The A-Team (1983) – When You Comin’ Back, Range Rider? Parts 1 & 2

 

This week’s installment of the A-Team brings us a two-parter that aired as one big double episode on the 25th of October, 1983. It was penned by Frank Lupo and parts of it seem reminiscent of the episode Desperado, from The Greatest American Hero (also written by Lupo, with Cannell) – of course it was never originally aired, so I guess we wouldn’t have caught that at the time…

Colonel Decker (Lance LeGault) takes over the hunt of the A-Team after Lynch’s failure, and we get a number of quick clips illustrating the number of times the commandos have eluded their hunter. Decker comes across as more vicious, focused, and just as smart as Hannibal (George Peppard) – a seemingly legitimate threat. At least for the moment.

While Decker and company try to track down the Team, Hannibal goes to find Face (Dirk Benedict) who is trying to prove himself as a producer, and is trying to wheel and deal in Hollywood. Reminding him that he is not George Lucas, the pair escape a party just as the MPs arrive.

It seems while all of this was going on, the Team has been hired by Daniel Running Bear (Richard Yniguez) to help stop a tycoon named Carter (Morgan Woodward) and his right hand man Stryker (Mills Watson) who are capturing wild mustangs, putting them on a train to Mexico where they are sold to a slaughterhouse.

This one takes on a very western feel, even Hannibal gets decked out in chaps, and Murdock (Dwight Schultz) embraces the fictional television character of the Range Rider, and spends most of the extended episode behind a mask, and either talking to an invisible horse, which infuriates B.A. (Mr. T) or an actual horse named Ed (like Mr. Ed).

range rider

B.A. is lamenting the fact that they’ve taken this job, because, once again, it seems they are working for next to nothing. But they are the heroes and they can’t walk away when saving the horses is the right thing to do.

When Carter’s niece, Lane (Dana Kimmell) gets pulled into events as well, she’s stunned to learn what her uncle and Stryker are doing, and may be persuaded to help the team out.

There are some fun moments, like B.A.’s van crashing into the drink, much to his upset, but the Army fishes it out (not quite sure how they’d get it back from the military impound in time for the next episode, but that’s never talked about).

I do like LeGault as Decker, and the whole western feel of the episode works to its betterment. I mean that’s what the show is at its heart anyway, they’re like the Seven Samurai, the Magnificent Seven, helping out those who need it and then riding off into the sunset by the episode’s end.

I quite liked this feature-length episode, it took its time with the story, had lots of character moments, and hopefully Decker doesn’t prove as poor a nemesis as Lynch did.

Until next time…

ateams2

 

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