My Year With The A-Team: Season 4, Episode 2 – Judgement Day, Part 2

Face, Murdock, a blonde lady and Hannibal

“They’re outnumbered, they have no weapons, they’re on a boat, Lauren Tewes could show up at any moment.”

Most of my friends are what you could call recommenders – they find articles, videos, songs and stories that they think the group might like and share them. This is great, of course, but given this project, and especially given its deadline, a lot of these recommendations have had to go on backlog for the time being. So come January, I have about 480 TV series, 310 bands and 7 trillion books to check out, cause I’m really gonna love them.

So I’m in a weird spot: I’m used to lots of variety; focusing this much on one show doesn’t come naturally. But I’m a huge A-Team devotee now, and I really want to finish the project and make it successful, so watching other shows feels like… well, like I’m cheating on the A-Team. The only thing that’s worked to thread this needle? I’ve been watching A-Team reruns at night. They’re episodes that I’ve already watched and written about, so they’re a break from the grind, but it’s still tied to the project. Just watched “Black Day at Bad Rock,” and laughed myself stupid at Murdock’s rhyming. It felt right.


Judgement Day, Part 2

Wild Guess Preview: Having rescued Judge Mordente’s daughter from Joe Scarlett’s brother Gino in Italy, the team is ready for a little R&R at last. But there’s one mission left: the team has to take on Stephen J. Cannell’s production team, to find out who misspelled “Judgment” in the title of this very meta two-part season premiere!

Exploding plane
NO PLANE! NO PLANE!

The Recap: We pick up right where we left off in Part 1 – Joe Scarlett’s brother Gino chasing the team and Judge Mordente’s daughter down a road in Italy. B.A. is burning up the road in their beat-up old truck, but but when he realizes they’re driving to an airfield he flips out again and yells “NO PLANE! NO PLANE!” and drives through the waiting aircraft, making it explode. This makes Murdock mad – “How could you do that to a poor defenseless DC-3?!?” – and it means they have no way to get home. But there’s a silver lining, too: Gino and his men are so stupid they drive/crash their cars directly into a stationary exploding airplane.

Face spent all their money on the plane B.A. just destroyed, so onto a much cheaper Plan B: stowing away on a boat to America. Face explains the art of the scam to the judge’s daughter: “It’s really just a matter of looking like you know what you’re doing, and steering a wide enough berth until someone fills in the proper blank. Which someone always does.”

Blanks are indeed filled: B.A. (reluctantly) pretends to be a wealthy old guy in a wheelchair (?), with Murdock as his attendant. Face sweet-talks Carla, your entertainment director, until he ends up as the doctor’s assistant. So long as the doctor isn’t Bernie Kopell, I’m ok with it. Dr. Peck has also arranged a sham job for Hannibal: pool boy. Face thinks he chose the plum job, but he questions this as he rubs aloe vera into the ample flesh of one of the lady passengers. Then a guy shows up for a colonic. Luckily, the villains pull up in a speedboat and Face has to go warn the others, but not before telling the colonic guy “I would’ve rather stayed here with you.” That’s a breakthrough role for an actor, isn’t it? “Colonic patient”? Gino and his cranky-looking friends board the boat, which is bad news.

Face talks his way out of the blond lady's room

The first time “I was giving her mouth to mouth” has worked since a “Porkys”-style movie

Gino has a plan, simple but direct: look for the daughter by looking for the A-Team, because “if-a they’re here, then-a she’s here.” He also wants-a her dead-a, so the henchmen spread out across the ship. Face is following them, of course, and he tries to bust into their room with his employee keys, but he accidentally walks into a blond lady’s cabin. Seeing the thugs walking by, Face kisses the gal as a diversion, and she digs it, at least until her boyfriend “Bull” roars in, Zubaz a-blazing, wondering why some guy is kissing his girl. Face, who is, after all, part of the medical crew, makes like he’s reviving the girl from seasickness and makes a swift retreat.

Hannibal’s trying to enjoy his new life as a pool boy, offering towels and “suntan lotion applications” to lovely ladies, but it’s not all perfect: renowned cruise singer Johnny Angel keeps badgering Hannibal because he wants his drink and his towel and he wants them now. Hannibal smiles through gritted teeth until Face finds him and tells him about Gino and company. Lori’s getting her picture taken with Johnny too, so Face has to hustle her below deck.

Murdock and B.A. play shuffleboard
Shouldn’t The Fat Boys be walking in and saving B.A.’s family fortune right about now?

And the rest of the team? Playing shuffleboard, despite B.A.’s protests. Murdock: “I’m just trying to teach you how to have a good time when you grow up to be an old lady!” Hannibal rounds everybody up and they assess the situation: they’re outnumbered, they have no weapons, they’re on a boat, Lauren Tewes could show up at any moment. Hannibal says the only way to “even the odds” is to chip away at Gino’s entourage, a few guys at a time. Face is confused: won’t they get recognized if they walk around? Not necessarily, says Hannibal: “We could all move about freely if we were all… in disguise!”

And so Face finds Carla the cruise director and proposes a costume party! Murdock wants to borrow B.A.’s feathered earrings, to no avail – “I said no, and no is no” – but Face is game, and comes up with a sort of swashbuckling costume. B.A. suggests a new costume for Murdock: “You can sit on Face’s lap and go as Jerry Mahoney!” Howlin’ Mad makes a dejected face and grabs a sheet to go as a ghost.

Ghost Murdock
Murdock later made an appearance on an episode of “The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries” along with the chocolate and strawberry ghosts

The party begins, and Ghost Murdock knocks out a few henchmen and steals their guns. Face is supposed to knock out dudes, too, and he’s got a syringe full of knockout drugs ready, but his blond lady friend spots him and starts kissing him again. This brings boyfriend Bull back out, and Face has to use the syringe on him just to live through the party. The thug Face had been tailing recognizes him with his mask off and tosses him into the ship’s pool, one deck below.

Hannibal reckons they’ve dealt with everybody but Gino and his second banana, and they head out. But those two have found Lori and have taken her prisoner. Gino tells the team to “drop-a your weapons, a-now!” So they do. By the way, Gino’s second-in-command looks a lot like Borat.

Seriously, look at this guy:

Thug looks a lot like Borat

This suit is black not!

The ship is now under siege and the passengers are freaking out, Diehard-hostage-style. Gino takes Lori at gunpoint to “discuss-a some family a-business” while another guy guards Murdock, Hannibal and Face. And our three teamers get away with an assist from Bull, who wakes up in a rage and knocks out the guard to get at Face. (He conveniently falls over again after knocking out the guard.)

The team rappels off the side of the ship

The only vigilante group that could qualify for the X-Games

Then it’s time for a short but inspiring montage as all four teamers rope themselves to the ship deck and rappel through a window, mostly to stop Gino from a-rambling to a-Lori about a-her father. The fight scene is by-the-book, with punches and flying tackles, but it’s set to cheerful traditional Italian music, so that’s a point in its favor. Gino heads for the hills (assuming ships have hills), or at least the ship’s escape motorboat, just as the Italian police drop by in a chopter. “We need that chopper, Captain,” Hannibal says, as the cops land on the cruise ship. “What d’ya say?” Murdock giggles with glee; then he and Hannibal dive into the ocean and swim to the chopter. They toss the pilot into the water and fly off to stop Gino – this is eerily reminiscent of the movie “Mitchell,” with Hannibal playing the Joe Don Baker role and Gino channeling Martin Balsam (ick). Naturally, Gino ends up in the water and Hannibal gives Murdock a big thumbs up.

And that’s it? No outpouring of gratitude from the judge or his daughter? No wacky back-and-forth between B.A. and Murdock? No comeuppance for Johnny Angel? We’re just left hanging, I guess. This was a fun two-parter – not terribly gritty or action-packed, and not as well-plotted as “Range Rider” from Season Two, but it’s essentially the A-Team on The Love Boat, and how can you go wrong with that?

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