It’s time for welding and drilling and why they didn’t just hire B.A. to succeed Bob Vila on ‘This Old House’ I’ll never know.

It’s very nearly March 21st, which means one thing to those of us who live in cooler parts of the country: we totally missed Dirk Benedict’s birthday! This is a big faux pas for someone who’s trying to build a reputation as an authority on The A-Team. I should really do something big to make up for it, but since I’m lazy and have a limited skillset, how about I just say what someone should do without actually doing it?

I’ve decided that someone should bake a Dirk Benedict belated birthday cake. We know from his books and interviews that Dirk likes manly things, so I’ve found a manly coffee cake recipe that includes manly wheat beer (and even manlier apricot puree), and I’ve designed a cake topping that will accentuate the manliness while celebrating the unique character that is our Faceman:

Happy Birthday Dirk

Perfect, isn’t it? The cigars, the money, the cute little line of grenades, and… ah, just forget it.

Recipe For Heavy Bread

Wild Guess Preview: Nothing could be more explosive – or delicious – than the A-Team joining forces with the Pillsbury Doughboy! Trapped in a cinnamon roll factory by a group of anti-nutrition fanatics, the doughboy realizes the team’s only chance is for him to offer his tummy up for a suicide tickle torture mission – unless B.A. can turn a closet full of danish into concussion grenades.

The Recap: Wow, Marjoe Gortner is a guest star! And the van is back, and in good shape after getting taken apart in the season one finale. The team is dining at some fancy restaurant in L.A., because they want Mr. Fabulous, the maitre’d, to come back and play in their band – no, actually, they’re looking for a cook there called Lin Duk Koo, who secretly gave them food while they were in a Vietcong prison camp. They’re not completely sure it’s really Lin, so B.A. takes the bull by the horns and screams: “HEY LIN DUK KOO! IT’S B.A. BARACUS! HEY MAN!” Lin is understandably freaked and runs out of the restaurant, but when he does, a guy with a gun starts shooting and takes Lin away in a limo. Huh?

The Taking of Lin Duk Koo
“You’re gonna pay for that Beef-a-Roni, Chef Boyardee- wait, who the hell are you?”

The team follows the limo guy to Angel Bread Baking Co, conveniently located about 10 feet from the restaurant. Hannibal’s plan is to storm the gates with some firepower (and yes, for some reason this small urban bakery has gates), so they all climb over, sneak inside and rescue Lin from the suit-wearing thugs, who had earlier told Lin they had “the authority to waste your butt!” Face steals a bakery truck for the getaway, and now it’s a chase scene pitting Big Vans against Big 70s Cars. The vans win this round pretty easily, with Murdock on top of the van spraying bullets all over the place.

At this point no one knows what the hell is going on, so the team heads to their new hideout, a luxury condo Face is “borrowing” from a famous interior decorator, Mr. Tony. “Faceman hasn’t changed,” says Lin. “He scams like crazy!” According to Lin, General Chow, the evil Vietcong camp commander, sent him to the US to find a Mr. Anderson at Angel Bakery. But Mr. Anderson turned out to be a Lieutenant Thomas Angel, who was the camp snitch. Since logic is not collaborating with the script, we learn that Lin was to be killed immediately after giving Chow’s message to Anderson, so he fled and got a cook’s job at the very next building. The team is happy to help, so long as B.A. can finish eating a banana first.

But villainy has not ceased! Somewhere a chopper lands, and General Chow gets out to meet Thomas Angel/Anderson, who is actually Marjoe Gortner! The general is displeased with “last night’s mistake” – they slept together? No, that Lin got away. “You have robbed me of my revenge!” Anderson reminds the general that they’re not in the revenge business, they’re in the narcotics business, and they have to go find the van the A-Team stole because it’s full of their first drug shipment. General Chow says then why the crap are we standing here? Kill Lin, or “I will fill his grave with your body!” Marjoe doesn’t like this.

Marjoe Gortner goes golfing with Hannibal
Marjoe’s playing with a Slazenger 7, isn’t he?

Triple A does a little phone research and finds out Angel’s dad is “Big” Tom Angel, a mobster out of Phoenix. She also finds out Anderson is a serious golfer who plays every afternoon. Hannibal gets that look in his eye, and Lin says “The Colonel love it when plan come together!” Is this gonna be like the golf match between James Bond and Goldfinger? No, the team just surprises Anderson on the golf course, with Hannibal disguised as his caddy. They take Anderson hostage in the van while Murdock uses a talking golf ball to tell Anderson’s thugs to stop hitting his “people” around the course: “This is a warning from the Golf Ball Liberation Front: let my people be!!!”

Murdock and a talking golf ball
Be the ball, Murdock… be the ball.

They drive about four feet (why is every setting in this episode right next to the previous one?) and threaten Anderson, who asks that they “let Saigons be by-gones” and make a deal instead: the bread truck and Lin Duk Koo for a million bucks. Hannibal says he wants General Chow, not money, and gives Anderson four hours to put a deal together.

The team is back at Mr. Tony’s condo; Triple A and Lin go through the bread truck to find Chow’s dope, while Murdock carries on about the ordeal faced by golf balls. (“Have you ever considered a telethon?” Hannibal suggests.) The colonel arranges a meetup with General Chow through Anderson, but it’s actually a double-cross. B.A. gets ready for another montage by taking apart the elevators and using them for armor plating. “Another common area bites the dust,” he says. Then it’s time for welding and drilling and why they didn’t just hire B.A. to succeed Bob Vila on “This Old House” I’ll never know. But General Chow’s double-cross catches the team off-guard; he shows up in a chopper with thugs and take everybody prisoner inside the elevator. General Chow, by the way, has been recast; he’s now played by an android who repeatedly whines “I want Lin!”

Hannibal shoots a bread-gun
Better bread than dead?

They all head to the truck to meet Marjoe; he’s not fooled a bit by Hannibal’s sweet n low scam, but Hannibal says “You didn’t check the sourdough.” He grabs a loaf and there’s a gun inside – oh man, is that ever sweet – while an equally elaborate plan is uncorked on the roof: Lin pulls General Chow out of the copter, Triple A smacks him with the butt of a rifle, and Murdock takes control of the chopper. Round Two of Big Vans vs. Big 70s Cars begins, and with help from Murdock and Triple A in the chopper, they win by launching the bad guys’ car on its side. They lock Marjoe Gortner in the bread van and call the cops.

We’re wrapping things up at B.A.’s place (Face has been dumped from Mr. Tony’s pleasure palace by now) and there’s good news for Lin: Triple A has arranged for him to meet with some government people; she says they’re giving him diplomatic immunity. Anyway, he can stay in the country. Lin makes fortune cookies for everybody before heading out – and it’s got Hannibal’s catchphrase on it!

Fortune cookie: 'I love it when a plan comes together.'
Wait, the fortune cookie loves it when a plan comes together too?

An odd but mostly entertaining episode – see, this is what the Season One finale should’ve been. Yes, they have great affection for their war buddy, but there aren’t any off-putting somber turns. And it’s always nice for Murdock to take up a cause – the reforms enacted in the Ethical Golf Ball Treatment Act of 1984 have saved millions of golf balls from the devastating effects of concussions over the years.

So, anybody want some cake to take home? Dirk? General Chow? Marjoe?

Previous episode: Season 2, Episode 1 – Diamonds ‘N’ Dust | Next episode: Season 2, Episode 3 – The Only Church in Town