In which we travel to Africa to hunt the hunters.
The episode begins with a jeep full of poachers on the prowl, shooting and killing an elephant on a game reserve in Kenya. A ranger arrives to arrest the group, holding them at gunpoint as he radios his sister for support. As they talk, one of the group sneaks behind the ranger and kills him with a shot to the back. The poachers then place the body in a jeep and roll it over a cliff, where it explodes.
Over in Los Angeles, the ranger’s sister Kamora (played by Daphne Reid, the second Vivian Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), arrives to hire the A-Team. Walking through some kind of convention, she’s greeted by a robot who accompanies her to a lift which descends to a storeroom.
The robot is, of course, Hannibal who introduces her to the rest of the team. Kamora wants to hire the team to protect the animals in the reserve, to honour her brother’s legacy. Though the local police have ruled the death an accident, she hopes that some closure can come from rounding up the poachers.
Though Face points out that Kamora’s $5,000 in savings won’t cover their flights to Kenya, BA assures her that it’s more than enough. Wanting to impress their client, he also claims not to be afraid of flying, saying that’s just an act he puts on sometimes.
Although BA does get on a plane, we’re treated to a voice-over of some stock 747 footage as he freaks out is ultimately drugged for everyone’s safety.
Back in Kenya, Hannibal is studying the poachers’ recent movements to outfox them. Face points out that they need to take out the exporter and buyer too, or new poachers will just take their place. Acting on the Colonel’s intuition, the team head to an airfield where they think someone is tracking animal herds from the sky.
Disguised as a plane engineer, Hannibal fixes a device to a plane that’s due to take off. When the pilot radio’s in a herd’s location to the poachers, the A-Team intercept the message and get there first to lay a trap.
As the poachers arrive, the team ambush them and a fight breaks out. Murdock takes the opportunity to place a tracker on the poacher’s jeep, while the rest of the team get the upper hand. Hannibal ends the battle by shooting his gun into the air. He then breaks the gang’s weapons and warns them not to return to the preserve.
As the men drive off, Face points out that “they’re going to want to get even.”
“I hope so.” says Hannibal.
Following the tracker, the A-Team arrive at the house of big boss Navarro who runs the poaching operation and sells their merchandise to a buyer who ships them worldwide. After a great villain introduction where Navarro holds a Mamba and threatens his henchmen, the A-Team burst through the wall in a jeep. Holding the bad guys up, Face presents them with a bill for the value of the recently killed animals and Hannibal also demands they hand in any skins and tusks they currently hold. After dropping his cigar into a cocktail glass, the team departs back through the wall.
It turns out the cigar is a microphone, and BA listens in to the poacher gang from the Ranger’s office. They plan to ship out everything they have as quick as possible, reducing their losses. Hannibal plots to replace the real merchandise with fakes, which Face needs to acquire by the next day. The Lieutenant points out that they’re already in debt on the mission without buying props, but a frown from BA convinces him that it’s not a problem.
The next day, Hannibal (back in disguise as the mechanic) delays the pilot from taking off as he plants a device on the plane. Shortly after takeoff, Hannibal remotely breaks the oil line which forces the plane into an emergency landing.
The team, led by Murdock riding an elephant, surround the downed plane and replace the cargo with their fakes. With that complete, Face and Murdock accompany the pilot to deliver the goods, ensuring the pilot plays along with a gun nestled in his ribs. With the drop complete, the two use the plane to track the trucks carrying the skins to the buyer.
With the merchandise at the buyer’s warehouse, Face and Murdock then disguise themselves as British customs agents/police/stock checkers and accuse the buyer of dealing in illegal skins and tusks. They crack open a case but point out that the goods are all fake so there’s no problem, bidding the buyer good day.
Thinking he’s been scammed by Navarro, the furious buyer heads out to get his money back.
Back at the Ranger office, the poachers coax BA and Hannibal outside so they can snatch Kamora as revenge. The two give chase with the returning Face and Murdock joining them. Helpfully, the buyer, Navarro and the poachers have all assembled in a warehouse with the captured Kamora.
Murdock sends a car towards the warehouse, drawing the bad guys out as it explodes. Two poachers get into a jeep, which soon flips over when Hannibal shoots a rocket at it. Hannibal and Face sneak into the building, while BA and Murdock drive through the wall (again). After a short battle, the A-Team round up everyone and contact the authorities.
As the team say goodbye to Kamora, BA gives her one of his chains as a necklace and reveals that he’s taking a boat back to America – which doesn’t leave for three days. We freeze-frame on a shocked BA as he receives a kiss on the cheek.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes. He’s a mechanic who twice sneaks onto a plane to plant devices. We also get a reference to Mr Lee.
Does BA get on a plane?
Yes, willingly to impress a girl. He has to be sedated mid-flight, but it’s a good effort.
Should someone be dead?
Yes, twice the team drive a car through a wall into a crowded building with no idea who’s stood on the other side.
Skins (S03, E17) sees The A-Team travel to Kenya to face off against a gang of poachers after they kill a Ranger. It’s a cold-blooded opening to the episode with the kind-hearted young man getting shot in the back. Called in by the victim’s sister, the team decide to take the whole operation down from the poachers on the ground to the buyers across the country.
It’s a good episode, taking the team out of the LA underground to a new location and pitting them against some out-and-out bad guys. You do get the feeling that the writers had mastered the art of an episode by this point, having things wrapped up with ten minutes to go. That leads to an ending that feels tagged on where the team have to defeat the bad guys all over again.