It’s Bizarro-A-Team: B.A. has time for the jibba jabba and Hannibal hates when a plan comes together.

I’m getting something of a second wind on this project, and that’s because of my new Mr. T doll. It’s like a talisman, urging me forward, giving me a boost to carry on and finish the project succesfully. Actually, it’s as much fear as it is pride: I’m convinced that if I don’t finish watching all the A-Team episode by the end of the year that the doll will be giving me something other than street-smart life lessons. With that in mind, I’m skipping the spiel and getting right down to business.

Double Heat

Wild Guess Preview: How did the internet write an A-Team episode before the internet was really even around? Nonetheless, the team hides from the military at the home of one Paul Vazquez, aka Double Rainbow Guy, where everything is SO INTENSE WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! But what does it meeeean?

The Recap: Two big guest stars this week: Dana Elcar, the bald guy from MacGyver, and Steven Williams, Mr. X from The X-Files. Since I didn’t watch either show, I’m going to instead concentrate on the montage of sailboats and fancy sports cars. One of these cars is carrying a big beefcake called Ray Evans, who brings a more petite lady called Jenny Olson to a beachside restaurant. They get menus from Willie Aames (I think) and then Musclehead leaves to take a “phone call,” only he’s actually setting Jenny up to be kidnapped by some hoods. Which they do rather quickly.

Murdock asks B.A. for comment
Newscaster Murdock reports; you decide.

Jenny’s dad George (ah, there’s Dana Elcar) meets up with the team at a park. Hannibal is suspicious because they ran a background check on George Olson and not a whole lot came up. B.A.: “We don’t like dealing with people with no background!” George explains he used to be George Banner, and after a failed experiment with gamma rays, he began turning into a big green creature and had to fake his own death and… oh, actually he used to be an accountant for mobster Tommy Largo, against whom he’s testifying tomorrow. Hannibal says they’ll run the prints and if the story checks out, they’ll help him. Murdock, adopting his vintage radio news voice, asks B.A. for comment: “Shut up, fool! Sucka gets out on a weekend pass, and thinks he’s a news reporter.” B.A. then tries to bite Murdock’s hand/microphone; then they all take the awesome van to pick up Face.

Face has a little trouble with the free weights
See, the mustache is throwing him way off balance here.

Next stop: Holiday Hills Racquetball Club, to talk to musclehead Ray. Face drops by the weight room, but Ray is suspicious of Face’s goofy new mustache and inability to lift weights; he’s even more unsure when Face takes a (very ineffectual) punch at him, so he throws Face out the window and into the water. The team finds this hilarious. “Nice job, Lieutenant,” laughs Hannibal.

But instead of finishing his workout, Ray blunders outside and bumps into the team, who, um, persuade him to spill the beans on Jenny’s kidnapping. He says all he knows is that Ginger the waitress was behind the whole thing. B.A. tosses Ray into the water anyway.

The team drives off to… well, I’m not sure where, but they happen upon some dudes putting Ginger in a car, and so it’s time for a chase scene! We get some cool close-ups of the thug car’s tires skidding and screeching and spinning, at least until Hannibal shoots out a tire and makes the car explode. Ginger is OK, but she’s never heard of Tommy Largo: “I work for Eddie Devane… the owner of the restaurant. He’s the one who wanted the girl.” Devane is Largo’s main rival in mobster-ing, and that gets Hannibal all excited: “We’re getting paid to get the Olson girl back, and if we have to sweep up a couple of the world’s great hairballs in the process, it’ll just stimulate our circulation. It stimulates mine!” Then he says the best way to find the elusive Devane is to see Tommy Largo.

Let’s go back through this for a second. The plot of this week’s episode (and all professional logicians should turn back now to protect yourselves) is that the team is trying to find a mobster who kidnapped the daughter of a guy who’s going to testify against a different mobster. This is some seriously indirect villainy.

Face and Hannibal salute a registered voter
Rip Torn looking guy, we salute you!

Hannibal says he wants a helicopter, so Face and Murdock head over to some kind of chopper rental place and pretend they have secret government documents that much be flown away immediately. “Don’t you love your country?” Murdock asks the guy at the front desk, and, in fact, he does: he proudly notes he’s in charge of the local Moose lodge AND is a registered voter! Murdock hugs him, and they all salute before Face and Murdock steal the guy’s helicopter.

We’ll come back to the chopper in a second, but first the team has to shoot up Tommy Largo’s club, pretending that they’re working for Eddie Devane. Tommy shakes his fists as the van drives off… and then Hannibal insists on going right back, so he can dress up as a hobo and mark Tommy’s limo with a big yellow spot. “The man’s on the jazz again,” B.A. points out. Ah, now it all (sort of) makes sense: Murdock and Face are using the big yellow spot to track the limo from their borrowed helicopter; Hannibal and B.A. follow in the van. Tommy’s heading to “Rancho Springs,” which is only 71 miles away from the looks of the sign. That’s where Eddie Devane is, as it turns out. Largo and his limo drive in and prepare to talk.

“You have the girl,” Tommy says, getting right to the point. “I want her.” Eddie says he doesn’t have the girl, and he also didn’t send the team to bust up Tommy’s club. Tommy mutters to himself and wanders away, and then Eddie brings Jenny over and calls her dad, George, and tells him to testify against Tommy Largo. So Eddie kidnapped the daughter to convince a guy who was going to testify…. to testify?

Hannibal in a lizard costume
Maybe Hannibal became the Lizard King after Jim Morrison died.

The team infiltrates Eddie’s hidden haven without much trouble, even though they initially thought the compound was “sealed as tight as a can of peas.” It’s simple: Hannibal parachutes into Eddie Devane’s pool wearing his old Aquamaniac costume! “I’m Leo the Lizard,” he says, by way of introduction, “otherwise known as Hannibal Smith,” and he spins a story about how he was supposed to land at a kids’ party and got blown off course. While he’s nattering on, Jenny the hostage drops a “HELP” note in his suit… which the guards discover as they’re tossing Hannibal out the door. Oddly, they fail to notice the gun in Hannibal’s suit, at least until he uses it to bust out of the makeshift detention cell along with Jenny.

The rest of the team drives up and continues the Leo the Lizard act, with an apoplectic Face wondering where his star attraction might have landed. They guard buys their story and lets them drive up to see Eddie Devane… and start shooting machine guns at him. Hannibal and Jenny run out to meet the others and drive away. Eddie, who’s mad his guards didn’t “stop those clowns” as directed, calls Tommy Largo and proposes an alliance to stop those clowns.

Ok, let’s recap the plot one more time: the team is trying to find a mobster who kidnapped the daughter of a guy who’s going to testify against a different mobster. They rescue the daughter, which prompts the first to join forces with the second mobster, even though the whole point of the kidnapping scheme was to hurt the second mobster. This is the Bizarro-World A-Team episode: up is down, down is up, B.A. has time for the jibba jabba and Hannibal hates it when a plan comes together.

The team has worked hard to find Jenny and bring her to safety; she messes all that up in 30 seconds by calling her dad on a bugged phone line and asking where the feds have stashed him. So now the team has to go save the dad… and they just leave her at her apartment, unguarded? “Stay put until you hear from us,” says Hannibal’s very obvious ADR.

Papa George, by the way, is angry, and nervous, and worried, but not about his grand jury testimony; he’s upset that the sandwiches he ordered haven’t arrived. Luckily the food does arrive, with Hannibal posing as room service! The federal marshals get all upset that there’s a new guy dropping off food and acting very suspicious, so they rush George out of the hotel, which is what Hannibal wanted all along. This is the most (only?) logical thing that’s happened in the whole episode. The rest of the team comes by the hotel room and sets up for a big final battle.

New Wave Murdock

Do you want New Wave Murdock or do you want the truth?

Team Mob Scum, meanwhile, is driving to the hotel, expecting to pick up George. Devane says “we’ll use our brains” to get to George, only they don’t have any and so they use the same room service gag as Hannibal, only this time the Colonel pulls a gun on the goon and says “that’s very uninventive.” Ha! Murdock distracts the mob dudes by dressing up as a New Wave guy – don’t ask, I don’t quite get it either – and then we get another big gunfight, with the team once again getting the better of the exchange. Tommy Largo and Eddie Devane join forces in trying to start a getaway car, but Hannibal shoots out their tire and they flip over. Newscaster Murdock is on the scene to get comments, but Eddie and Tommy offer none. “Shy, I guess,” he says.

Newscaster Murdock signing off
To receive more Newscaster Murdock, you’ll need to get a digital converter box. With a voucher, you can receive Newscaster Murdock for free.

Nothing left but to get some thanks from George and Jenny, and for Murdock to hold a TV in front of his face for a newscast epilogue. Hannibal says “I think we’ve seen this program before” and asks B.A. to “change the channel.” He does this – literally switching a channel on the hollowed out TV – and Murdock starts doing a Walter Cronkite outro, prompting chuckles from all.

This one was… off. I actually enjoyed it while watching, but the more I thought about it the more confused I got. Maybe the two mob bosses were just dumber than hell; it would explain why all their decisions seemed convoluted and counterproductive, and why the team was able to take them down pretty easily. That said, I did enjoy the scene where Murdock and Face scammed the helicopter, and Leo the Lizard was pretty cool too, for that matter. But then there’s also Face’s mustache… not working for me. And I don’t think my Mr. T doll was a big fan either.

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