The villain, Tommy Tedesco, runs most of the East Coast “for the boys.” It’s probably not good that my first thought upon hearing that was the Bette Midler movie “For The Boys.”
I’ve been testing out a new site called ThreeWords.me, for some other projects, but it occurred to me that it might come in handy on this project, too. Can we think of three words to describe each of our companions on the A-Team? (Also, which one of you described me as “gilliganesque”?!?)
Hannibal: plans, aquamaniac, jazz
Face: smooth, scams, talking
B.A.: gold, van, homing devices
Murdock: crazy, fool, chopters
Now you try!
Alive At Five
Wild Guess Preview: The latest overseas mission comes out of Stockwell’s large investment in Five Alive fruit juice; seems an old intelligence foe of his is trying to cut off the supply of oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines and limes all at once. The mission is too unwieldy to give to the team as a whole, so each of the team members, plus Frankie, has to clear the supply lines for an individual fruit. Each of them does well, except for Murdock, who forgets his assignment and accidentally frees up a huge surplus of mangoes, driving thousands of tropical farmers into financial ruin. Oops.
At least he’s dreaming a happy Stockwell.
The Recap: Champagne night at The Bistro – Face is on a date. But there’s a problem, and it’s not with his very friendly date: every restaurant staffer he calls for – the waiter, the busboy, the maitre’d – looks like Stockwell. And then he wakes up in terror.
Face stumbles out of the house in his pajamas to find the rest of the team; they’re on the basketball court learning about Murdock’s new day job, as a Washington D.C. tour guide for Japanese tourists. Face suggests they use the next mission to “make a run for it” and get out of Stockwell’s clutches. “As long as we keep succeeding in these missions, he’s going to keep us around for more. And as soon as we fail, we’re dead.” B.A. likes what he’s hearing, but the others are so focused on getting that promised pardon they don’t see any point in busting loose just yet. Face understands, but says he’s getting out now just the same.
If he leaves, though, he’ll miss the meteoric rise of Brick Peterson! That’s a guy who’s about to be named president of a big labor union, according to a big-haired lady on the television. The somewhat sleazy-looking man watching that television is Tommy Tedesco, and he’s giving a guy called Stark “payment in full” for a little project. “Look for your receipt in the obituary column,” Stark says back. Why would they want to kill Brick Peterson? The name? Tommy’s girlfriend, Sally, watches all of this from the balcony, and that makes him nervous. “Was she standing there the whole time?” Tommy asks.
Best to check these things out personally, especially because Sally ran right to her room and called someone. She says it was just the cleaners, but he doesn’t believe it and pulls out his secret tape recorder. Haha, it really was the cleaners, jerk. Sally asks why there are goons around the house and Tommy’s becoming so paranoid, but he says it’s just business, “we’re tightening things up.”
Tommy’s business is “business,” if you know what I mean. Hannibal sure does: “He’s a player, he’s a killer,” the colonel says when Stockwell briefs him on Tommy Tedesco, and he runs most of the East Coast “for the boys.” It’s probably not good that my first thought upon hearing that was the Bette Midler movie of the same name. Stockwell says the UBS news network got a correspondent inside Tommy’s operation, but now they want the reporter out. The reporter is Sally the girlfriend; she got close to Tommy by getting close to Tommy. Eww. Someone should hire the A-Team to stomp out that trope.
B.A.’s well on his way to defeating the Master of Darkness and ending up on the Table of Sharpshooters!
The team drives the awesome van to the Pennsylvania Poconos; we know this because Murdock is giving a full audio tour. Security is tight at Tommy’s compound, so there’s no chance of getting in through the front door. “What we need is to have Tedesco insist on all of us stopping by,” Hannibal says, and we get a little montage of Face buying a used car and the other guys placing some remote detonators in holes in the ground. Also, B.A. is building a crossbow (won’t Ted Nugent want that back?)
Face, Frankie and Murdock take the used car, paint it up to look like a fire truck and drive it to the local fire station; Face takes this time to share some scamming tips with Frankie, since “you’re going to have to handle these cons after I’m gone.” Face thinks his conning knowledge is so vast he ought to write a book, but “nope,” says Murdock. “Just a pamphlet.” Hannibal and B.A. are shooting arrows into Tommy’s house. Arrows with smoke bombs attached. The smoke bombs set off (surprise!) the smoke detectors, and so Tommy tells his near-silent flunkie (the guy’s sort of like Lobot in “The Empire Strikes Back”) to “get the stuff downstairs.” Oh, and “find Sally.”
Alive at Five: The Revenge of Big Squirt
How is the team going to get inside the house? Ah, Face pretends to inspect the local fire station, with his “inspector trainees, Dalton and Smith.” And so when Tommy’s people call the fire in, they hop aboard the engine with the actual firefighters. Frankie runs upstairs and makes contact with Sally. “Just play along,” he says, and carries her down the stairs while she pretends to be unconscious. Tommy catches onto the ruse as they’re leaving, but Murdock sprays him with the hose, describing the fine art in his best tour guide voice all the while! “You’re a dead man!” Tommy yells, but the teamers pile into the fire truck and drive away. Did I mention that this town has a really cool old timey fire truck?
Sally can’t believe what’s been happening. “The network sent the A-Team?” And she needs to use the awesome van’s phone right away, to warn Brick Peterson about Tommy and Stark and the hit. The hills of “Pennsylvania” are blocking the call, as is the phalanx of Chargers coming full bore down the road. Hannibal radios Frankie, who’s down the road on a little moped, to get ready. “You like explosions?” the colonel asks Sally. And when the cars get a certain ways down the road, Frankie hits the detonator and blows the crap out of the first two cars, flipping them over. But he gets a little confused by which oak tree Hannibal put the third detonator (the tree is described as “brown and green”) and blows it early, so the tree comes down in front of the awesome van. That’s a problem. So Hannibal gets out and blows the car up with rifle shots. Problem solved! The thugs managed to shoot off the van’s antenna, so there’s another problem, and not one that’s easily solved by rifle shots.
Tommy is furious that his Lobot guy didn’t find out about Sally’s real identity until now. They take their problems to the local sheriff, Brooks, who’s a) in on their scheme already and b) Red West, Elvis’s running buddy. “It was the A-Team,” Brooks says. “I put out an APB and alerted the media.” He tells Tommy to let the police handle the situation, but Tommy says “we’re gonna handle it my way.” Stop reading Stockwell’s lines, dolt.
Any other man stops and talks/but the walking Face walks
The rescue is complete, so Face is stepping out. B.A. gives Faceman a hug; Frankie says he’s “a righteous dude” (stop reading Edie McClurg’s lines!) and Murdock gives Face his gold watch, a gift from his grandfather, as a going away present. Face protests, but Murdock says “look at the inscription, I think it applies.” Face looks: “Happy birthday H.M.”? Hannibal is brief but earnest: “Gonna miss you, kid.” Still, there’s a Brick Peterson to save, so Hannibal drops by a farmhouse with Sally and asks if “the wife and I” can use the phone. Sally gives Brick her warning, and he says he’ll beef up security, but “there’s no way I’m not taking that stage tonight.” Sally insists it’s too dangerous, but he just doesn’t want to listen. He’s named Brick for a reason, folks.
So Face walks, down that lonesome highway, to the strains of some guy singing Cat Stevens’ “Miles From Nowhere.” And he walks… and walks… and looks around… and walks… and turns around and runs back the way he came, cause Sheriff Brooks is flying down the road in a police cruiser.
The farmer aims his gun, the farmer aims his gun, hi-ho a derry-o, the farmer aims his gun
Sally and Hannibal figure the only way to stop Tedesco’s hit is to go to Atlantic City directly; not so easy, since the farmer is now pointing his rifle at them. “You’re all over the teevee, fella,” the farmer says, and orders everybody back into his house to wait for the sheriff. As they do this, Face bursts in; Hannibal takes this moment to grab the farmers gun and say “Hi Face, welcome back!” The sheriff not only pulls up and does the whole “the house is surrounded” deal, he starts firing and firing and firing, until the house literally falls to the ground. The farmer, of all people, leads them to a trap door in his living room that leads to the barn. Hannibal asks the farmer if they can borrow his truck, and he says “Sure, take it- just get out of my life!”
So shooting up the farmer’s house wasn’t productive, but it was fun. And, Brooks tells Tommy, they know where the team is headed, because they traced their phone call to Atlantic City. Brooks says he’s set up an “impassable barrier” before the state line. The team is worried about this roadblock too, everyone but Hannibal, anyway. “Look on the bright side,” he says, “we’ve got six rounds.” “And half a gallon of gas,” B.A. adds, so they stop at a service station/diner, where they see a TV news report that police in Atlantic City have caught an assailant who was planning to kill Brick Peterson. Hey, cool, they caught Stark!
So with everything solved, Face splits again, and starts walking down that road, and “Miles From Nowhere” starts playing again, and… he runs right back to the diner. “Hi Face, welcome back!” Hannibal says again – ha. But this return isn’t due to the sheriff, it’s Tommy. “What a sleazy surprise,” Hannibal says, as Tedesco walks in. Tommy whines to Sally about how she broke his heart, and then he says “Line ’em up.” Then another TV report comes on, and they’ve identified the assailant: it’s not Stark. Dang.
Tommy “Turtle Wax” Tedesco
It’s a pretty clever ruse, Hannibal explains; you set up a patsy and get a “dead assassin and a dead victim.” Tommy tells them to get in the truck and prepare to meet the police, but Sally fakes a choking spell, which gives Murdock a chance to grab Tommy’s gun. And this gives Hannibal an idea on how to get past the roadblock: tie Tommy to the hood of the pickup! “You are a dead man,” Tommy says. “Yeah, but I gotta see Atlantic City before I die.” Damn good line. Face: “I think I’ll tag along with you guys, just til we’re past the roadblock.” Tommy is a perfect human shield; Sheriff Brooks has no choice but to tell his men to hold their fire and remove the barricade. That was easy!
And it’s on to stock footage of Atlantic City! And then on to a cheering crowd awaiting the arrival of that captain of charisma, Brick Peterson. Stark the assassin is there, fine-tuning his gun. But the team is there, too: Sally grabs the big-haired lady’s press pass while Murdock tells the security guard to stay with Tommy Tedesco until the police arrive. Then they all rush inside.
Sally says their best chance of finding Stark is to use the cameras on the second floor, and sure enough the tech guys are happy to help. Sally starts directing the cameramen to sweep the crowd. They don’t find Stark, but they do find Lawrence Harvey ready to shoot the target he was given by Angela Lansbury…. no, actually they discover that Stark is one of the camera guys! The team rushes to the balcony, where Hannibal says “pull that trigger and you’re a dead man.” B.A. adds “Hey fool!” and Face says nothing, he just punches the guy. Hannibal adds a punch of his own and Stark falls off the balcony to the arena floor. “Welcome back!” Hannibal says to Face, giving him a handshake.
The debut of the Kim Carnes News Network
“The men who saved Brick Peterson’s life are real heroes,” Sally says, in a TV news report that lauds the team for their help. Unfortunately she adds that “someone very high up at UBS” ordered that it not be broadcast. Still, she is grateful. Face adds that he’s decided to stick around after all, which makes everybody happy except Murdock. “I want my watch back,” he says. Face says no, it was a gift. And they argue about the watch as we close up.
This felt much more like a Season Four episode. It was a little goofier, it was on American soil, and Stockwell was almost nowhere to be found. And it was quite good: an interesting plot, Murdock’s tour guide persona was a small but fun element, and “Hi Face, welcome back!” was great.
Interesting side note: in watching this one I got a note from my mother, who mentioned that among the many songs my dad listened to while he was in hospice, he greatly enjoyed “Miles From Nowhere”! So I have to consider this whole situation a Christmas gift from my dad. He certainly had a sense of humor!