In which the team use only their wits to protect a group who won’t fight.
A group of pacifists are building a meeting house for their new settlement but local fun-buster and all-round bad guy Sykes is having none of it. He orders his thugs to throw gas onto the wooden structure and set fire to it. For good measure, he hits the elderly leader of the group and a kid gets pushed to the ground.
The pacifist leader’s right-hand man Eric sets out to hire the A-Team, meeting Hannibal in disguise as a rough-looking bike shop worker. The rest of the team decide to keep watch via various modes of transport, BA in his van, Face on a bicycle and Murdock on roller skates. After refusing a “lost” wallet Hannibal offers him, the man passes the test and gets an audience with the team.
He represents the vaguely misogynistic sounding “Society of Men” who want to settle in the area but who don’t believe in violence and so can’t defend themselves. The local Sheriff is no help as he, and most of the town, work for Sykes. He wants the team to build them a new meeting house and hopes their reputation will be enough to keep their enemies away.
The team agree to take on the mission, although the pacifist leader Karl isn’t happy but agrees to let them try if they promise not to use violence. Karl and Hannibal clash when the leader sees the guns kept in the van, but Hannibal makes it clear that he won’t have anyone telling him what to believe. The guns will stay in the van.
The first job is to collect new lumber from the yard, where the owner is refusing to give them any despite having been paid. BA fixes a truck with the help of the kid from earlier and sets off with Face and Murdock to town.
Face poses as a government official and accuses the lumber yard of selling faulty merchandise, saying they will need to confiscate wood and nails. As BA collects the materials, he spots the kid from the camp getting bullied and goes over to scare off the other kids and give him a good hug.
As they drive out of town, Sinclair the lumber yard owner recognises the truck and calls Skyes to let him know what’s happened. At amazing speed, Sykes cuts the truck off with a roadblock but Murdock fires a smoke grenade at them and BA drives safely through it.
Miserable Karl is displeased again, saying that Skyes will come after them now and they should go find somewhere else to live. Hannibal and Murdock convince him that wherever they go, small-minded men like Sykes will make life hard for them unless you make a stand.
Karl agrees to let the team try (non-violently) and they begin a carpentry montage to help rebuild the meeting house. As predicted, Sykes and his goons soon arrive and threaten the group but are scared off by the team, especially when BA breaks a piece of wood over his own head.
Later that day, Hannibal and Face escort the group on a trip to a local church as they expect foul play from Sykes. The kid tags along and causes more trouble when he and Face are separated from the others and attacked by surprise. Hannibal finds Face dazed but ok, though the kid is taken by the thugs.
Back at the meeting house, Sykes gets the jump on BA and Murdock too. Going from “angry bigot” to “murderous psychopath” in two seconds flat, he sets the house on fire with the two men unconscious inside it. To cap it off, he runs away with his men when the kid fights free and braves the flames to save the team.
The boy manages to wake BA who pulls all three to safety as the group arrives back in the truck and begin to throw water on the flames. The team drive the collapsed kid to town in the van to find a doctor. Unbelievably, the entire town seems happy to let him die as they try to block BA from carrying him inside the surgery.
It’s the end of BA’s non-violence as he unleashes on the mob, knocking them out and throwing one through a window. Thankfully the town Doctor isn’t also an insane murderer and takes the boy inside to help.
The Doctor manages to stabilise and save the kid, but Karl has had enough and fires the A-Team. Hannibal’s pleased as now the team work for themselves and can battle Sykes any way they choose.
All three groups head to the meeting house once again, with Sykes ready to burn the house again. Eric fights back, Sykes pulls a gun but Hannibal pops up with a bigger gun. The bad guys try to flee until Hannibal shoots out their tyres, Murdock takes out two and Face grenades a car into flipping over. Hannibal and Sykes battle hand-to-hand with Colonel winning in the end.
Victorious, the team call in the State Police to take care of Sykes (and hopefully all the townspeople who almost allowed the kid to die). Kyle’s still not happy though, saying they can’t stay after the price they paid. Hannibal disagrees but does admit he admires Kyle’s consistency in victory.
Back in the van, the team philosophise about their opposing views on violence with the Society of Men. Hannibal says that while Kyle and his followers have every right to pursue non-violence, they rely on people like the A-Team to fight for and protect their freedom.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes – he’s a scruffy and elderly biker shop worker who meets Eric from the Society.
Does BA get on a plane?
Should someone be dead?
No, there is a car flip but it’s gentler than usual so I can see people surviving. We get very close to a young boy dying though after he rescues BA and Murdock from a fire and is almost stopped from getting medical attention.
Semi-Friendly Persuasion is another chance for The A-Team writers to change up the format, this time forcing the boys to complete a mission without using any violence. That’s to help the rather sinisterly named Society of Men who are being persecuted and attacked at their new settlement.
It’s an interesting challenge for the team and the conflict between the Society’s leader and Hannibal is the highlight of the episode. Their two opposing views make for a tense dynamic and the leader’s growing displeasure with the team’s methods puts the whole mission in doubt.