My Year With The A-Team: Season 4, Episode 19 – Beneath the Surface

Face and Hannibal on a boat

“It’s not every day that you see an elite fighting force spending a whole three days cleaning a kitchen. With dynamite. Until it explodes. Into space. “

My dad passed away last night, tough and feisty right to the end. He was always a pretty straightforward guy, no patience for nonsense and such, so I’m not surprised that he started hospice on Saturday and got right to the point, so to speak. Sad as it is, I know he’s ok, and because of that I know I’ll be ok. And so it’s back to traveling, and, of course, our little project here. Hopefully more of the latter than the former, unless it’s riding in the van with B.A. or flying a chopter with Murdock.


Beneath the Surface

Wild Guess Preview: Face has a friend who just can’t seem to get tough stains out in his apartment – he’s tried scrubbing them out, but the place just doesn’t shine and sparkle the way it used to. Fortunately the team has an ace up its sleeve – Scrubbing Bubbles! (Hannibal was friends with the lead bubble in Vietnam, you see.) If the plot doesn’t impress you, just remember it’s not every day that you see an elite fighting force spending a whole three days cleaning a kitchen. With dynamite. Until it explodes. Into space.

Morgan the pirate threatens Barry with a hook
Arrr, Fee Waybill, I’ll talk to ye later

The Recap: We’re at Marine Land, a Sea Worldy place with dolphins balancing little plastic balls on their noses. A mean, wealthy dolphin swims over to an innocent-looking one and warns him to sell his plastic ball before there’s trouble. And all the dolphin can do is seek out Mr. Lee at the Chinese laundromat and hope he can find the A-Team… actually, a guy called Barry, who’s a dead ringer for Fee Waybill of The Tubes, gets accosted by pirates while unloading some diving equipment. I’m only half-kidding; one of them is carrying a hook around and talks like a pirate. “Ya FOUND something out thar,” he says. Barry insists his are just “routine dives,” but he has, in fact, located a shipwreck.

More on Barry in a moment. Right now, Face and Murdock are in a limo – Dr. Richter’s limo, in fact; Murdock “borrowed” it even though doing so will “set the trust aspect of our therapy back three years!” Face says it’s all for a good cause – he’s on his way to an orphanage reunion so he can see Rebecca Piper, the girl who wouldn’t give Face the time of day twenty years ago. Murdock isn’t impressed by Face’s snazzy threads and classy airs: “Just try not to spill any champagne back there, Mister Bond.” When they arrive, Face walks off to mingle, while Murdock finds another limo driver and asks “So what do you think is the most direct route to the airport?”

Face meets Elaine the metermaid
In her cap, she looked much older, and the bag across her shoulder, made her look like she was talking to a Faceman

Don’t let the suits and dresses fool you, this is a cool party – “In a Gadda Da Vida” is playing on the sound system! The lady at the sign-in table tells Face that Rebecca Piper is asking for him. She also hands Face a letter from Barry, who couldn’t make it to the reunion. Then Face gets pulled aside by a police officer – not to worry, she says, she’s a metermaid, and she’s Barry’s adoptive sister, Elaine. Barry’s vanished, she says, and Face is concerned, but he’s so hot for Rebecca Piper that he hands her the letter and walks away.

If Rebecca wasn’t digging Face back in the day, she sure is now – they’re walking by the garden pond, the orphanage’s designated make-out spot, and she says Face has no idea what it means to her. “It means ten thousand dollars.” Huh? She blows a whistle, and here comes General Fulbright.

Hannibal the gun-totin' nun
Sally Field and Hannibal totally should’ve done a buddy pic.

Barry’s sister, meanwhile, has read the letter, and she walks over to Face just as he’s being frogmarched out of the reunion. “I think Barry’s in real trouble!” she says. “Join the club,” Face adds, before Fulbright sends him up the stairs. Not to worry, though – Hannibal is on the patio dressed as a nun, and he makes the MPs scatter with a little Uzi action. Face takes Fulbright’s gun and they meet up with Murdock, who begs them not to take a position behind Richter’s limo. Fulbright’s men shoot the car into pieces, but B.A. pulls up in the awesome van and they make their getaway. Murdock can’t resist wiping the car’s hood down a little before getting in the van and scooting away. By the way, the background music during the shootout is “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by The Animals.

Hannibal is mad at Face for going to the reunion at all, since “Fulbright probably subscribes to your alumni newsletter.” He’s right, though. Face really should know better than to trust a woman who isn’t the daughter of a down-on-his-luck farmer/trucker/lumberjack and/or Markie Post. Murdock is livid, too; now he has to get the whole limo fixed before Dr. Richter returns! And Elaine the metermaid gave him a ticket! Face explains about Barry being missing, and the team agrees to help. Good thing, too, because two guys have dragged Elaine out of her house and into their car. (But not into their dreams, so it’s not Billy Ocean.) Hannibal and Face punch the guys and send them packing. Elaine says thanks, and promises to explain what’s going on, but first B.A. needs to move the van. “It’s illegal to park within 30 feet of a corner.” Oh brother.

Elaine says the two guys took Barry’s letter to Face; she says there was a map on there that Barry knew Face would recognize. He does. “It’s a treasure map,” Face explains – “a map to Long John Silver’s treasure.” Okay, actually it’s something Face traced from a copy of “Treasure Island” as a kid and sold to Barry, but still, it was the spirit of the thing. (As they go on about this, Murdock sneaks out of the room and rips his parking ticket out of Elaine’s metermaid ledger. Hysterical.) “Why would those guys want a phony pirate map?” Hannibal asks. No one knows, but Murdock does say “aaargh” like a pirate, which is better than any answer.

The real pirates think the map is real, though, even though Barry keeps telling them the map is worthless. “I’m getting tired of hearing that tune, laddie,” head pirate Morgan says, and that’s a problem for Barry, because they have him floating in shark-infested water and they’re throwing fish at him. Barry says ok, fine, pull me up so the stock footage sharks don’t eat me and I’ll help you find the treasure. Morgan says good, “or I’ll cut you up and deliver you to the shark tank” – which, as the head of the aquarium’s fishing team, he’d be able to do.

Barry meets Face and B.A.

Oops, this treasure map led us to Willie Aames!

The team grabs a copy of “Treasure Island” at the library and starts to follow the map’s instructions, even though Murdock insists that if they just find Barry’s parrot they’ll figure out the whole plot. (B.A.: “Hey man, we ain’t got a parrot.”) They don’t find any treasure, but they do find the same thugs who were trying to kidnap Elaine. The dudes escape in a motorized raft, but they leave Barry behind. He gets a hug from Elaine and teases Face about their shovels: “What are you doing with those, Temp? Hunting for buried treasure?”

Barry’s found the Santissima, a Spanish ship from the 17th century. At least I think that’s what he said; Barry wolfs down like eight sandwiches during this scene, so it sounds more like “meh Blehblissibleh.” The ship was hijacked off the California coast and went missing, which means its treasures are intact. gold, jewels, and Philip’s Cross, a jewel-encrusted solid gold cross. Barry says it took him five years to find the exact location – it actually took just twelve days of actual work, but he kept running to Subway for more food – and now he wants to bring the ship back up for Marine Land and donate Philip’s Cross to the orphanage. Barry tells Hannibal the coordinates are “in the bottom of my parrot’s cage.” Did someone say parrot? Murdock is delighted, although he’s eating a giant pickle and that’s pretty exciting too.

Morgan and his clowns are already in Barry’s office, and the parrot is making all sorts of noise in protest. “I’ll make SOUP out of ya!” Morgan yells, but still he can’t find the info on the ship’s location. Barry’s boss, the old guy from the opening, comes in and asks why Morgan is in there, and he says they were looking for clues that might help them find Barry. The old guy gives a great answer: “In the future, you’ll confine your activities to delivering fish!”

Face meets a parrot

A meeting of the mouths

Hannibal and Elaine are trying to get Dr. Richter’s shot-up limo out of MP lockup, so Face and Murdock get first shot at opening the birdcage. The bird is immune to Face’s smooth ways and bites him. Murdock offers to do it, because he understands parrots, but the parrot bites him and laughs about it. “This parrot is a maneater,” he says, and they decide to pawn the job off on Barry. But the second they walk outside, Morgan and his men start chasing them – clearly they have not confined their activities to delivering fish. They go on a Three Stooges-style chase, through a women’s restroom and out to a staircase, where Face outsmarts the goons by throwing garbage cans at them. Then they head to the awesome van and they all drive away. Hannibal gets the map by threatening the bird – “one wrong move and you’re a feather duster!” – but he tells Murdock the MPs dismantled Dr. Richter’s limo. Bummer.

Time to sail the high seas and find the Santissima. Face “confiscates” a boat from a large mustachioed guy while posing as a Coast Guard; he accuses the big dude of feeding beer to the nearby porpoises! It works every time. Murdock is our resident scuba diver, and though the stock footage of sharks appears quite perilous, he swims boldly toward the sunken ship, accompanied by a Kitaro-style synth version of the A-Team theme song.

Above the water, Face and Barry catch up on old times – Barry reveals that once he had to pretend to be Face while the real Face was using Barry’s Allman Brothers tickets, and that this was the day his adoptive parents chose him! “I told them the truth later,” he says. Face is miffed when he realizes he traded parents for a chance to see the ABB. But it’s not like these parents could play “Mountain Jam,” dude!

Murdock and Philip's Cross
Murdock takes the name “Pope Cousteau I”

Oh, anyway, Murdock finds the cross and brings it back up – to Morgan. “I’ll take that, thank you,” he says, forgetting to add “ye scurvy cur.” Murdock yells “It belongs in a museum!” and starts a big fistfight assisted by John Rhys-Davies. Ok, not really, he adopts a Irish and/or pirate accent and says “If ya keep that, you’ll be doomed for all eternity.” “I’ll take my chances,” Morgan says. They’re going to shoot Barry and Elaine and turn the team in to Fulbright, so Morgan goes to pawn the cross (or something) while another guy takes the team ashore to be captured.

But the parrot is still on the team’s boat! And he’s sitting right behind Hannibal, so the colonel puts the ropes holding his hands into the cage and let’s the bird peck them apart. Then he punches out the thug and unties the others. “That bird will eat anything,” he says. Fulbright and company are lined up on the dock, ready to get their hands on the team, but Hannibal steers the boat in a way that sends torrents of water splashing down on Fulbright. Then he turns the ship around and off they go. The MPs give chase, forgetting that they’re in cars and the team is in a boat, and one of their cars ends up in the drink.

Morgan is walking away, mumbling about how he’s rich now, and the team pulls up in the boat. They disembark and start chasing him on foot. He even climbs over a wall… but B.A. is standing right there. Punch, growl and it’s over. “This belongs to somebody else, pal,” Hannibal says, as he takes back the cross.

Rebecca, Hannibal, Fulbright and B.A.
Fulbright Livery: Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy

We’re back on land to wrap this episode up – and hey, is that a big grey limo? And is that Fulbright in the driver’s seat, posing as a chauffeur? Rebecca Piper’s in the back, and Fulbright tells her to keep Face busy for fifteen minutes so the MPs can get the drop on him. “Just do whatever you gotta do, baby,” says Pimpmaster General Fizzulbright. Rebecca is icked out by this almost as much as me, but she wants the reward money bad enough that she agrees. She lures Face into the limo and they drive off, kissing…. and then they drive back to the same spot, with Rebecca asking Face “was it worth the wait?” OH MY GOD DID THEY JUST? They’re fully clothed, so, ok. Rebecca taps on the glass to the driver… and it’s Murdock at the wheel! “No reward this time, sweetheart,” he says, and he points out that the team is holding Fulbright at gunpoint. “How was the ride, Lieutenant?” Hannibal asks. “Nothing worth writing the alumni newsletter about,” Face says. OH SNAP. We’re done.

This one’s not quite exceptional, but it was solid and very entertaining. Can’t go wrong with a parrot, I say. I just hope Barry got enough sandwiches, poor hungry dope.

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply