Hannibal says “Just get it fixed.” Logan says “We’ll do our best.” So if they all agree why are they angry?

So we arrive at the end of Season One, and even someone as humble as myself can’t deny this is a huge achievement if ever there was one. No less than three Congressional Medal of Honor winners and four Nobel laureates have sent me their encouragement. And none of the laureates were economists, either; we’re talking high-profile here!

All of this is greatly appreciated, though you’d think people who are this accomplished could slip a twenty in with their words of support. My stated objective for this project is building up my self-discipline, but that doesn’t have to be the only objective. Once I was at a networking thing with a lot of creative networking type people, and when we introduced ourselves we were asked what we might want from the group- advice on a project, for example, or a collaborator. I decided to be honest: “What I want is a million dollars.”

So what I’m saying here is, encourage, people, encourage!

A Nice Place To Visit

Wild Guess Preview: In this explosive season finale, the US and Soviets accidentally trigger a nuclear exchange. Out of the rubble emerges Hannibal and the A-Team, who are happy that Colonel Lynch is now too well-cooked to hunt for them, but disturbed to find that all that’s left of American civilization is Branson, Missouri. The team has to save the last dregs of the human race from Ray Stevens, who wants to recreate Earth as a wacky nudist colony based on his song “The Streak.” Murdock is swayed by the chaos and begins a frightening striptease, but just before he reveals his, um, “invisible dog Billy,” Hannibal wakes up and everything is back to normal, except that Ray Stevens is playing B.A. Baracus. “Everything is beautiful in its own way, except when you’re on the jazz!”

The A-Team van drives to Barlow Creek
Barlow Creek: Not Just Another Town Run By Pushy Hillbillies

The Recap: After a wild police chase through some previously seen footage, the team and their awesome van head to a small town called Barlow Creek, where they’re attending funeral services for an old war buddy called Ray. But Murdock is famished, so he, Triple A and Face stop off at a diner in town while B.A. and Hannibal go get some gas and directions to the funeral. They encounter Harold, the gas station attendant who thinks he’s quite funny and talks a lot and he says they shouldn’t go to the cemetery for Ray’s funeral because no one’s allowed because “Watkins said so.” By “Watkins” he means himself and like four other random guys. Hannibal says forget you, we’re going, and then Harold says “Logan” is going to be mad at them. Was this scene ad-libbed? “That guy’s crazier than Murdock,” says B.A.

At the cafe, Face flirts with the waitress until two large hillbillies with pimp hats, one of whom is named Deke, walk up and confront him. They also pour a whole container or salt in Murdock’s soup, but Murdock, unfazed, continues eating the soup even after they take the bowl away. Face wants to fight, but just then Hannibal and B.A. walk in and the hillbillies decide to leave. The owner then asks the A-Team to leave because he “doesn’t want any trouble” with Watkins or his goons. Hannibal tells Triple A that if she wants them to continue to avoid trouble this is probably not the right town.

Finally we’re at Ray’s funeral, and it’s just the team, a minister and Ray’s widow Trish, who’s played by Joanna Kerns, the mom on “Growing Pains.” The team is in full uniform, and they do a gun salute and all the military pageantry you’d expect… and then Hannibal narrates a flashback to Vietnam! He explains, underneath a montage of stock footage, that Ray was born to do… something. A bridge blows up, maybe that was what he was born to do. Now it’s Face’s turn; he remembers losing his helmet during his first firefight in Nam. “Ray gave me his.” B.A. remembers a time when he was shot on a mission, and “this white dude came up and dragged me to the Medivac.” Even Murdock has a memory of saving some grunts in a helicopter once with Ray. This is like the most somber and therefore weirdest thing in A-Team history. They all drive to Trish’s house for post-funeral sandwiches, but the hillbillies follow in a tow truck and ram the van until it flips over. Jerks.

B.A. sums up the team’s attitude toward Watkins as they drive back into town: “I’m gonna get those guys, I’m gonna make ’em pay for messing up my ride!” The problem, of course, is that Watkins owns the only tow truck in the area, and he’s not inclined to help. Hannibal asks Logan Watkins why no one was supposed to go to Ray’s funeral, and Logan says “because I say so…. that’s reason enough around here.” The Watkins tow truck pulls up with the van – well, most of it. “STOLE MY RADIO!” barks B.A. At Trish’s urging, the sheriff drops by and says Watkins can fix the van and charge the team for it. They spell out the charges. Hannibal says “Just get it fixed.” Logan says “We’ll do our best.” So if they all agree why are they angry?

Face and Murdock tackle a tow truck guy
Let’s hope Deke’s hat does not also offer 24-hour service.

So the team is ready to put a stop to Watkins and his bullying ways. Face and Murdock go into the cafe to throw salt in Deke’s face, punch him and toss him into the street. B.A. slams the dudes around and mutters about “my van” 8,000 times. They tow the Watkinses away while the townspeople applaud, and then drive back to the service station, even though that’s where they already were, to rebuild the van.

B.A. flags down a car
I think B.A.’s flagging down the Rocky II production team.

One problem: the machine guns that were in the back of the van are now in Logan and some other guy’s hands. They take the team hostage and deposit them out on some lonesome country road, warning them not to come back to town. Undeterred, the team flags down a passing car, hand the elderly drivers $450 and drive off, promising to send a cab.

Triple A uses a fire extinguisher on Harold
Haha, she extinguishes nerdy sidekicks like a girl

The Watkins boys decide to harass Trish now. She and Triple A try to defend themselves with an empty rifle, locked windows and hot coffee in Deke’s face, and… it works? Oddball Harold tries to break through the side door, but Triple A nails him with a fire extinguisher, making him yell “Deke! She burned out my eyes!” Finally they find some bullets and Triple A scares them off with a nice rifle shot. Finally the team shows up and Hannibal finds Ray’s secret weapons cache – always good to find grenades sitting around in some guy’s bedroom closet next to all his war memorabilia. Hannibal smiles warmly when he finds a pic of Ray with the team – B.A. is growling at Murdock even in the picture!

They drive back to the service station for like the tenth time. “We’re the neighborhood beautification committee,” explains Hannibal. Logan says “huh” and Murdock uses the tractor to demolish the whole service station. Now everyone is shooting. Harold tries to flee in a tow truck but Murdock tosses a grenade exactly in his path and he flips over. The team rounds up the Watkins clan pretty handily and they walk ’em over to the sheriff, to the cheers of all 18 residents.

The A-Team and Ray, in happier times
Wistful remembrance of friends long gone… and Murdock honking off B.A.

We’re wrapping up. B.A. has to put the tires back on the van himself, and he’s mad about it, and about Murdock trying to cheer him up with singing. Hannibal asks Trish if she’ll be ok, and she says yes, because she’s pregnant!?! Murdock says Ray will always be their friend. Then we get a long somber shot of Ray’s grave.

And… the end? I don’t know if Stephen J. Cannell somehow thought that it wasn’t sufficiently established that the A-Team was made of Vietnam vets, or what, but this was certainly an out-of-left-field and fairly off-putting finale. There were no wisecracks, no one-liners, just some earnest promises to help people. On the plus side, this likely would’ve freaked out all the people tuning in to catch “Remington Steele,” which is probably a good idea in principle.

So I’ll get going on Season Two, and you can send your congratulatory telegrams and gift certificates this way, sound good?

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