In which we learn for whom The Bells toll.
We open on Face coaching his old school’s American Football team, teaching them sneaky plays. BA is leading the opposition, instructing them to use force to beat their defensive lines. Hannibal and Murdock watch, with Murdock admiring BA’s leadership.
Outside the playing field, a man dressed up as Ben Kingsley from Sexy Beast places a tracker on one of the vehicles in the carpark.
After the game, Face talks to the nuns who run the school while Hannibal wants to leave to meet a new agent for his acting career. Suddenly, the star quarterback Billy announces he can’t play in the big game but won’t say why.
Suspicious, the team follow Billy in the van with Sexy Beast trailing behind too. He drives to a house where he meets his sister Charlotte. Sexy Beast tries to kidnap the two but the team manage to ambush him and grab his gun, before bundling them into the van to escape.
Two cars give chase, but Face shoots the tyres of one out before leaping onto the roof of the speeding van. Murdock fires at the second car, causing it to flip into the air and roll onto its roof.
BA recognises Charlotte as the lead singer of The Bells and she invites the rest of the group to meet the A-Team. The group explain that their former manager Dave Luna is trying to force them to sign a new contract where he keeps 90% of their earnings.
Spotting an opportunity to overact, Hannibal disguises himself as The Bells new manager Danny Diamond with Face as his assistant. The two confront Luna, who threatens them if they don’t walk away. Sexy Beast tries to stop the two, but Hannibal reveals a gun hidden in his walking stick and turns the tables on the villains.
Over at an apartment where The Bells are staying, Hannibal reveals he suspects Luna is a front for something bigger. He set a trap by giving Luna a business card with their address on and rigs the room with cameras to record the action.
The bad guys burst in on queue, finding the apartment empty. As suspected, they’re much more prepared and professional than Sexy Beast and his goons. The leader spots the microphone and speaks to Hannibal, who is on the jazz and enjoying the escalating tension.
The team follow the bad guys in the van and corvette, taking turns to make sure they’re not spotted. Meanwhile, Charlotte sneaks out of the apartment to visit Billy but is tailed by one of the villains who’d stayed behind.
The rest of the thugs meet with an old man in a car, with the A-Team jumping out to hold them all up at gunpoint. Hannibal leans into the window and recognises the man as reclusive billionaire Zeke Westerland. Zeke owns Luna Records and despite not needing the money, is determined to keep The Bells under contract as he never loses. Hannibal turns down an offer of $1 million, much to Face’s pain, saying that it’s hard to find places to spend money when you’re on the run.
Zeke and Hannibal seem to share an understanding as the billionaire accepts the situation but advises Hannibal that The Bells will not perform again. Before leaving, Hannibal pulls Westerland from the car and gives him “the blues” with a can of spray paint. As planned, this annoys Zeke to the point of getting his hands dirty in the case.
The next day, the tables turn a little when Zeke calls to tell Hannibal he has Billy and will kill him if The Bells perform again. Murdock’s admiration for BA grows further, as the Sergeant reveals he slipped a tracker into the billionaire’s car as he was talking to Hannibal the previous night.
The team follow the signal to Zeke’s house and Hannibal sneaks in as a postman. Handing a parcel to a henchman, he starts the attack with BA and Murdock blocking the exit with a digger they found from… somewhere. Zeke tries to drive away but his car is shot and flipped into a satisfying roll.
Defeated, Westerland tells Hannibal he can make it worth his while to let him go. Hannibal smiles and says “you already have”.
It’s the day of the big game and although Face’s team are losing the match, the A-Team have won the hearts of The Bells – who the boys can date now they’re no longer clients. Frustrated by BA’s lack of leadership, Murdock storms onto the pitch to score a touchdown. BA doesn’t take his criticism well and chases the Captain off into a freeze-frame.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes. He dresses up as The Bells’ new manager Danny Diamond and later a postman to sneak into Zeke’s property.
Does BA get on a plane?
Should someone be dead?
No. The shooting is pretty restrained this time and both car flips happen at quite slow speeds with people who had time to put their seatbelts on.
The Bells of St Marys isn’t as much fun as it should be, despite some fun moments and a great arc between Murdock and BA. The story suffers from the need to shoehorn in a second villain when its revealed Dave Luna is working for someone else. Unlike previous times we’ve seen this, there’s no need for Luna to protect his boss.
Zeke, played by Dr No Joseph Wiseman, is a much more interesting character with a real twinkle in his eye even when held at gunpoint by Hannibal. It would have been great to see the two of them battle wits over a full episode. As it is, Zeke is defeated all too easily for someone with such wealth and experience. That said, Wiseman brings depth and weight to a small role effortlessly.
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