The A-Team (1983) – The Taxicab Wars and Labor Pains

 

The A-Team continues to be on the run from the devious Decker (Lance LeGault) in this pair of episodes. First up is The Taxicab Wars, which was written by Cannell with an airdate of 1 November, 1983.

Once again we find Mr. T in another (D.C.) cab. This time our heroes are on their home turf of Los Angeles, being hired by a small taxi cab company, who counts amongst its leadership, Ernie Hudson. It seems a larger company, owned and run by Miller Crane (Michael Ironside!!!) is trying to drive and intimidate the smaller company out of business.

One of Crane’s thugs… Brion James!!! This episode had familiar faces everywhere! And seeing Ironside and Hudson on opposite sides put me in mind of the sci-fi adventure, Spacehunter!!

Anyway, Hannibal (George Peppard), Face (Dirk Benedict), Amy (Melinda Culea), Murdock (Dwight Schultz) and B.A. (Mr. T) help the underdog out, by committing grand theft auto… they steal some of Crane’s cabs, repaint them as their own, and then, have Crane destroy his own property…

Murdock decides for this adventure he needs an alter-ego, or a pair of them… he becomes Dr. Vern, with his talking puppy, Socky (a sock puppet) who becomes Captain Cab! The hero of the auto industry!!

This one was just fun because, Michael Ironside! How many more reasons do you need? Sure he’s not uber-cool and tough like his V character, Ham Tyler, but he is awesome as a baddie.

This is another one that I remember from my childhood, mainly because of Captain Cab, as I didn’t know any of the guest actors at that point…

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Labor Pains was written by Richard Christian Matheson and Thomas E. Szollosi, with an original airing on 8 November, 1983.

Eluding Decker, who is in hot pursuit of them, Hannibal and the boys end up in a small town, hiding out while they come up with their next move.

They come across a group of migrant workers, who are being exploited by the local tycoon, Jarrett (John Vernon) and his sidekick, Burt Cross (Charles Napier).

Jarrett is keeping the workers financially trapped, charging them for everything and telling them where they can and can’t shop. He’s basically keeping them as slaves, as they are isolated, poor, and intimidated.

Seeing this, the team decides to step in and help, and suggests organizing a union to stop the exploitation. This infuriates Jarrett, and he does his best to stop it, but while Face is making persuasive arguments for the cause of a union to the workers, the rest of the team prepares for the inevitable violent assault.

And to make sure they get all the help and advice they can use, Murdock is consulting a ouija board throughout the course of the episode.

One final thing that is way overdue for me to remark on. I get that Mr. T is supposed to be the big appeal for the younger viewers, he was big in the 80s (though honestly, I preferred Hannibal and Murdock) so it’s not a surprise that they have him interacting with kids a lot… But watching those moments now as an adult, in the 21st century… it just comes across as creepy.

The A-Team continues their adventures next week!

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