So it’s a war hero and a heartthrob against the A-Team pretending to be crazy guys. I like it already.

The town where my folks live is on one of the commuter train lines that runs to and from Chicago; the downtown is built around this line. So driving virtually anywhere means crossing the tracks, or, more likely, waiting to cross the tracks. I did this a lot of times when I lived here, and so it was no surprise to sit in my car and wait for the gate with the flashing red lights to come up. What was a surprise was this: as the late-night commuters got off their train and walked toward their cars, one of them spotted me, opened his eyes up real wide and wild, and flashed me some devil horns. RAWK!

Waiting for Insane Wayne

Wild Guess Preview: Samuel Beckett writes an episode of the A-Team, a dark, dreary episode in which the team is stranded by the roadside and has to think of how to pass the time until their contact, Insane Wayne, arrives. Every so often another character drives by and the team gets excited, but it turns out not to be Wayne, and the excitement passes. After a while they get a message on the van’s phone that Wayne won’t be coming, and will try again tomorrow. Hannibal says fine, let’s go, but no one moves.

Murdock practices inkblots with Face
I’ve got it! It’s an inkblot!

The Recap: The van is heading to the “Southern Arizona Testing Center” for a very unusual mission: helping Murdock get transferred to a different wing of the VA hospital so he can avoid some guy called Milligan. That apparently depends on how he does on some psychiatric tests, so Face is “quizzing” H.M. with some inkblots. It’s not going well: Murdock can’t come up with a description of the pattern, so B.A. gives him a hand: “It’s a butterfly, fool, it’s a butterfly!”

Kincaid's men meet the team
I don’t mean to interrupt, but I saw you there and immediately thought, “Now there’s a man who’s insane!”

They drive through a town called Cannon’s Crossing, intending to pick up some food. But instead they pick up two hayseeds in a truck, who listen to Murdock talk about psychiatric tests and say “you think that’s Insane Wayne?” They walk over to chat. “I work for Mr. Kincaid,” says the older, mustache-ier guy. “Are you four the out of town talent that we’ve been expecting?” Hannibal doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but he bluffs the guy, just in case: “Maybe we are, and maybe we aren’t.” Seems this Kincaid put an ad out in Mercenary Magazine, which was answered by Insane Wayne. “Things have gotten a mite dicey since we wrote you that letter,” mustache continues, and he tells a tale of how Kincaid was trying to muscle some “drifter” called Bill Sherman off of land that contained oil, but that he wanted “out of town people” to do the dirty work. The team is already very suspicious of this Kincaid, but they can’t pass up the chance to find out what’s happening; even Murdock, who desperately wants his testing done, says he’s up for the mission; since Kincaid’s men think he’s insane, it’ll be like a practical before his exams. Plus, there’s free food!

Murdock is Insane Wayne
Crazy Murdock is Insane Wayne. Ironic.

They drive to Kincaid’s house; B.A. stays in the van and the others head inside, listening carefully for clues. First clue: Kincaid is played by Barry “Maurice from Northern Exposure” Corbin! Second clue: Kincaid asks Murdock/Insane Wayne about the others, Fat Rat (B.A.), Tully (Face) and Three Finger Harry. Actually, Hannibal says, Three Finger couldn’t make it, so he’s the substitute, Piko Bob: “my specialty is smoking this cigar, eating snakes alive and running off drifters.” Kincaid seems satisfied, and points to a map where Sherman set up a homestead with the Arizona State Land Commission and struck oil. Hannibal points out the land is actually just to the side of Kincaid’s property, not on it, but Kincaid says he’s not interested in legalities, he’s interested in “a little funny business from some guys who don’t ask too many questions.” In plain English: “Kill him… bury the body two counties over.” Kincaid says they should be able to handle this easily, since the only ones on the ranch are Bill Sherman and his son, Bobby. Bobby Sherman? All right!

Bobby Sherman
Murdock, Murdock, Murdock do you love me? Murdock, Murdock do you really care?

There is one caveat, Kincaid says: Bill Sherman is a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. So it’s a war hero and a heartthrob against the A-Team pretending to be crazy guys? I like it already. Murdock decides to up the ante a little bit and demand the team’s entire pay upfront – a hundred grand – “or else I will put a POX on your house! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Kincaid, showing the same good judgment that led him to put a hit out on a war hero, hands the crazy guy he just met two minutes ago a briefcase full of money. And then Hannibal explains this is actually a big case of mistaken identity, that they’re not really Insane Wayne and his merry men. Kincaid’s guys close in, but the team clobbers them; Face even levels a guy with the briefcase full of money! “We just went to work for Bill Sherman,” Hannibal tells Kincaid. “And you just paid our fee.” Take that, sucka! Hannibal spots an inkwell on the desk, so he pours it on Kincaid’s suit- and this time Murdock can read the pattern: “It’s a jackass standing next to an antique desk!”

Insane Wayne's classified ad
“We kill for money – and we buy gold”

The team and the money drive off to meet Bill Sherman, and they get quite a welcome: lots of gunfire and explosives and the whole deal! Hannibal yells “Hold your fire, we’re friendly!” but Sherman just starts up again, until B.A. is able to get inside the house and subdue the guy. The catch is, it’s not Bill Sherman, it’s his son. W. Sherman is buried on the other side of the house.

The team meets Bobby Sherman
Don’t worry, Bobby Sherman, the A-Team will make sure this mission is easy come, easy go!

So this is Bobby, and he says Kincaid’s men got a “lucky shot” off to do Bill in, but never realized they’d done so. Hannibal explains about Kincaid hiring Insane Wayne; he adds that it’s “a slow week” for the A-Team and they’re willing to help. Initially Bobby doesn’t want help. He says he learned everything he needed from his dad, and from the sessions for “Here Comes Bobby” But he relents in the end, though he’s not totally sure they’re really the A-Team.

Murdock and Face set up their roadblock
No, there’s no oil down the road, just a radiation cloud, and some of the costumes from “MASH”

I probably don’t need to point this out anymore, but Hannibal has a plan. And the first step is for Face and Murdock to head off Insane Wayne and his people when they come through: “You guys turn Wayne around, give us at least half a day” to build up the property’s defenses. They do a quick montage with some bike wheels and a cassette tape marked “Geiger Clicks,” and set up a phony roadblock claiming that there’s a radiation cloud up the road. They only find one car, but a) the driver looks insane and b) he turns around, so hopefully it was the right guy.

The team and Bobby are taking guard shifts round the clock. Only trouble is, Bobby’s not there, and since his Uzi and bike is gone, it looks like he’s gone after Kincaid on his own. Actually, he’s kissing his girlfriend Julie, who is Kincaid’s stepdaughter. Son, if you need an Uzi to kiss a girl, you’re doing it wrong. Julie says that Kincaid beats up her mom and pretty much keeps her locked up all the time. Bobby says “I got some help” and maybe they can do something about it. Then he says tomorrow night “all of this will be over, one way or another.” Uh oh. They get spotted and Bobby has to run for it; fortunately the team is on hand to bust through the gate and give Bobby a solid getaway. “I’m convinced,” he says. “You guys really are the A-Team.”

The next morning Bobby tells the whole story. He and Julie have been close since sixth grade, and stayed together even after Julie’s mom married Kincaid and Kincaid subsequently pulled her out of school. B.A.’s flabbergasted: “Kincaid don’t let his stepdaughter go to school?” (She gets private tutors, but doesn’t get to leave the ranch.) They head to the local church for a memorial service for Bill. Kincaid is there, with Julie; afterwards, he pulls Bobby aside and offers to buy the land instead of killing him over it. Bobby is suspicious, as is Hannibal, so they decide to meet at a neutral spot – Red Rock Canyon, a few miles out of town – to talk it over. “You know he’s going to double cross us,” Face says. “Yeah, but we’re going to doublecross him,” Hannibal replies. “That’s what makes it fair!” I can go for more of this logic.

Red Rock Canyon is not red, nor does it have any rocks or canyons. But Kincaid and his two guys are there, as is the team. Kincaid points to a briefcase on the hood of his car, and says the hundred grand inside is Bobby’s if he wants to sell. Bobby shakes his head: the oil on his land is worth more money, and there’s that whole business of killing Bobby’s dad, too. “Stuff your money, Kincaid,” Bobby says. “I’m keeping my dad’s land, and I’m working my dad’s well.” Kincaid has placed snipers around the perimeter of the canyon, and since the friendly negotiations have come to a close, this is when they’re supposed to knock Bobby off. But Hannibal has anticipated this: “Hit it, B.A.!” And the big guy hits a remote detonator and blows all the snipers out of their hidey holes. Face grabs the briefcase full of money and they all head to the van – ooh, B.A. gets shot in the shoulder as they’re about to drive away. He’s ok, though he will need some stitches, and fast.

At least Kincaid is mad. “They did it again,” he says. “They took my money again.” There’s a man sitting at his desk that might be able to help: Insane Wayne is finally here, and now that he knows Bill Sherman is dead, and young Bobby’s the only one left, he’s not interested: “Me and my men don’t raid nurseries.” The old mustache henchman pipes up and mentions how Bobby’s got the A-Team on his side. Oh, now Wayne is interested. His plan is to take Julie hostage and use her for bait, since Wayne’s guys caught her trying to warn Bobby about the newcomers. Even Kincaid finds this a little repulsive, but Wayne says “you want that land or not?” Good point. Kincaid says ok.

The real Insane Wayne, and his henchman
I suppose he lives up to the name Insane Wayne. It’s sort of a Ken Kercheval-style insane.

Wayne is too crazy for montages, and too evil for an awesome van, so he drives around in a camouflage armored tank thing. Hannibal mentioned earlier how a lot of mercenaries use gimmick names so they can’t be identified, but don’t you think driving an armored tank around sort of cancels that out? Anyway, Wayne drives up to Bobby’s place; Face sees him coming from Bobby’s oil derrick, but they shoot up a bunch of stuff and he falls to the ground, unconscious. Hey, I thought that only happened to bad guys! Wayne tells Hannibal he has Julie and orders him to surrender; Bobby runs out and… stands there, until Wayne takes him hostage too. Now Hannibal has to come out and drop his guns; Face joins him after waking up. Wayne has his man “Finger” blow up Bobby’s trailer, in case there was anybody else inside. I guess that’s why he’s Insane Wayne, eh?

Wayne wants Kincaid’s hundred Gs, so Hannibal makes a deal: the money for the lovebirds, to which Wayne agrees. Hannibal turns to Bobby and tries to remember where the money is… “would you say about there?” A pickup truck is flying through the air from “there,” and it’s got Murdock and B.A. in it; Murdock shoots at Wayne and his men as they drive up, then he pulls out some kind of metal canister, which he tosses at the tank thing and it explodes. Then it’s just a matter of a few flying tackles and a number of punches, and the Wayne organization is down for the count.

The team drives up to Bill Sherman’s gravesite, where Bobby’s uncle is standing; he’s going to stay on the land and help Bobby start anew. The team hands him the briefcase full of money to get them started. Bobby is down by the creek with Julie, who says Kincaid is going to be out of her life at last. And her mom’s life, too: “He had her on drugs!” she says, but that’s all over now. Bobby says he owes the A-Team a whole lot for saving his neck; he hurries off to thank the guys before the leave, but the awesome van is already heading down the road. Julie: “I don’t think they’re the kind of men who wait around to be thanked,” which is mostly true. Technically they wait around to be thanked, and for B.A. and Murdock to do something hilarious.

This was as focused as the “Members Only” episode was scattered, but it was still very entertaining. Barry Corbin was great as Kincaid, very scuzzy, no morals, nice bolo tie. I would’ve liked to see more of Insane Wayne and his crew; it would be nice for the A-Team to have a nemesis in the mercenary world. Maybe that’ll be my fan fiction script: “The Return of Insane Wayne!”

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