My Year With The A-Team: Season 3, Episode 5 – Timber!

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

Hannibal and company get ready to log

“The team is welding and sawing and hoisting things as if we were in the New Yankee Workshop… OF DOOM.”

Remember a few days ago, when I said my friends and relatives had been finding and sharing all sorts of A-Team stuff with me? Little did I know that one relative was making A-Team stuff for me!

Happy birthday, fool

The above is a birthday present from the missus – a handmade plush Mr. T doll, complete with gold chains, feathers and camouflage pants. And yes, he sleeps in our bed now. But this is only to protect his feathers from the cat. No other reason.


Timber!

Wild Guess Preview: After a particularly difficult mission and more than a few close calls with explosives, Face reveals he never wanted to become a soldier of fortune in the Los Angeles underground…. he’d always wanted to be… a lumberjack! And so the team heads to British Columbia to leap from tree to tree and float down some mighty rivers. The larch, etc.

The Recap: The Pacific Northwest is calling – and a guy named John Lawrence is accepting the charges in his lumber truck. Hey, that’s the name of the villain in “The Karate Kid,” isn’t it?

Skeleton Johnny, ready to sweep the leg
I’ll decide when the A-Team’s had enough, man!

Actually, this John Lawrence is a beplaid-ed middle-aged dude with a comely sister called Samantha along for the ride – it’s been a while since we’ve had a victim’s daughter/sister/niece, now that I think of it. They drive to a gas station in Groverville, where they spot “McKuen’s truck.” Not far away is McKuen, who directs his goons to beat John up and set his truck on fire because the guy won’t join his corrupt labor union. For reasons known only to the writers, there’s a very agitated old man standing near the fight yelling “stop that!” The “that” is not stopped, of course; the union thugs torch John’s truck right next to their own gas pump, which if you think about it is fairly stupid. John is defiant but resigned; you can tell he’s going to call Sensai Kreese as soon as he can find a phone. Samantha thirsts for vengeance, too, while the old guy thinks about what superfluous things to shout next.

Newspaper says 'You just hired the A-Team'

In Lifestyle section: Local mercenary loves it when plan comes together

Samantha heads to the big city, where she meets Hannibal dressed as an old newspaper vendor. Hannibal has a wide selection of magazines, too – Farm Journal, Daytime TV… I think that’s Huey Lewis on the cover of “Song Hits”! Oh wild, there’s a magazine called “Cruising”? She buys a newspaper from Hannibal for $18, wherein she learns she has “just found the A-Team.” Nice headline.

Samantha gets a ride in the awesome van, where she tells the team all about McKuen and how his union proposal is just a scam to get all the local loggers under his control. “Sounds like a bunch of cockroaches that need to be stepped on,” Hannibal remarks. Samantha promises a cut of their timber profits (cut? Get it? Ha!) once McKuen is out of the way, and Hannibal says the team will be there to help. One member of the team is still at the mental hospital, though – actually, two of them, as Face is pretending to be a military intelligence officer, and he says Murdock’s gibberish-speak is actually spilling out vital security data! Pretty clever way to get the man out of lockup.

Murdock's Bigfoot call
Murdock’s call will either attract Bigfoot or end up on a Flaming Lips album

The awesome van is on the road in “Bigfoot country,” as Murdock calls it. He wants in on some tabloid photo contest so he can get the prize ($15 and a year’s free subscription) and his name “right up there with Charles Darwin and Leo Bell.” Leo Bell? “The guy in the room next to me. He’s got a mouth so big you can put a whole jar of peanut butter in it, lid and all.” Murdock’s even got a Bigfoot mating call! B.A. is irritated by this crazy talk, but they’re at the Groverville gas station for the scheduled thug-beating, so Bigfoot will have to wait. B.A. fills the gas tank, Face gets some snacks and Murdock orders 400 hamburgers – to lay a Bigfoot-friendly trail from “the woods” to his window at the mental hospital. Hannibal calls Samantha to say they’re on their way, but McKuen’s dudes drop by and says “round here, folks don’t work for the Lawrences.” Hannibal begs to differ… with his FISTS, and soon the whole team is pummeling the McKuen thugs, and pretty easily – Face manages to pound a guy without even dropping his cup of coffee.

It’s the next morning, and everyone’s getting up early – not by choice, but because Murdock is blowing his Bigfoot call. Even the wildlife is confused by this; we see badgers and rabbits and deer all heading for the hills as the screechy call echoes through the forest. Murdock points his binoculars out the window and claims he sees “the beast!” No, it’s just B.A. carrying some kid on his back. “Whatchoo doing, fool? We got some logging to do!” But McKuen is there to “check union cards” – B.A. grabs a javelin, or a sword, or something and says “This is my union card.” Before leaving McKuen taunts John Lawrence about his mortgage being overdue, and about losing the big fight to Daniel LaRusso.

Hannibal wants Face to scam a truck to replace the one McKuen set on fire. So he takes Samantha to a salvage yard and passes himself off as Frank Sullivan, U.S. Forest Service official, and says the “South American pine chigger” has been spotted in one of the local rental trucks, and the dude just hands Face the keys! That was easy.

B.A. loves some milk
Milk: It does a B.A. good

The rest of the team is busy chopping down trees with the help of stock footage – B.A. is chopping at the base of a tree, and the stock footage shows the timber coming down about 50 feet or so off the ground. Nonetheless, it’s huge progress; B.A.’s little friend Billy is digging what he sees with a “Yeah!” here and there. B.A. gets him hooked on milk – “Milk is good for you, Billy.” But McKuen is sneaking around and he doesn’t like what he sees, so he sends some thugs around camp to blow stuff up. Murdock and Hannibal spot them and start evacuating, but in the process the thugs blow up a tree and it falls on Murdock’s leg! Murdock, who’s never quite thrown by a crisis, ACTUALLY SINGS THE LUMBERJACK SONG. Well, a slight variation on it, anyway: “I’m a lumberjack, and I’m OK… I got no legs, but what the hey.” A satisfied McKuen and his thugs all head out, hopefully to buy new clothes to replace their evil rainbow suspenders. B.A. and Hannibal hoist the off Murdock, and fortunately his crushed leg is OK. Yay! The Lawrences’ logging equipment isn’t OK, though, and the lumber has to be at the mill TONIGHT or they’re finished. Boo.

Thugs in rainbow suspenders
Yeah, I wouldn’t be too scared of these guys either.

“McKuen’s made his move… now we’ll make ours,” Hannibal says, and that move is to drop by McKuen’s HQ and bust their way in through the wall, with B.A. dropping his mad chainsaw skills the whole way. Then Face takes all McKuen’s money and they head out. And no, they didn’t swap out the rainbow suspenders.

The truck is loaded, and Hannibal says the team will be ready for McKuen’s shenanigans. B.A. tells Billy not to worry… “I’ll be back for supper.” The kid then turns to Murdock and says, in his best Mr. T voice, “I don’t want you giving B.A. any jive about that Bigfoot stuff, you hear?” The hell? John, Samantha and Billy are going to stay behind while the team heads to the mill. Murdock sings another verse of his made-up “Lumberjack Song.” “I change my clothes just once a year, it smells real bad but I don’t care.”

McKuen’s men are waiting, though, and now they’ve got guns, but B.A. drives straight through their roadblock, with Murdock and Face firing rounds from the top of the lumber pile. The McKuen dudes follow the truck, and so the team shoots grenade and the thug vehicle flips over seven or eight times. They also drive through the lumber mill’s gate, which might not endear them to the old guy who runs it. But seconds later they learn the old guy is working with the McKuen boys anyway, so it kind of doesn’t matter.

B.A. breaks the wooden beam
This week’s teleplay by Lucille Ball and Harry Houdini

“I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really cut out for this kind of work,” Face says, as he struggles against the ropes McKuen’s men used to tie him up. B.A. can’t break the ropes either, but he can break the wooden beam to which he and Murdock are tied, and so the team is free pretty easily. Hannibal says McKuen will be back in an hour. He also says “we need artillery,” which means… montage! And they start welding and sawing and hoisting things into place as if we were in the New Yankee Workshop… OF DOOM. And then the coup de grace: a box of dynamite. “Well praise the Lord,” Hannibal says, as he passes the ammunition.

McKuen and company return, and the team wastes no time in launching an attack with their forklift cannon (though Murdock’s driving this time instead of B.A.). The cannon shoots little blocks of wood, so it’s about the only time the A-Team directly hits their opponents in battle instead of flipping them over. Hannibal gets to punch out McKuen directly and knock him into some sawdust, and that takes care of that. “The man did try,” laughs Face. “They always try,” Hannibal agrees, “but they never learn.” True. “What they really need… is a plan.” Ha!

Murdock catches B.A. in his Bigfoot trap
Enjoy it while you can, fool

Time to wrap up all the loose ends. Face gives John Lawrence a new buyer for his logs – and one that’ll pay a little higher than the going rate, so he can finally pay his overdue membership fees to the Cobra Kai. B.A. helps little Billy fix his bike tire, and Samantha gives Face a kiss and a ham sandwich (?). And as for Murdock’s Bigfoot traps? He’s caught something, all right… B.A. “You’re dead meat, fool!” he screams. Murdock laughs. We’re done.

Not bad! A little heavy on stock footage, but McKuen was a small cut above the weaker villains, there was a cannon made out of logs and sawdust, and Murdock’s Bigfoot fixation was loads of fun. Even B.A.’s underprivileged kid of the week added a little excitement to the mix!

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