Here’s where the series gets really underway, this week’s episodes see the A-Team falling right into the groove, or the jazz, that we know they’ll be following for the next couple of seasons (to the point where it will become predictable, perhaps even cliché).
First up is Children of Jamestown, written by Cannell with an airdate of 30 January, 1983. It also boasts the awesome John Saxon as the villain, Reverend Martin James, who is very much off his rocker.
The A-Team, with Amy (Melinda Culea) at their side, have been hired by Stan Rogers (John Carter) to rescue his daughter Sheila (Carol Jones) from a violent cult, that is holding a number of young people against their will. Hannibal (George Peppard) has the plan to get the girl out, and with Face (now played by Dirk Benedict) and B.A. (Mr. T) at his side, things go incredibly well. The girl escapes in a chopper flown by Murdock (Dwight Schultz), but then the team gets captured (and James takes Hannibal’s ostrich skin boots!).
James decides he’s going to let his men hunt the prisoners down, and the team sets off at a run, while Murdock seeks out a way to help his squad. Luckily, they stumble upon a farmhouse, where the homesteader who lives there also happens to be an artist work in steel, so he has an acetylene torch and tons of material to work with… so they can take the fight to James! It also allows Face to flirt with the farmer’s daughter (Sherilyn Woulter).
And not only is Benedict in the episode, so is the van, and we get the first delivery of… “I love it when a plan comes together.” There is a bit of darkness, that seems out-of-place, as they talk about their time in Vietnam, and how you have to accept death to lose your fear.
Pros and Cons, also written by Cannell, aired 8 February, 1983, and is an interesting tale (not the least of which, how does Lynch not get notified when our boys get captured… anyway…). One of B.A’s friends, Jase (William Smith), has been sent to prison, and then the warden (Clifton James) finds an excuse to extend his sentence, and puts Jase into the fight club he has running in the prison. The loser is killed, and the winner is then the subject of a manhunt.
Jase eludes the police, and is able to get in touch with B.A. before he is re-captured. B.A. demands that the Team help his friend out, and Hannibal (who has a great sequence when he poses as his own agent trying to get him more work after the problems on Aqua Maniac II) comes up with the plan… Face will go into the prison undercover as a penal psychologist, Dr. Pepper (!), with Amy at his side doing an article on prisons, while the rest of the Team allow themselves to get arrested (tougher than they had planned in this tiny Florida town).
Murdock, of course, finds himself in the psychiatric wing, where he starts clamoring for trash bags, while B.A. is supposed to be a deaf-mute, with hair-dresser, Hannibal, as the only one able to communicate with him. The warden sees B.A. fight, and decides right away to put him into the program, but as the big night approaches, the venue is changed, and B.A. has to fight Jase…
Will the plan come together in time?
Both of these were a lot of fun! And it’s always a hoot to see Hannibal playing up his disguises, and mocking those who think they should be in control…