My Year With The A-Team: Season 3, Episode 15 – The Big Squeeze

In My Year With the A-Team by Brady Carlson0 Comments

The A-Team at the docks in funeral suits

“Time for the greatest funeral ever held, courtesy of H.M. Murdock.”

I’m Brady Carlson and I have some important news for diabetics on Medicare! No, wait, actually I don’t, I just mistook myself for a mid-morning TV ad. Instead I have a video of Dwight Schultz, the man behind Murdock, imitating a monkey for Dutch people:

Ask your doctor today if this video is right for you. We’ll do the paperwork for you, and if you fail to qualify, your Murdock video is free! Er, yeah.


The Big Squeeze

Wild Guess Preview: Oktoberfest is here, and everybody in the Los Angeles underground – even B.A. – is putting on lederhosen and cooking up bratwurst. The team, never to be outdone, decides to form an accordion-heavy oom-pah band, only to be challenged by another band made up of a mobster, a gang leader, a crooked sheriff and a pushy land developer. The team wins the day mostly with superior musicianship, although grenades are thrown into a few horn bells and that never hurts.

The Recap: Guest starring Wings Hauser, my own personal favorite TV character actor, and not just because he was in “Beastmaster II”! Wings plays Jack Lane, a bearded troublemaker who works for a loan shark called Nathan Vincent. Mr. Vincent is lecturing Jack about coming down a little too hard on an Italian restaurateur named Geno; see, “you gotta know when to, and when not to,” Vincent says. Jack screws this up almost immediately by going down to Geno’s place and punching him for mouthing off. Then he makes him pay more… geez, even loan sharks can’t get good help anymore. Geno’s daughter Teresa is played by Janine Turner, who played Maggie on “Northern Exposure.” (She wasn’t in any of the “Beastmaster” movies though.)

Hannibal and company are already dressed in their waiter duds, ready to help Geno fend off another collections attempt. B.A. stayed up all night building a new homing device for the mission: “I had to use tweezers!” he says. Murdock thinks he’s the head of a restaurant workers’ union, and B.A. is upset by this: “My grievance is, I don’t like you.” Murdock promises to get back to him on that. Despite all this, Geno backpedals and says he’ll solve the problem himself, I imagine by getting the rest of his fingers broken. The team decides to help Geno anyway; Hannibal says there’s a space for rent nearby, and they could run a fake restaurant/sting operation to shut Jack down. Ooh, maybe we’ll get some more of B.A.’s chili? Or Murdock omelets? Face says they don’t know anything about running a restaurant – yes you do, you just ran the Cup A’Joe, in last week’s episode!?! Hannibal also forgets this, but says it’ll nonetheless be a place where “Jackie Lane can get his pants pressed.”

They get the space; Hannibal says they can set up a pub called “The Naked Lady,” because there was such a pub in his last movie, and he can borrow the set pieces through his movie connections. He asks Murdock and Face to get a truck to load the set, while B.A. follows Jackie around to see who else he’s shaking down. Hannibal visits Jack as a mustachioed Irishman, “Sean O’Shea the Third”, and asks for money, though he can’t help but drop a cup of hot coffee in the dude’s lap as he leaves.

Hannibal in his new pub
Tuesday is trivia night; Wednesday drinks are half price – and don’t forget karaoke!

The team has everything they need to start up their little faux restaurant, so we get a preparation montage – painting, set dressing, very little armor plating. There’s a fun moment when they unload the piano and Face plays a jaunty number while Murdock and B.A. try to haul the thing in. Hannibal likes what he sees: “in the words of my dear, departed father,” he says, “bring on the suckers.” The first suckers are Geno and his daughter?!? These two are getting fleeced right out of their restaurant, but they have time to go down the street in fancy clothes and have a night out at a pub?

B.A. runs the bar

B.A. Baracus as Your Bartender

Jack is there, too – “I don’t need reservations,” he tells Face – but Sean O’Shea explains that everyone at the restaurant is a victim of Jack’s loan sharking. “I say, if we can stand up to this man, we can do anything!” Hannibal says, and B.A., who’s behind the bar doing his best Isaac from “Love Boat” impression, gives him a thumbs up. And when Hannibal says he and the others will no longer pay Jackie’s 10 percent-a-week interest rate, the whole crowd stands and applauds. Jackie gets weirded out by this and pulls a gun on Hannibal, but B.A. grabs him from behind and throws him out the door.

Targeting Hannibal
O’Shea. Sean O’Shea.

“He’s dead,” says Jackie, and to prove it he gets a fancy rifle out of his car and waits on the roof of a nearby building. Hannibal seems to anticipate this, because he says “here goes nothing” as he locks up the place, and then he lingers until Jackie can peel off a shot. Hannibal keels over, and Jackie yells out “Say hello to your dear departed father from Jack Lane.”

Time for the greatest funeral ever held, courtesy of H.M. Murdock. First he serves as usher, asking the arriving Face and B.A. if they’re “friends of the bride or groom”! Then he ad libs the eulogy in his Irish voice, saying that Hannibal/Sean O’Shea “graced our lives like an avocado salad” (“just a babbling fool,” groans B.A.). Then he starts up on the chapel organ, playing a minor key rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game!” Seriously, I want my funeral to be exactly like this.

Hannibal rises from the dead and pulls a gun on Wings Hauser

Arise, o Hannibal, and pull a gun on Wings Hauser

Jack drops by to scare the locals and to spit in Hannibal’s face, but as he leans over the casket, Hannibal grabs his tie and draws a gun. “Hi there!” he says. “I’m back!” The next scene shows Face and B.A. driving off with a full coffin… and Jackie missing. Ha. Jack’s second-in-command, Travis, is suspicious and follows the hearse, at least until Murdock gets annoyed by Travis’s constant honking and Hannibal shoots out his engine.

The team decides to follow Irish custom and bury Jack at sea! (Is that really an Irish custom?) Hannibal offers him a deal, though: give up the name of your boss and maybe we’ll hold off on the whole drowning thing, and so he gives up the name Nathan Vincent, the guy from the opening scene. Hannibal says “I love it when a corpse comes apart,” which is as funny as it is confusing. Slight change of plans as the team drops off the coffin at Nathan’s house, with a note attached: “Dear Nathan, I just ratted you out. Please bury me.” Nathan is irked, but Jackie promises to bring him Hannibal’s “head in a box.”

Face and Murdock dump jukeboxes in the ocean

This scene is why the Pacific Ocean has a continued problem with Kajagoogoo contamination

That head is organizing a pretty fancy plan back at The Naked Lady, though – B.A. and Murdock are setting up cameras, and Face is apparently inviting all of L.A.’s police to come by for a special dinner. So when Jackie and his friends show up with guns and masks, they’re greeted by a dozen cops, who chase them back out the door. Murdock takes this moment to sing “I’ve Been Working on the Dish Line,” in a beautiful voice. The rest of the team is gathering jukeboxes that Vincent’s victims have been forced to use; they “return” the jukeboxes by dumping them in the water. Vincent is livid, so he calls Travis – not Jack – and asks him to come down on Geno, who he suspects is behind everything. He rounds up a few guys and kidnaps Geno and Teresa; as planned, Geno gives the team away immediately. “The A-Team,” Travis says, shaking his head. “I’ll be damned.”

B.A. mans a movie camera
B.A. unleashes his inner Gerry Todd

Travis brings Geno and Teresa to a warehouse to meet Vincent, but the boss is busy with Jackie, reiterating the know when to/know when not to dichotomy and then saying “Travis is taking over your action.” They load Geno and Teresa into Vincent’s limo and drive off to The Naked Lady, where the team is setting up a hidden camera behind a one-way mirror. (As they wait, Murdock explains his favorite card game, Scotch – every card is wild except the three of spades, which is always removed from the deck!) Vincent walks in, alone, and says his goons will shoot their hostages in thirty seconds unless the team give themselves up, which they do – except for B.A., who’s hiding behind the mirror. Hannibal has no gun, but he’s got his wit; he starts badmouthing Jack, which sets him off, and that sets Vincent off at Jack. B.A. decides to take advantage of all the screaming by driving the awesome van through the wall, sending thugs flying and giving Hannibal an escape route; Murdock and Face simultaneously run Geno and Teresa to safety. Then Hannibal shoots up his own pub, the rest of the team pounds dudes down, and Vincent sees the camera and realizes he’s toast. The team hands Geno a machine gun and leaves him to call the cops, though he almost certainly surrenders and offers the thugs more money the second the scene ends.

The team drives off, listening to a radio report about the case and how it was another chapter in the A-Team’s “growing folk legend.” Murdock says he never thought of himself as a folk legend. “That’s because you’re a folk moron,” says B.A. Everybody’s a little wistful for their pub-owning days (all two of them?) so Hannibal decides to quote his dear departed father one last time: “Seldom is the last of anything better than the first.” What? “It means ‘I love it when a plan comes together.’” Ok then!

This was so very fun – a perfect A-Team episode through and through. Great villains, lots of funny moments, “my dear departed father” catchphrase, Wings Hauser… love it. And because Medical Supply Co takes care of all the Medicare paperwork for me, I can watch it again!

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