Stand by for “Casino Royale” knockoff… in five, four, three, two…

Don’t they say that a marathon runner starts to lag toward the end of the race, but picks up one last burst of speed with the finish line in sight? If so, that’s me. We’re tearing to the finish line. Good thing, too, cause as I type this I have less than twelve hours left. I feel like I’m on the receiving end of one of Stockwell’s can’t-miss deadlines.

The Spy Who Mugged Me

Wild Guess Preview: B.A. bumps his head while changing the oil in the awesome van, and when he comes to, he thinks he’s an international spy, sent by MI-5 to clean house in Washington. The team has to try to stop him, or at least slow him down; finally Murdock shows up in a dress, yelling “Remember me? I’m a fool!” and the day is saved.

The Recap: Washington D.C. is where we start this episode. We’re supposed to follow the agent meeting up with an Agent Ross at a hotel. But the real story is with the valet helping with her car. Holy cow, take a look at that stache!

Bellhop with a mustache

Always nice to see Husker Du bassist Greg Norton in a network cameo! Anyway, the lady goes inside and starts to knock on Agent Ross’s door, but instead she fixes her hair in a mirror. Big mistake: it’s an EXPLODING mirror, and she “falls” to the floor, extremely slowly.

The agent is ok, her arm is in a sling, but she’s still able to ride on Stockwell’s jet and help him brief the A-Team. The bomb was ordered by a man called The Jaguar. Hannibal knows him by reputation: “The Jaguar is known as the most dangerous man in the world.” Stockwell has been working for months to find out who Jaguar really is – the fictional “Agent Ross” was a ruse to draw him out – and now he knows: Charles Jourdan, the owner of “one of the most successful casinos in Monte Carlo.” Jourdan rides around in a wheelchair, though the lady agent says they think it could be phony. Ah, so the A-Team is fighting Guy Caballero from SCTV. She also points out Dominique, Jaguar’s “companion.”

One of Jourdan’s top clients will be in Monte Carlo within the next 24 hours to discuss a project called “Undertow.” Stockwell wants the team to find out what Undertow is, who’s working with Jourdan, and how it can be stopped. And, obviously, to stop it. A plan leaps into Hannibal’s mind: he wants someone to keep Jourdan busy while the others figure out what Undertow is… “someone so deadly, so clever, someone so sophisticated that he can get under Jourdan’s skin and push him to the brink.” And the only man who fits the bill, Hannibal says, “is Logan Ross.”

Murdock in his James Bond getup
Fool. Crazy fool.

And now we’re in Monte Carlo, with some faux James Bond music and a lot of good looking people on the beach. Logan Ross is there too, and he’s not played by clever, sophisticated Face, but H.M. Murdock. So this season is pretty much all about Murdock then. Hannibal explains: Jaguar is smart enough to recognize Face as a member of the A-Team; plus, Face wouldn’t go up to the bar and order “orange juice… shaken, not stirred” like Murdock just did! He also orders, with some help from Face, a Dom Perignon ’71 and has it sent to Jourdan, “courtesy of Mr. Ross.”

Jourdan with Frobe and some other guy
Would it have been that hard to put a cat on the guy’s lap?

Jourdan is intrigued by this Logan Ross, and asks of his whereabouts. Ross/Murdock is at the pool, getting to know Dominique and showing off his uncanny Sean Connery accent. She’s a little put off by his persistence, but not nearly as much as Jourdan. Oh geez, Jaguar has an Oddjob-like character standing over him; the guy, Frobe (nice “Goldfinger” reference), is played by our old pal Professor Toru Tanaka, who was in “The Maltese Cow.” “We shall see how many lives Mr. Ross has remaining,” Jourdan says. He sends Frobe to fetch Dominique.

Nighttime in Monte Carlo means time to put on tuxedos and hit the gaming tables. B.A., who looks dashing in his tux, says Jourdan is on his way down to the casino floor. “What a coincidence,” Hannibal says. “So are we.” Stockwell’s reluctantly given Murdock $50,000 worth of francs, but the captain’s actually doing pretty well at the ol’ baccarat table. Jourdan wheels over and says thanks for the champagne, and offers him a spot in the big 9 pm card game, where the house limit is lifted. Murdock says sure, sounds fun, as he pockets his large winnings and heads back up to his room. Stand by for “Casino Royale” knockoff… in five, four, three, two…

Oh, sorry, it’s a “Diamonds Are Forever” reference, room service from two guys. They wheel in a tray and knock Murdock over with it, turn out the lights and there’s a shot! Not to worry, the other teamers were there to keep Mr. Ross from using up one of his nine lives. Just to be safe, and to continue the “Diamonds Are Forever” motif, they throw the goons out the window and into a pool. “I’m sorry I’m late,” Murdock tells Jourdan as he makes his way to the 9 o’clock game. “I had trouble with room service.” Snap! “My winnings came in handy, sooner than I thought,” he adds, pointing out the bulletholes in the money. Jourdan is incensed.

The team watches nervously as Murdock gets into a baccarat battle with Jourdan. This time it’s the Jaguar who’s winning, though Frankie figures out it’s because he’s using glasses to read infrared markings on the cards. Frankie uses some remote device thingy to mess with the overhead lights, and Jourdan has to play regular. Murdock wins back all his money, and then skedaddles.

B.A., Hannibal and Frankie want to check out Jourdan’s office, so they bust in and bust into his safe. There’s a map of the Mediterranean in there, as well as a note from “Kamal” that 650,000 francs are coming tomorrow. Hannibal figures Jourdan has his clients deliberately lose their money at the casino so it doesn’t look like they’re just paying him to do illegitimate things. B.A. bug Jourdan’s stapler, and Hannibal has Frankie deliberately set off the alarm on the door, so Jourdan knows somebody’s been in there. The Jaguar flips out: “I want Ross found!” he says. “Now!” But Murdock’s been hiding in the water closet, so he’s right there to say hi to Jourdan.

One of the underlings suggests that they hold off on Operation Undertow, and Jourdan slaps him. “Ross will not compromise me!” he thunders, and says they’re going ahead tomorrow as planned. The team knows where it’s taking place – the Gulf de Leon, south of Marseilles – but not what it is. Hannibal says they’ll just have to ask Kamal when he shows up tomorrow.

Murdock and Dominique
Here’s a situation where saying “Tell me everything or I’ll depants you” won’t work.

Face heads out the “summon the great Logan Ross,” or probably to show that he’s every bit the debonair secret agent that Murdock is. But when he arrives, he and Murdock find a trail of women’s clothes all over the hotel room floor. Face hides on the balcony and Murdock finds Dominique, wearing nothing but one of Murdock’s shirts. “It never looked that good on me,” he says, and she smiles. They pour each other drinks as they exchange repartee, and in the process Dominique inadvertantly locks Face outside. And so it’s kissy-kissy time. Face is icked out and tells Murdock over his earpieces to “take her someplace else,” but Murdock tosses the earpiece into his drink. Then it starts raining. Poor Face.

Face is all wet
When it rains on Face, it pours on Face.

Frankie’s up early, encouraging the others to “rise and shine.” He finds Face shivering at the table, upset with Murdock. “You… left me out there!” he says. “At least you got some sleep,” Murdock says. “I was up all night.” Oh, that’s not gonna make Face happy! He tries choking Murdock out, but Hannibal breaks them up and says it’s time for breakfast with B.A.

Frankie in a fez
Murdock isn’t the only A-Team impressionist. Frankie does a pretty convincing Morocco Mole

Oh, Kamal is having breakfast with B.A., maybe not of his own volition. Hannibal has Frankie dressed up in a cape and a fez, and tosses him on the bed next to Kamal, saying one of them has betrayed him. Kamal thinks Hannibal is Jaguar, you see, and to underline the ruse, Hannibal “shoots” Frankie and scares the crap out of Kamal. The guy freaks and tells Hannibal he would pay “650,000 francs to assassinate Ambassador Moore at the opera house.” But when Hannibal brings up Operation Undertow, the guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. So there’s actually two evil plots going on at once?

Well, at least they can keep the ambassador safe. Face and Frankie scout around the opera house, ignoring the live show that appears to include political analyst James Carville. There’s an assassin there, too, and he’s opening up his little black bag and putting all the pieces together to make a gun. Murdock is in the balcony, in a smashing white tuxedo, and he knocks the ambassador out of the way just as the shots start firing. B.A. finds where the assassin took the shots, but the shooter is gone. “How’d he get away so fast?” he asks Hannibal. “For a guy who doesn’t walk,” Hannibal says, “Jourdan sure gets around.”

And we know where he’s going the next morning: the Gulf de Leon. But we still don’t know why. So Frankie’s disguised as wait staff on the guy’s boat; he’s carrying a coffee urn on board and keeping an eye open for clues. But Jourdan’s underling guy says they’ve told a Colonel Safin that there’s been “a change in rendezvous.” Oh? So all we know is something is happening somewhere, on a boat. And that part of the something is lunch: “Dominique and a guest” will be dining with Jourdan.

B.A. and Hannibal gone fishin'
Folks won’t find us, though it’s hard/Mister T and George Peppard/gone fishin’, instead of just a-wishin

The guest is Murdock: Dominique’s invited him, though he notes that she doesn’t look too happy about it. She warns him to be careful – “at this point Charles is capable of anything” – but Murdock says he’ll be fine. They come on board just as Jourdan is skeet shooting, so now we’ve gotten our “Thunderball” reference out of the way. He lets Murdock try one, and of course he shoots the pigeon without even aiming. Hannibal, Face and B.A. watch all this from another boat.

Jourdan levels with Murdock: he finds Mr. Ross “a worthy adversary,” and as such, he’s going to offer to let him join SPECTRE – er, I mean, his organization, rather than just killing him outright. Murdock says “I’ll consider it, but I can’t take it seriously.” So Jourdan turns to Frobe, his Almost Oddjob, and says “take him below and shoot him,” adding “give my regards to the sharks.” Murdock pointedly says that sharks avoid an UNDERTOW when they can, and Jourdan picks up on the wording. “Do you think I work alone?” he adds, and now Jourdan is a little more worried. “On second thought, lock him in Cabin Two,” he says.

Jourdan’s boat sets off, and the team follows in their fishing boat. Dominique unties Murdock in Cabin Two, but Frobe and Jourdan walk in on them. The Jaguar demands Murdock spill what he knows about Undertow, or else Dominique gets “a lot of pain.” Since he doesn’t actually know anything, he has to stay quiet. They leave Murdock in the cabin alone: eventually the door opens, and Murdock knocks out the guard – no, actually, he knocks out Frankie, who’d come down to help. Oops. Well, the door’s open at least, so Murdock can roam around now.

A little boat pulls up to Jourdan’s ship, carrying his partner, Colonel Safin. Their plan is to do away with Prince James of Monaco, cause that’s what evil guys do, I guess. Murdock grabs a gun from a guard and fires twice into the sea; “that’s our cue!” Hannibal says, and Face starts shooting at Jourdan from their boat. Then Frobe grabs Murdock and holds him, so Jourdan can take a shot. “Goodbye, Mr. Ross,” he says, with glee. But he takes a shot – from Dominique, who found a rifle somewhere – and ends up overboard. Frobe ends up in the water too, and the nameless flunkies surrender to the team. Dominique: “I don’t know how I’ll ever thank you.” Face: “You wouldn’t happen to have a sister, would you?” Murdock says his goodbye to Dominique too, kissing her hand and sauntering off.

The team rides away in a limo, but Frobe is on a moped; he follows the car, shoots out their tires, and the limo goes over a cliff! Oh, the limo was a fake; the team used it to find Frobe. They chase him to the hotel office, but he ducks out the back and meets up with a chopter… being piloted by Dominique!?! I guess Honor Blackman wasn’t available?

Murdock and Frankie execute the old prince balloon trick on Dominique
Dominique is under arrest for stealing one of Amy Allen’s old outfits.

Hannibal realizes the prince is still in danger, so they have to head out to sea. That’s where Dominique is, pretending to be stranded on a broken down motorboat. The prince’s ship lets her come aboard and sets her up in a cabin, where she unpacks a plastic explosive with a five minute timer. Then she grabs her gun, heads to the prince’s bedroom and shoots into the bed where he’s supposed to be taking a nap. All she hears is the sound of something deflating, though: it’s an inflatable doll. The team is there, and they take her into custody; as Murdock says, in his own voice, “The old prince balloon trick never fails.”

Hannibal asks if Dominique brought any luggage, and the crew retrieves her little case. Hannibal finds the bomb, but he doesn’t disarm it (it would’ve been perfect to shut it off at 0:07, like in “Goldfinger”) and he throws it at Dominique’s boat. She and Frobe have to dive for the water as it explodes. But they end up in custody on the prince’s boat to avoid some nearby sharks.

The ship’s crew chief shares the prince’s thanks with the team, and invites them to stay on the boat for as long as they like. He has a special message for Murdock, only H.M. is in a rowboat with the blonde crew lady, sipping champagne and kissing. And in true spy movie fashion, they untie the tow rope and drift out to sea as a James Bond rendition of the A-Team song begins. The end.

Yes, this was the campiest episode of all time, campier than all of season four put together. But Murdock’s Sean Connery spoof is so spot-on that it’s highly entertaining. Splendid. Was there any actual mugging, though?

Previous episode: Season 5, Episode 10 – The Crystal Skull | Next episode: Season 5, Episode 12 – The Grey Team