Here’s a weird situation: the team is setting a trap for its own van.

And we reach the end of season three. I was going to say “finally,” but in looking back, we actually got through this one pretty quickly; it was summer that slowed things down for the most part. Summer, and, as I realized the other day, the lack of my old brown chair. I don’t mean to go all Archie Bunker here, but I had a brown recliner, which I somehow managed to destroy after setting it up in my house. It was the perfect workstation, and I have not been as comfortable or as productive since it toppled to the uneven floor. If you thought watching season three was fast (which you probably don’t, to be honest), watching season four in the brown recliner would be like a snap of the fingers. Sort of like my lucid moments.

Incident at Crystal Lake

Wild Guess Preview: It’s Friday, June 13th, and several camp counselors have been found dead at Camp Crystal Lake. So the remaining counselors hire the A-Team to do something about the murderous Jason Voorhees and his mother. B.A.’s fight scenes with Jason are pretty momentous, but Face’s attempts to romance Mrs. Voorhees are more than a little creepy and let’s leave it at that.

Face's Corvette
Face rides! Rides like the demon that drives his dreams!

The Recap: Face is rocking out in his Corvette to the Blondie hit “One Way or Another.” I think this is foreshadowing, because just up the road is a gal with a broken-down car, and even though Face is on his way “to meet some friends” and even though he’s already been kidnapped in exactly this way once before, he stops to give her a lift to the gas station just up the road.

Hannibal is a blind hillbilly
Hillbilly Hannibal must’ve drunk some Fudd beer.

Hannibal’s at the gas station, dressed as a blind hillbilly (seriously, what is it with hillbillies on this show?) and he directs Face to a bathroom to wash up, while he checks out the car. Good thing, too, because the moment Face is out of sight the lady radios to Colonel Decker. The MPs head over to the gas station right away, and Hannibal greets them sternly: “That’s horrible, Colonel, trying to catch us with our pants down!” Decker smiles because, once again, he’s finally caught the A-Team. But Hannibal warns him that instead of celebrating he “ought to requisition some new tires.” B.A. pops up and shoots at the MP cars, Murdock pulls up with the awesome van and they all drive away. Nice intro. (Shouldn’t there be a James Bond opening sequence now?)

This is one close call too many, and so Hannibal suggests it might be time for a little vacation, “somewhere nice and quiet, without any distractions.” Murdock knows a perfect hideout, a set of cabins at nearby Crystal Lake that the VA hospital uses for the mental patients. Since it’s out of season, Hannibal says, there won’t be anything there but “trees, trees and trees…. and not a girl in sight to get us in trouble.”

And yet there is trouble… somewhere. Somewhere where there is an armored truck, and where there is someone using dynamite to knock it off the road and steal the money. Wait, where is the money? The driver says the company canceled the run because the union that would have gotten paid that week was on strike. The hijackers don’t seem to know what a strike is and get very confused, but one of them realize they’ve committed a federal crime for no money, so they steal the armored car and shoot at some approaching police. Nothing conspicuous about that!

Murdock and Basscatcher Bob
Shouldn’t Kim Cattrall be here, too?

The team is getting comfortable at their vacation spot, especially Murdock, who’s out on the lake with a mannequin dressed in fishing clothes. So much for Hannibal’s comments about no lady distractions, though; Face is hitting on park ranger Jenny, promising a beautiful fish dinner for her and her ranger dad courtesy of B.A. “We’ve got enough fish to start a cannery.” Jump cut to B.A. in the kitchen, with an empty pan: “We ain’t got nothing! If you want to see your lady friend and her father with a fish dinner, you better take them to a restaurant.” Hannibal worries that meeting the park ranger might end up causing trouble. Face assures him that “it’s safe.”

Newspaper: 'A-Team Escapes'
Informative articles always print the same headline a couple times.

Which is why the next thing we see is Jenny and her dad, Pa Ranger, reading a news article called “A-Team Escapes” and radioing the police, who radio back to say Decker is on his way. This is when the armored car thieves show up and demand a new set of wheels for their escape. Pa Ranger says they only have Jeeps, but Jenny says “there’s a van” that belongs to some campers; ah, very clever. Two of the thieves decide to stay with “Pops” while the others grab the van and vow not to leave any witnesses.

Back at the cabin, Murdock leaves a reluctant Face and an expressionless dummy in charge of the fishing. Face actually starts talking to the dummy… and then the dummy’s fishing pole catches something! Face helps him reel it in, puts it in the net and then warns the dummy to say Face caught the thing: “If you tell anyone about this I’ll deny everything.” Just then the Jeep pulls up with Jenny and the long-haired thief. The dude demands Face give him the van keys; Face throws them to him and then hits him with the fish he caught. The thief then shoots Face and knocks him through the cabin window out to the lake! The thug sees Murdock’s dummy in the boat and shoots it, before driving off in the awesome van. Jenny runs into the woods, where Hannibal finds her.

So much for this vacation! Turns out Face is OK because his fishing vest was actually a bulletproof vest, and because “Basscatcher Bob” the dummy took most of the bullets for him. Hannibal thinks he knows a way out of this very sticky jam; he asks the team to shut down the access road to the camp while he saves Pa Ranger from the armored car thieves using nothing more than his wits, and also Basscatcher Bob’s vest and accessories.

Fisherman Hannibal talks with Robert Tessier
“Weren’t you working for Yaphet Kotto back in season one?”

Pa Ranger does indeed need rescuing: one of the armored car guys has taken on the role of crazy, murderous thief and repeatedly complains that they should’ve just killed everyone (in the world?) when they had the chance. The lead thief kills the rangers’ radio system to show that there’s nothing to worry about, but actually there is: Hannibal is dressed as a crazy old fisherman mucking about the side of the van. He talks with the thief who doesn’t talk and ends up inside the ranger station too. Hannibal whispers to Pa that Jenny’s safe, and hands him a bulletproof vest to wear so that they’re safe when crazy thug storms in and shoots them both (off-camera). The thieves drive off the awesome van; Hannibal tells Pa to lock up and stay out of sight, and then he joins the rest of the team to help in “decorating the road.”

Here’s a weird situation: the rest of the team is setting a trap for its own van. They drop a big tree as the thieves drive up, and when they get out Hannibal introduces himself and tells them to surrender or he’ll blow the van up. They don’t believe him, but he reminds the thief who doesn’t talk that he was on the side of the van earlier, and he says he was booby-trapping it with explosives. The thugs realize that Hannibal Smith of the A-Team isn’t bluffing and so they head for the hills; the van is saved only because B.A. freaks out and yells “HEY HANNIBAL! NOT MY VAN, MAN, DON’T DO IT!” And because the dynamite Hannibal planted was actually a pack of road flares.

Jenny is very grateful to the team now; Murdock tries to solicit a donation to the “Society of Wrongly Accused Escaped Prisoners,” so she feels very, very, very bad that she radioed the police and put Decker back on their trail. Hannibal’s not worried, though; he’s enjoying himself, and he’s ready to “show these guys what a weekend in the country is really like.” Jenny’s confused; what about saving themselves from the MP’s? “We are beyond saving,” Murdock says. Hannibal explains that with the thieves loose, it’s just not safe for anyone, even Decker, to come to the camp, “and without a radio, we can’t warn ’em.” Face and Murdock go off to find the thieves, while B.A. and Hannibal start up a montage; they’ve even got welding and armor plating in there!

Face and Murdock track the thieves to an abandoned cabin, and they’ve got it guarded pretty well; Face radios Hannibal to say sneaking up on them will be hard. Hannibal looks at the armored car-turned-deathmobile and says “I don’t think we’re gonna have to sneak up on them.” He and B.A. drive over to pick up the others and they drive through the thieves’ cabin (so much for the guards). The thieves don’t even try to fight; they just surrender right there! “We brought your truck back, slimeballs,” Hannibal says. The team brings them back to the ranger station, and wow, problem solved. Enter new problem: Decker, in a helicopter. The team tries to flee in the van, but some MP’s shoot out their front tire. And the thieves run off again during the gunfight. So everything’s screwed up again, just like that.

Not that Hannibal’s worried: “‘Well, this is it, Smith,'” he says in a gruff Decker voice. “I mean, that’s what you always say.” Ha! Basscatcher Bob is in Murdock’s seat in the van; the real Murdock is hiding somewhere. Hannibal warns Decker about the thieves, but Decker says first things first: “I want these men cuffed and fettered, AND I MEAN THIS!” And, he adds, if anyone on the team so much as twitches, “shoot to kill.” Hannibal laughs at him again anyway. Decker walks off and finds the long-haired thief, who he mistakes as the ranger. And the other thieves quickly surround him and take his weapons; the crazy guy even wants to shoot Decker, but the long-haired dude says no.

Murdock is under the awesome raft that’s on top of the awesome van, and when the time is right he grabs a fishing pole and uses it to “fish” one of the soldiers’ guns away! He follows that up with a flying tackle and now things are looking up! The rest of the team is still cuffed, but they manage to knock the remaining soldiers out, and soon the team is free and the soldiers are cuffed. Jenny drops by to say Decker’s alive, but that the thieves took his helicopter. The only way they could catch the goons now is to get their own helicopter, and Jenny says that, in fact, there’s one nearby that’s used for forest fires. Aha!

B.A. gets whacked with an oar
Get in the chopter, OAR else!

This news comes with some sadness: Basscatcher Bob willingly sacrifices his mannequin body (again, to the probable dismay of Andrew McCarthy) to lure the fire chopter and save the day. Of course, B.A. doesn’t want any part of flying, no matter what, and this time Murdock lays into him on Bob’s behalf: “If you weren’t gonna go, why didn’t you tell us, because we could’ve taken him and we could’ve burned you!” He reports this to Hannibal, who whacks B.A. with an oar and solves the problem.

The fire chopter shows up just as they hoped, and Jenny waves him to the ground, only to commandeer the vehicle in the name of the park service. Face gives her a kiss (!) and then the team piles in and finds the thieves, who have hijacked some guy’s car. So the team drops the fire chopper’s big bucket o’water on the car to send them off the road. Three flying tackles and a few punches ensue and that’s finally the end of the thieves. B.A. wakes up in the middle of the fight, just in time to take out the big guy.

The fight’s over, but B.A.’s still fired up. Murdock and Face spin a story of how the thieves kidnapped B.A. and put him on the helicopter, but the big guy doesn’t buy it: “They didn’t put me on the helicopter, YOU did!” Finally they confess and B.A. says “it’s ok.” Face smiles; really it’s ok? “No. But I like conning you, like you like conning me.” And he throws a punch as we go to commercial.

More Blondie music? This time it’s coming from the awesome van, and this time when they see a lady on the side of the road they don’t pick her up. Well, Face tries to – “hi there, you need a lift?” – but Murdock pulls him back in and the van speeds off. And thus concludes our season.

A killer season finale. There were great twists and turns with the thieves making everyone’s lives miserable, and a lot of funny moments throughout. But where the heck were the flashbacks to past episodes? That’s a season finale tradition!

Previous episode: Season 3, Episode 24 – Trouble Brewing | Next episode: Season 4, Episode 1 – Judgement Day, Part 1