“The A-Team and some grandmas lay out fabric in the greatest preparation montage of all time!”

Because most of you are reading this to find out about something other than the A-Team, here’s a farm update for you: we’re swimming in produce. September can be a disappointing time for aspiring farm enthusiasts; if you didn’t sow, there’s not much to reap. In our case, we’re reaping the fruit of hundreds of tomato plants, pepper plants, squash plants and more; we’re also reaping what we didn’t sow, thanks to a few mystery plants that we didn’t plant but showed up anyway.

Obviously not everything is in your control in the yard, but it’s as direct an example of hard work paying off as I can think of without looking anything up. You put the time and effort in, you get it back in edibles, or flowers, or dangerous invasive hybrid varieties. The payoff for other projects – like, say, this one – are a little fuzzier. Sure, I’ll have a bumper crop of A-Team reviews at the end of the year, but… then what? Wealth? Fame? The grudging respect of Julie Powell? I don’t see it happening. Maybe a year with the A-Team is, in a way, its own reward? Or it just comes with extra green peppers?

Hot Styles

Wild Guess Preview: Remember Mr. T’s (in)famous fashion show in the dynamic video for young people, “Mr. T’s Be Somebody… or Be Somebody’s Fool”? B.A. brings it to life here, forcing the rest of the team to prance around in 80s teen fashions while he narrates. Hannibal and Murdock are particularly worrying as twins “Zena and Xena from San Bernadina,” though Face’s turn as “Jeff,” the suspenders-obsessed hipster, isn’t much fun either. Labels are tabled, own brands are worn, and direct-to-video history is made.

Markie Post fashion shoot.
Markie Post and the Spiders from Mars

The Recap: Oh my god it really is an 80s fashion shoot. There’s hair everywhere, and yet Face is atracted to all the goings-on… oh, I see, because Markie Post is the guest star! This time she’s trading in her nun costume for fancy 80s clothes – she’s a model named Rena, and she’s kissing up a storm with Face, who’s just bought her a fancy necklace. Face has told her some story about how he’s a computer salesman headed back to New York, but before he can fess up, two goons march up and kidnap Rena in a limo. Face jogs – and I do mean he jogs, not runs – to his Corvette and follows. Geez, we’re getting the car chase out of the way early this week. The Markie-nappers eventually shoot out one of Face’s tires and that’s the end of the beginning… but also, the beginning of the end. (Maybe I should write promo copy for those satellite TV menu screens.)

Murdock wearing B.A. feathers
Be howlin’ mad, or be somebody’s fool

Now Face is in the awesome van, telling Hannibal that a crook called Johnny Turian was in the goons’ limo, though he doesn’t know why Rena would be connected to him. That’s not all that’s askew, either: Murdock is driving the van, and he’s wearing B.A.’s feathered accessories on his head and gold around his neck! Where the heck is B.A., anyway? Was this filmed when he was at Wrestlemania? Hannibal asks if Murdock can drive them to Turian’s headquarters, and Murdock says “You kidding, sucka? We’re there!”

Soon enough, we are there, and we’re driving through Turian’s warehouse, machine-gunning and holding thugs at gunpoint. Face grabs the girl and Murdock grabs the thugs’ guns. One of them makes a face at his B.A. outfit and Murdock is miffed: “What’s the matter, you don’t like earrings? Chauvinist pig!” They drive off. Wow, mission accomplished already?

Actually, Rena is mad at Face for rescuing her from the kidnappers. “Johnny Turian is a friend of mine,” she says, and she breaks up with Face right there on the sidewalk. Face is convinced she’s in some kind of trouble, so they follow Rena back to Turian’s limo, and then they follow the limo. Murdock: “Don’t worry, Hannibal… I ain’t gonna lose these suckas!” They end up at Turian’s yacht for some kind of party. Hannibal and Murdock try to shake Face out of his funk by giving him a mission, to sneak onto the boat and find out what Turian is up to.

Face’s scam is pretty slick: he poses as the parking valet for some of Turian’s guests, and then walks onboard with their invitation to find Rena. “Templeton, I’m so scared!” she says, and explains that Turian is trying to steal Jason Burnett’s new clothing line, and she’s supposed to get a look at the duds before they go public so Turian can sell counterfeit versions. (Side note: Jason Burnett is played by John Moschitta, Jr., the fast-talking guy. He talks normal speed here.) Face promises to help even though Rena doesn’t want him to. Turian is also on board, and he’s talking with a Mr. Dubrio, who calls him “kid” even though he’s like 20 years younger than Turian. He’s invested a lot of money in this thing and he doesn’t want any screwups, you understand? Turian understands. Dubrio tells Turian to keep his eye on Rena, you know?

Face’s scam while onboard is a little confusing: he sneaks into Turian’s bedroom and steals all his jewelry! The thugs discover this and pull a knife on him, but Hannibal has also snuck on board, dressed as a waiter, and he gets the jump on the goons. The two teamers jump onto another boat and float away to safety, with Turian foaming at the mouth about his terrible security.

Hannibal and an old lady
Who knew there were so many retirees in the Los Angeles underground?!?

Turian is expecting a roll of film from Rena of the secret fashion line, so Hannibal’s going to give him one, only not from Jason Burnett’s line: “We’ll design our own fashions!” And Murdock will be the designer, which means he’s temporarily ditching his B.A. voice for a French accent. Face says ok, good idea, but how are they going to actually make the clothes? Hannibal has that covered too: we go now to the Westside Senior Center, where the A-Team and some grandmas are laying out fabric in the greatest preparation montage of all time! Face rounds up a few models, and it’s time for a fashion shoot, A-Team style- I especially like the pics where the girls are holding machine guns.

Hannibal is a firefighter
“I did a whole episode as a firefighter, y’know. Ask DeeDee McCall sometime.”

Rena’s on her way to the big secret fashion shoot with Jason Burnett, the clothing designer. Since even she doesn’t know where it’s being held, Murdock roller-skates over to the limo and drops a homing device on its bumper; Face and Hannibal follow in the awesome van. Burnett’s security system detects the bug before they make it to the shoot, but Hannibal says fine, we go to “our contingency plan” – dress up like firefighters, storm the security company’s HQ and get the address after the staff evacuates. Face picks Rena up after the shoot and convinces her to use their roll of film instead of the real one. But when they get to Turian’s yacht (does he actually live there?) she rolls on Face and says the real film is in his pocket. Why? Because Turian was holding Rena’s son the whole time, and now she gets the kid back. Turian laughs as he throws the fake roll of film into the ocean, so now everything’s messed up. Face doesn’t hold this against Rena, even though he’s going to end up as shark food thanks to her treachery. “All we have to do is wait for my friend Hannibal to come up with a plan,” Face says. “Let’s hope it’s a good one.”

Murdock and Hannibal are the Harbor Patrol
“Harbor Patrol,” the new madcap comedy from the makers of “Meatballs”

And it is a good one: the awesome van pulls up to O’Brady’s Shipyard, where Murdock and Hannibal clean up a boat during a second montage. (Hopefully they don’t have to weld anything, what with B.A. missing.) Their new boat represents the Harbor Patrol, and it looks spiffy; they even add a US flag and salute it as they head out to meet Turian’s boat. Hannibal introduces himself as “Captain Detweiler” of the Harbor Patrol, and jumps aboard Turian’s boat to examine his documents. Turian says ok, so Hannibal draws a gun on him and says “take us to Rena… and our friend.” Once on board, punches are thrown, thugs are dispatched and Face gives us a twist: he never actually switched canisters with Rena, so Turian actually sent “phony designs” to his counterfeiters and tossed the real film is in the ocean. (Murdock takes exception to the word “phony,” as his designs are “a work of genius.” Honestly, though, the real genius is that he says this while imitating Tony Curtis’s Cary Grant voice from the boat scenes in “Some Like It Hot”!) Face grabs the necklace he bought for Rena at the start of the episode and they all head out. “Oh, and sorry about that hole in your boat,” adds Hannibal. What hole? Oh, the one he’s about to make with a grenade! Ha! The thugs have to abandon ship, and Hannibal loves it when a plan comes together.

They’re all somewhere safe, and Hannibal has the newspaper, with the headline “Johnny Turian disappears.” He goes off to check on B.A.’s arrival by train so that Face and Rena can talk. Rena says she likes Face, but that he’s safer on the run instead of having a permanent address. They share a goodbye kiss.

B.A. and Murdock in the van
B.A.’s back from… wherever

And here’s B.A. at last! Murdock explains how he and the van found a way to coexist while B.A. was mysteriously away. “It just don’t seem right,” B.A. says of Murdock driving and himself passengering, and he’s proven right immediately when Murdock drives off the road and we get another glimpse of the “Range Rider” footage of the van going into the water. And that’s all.

Hannibal, Face and Murdock with machine guns

What a strange episode! The inexplicable missing B.A. threw everything off. The recurring Face/Markie Post lovin’ throws me off personally, though at least Face was a lot more entertaining this time around than in the last Markie Post episode. Nonetheless, there were a lot of fun moments; to use a gardening metaphor, it wasn’t quite a bumper crop, but it was still worth all the effort.

Previous episode: Season 3, Episode 11 – The Bells of St. Mary’s | Next episode: Season 3, Episode 13 – Breakout!