Friday, February 11, 2011

Canon Television Review: Two Episodes of The A-Team

You know what was a good show? Dallas. But I'm not really in the mood to watch Dallas so I'm going to watch two episodes of The A-Team instead. The only thing in doubt is not whether The A-Team will save the day, but how. So, on with the show.

Episode 1: West Coast Turnaround (Season 1, Episode 10)

In this episode, a farmer named Joe Penhall (played by Academy Award nominee Stuart Whitman) and his daughter are having a feud with a ruthless land developer named Chuck Easterman. Easterman won't let the farmers transport their crop of watermelons to market, and after Easterman and his men drive Joe off the road, it's time to call in the A-Team and their annoying reporter friend named Amy, who wouldn't be around too much after this episode. So Hannibal shows up in a disguise just because he can, and the A-Team gets to work. In this episode, Murdock has an invisible dog named Billy, which drives B.A. up the wall because that's just how it is. Their first step is to steal a couple of 18-wheelers from a fella named Bill Mather, who had screwed over Penhall after Easterman paid him not to transport his crops. After passing a roadblock set up by Easterman, who despite being a land developer seems to have nothing better to do than screw with these people, The A-Team arrives at the Penhall farm, and Easterman and his men follow to tell the A-Team to back off. This doesn't go as planned, as B.A. throws most of the gang in the back of a pickup truck and the rest eventually scurry away to fight another day.

Easterman is now more determined than ever to prevent that watermelon shipment from getting through, so the team comes up with a plan, putting a cow catcher on one of the trucks. But they still need a chase car, and the only one available is Amy's brand new Le Car. Wow, that is definitely an eighties vehicle. Amy complains about this turn of events for about a solid minute, which doesn't endear her to me in any way, before finally relenting. Hey, if you want to roll with the A-Team, you've got to expect that your vehicle will be used as some sort of battering ram and customized with bits of scrap metal welded to the frame. So Hannibal takes off in the truck with Face and Murdock following behind in the Le Car to go through the roadblock. Easterman has set up two roadblocks, but calls the team on the other roadblock in after spotting the cow-catcher 18 wheeler. Hannibal gets through, and thanks to a diversion of burning hay on the back of the car and some well placed nails, the team seems to get away, only for another Easterman team member to set off an explosion in the road and knocking everyone on track. Team Easterman now has Hannibal, Face, and Murdock at gunpoint and go to burn the contents of the back of the truck. BUTWAITAMINUTE! There's nothing in there, and B.A., Amy, and the farmer's daughter are heading south in the other truck with the load.

While the rest of the A-Team is driven to a horse farm, Easterman and a few others haul ass to try and catch the other truck. Things look bleak for the A-Team, but Murdock starts acting like a horse himself to cause a diversion and to get the horses riled up. This really doesn't work, but Hannibal notices that gas is leaking out of Le Car, so he steals a thug's cigarette out of his mouth and throws it on the gas, setting Le Car on Le fire. The A-Team takes advantage of this commotion to jack a helicopter, and Hannibal grabs a crate of watermelons for some ammo. Hey, you got to use what's available to you. Easterman and another pickup truck catches up to B.A., and B.A. is able to hold them off long enough with some evasive driving skills, even driving one truck off the road, before the helicopter comes to the rescue. After Face fails to land a solid shot with a watermelon, Hannibal takes over and lands two direct hits on Easterman's truck and causes him to do the patented A-Team villain flip and wreck. At the end, while the watermelon didn't quite sell as highly as usual, the farm was saved. That's more than what can be said for Amy's Le Car, and he chastises Face for convincing her to use it as a battle Le Car and demands that he pay for repairs. Although, at this point, it would probably cost less to by a new Le Car, because that other one is pretty messed up. This was your typical A-Team show, featuring evil land developers, some rigged up vehicle built for war and Murdock acting crazy while B.A. can't believe he's stuck with him. Still, good stuff here, even if I could have done without Amy's constant whining about her car. I'll give it a 7 out of 10.

Episode 2: Bounty (Season 3, Episode 22)

This episode starts with two mean looking cowboys asking to see Murdock at the psychiatric ward of the VA Hospital, which is Murdock's home. They come in, blow a hole through the door with a shotgun and take Murdock away. Meanwhile, Face is on the case posing as a doctor, but must leave once Col. Decker of the military police shows up because, as you may know, the A-Team is still being hunted down for transgressions during the Vietnam War that they were falsely charged with. Face manages to escape, and Murdock's abductors call up Hannibal asking for him and the rest of the team to come quitely or Murdock gets it. Murdock's abductors are a team of bounty hunters consisting of a father, two sons, and some Indian guy they found out in the woods or something. While the bounty hunters drive off to the designated meeting place, Murdock escapes in like 10 seconds and dives out the window. Even though the bounty hunters fire a ton of rounds, Murdock is able to disappear in the woods. For a group of top notch bounty hunters, you would think they would be able to shoot at a moving target, but not these guys. As it turns out, Murdock would have been better off staying put, as the A-Team arrive to find that Murdock has escaped. They soon scatter once Col. Decker and the MPs arrive, but oh no, one of the bullets fired knocked the antenna off in the van, making the A-Team's mobile phone useless.

Murdock makes a run for it and eventually sneaks into the back of a veternarian's van. The vet, a Kelly Stevens, is actually played by Wendy Fulton, who is married to Dwight Schulz (Murdock) in real life. In a big coincidence, the truck full of bounty hunters just happen to pick the very same van Murdock is in and forces Kelly to pull over. Once they open the back, all they see is an angry dog, so they close up and threaten her for whatever reason before driving off. That's some extreme bounty hunting. I don't think Dog the bounty hunter would randomly accost and search vehicles on the road, then threaten their lives. Kelly then pulls over after a couple of miles to look in the back of the van, and she finds Murdock. They start talking as Murdock tries to tune in to an A.M radio at Dr. Stevens' office, and Murdock is taken aback once he learns that Kelly is single. Meanwhile, the rest of team end up at a radio station, where Face slips a mickey in DJ Cowboy Billy Bob's drink and takes over the airwaves sending a message out to Murdock. Instead of staying put, B.A. and Hannibal decide to bring the fight to Decker by blowing up a Military Police car, then they pay tribute to the Dukes of Hazzard by making a nearly impossible jump over a broken bridge with their van. That does not put Decker in a good mood. Eventually, Face's transmission is picked up by Murdock, and he calls a concerned B.A. to relay his coordinates. Murdock gives Kelly a kiss before taking off to rejoin the A-Team, and stops at a phone booth to check back, but as it turns out, the evil bounty hunters have shown up and have Kelly at gunpoint. They give the A-Team one hour to show up, or else.

The A-Team prepare for their showdown by stopping in some guy's yard and building a contraption for their van before meeting up with the bounty hunters. They get out of the van with their hands up, but it's a trick, as Hannibal hits a button and two machine guns emerge from behind the grille, firing rapidly and sending the bounty hunters diving for cover. Yes, the A-Team managed to build two perfect functioning machine guns mounted to a van in less than an hour, so what of it? The two squads square off in fisticuffs, and it's a total squash for the A-Team as they vanquish their foes and get out of town just before Col. Decker and the police can arrive. At the end of the show, Kelly visits Murdock at the VA Hospital, and the two talk over a pizza. Man, this was a great episode, one of the best in A-Team history, even if the bounty hunters were not very good actors at all. A 9 out of 10.

Well, that's all for now. Thanks for reading, and remember, if you any ideas for future posts, or thoughts about this post, than either leave a comment on the blog or send them to me at e-mail at

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