In which Hannibal bets the house but gets the truck.
The episode opens at a foster home, where it’s Sally’s 10th birthday and she’s blowing out the candles. The festivities are interrupted by some goons, led by a man called Meeks, there to collect on a gambling debt the home’s owner Mr Sullivan has stacked up.
Unable to pay, Sullivan is forced by the men to sign over the house deed to Mr Royce. He’s given a week to move his daughter and the children out.
Looking for help, Sullivan’s daughter Patty heads to a pool hall on the direction of an unseen Mr Lee. There, she meets Hannibal in disguise as an elderly pool player and gives him tips on his game. Passing their checks after sinking the 5-ball, Patty explains her father was struggling to pay the mortgage on the foster home and turned to gambling to raise the money.
Though she has no money to pay the A-Team, Face tells her they can sort that later and BA flatly says there won’t be a charge. It’s always good to see the softer side of Face, often when orphanages and parents are involved, and BA never misses a chance to help children in need.
Hannibal plans to put someone inside Royce’s operation, with Face getting the job. He heads to Royce’s bar as jukebox maintenance, casually mentioning he works for a rival boss and has experience running clubs. As he’s talking, the rest of the team burst into the bar wearing masks and rob Royce. Face jumps to Royce’s defence, getting a punch in the… face for his efforts.
Royce is keen to hire Face onto his team and goes to call his boss to ask permission. Murdock taps the phoneline and Hannibal impersonates the crime lord, approving the transfer. Successful, the team are spotted and chased away in the van.
Face’s first job is to buy himself a tux so he can work in Royce’s underground casinos. Meeks accompanies him to the tailors, where we meet Hannibal in a new disguise with Murdock as is assistant. As Murdock distracts Meeks with some bugged cufflinks, Face shares the location of the casino with the Colonel.
With the casino in full flow inside an old warehouse, the team drive the van through the door and attack Royce’s operation, destroying most of his equipment. This gives Face the opportunity to source some new, rigged, machines for Royce from a film studio.
Meanwhile, Hannibal tells Sullivan and Patty that it’s only a matter of time before Royce realises who’s hired the team. As ever, he has a plan to protect them – calling Colonel Decker!
It’s just in time, as Royce is busy ordering Meeks and two goons to visit Sullivan. The three men run into Decker’s MPs with only Meeks escaping.
The next obstacle to overcome is Royce’s habit of changing the location of the casino every day. Although face hasn’t learned the next spot, he has got the list of high rollers that are to be bussed into the casino the next day. That night, Hannibal and Murdock break into the warehouse and rig the new machines Face has acquired with magnets, electronics and loaded dice.
The next day, Hannibal makes it a hattrick of disguise for the mission as he joins the high rollers bus as a wealthy cowboy. Outside, BA and Murdock get a surprise when the gamblers are loaded into the back of a truck – Royce’s casino is now mobile!
Mobilising quickly, BA drives to an airfield where Murdock begins to scam a helicopter to track the truck. BA loses patience and threatens the mechanic, who happily complies. Murdock takes to the skies, directing BA over the radio.
Inside the truck/casino Hannibal is cleaning up at the tables and Meeks tells Face he knows what’s going on. Before he can act, Face knocks Meeks out and grabs his gun. He then tells Royce that he thinks the cowboy is cheating with loaded dice.
Royce confronts Hannibal, saying that he’ll have to close the table as he’s won all his money. Hannibal asks if he has anything else he’d like to bet – a property for example. Taking the bait, Royce puts up the foster house but insists on new dice. Face hands over another set of loaded dice and Hannibal cleans up again. Royce orders Face to kill the cowboy and get his money back.
Just then, Murdock and BA catch up with the truck. BA shoots at Royce’s men following in a car until it takes a huge flip almost back onto its wheels. Murdock then flys low in front of the mobile casino, slowing it until BA can block its path. They take care of the drivers, while Face and Hannibal fight from inside the truck. Face is captured by Royce, but he spins rounds and knocks his boss out, quitting in the process.
With everyone rounded up and handed to the police, the A-Team present the foster house back to the Sullivans – having used their winnings to pay off the mortgage. Mr Sullivan promises never to gamble again and the children tell BA they’ve all done their homework.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes – three. He’s an old pool playing sussing out their client, a tailor who Face reports the location of the casino to and a high rolling cowboy gambler. If we’re being pedantic (and why wouldn’t we) he also impersonates a mob boss on the phone and wears a mask to rob Mr Royce twice. Plus, Mr Lee is mentioned – making this a busy mission for Hannibal’s wardrobe.
Does BA get on a plane?
Should someone be dead?
Yes, again the team drive the van through a wall into a crowded building with no idea who’s stood on the other side.
Road Games (S03, E18) is a return to more simplistic storytelling for The A-Team. After two episodes where the stories began to get complicated, we get a straightforward mission to save a foster home for children. The team need to shut down a crooked casino owner to pay off their client’s debts.
Putting Face on the inside means we get more of the villains than usual. Royce is a fun bad guy for the episode. He’s not particularly threatening but he’s smart, values loyalty and doesn’t immediately trust Face. He runs a tight operation, with his underground casino moving locations every day and won’t stand idly by when his business comes under threat from within.