The A-Team ponders a warehouse full of toxic waste

The villain runs Hagen Rubbish Disposal – geez, the quips are going to write themselves this week, aren’t they?

Oh, hi. So glad you got in touch. As much as I’d love to chat right now, I’m in a hurry to finish up my A-Team project. Maybe we could talk again in a few weeks? Sounds wonderful. Yeah, everything’s fine, just busy as usual. And you? Your liver working again? Good, good. Well, like I said – yeah, yeah, it’s hard to find the time. And – no, I’d love to, but first I have to… yes, I know. And I appreciate that. And – no, it’s not anything personal at all, I just have a deadline and – LOOK WOULD YOU JUST SHUT UP ALREADY, I’VE GOT TO FINISH THIS THING AND IF YOU DON’T GET THE HECK OUT OF MY WAY YOU’LL BE SORRY… ok, then. Thanks mom. Love you too. Bye now.

Waste ‘Em

Wild Guess Preview: One of Face’s business associates runs a recycling company, and an evil garbage company is blowing up their recycling trucks while going after their operating permits. So the team has to sit through endless planning meetings of the San Pedro Municipal Waste Authority and plan commando raids. They end up having to hire a temp just to manage their schedules, which eats up all the money they make blowing up the bad guys.

Archer and some other thug
Guinnevere had green eyes, and ORDERED ME TO WRECK YOUR VAN

The Recap: It’s a rainy night in L.A., and a guy called A.J. and his sister, Lisa, who is blind, are driving their van (awesomeness level unknown) down a dark alley for a meeting, which somehow doesn’t make them suspicious. Then a really big truck starts driving toward them – you’d think they’d be scared now, but all A.J. does is yell “Hey!” a couple times, and it’s not even the “Hey” of “Hey, if you touch my kid again I’ll knock your block off,” or “Hey, you’ve had enough to drink, go on home.” It’s more a “Hey, do you know how to get to the Target on Finley Road?” Then another big truck drives up behind them, and at last A.J. seeks higher ground; he and Lisa duck out of the way just as the trucks meet up and smash his clearly-not-that-awesome van into a billion pieces. Four guys get out of the trucks and start walking toward A.J., who proves again he’s not very quick on the uptake by saying “Hold it right there, fellas.” The lead thug, Archer, has a mustache big enough to qualify for representation in Congress, and he tells A.J. to “take Hagen’s advice and sell out.” A.J. says that, as a veteran, he’s earned the chance to run a little business and be left alone, but Hagen’s own personal David Crosby impersonator doesn’t see it that way, and so the thugs punch him a few times and leave him laying.

“There must be somebody who can help us,” Lisa says – jeez, lady, didn’t you hear the opening credits? Oh, I guess so, because she’s with A.J. the next day when they take one of their “Speedy Delivery” vans to an auto detailing place as directed by Mr. Lee. And as long as we’re here, let’s get through our obligatory Speedy Delivery joke:

Mr. McFeely from Mister Rogers Neighborhood
He promptly escaped from a postal processing center and escaped to the Neighborhood Underground, etc.

Ok, moving on….

Hannibal in his Gene Shalit get up
Paul Hogan gives his most convincing performance yet! Now back to you, Jane and Bryant!

A.J. and Lisa are looking for the team, and what they get is Hannibal dressed as Gene Shalit! He tells them to drive their van into a room with special lights – Face and B.A. use this room to do some kind of X-ray security sweep, and when they radio to Hannibal that all’s well, he introduces himself. A.J. shares his life story: he flew in Vietnam, then flew airplanes for a while, and after he got laid off he and Lisa bought a delivery company and started doing OK for themselves – “until Ike Hagen came along.” Hagen’s a garbage magnate who offered to buy their company, and when they said no, “it was as if you’d walked under a ladder,” Face says, finishing the thought. “Dude seems to be pretty tough,” B.A. says, making a fist. “I think I’d like to meet him!” But, Hannibal wonders, why would Hagen want their company at all? That we don’t know, but since they’re taking the mission we’re about to find out.

Murdock is wheeled away on a gurney
I bet Murdock’s not singing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” right here

You’ll notice Murdock wasn’t part of this little meeting, because he’s back at the hospital. And now Face is there to spring him – this time the scam is that the VA doctors accidentally gave him a shot meant for someone else, and now his right hand, with a black glove, is taking on a life of its own. Face, posing as a doctor, offers to “take him to ICU” – if Murdock’s gloved hand will let go of him, anyway.

And now we get a glimpse of Hagen Rubbish Disposal – geez, the quips are going to write themselves this week, aren’t they? Hagen is playing darts and laughing about A.J.’s business going under – if his dart throwing is any guide to his skill as an evil mastermind, this mission won’t take long. The team is across the street, watching Hagen through a window. “He’s sure got a lot of security for someone who’s collecting garbage,” B.A. says. Since they can’t get to Hagen, Hannibal says, they’ll have to figure out a way to get Hagen to come to them. They head out in a Speedy Delivery van – Murdock’s driving, even though his right hand is still acting up. Archer – that’s the mustache guy – and his friends, acting on Hagen’s orders to “get on ’em and cut ’em down,” follow in their blue trucks. They do a nice little box-in maneuver and trap the team. Archer forces Hannibal and Murdock out of the truck and orders them to open up the back door. “You really don’t want to know what’s back here,” Hannibal warns, but they insist, and of course Face and B.A. come out with machine guns a-blazing, shooting up the blue trucks and disarming the thugs. Hannibal tells Archer that he now owns Speedy Delivery, and that if Hagen doesn’t like that he should come talk to him. Archer’s all mad and stuff but all he can do is fume.

Is Hagen mad about this? Is he mad? You bet he’s mad! “What does he think I am, a piece of sludge?” he yells, forgetting that he’s the namesake of a rubbish disposal company. He tells the thugs to bring Hannibal to him: “I’m gonna CRUSH dis guy!” The thugs head out and Hagen gets another round of darts in while he waits. Face and A.J. are watching this, of course, and they radio to Hannibal at the delivery company that some goons are on their way. Face even gets to kiss Lisa, who says “blind people kiss just like everybody else.” Hannibal’s also got B.A. building something special – a custom-made dart with a hidden microphone (how do you hide a microphone on a dart?). Murdock wishes Hannibal luck, or, rather, his hand does. “Lefty-“ his right hand – “says keep a stiff upper lip.” The thugs drag Hannibal to their car, but that’s Hannibal’s plan so it’s OK.

Hannibal is brought to Hagen’s office, and the boss explains he’s actually after the building Speedy Delivery is using to park their trucks. His final offer is thus: “sell or die.” Hannibal tosses B.A.’s special dart – bullseye, of course – and turns Hagen down, which makes him mad again. “Get this guy out of here, put him in the ground,” he says, and the thugs take Hannibal back outside and drive off. B.A., Face and Murdock follow in two vans and quickly start up a gunfight; Hannibal taps one of the thugs on the shoulder and says, proudly, “these guys are my friends!” They end up boxing the Hagen car in between their vans; the driver, who looks a lot like Michael Palin, doesn’t notice this and ends up going right through the front wall of (I think) a bakery. Hannibal tries to cheer them up: “coming through that wall was nice. If you’re ever out of work, call me… we could use some extra drivers.”

So everybody’s happy and going back over details of their incredible success, but Lisa hears via the surveillance dart that Hagen is making a call. (The dartboard isn’t unsupervised, though; Archer’s playing now.) He calls a Mr. Durcell about how they need to go “digging in the basement” of the Speedy Delivery building, and how they’re doing some kind of chemical delivery, and how he needs to meet up with someone named Louie, who has an envelope. Mr. Durcell is played by the guy who played Mr. Wilhelm on Seinfeld, George’s supervisor at the New York Yankees, only here he’s got a lot more hair.

Murdock tries to control Lefty
Lefty cannot be controlled. Even by Murdock.

“We’re gonna go see Louie and his envelope,” says Hannibal, and so they drive the awesome van to a warehouse, where Face punches out Louie and they all come on inside. What they find is a set of big green barrels of stuff that, Face says, would “take the shine right off a diamond.” Murdock finds it in Louie’s envelope, although Lefty doesn’t exactly want to share it; it’s got five thousand bucks inside. Face says there’s PCB and traces of dioxin in the green barrels; Hagen’s getting kickbacks from this chemical company to illegally dump their waste chemicals. B.A. worries that “maybe some little kid will find [the chemicals]… Hannibal, we’ve got to stop it.” Hannibal agrees, and decides to swap these icky barrels with identical ones filled with water; that way, they can find out where the waste is being dumped. B.A. ensures this by dropping a homing device in one of the barrels.

Hagen’s dudes show up and pick up the phony barrels, and when they leave the team follows in the awesome van. On the way, Murdock and Lefty inform B.A. that he’s “mailman in gold” of the A-Team because he makes sure they get where they need to go. B.A. is annoyed: “Hannibal, this fool is talking to his hand again.” They catch the Hagen dudes dumping the “chemicals” into a manhole connected to the sewer system. And the sewer system, we learn, is controlled by the crooked Mr. Durcell, so the team drops by City Hall carrying one of the big plastic barrels. Hannibal lays out the scheme: the sewer where Hagen dumps the chemicals runs right underneath Speedy Delivery’s building, and they want the company because Speedy Delivery was going to accidentally discover the gunk while building their new underground garage. The team wants Durcell to sign a confession – he begs off, but B.A. says think again: “Hey, fool, this stuff is DANGEROUS. It’ll burn your face RIGHT OFF.” Durcell is still reluctant, so B.A. starts pouring the toxic waste onto his desk. Finally he agrees to sign – “just get that stuff away from me.” Face laughs because the drum was actually full of maple syrup. Mmm.

Hannibal calls Lisa at the Speedy Delivery office and says they’re on their way to pick up Hagen and friends, who are at their office/dart training academy. There’s a knock at the door, and it’s Hagen and Archer and the other guys, and they’re holding the surveillance dart! “Looks like a bullseye to me,” Hagen says, and then he calls Hannibal to work up a deal – Hagen gets the confession Durcell signed, and Hannibal gets Lisa and A.J. back. Hannibal says fine, he’ll show up in an hour, by himself, unarmed. Face says this is incredibly dangerous, but Hannibal says “I said I’d be unarmed; I didn’t say you’d be unarmed.” And with that we begin the montage, where they appear to build a jetpack for a very nervous Face to use at Hagen’s place.

This time Face is the god of hellfire!

Hannibal heads over to Hagen’s and goes inside; the other guys are across the street in the van, ready to spring their trap. Murdock spots a cherry-picker, so he and B.A. scale the fence and start it up, B.A. climbing up the big crane. Face takes the van and crashes through a different fence, and – ah, they built him a flamethrower! And he uses fire to freak out a separate set of Hagen thugs we haven’t seen until now. Hagen sends his original thugs to find out what’s going on, but it’s too late – Murdock runs the cherry picker right up to the second floor window and B.A. bursts through, punching guys and tossing them into a nearby dumpster. After a few more punches, flamethrows and grenades, Hagen’s remaining trucks blow up and his remaining thugs end up in a dumpster. Murdock smiles as he looks at Hagen and his dudes in the dumpster. “What people don’t throw away these days, huh?” he laughs. Thumbs up all around.

Why did the 80’s call Michael Jackson The Great Gloved One when B.A. Baracus clearly has him outmatched?

A.J. is thrilled; he wants to keep the team on to help him all the time, but Hannibal says they’re “hard to keep in one place.” Lisa says the city is bringing a hazmat team over to clean up the toxic waste below them. Face gives her a goodbye kiss and promises to visit sometime. Murdock comes in, and says Lefty has found a smallish package that belongs to B.A. – the big guy says “it came, about time!” Murdock wants to know what it is, but B.A. won’t show him – until he turns around, and… it’s a black glove with metal accoutrements. “This is Big Lefty,” he says, and he squeezes Murdock’s gloved hand until Lefty says “I capitulate.”

And we’re back in the fun of it, after a string of somewhat lackluster episodes. Lefty is the best gimmick Murdock has had in a while, and while Hagen wasn’t the most diabolical villain in the world, his scheme actually made sense. We didn’t break any new ground here, but it was solid ground for a change. Or at least everything except that toxic waste pond under the garage.

Previous episode: Season 3, Episode 20 – Knights of the Road | Next episode: Season 3, Episode 22 – Bounty