window as the credits roll.
Very good! Decker’s always welcome in my book, and the various story elements made for a unique plot that was complex without being complicated. That said, why was Face only in two scenes, especially in the episode right after B.A. was only in one scene? Were they each recording solo albums that month or something?