In which we find out that crazy is catching when Murdock comes to the rescue.
There’s trouble for the A-Team when BA gets shot during a mission, leaving Hannibal and Face to drive him to safety as he’s losing blood. Thankfully, the three make it to the small town of Bad Rock where they find the local doctor willing to help.
It turns out Face is at fault and BA knows it, telling him he “better not promise, you better prey” he recovers. The Doctor points out that her patient is a rare AB Negative blood type, but Hannibal happens to know an exact match – Murdock!
Amy’s called up to break the Captain out and rather than the usual pantomime, we cut to Murdock straight up running out of the VA hospital. I’ll put it down to pacing and the urgency of the mission, but it’s a shame not to give Amy a stab at convincing the staff to let her take him out.
Back in Bad Rock, Dr Sullivan secretly calls the Sheriff who soon turns up to arrest Hannibal and Face, with BA left recovering and in need of blood. In the town jail we meet Sonny Jenko, the head of a dangerous biker gang, the Savages. Jenko’s feeling pretty happy with himself, telling the Sheriff and his Deputy that his gang will soon break him out.
As ever with The A-Team there’s an array of acting talent in this episode. Ed Lautner, who plays the Sheriff, has starred in over 200 roles in movies and TV (I probably recognised him from either Death Wish 3 or Murder, She Wrote). Sonny Jenko is played by Sid Haig, who similarly has many credits to his name, often as the lead villain or henchman in exploitation horror and actions films.
When the Sherriff finds out who he has behind bars we cut to the pentagon and an array of Military Police cars speeding out of the carpark. Lynch (again unseen) is on his way and we get a mention of the Bank of Hanoi robbery that the A-Team are on the run for.
Though the MPs are on their way, much closer to home the Savages cut down what is apparently the sole telephone line out of Bad Rock as they prepare to rescue Jenko. It’s more than enough for Hannibal, who escapes his cell by hiding behind a bench then locking the Sheriff and Deputy up. They antagonise Jenko for a few laughs and head back to the Doctor’s to check on BA.
Learning that he’s getting a transfusion from Murdock, BA makes it clear he “aint swapping blood with that sucker” because “he’s nuts”. In one of the more direct nods to Murdock’s debated sanity, Hannibal replies “no he isn’t, not really”. With the way George Peppard reads the line, I’ve always taken it to mean that the team come across far more insane people in their missions.
With the team now able to move BA, Hannibal decides it’s a great time to make a move on Dr Sullivan – kissing her then locking her in a cupboard. It’s an unusual tactic but I guess a disgraced Colonel on the run has to take what he can get.
On their way out of Bad Rock, the team pass the motorcycle gang and their good nature gets the better of them. First, they tie together their bikes and raise them into the air with a very convenient crane, then speed back to the town to help the Sheriff prepare his defence.
Amy gets a moment to shine when she’s tasked with releasing Dr Sullivan, who’s rightly pretty annoyed at recent events. Triple A (which I’ve not heard her called since the pilot) isn’t take any of it as she shuts the Doctor down with a speech that makes it clear it’s the cupboard or worse.
The plan to defend Bad Rock involves dressing an empty building up as the Sheriff’s Office and getting the gang to attack it as a diversion. Given that the town contains about four people I’m not at all sure why they don’t just pile in the van and drive away. Thankfully, it only takes a quick fixing and decorating montage to get the plan together just before the Savages arrive.
We get what feels like a rushed battle as the bikers first drive through the “Sheriff’s Office” window, only to get trapped inside, a few others get tricked into crashing and a couple more clothes-lined at full speed. As ever, there’s no real harm done and the whole gang is soon tied up with the Sheriff and Deputy in charge.
The team drive away as the MPs arrive, with BA threatening to punch Face in retribution then breaking into an adorable smile. Freeze-frame and out!
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Not this time, he’s always on a mission when we meet him and there’s no time for dress up.
Does BA get on a plane?
No, he doesn’t even drive the van.
Should someone be dead?
Yes, any of the bikers who drove through the windows or the two who were clothes-lined off their bikes at full speed with a wire around their necks.
Black Day at Bad Rock is almost a great episode. There’s a lot to enjoy here, from Sid Haig’s crazy gang leader to Dr Sullivan’s almost-there romance with Hannibal (pre cupboard). The ideas are great too, the team needing to lie low with an injury while Murdock has to get to them in time and then becoming allies with the Sheriff to protect the town.
The drawback is, for me those should have been two ideas for two episodes. There’s enough for both and merging them means we’ve saved BA after 20 minutes then only have half an episode left to win over the Sheriff, build the traps and defeat the gang. I said the same thing about the last episode and perhaps the writers were over-ambitious in this first season as the show found its rhythm. Even without that perfection, it’s still an entertaining adventure and one of my favourites to re-watch.
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