OH MY GOD it really is Murdock on the Wheel of Fortune!
Well, this is going to be an interesting week. I got a call from my family in Illinois that my dad, who has been in iffy health for a while now, was quite sick and had begun hospice treatment. Which is why I’m writing this from an airport terminal in Philadelphia, en route to the old homestead instead of getting ready for a holiday cookie party. (Prospective TV recappers, here’s a challenge for you: live-blog the A-Team for a year, but do at least one episode from each of the 50 states!)
It’s not the most conducive place or atmosphere for this kind of work, but one thing I’ve learned from my dad that applies to this project is that sometimes you gotta do what you’ve gotta do, even if it’s not the easiest option in the world. Which is in keeping with this show for sure. So we’ll just plow through these next few episodes as best as we can.
Wheel of Fortune
Wild Guess Preview: In a shameless ratings play, NBC has some of its TV stars appear on “Wheel of Fortune,” but in character, meaning that Ted Danson isn’t buying a vowel, it’s Sam Malone. And when the A-Team has a chance to spin the wheel, they instead start a short musical montage in which they use Pat Sajak’s suit (by Botany 500!) and hair gel to create an improvised explosive. They don’t need to guess the puzzle, they just blew it up!
The Recap: OH MY GOD IT REALLY IS MURDOCK ON THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE! He solves the newest puzzle (“All’s Fair in Love and War”) and Pat Sajak says “we’ve never had anyone quite like you on this show.” Murdock has, in fact, won over $28,000 in prizes in several days on the program. But now he has to go shopping: he picks out a humidor, an auto buffer with a year’s supply of car wax, the waterbed, and a trip to Hawaii. Looks like he picked something for everybody, and he gets to come back in a couple weeks for the Super Challenge match!
Face is watching from a dressing room; he hooked Murdock onto some letter frequency tables and that’s how he was able to clean up. They’re totally excited about the big win, and Face can already see the two of them on the plane to Hawaii. Oh wait, Murdock wants to bring his dental hygienist, Jenny Beth, with whom he’s become smitten (what about Dr. Kelly the veterinarian?). Face really thinks it should be him; after all, he’s Murdock’s “constant companion.” But Murdock isn’t moved, which means Face has to scam him.
Or at least scam someone: he goes to the VA hospital, switches out a folder and then asks the nurse for Mr. Murdock. She lets an older, crankier nurse know, and that lady calls some balding guy in an office to warn him that someone is inquiring about Murdock. Then she tells Face that someone else from his outfit came and picked up Murdock earlier. “He went without me!” Face says, running off.
You suckas better let Jim McMahon wear his “Rozelle” headband!
Face drives away in his Corvette, and somebody follows him in a maroon car, saying “Let’s see where the rabbit runs.” It runs to an apartment, where B.A. is wearing a Walter Payton jersey and cheering the Bears toward victory on TV. B.A.’s mad because Face ran out of milk: “you never have enough milk!” Hannibal is already on vacation; he’s in Rio with two flight attendants. Face calls him and complains that Murdock didn’t take him to Hawaii, but that Jenny Beth wasn’t with him either, so Murdock’s actually missing. Hannibal suggests they check with the “Wheel of Fortune” people to see if Murdock’s on hand for the championship match, but if not, call back. B.A. wonders “if he didn’t get on the plane to Hawaii, then where is the crazy fool?”
He’s blindfolded, knocked out and in the back of a car in the South American nation of Buraq, that’s where. There are two guys there, Joshua and Jeremy, who claim they’re CIA agents and big fans of Murdock’s combat flight record. Murdock says he knows the CIA well enough to know they don’t “drug and run” with people they want, because “I used to work for those dudes.” Murdock worked with the Company? Yes, Joshua knows all about that. “Agent Cheney sends his regards.” Joshua says the Soviets have brought two fancy, new, radar-equipped Hind helicopters to South America; the U.S. has captured one, and now they want Murdock to teach Jeremy to fly the thing. Murdock says there are complicating factors with bringing him into a mission. Joshua says he’ll smooth things over with the V.A., but Murdock says “it’s not the hospital people you’re gonna have to worry about.”
Face is cruising the streets in the Corvette and calling around to figure out what exactly happened to Murdock, but nobody knows anything so he calls B.A. to say he’s headed back to the apartment. The red car pulls up beside Face and the balding guy flashes his badge. Face gives him a thumbs up, then floors it. Somehow the balding guy’s K-Car outruns Face’s Corvette and they hold him at gunpoint.
Not just anyone can pull off a scam as intricate as Mister Masseuse.
Murdock’s in South America, Hannibal’s in Rio, which is also in South America. Face is in trouble with the balding guy, so B.A. has to pull a scam on his own! He heads to the V.A. and asks for Murdock: “I’m from the Wheel of Fortune… I’m part of his fantasy weekend.” He then claims to be “Mister Masseuse” and that Murdock won a luxury massage for himself “and six of his friends.” Not a bad scam for a guy who doesn’t like scams! She says he’s gone for two weeks, so he asks her: “What about you, mama? Your neck looks pretty stiff!” She says no thanks, so he goes outside and listens in on a phone box, to see who she’s tipping off about Murdock questions.
The guy answers the phone as “Bach’s Stereo,” so B.A. drives there, or, more accurately, he drives through there. The dudes confess, at gunpoint, that Face is tied up in the back room. The balding guy says “You guys are in big, big trouble with the government,” but B.A. waves them off: “Yeah, yeah, we know. Now where’s our friend?”
Their friend is skipping around some hilly area with Joshua and Jeremy, scouting out where the second Hind chopter is being held. “Once we get in there, the only way out alive is to fly out.” Murdock laughs at his predicament: “And to think I could’ve been in Hawaii.” Joshua dresses up like a Buraqi soldier, knocks out the guards and the others hustle over to assist him. Then they sneak up on the guards next to the chopter and get into a firefight with them. They climb in and take off; Murdock loves the feel of the Hind, says it’s as smooth as jelly. Then they test out the weapons systems on an unoccupied garage, and blow it to bits. But as they fly, Murdock starts to notice that there are an awful lot of casinos in the skyline of Buraq. “Looks like Las Vegas to me,” he says, angrily.
Joshua and company take Murdock to some cabin and tie him up. Murdock asks if they think they’re going to rob a casino with the Hind. No, he says, “the world’s gonna think you knocked over a casino with that thing.” Murdock, by the way, is wearing a shirt that says “I stand firmly behind this,” which is very cool pretty much no matter what it is he’s actually standing behind. Joshua explains that once they pull off the robbery they’ll force Murdock to crash the helicopter and croak. They all head out, advising Murdock to “enjoy your last hours.”
We’ve warned thugs before about an unattended Murdock…
These clowns obviously didn’t watch the “Bounty” episode, or they’d know leaving Murdock alone and tied up is a recipe for disaster. (That’s ok, the writers don’t remember it either.) Murdock grabs two matches off the table with his mouth, knocks the table over with his knees, lights the match with the end of Joshua’s cigar and starts a fire, which he uses to (painfully) burn the ropes off his hands and free himself.
Cut now to the Silver Horse hotel and casino, where a Mr. Stein is getting info on tonight’s money drop from a guy in a suit: it’s set for this afternoon, for over two million bucks. The thieves are listening in on the helicopter’s casino-listening feature, or whatever. Joshua laughs: “This thing against an armored car?”
Murdock is free, and he’s roaming the desert, perhaps hoping to run into the cast of “CSI.” Instead, he… nearly runs into the awesome van?!? Oh right, Face and B.A. found out where he was from the balding guy. But they don’t see each other, so the van is driving toward the robbery spot (the balding guy is in the back of the van, guiding them) and hoping Murdock can contact them. Murdock hits the highway and tries to thumb a ride, but the only person who stops is a lady in a red convertible who a) doesn’t pick up hitchhikers and b) has a broken down engine. He offers a deal: if he can fix the car, he gets a ride, and she agrees. It’s a broken fan belt, so he convinces the gal to take off her pantyhose so he can use them in a repair. The woman, Jody, recognizes Murdock as the guy from Wheel of Fortune. “You should be in Hawaii!” she says. Murdock: “Tell me about it.” They drive to a run down sort of place called Jeffrey’s Jamboree; Murdock gives Jody a kiss on the cheek, thanks her for her troubles and then calls Face. The Faceman says they’re about ten minutes away and will be there soon, like in ten minutes.
Stalling for time. (That may be my best pun yet!)
The thieves return to their cabin, only there’s no Murdock, so they drive off in search of a phone. Jeremy says the only one nearby is at “a dive” down the road… Jeffrey’s Jamboree. Murdock sees them and goes inside, Wow, this place may not look like much, but they’ve got a KISS pinball machine! The thieves scope out the ladies room in case Murdock’s hiding in there, but all they see are ladies’ shoes – Jody’s, in fact, as she and Murdock are hiding in a stall. They duck out the back door and take off in Jody’s car, but the thieves figure out what’s happening and follow, shooting the whole way. “What’s happening?” Jody asks, terrified. “They’d do anything to keep me from getting back on the Wheel of Fortune!” Murdock yells. They outrun the car and run it off the road, but the stolen chopter is right overhead; when it parks in front of them, they can’t apparently go around it. So they’re in trouble again.
Face and B.A. drop by Jeffrey’s, where the bartender lady tells them that everybody’s been in looking for this Murdock character, and the last she saw he was in the ladies’ room! He’s not there, but he did leave a note on the bathroom mirror: “TARGET: SILVER HORSE.” The thieves are getting set for their attack run, and they load Jody and Murdock into the back of a truck. “I just want you to know that I don’t blame you at all for this,” Jody says. “You’re some kind of girl, Jody Joy,” Murdock says right back. Aww. Face and B.A. barge into Mr. Stein’s office at the Silver Horse and explain that the drop is being targeted for robbery, but Stein just calls his security guys into the office. So that plan didn’t go so well.
Jeremy says “this is gonna be fun,” as he takes off in the Hind with Joshua, Jody and Murdock on board. They’re right behind the armored truck and its convoy vehicles; they blow up the convoy cars, then use a giant magnet to pick the armored car up and fly away. Also, there’s a double rainbow in the sky behind them! What does it meeeean?
They drop the van off somewhere, shoot the lock off the back and open it… and there’s B.A. and Face, with guns! I guess they overpowered those security guys at the casino. Or, they convinced him to help, because when they finally overtake the thieves, B.A. says “Jack Stein sends his best.” Jody manages to untie herself, explaining that she used to be an assistant to Morty the Magnificent. “Morty loved to tie me up!” she says. Egad. She unties Murdock and they give each other a big kiss.
I can’t get enough of this, to be honest.
Murdock’s back on Wheel of Fortune for the super round, and this time the final puzzle is “South America.” Which he gets, of course, and wins a big red truck. Pat asks what Murdock’s been up to in the last couple weeks. “Actually it’s been very quiet,” Murdock says. “Probably nothing as exciting as around here,” Pat adds, dripping with irony. Then Murdock checks out the truck.
And we’re backstage again, for more celebrating with Murdock and Face. Though, of course, Murdock isn’t taking Face, he’s taking Jody. And they start getting excited about all the stuff they’ll be able to do, so excited that Face has to slink out of the room. Ha. We’re out.
Another good one! I guess Hannibal gets this week off, essentially. A few loose ends here and there, especially regarding who the heck these villains were, but Murdock and Jody were a nice duo, and basically carried the episode well.