In which Barry Van Dyke carries on up the Amazon.
We begin the episode with BARRY VAN DYKE making his way along a tributary of the Amazon river in Peru, looking for the lost city of Del Rio. His local guides are worried about taking him past the upcoming bend in the river and refuse to go further. Determined to proceed, Barry pays one of the guides with a St Christopher his girlfriend/fiancée gave him. The guide promptly swallows it for safekeeping.
The small boat continues along the river, but trouble is waiting round the bend for Barry and his Huckleberry friends. Local pirate El Cajon attacks with guns and a bigger boat, scattering the party into the water and sinking their fragile ship. Barry is dragged from the water and taken prisoner as his guides escape into the jungle.
El Cajon has problems of his own to deal with too, returning to find a man called Kruger going through his things. Kruger pulls a gun and El Cajon asked to sit down as his wooden leg causes him pain. That pain is probably from the shotgun concealed in the leg, which Cajone points at Kruger as he turns the tables.
Back in LA, we find out that our own Tawnia Baker is Barry’s girlfriend – in fact, the two are promised to be engaged after his trip. He’s also the owner of the paper she works for, which has Face chuckling because game recognise game. The team agree to go find Barry though and Face heads off to free Murdock.
Despite never concealing his identity, Face again manages to con his way into the VA hospital – this time as a priest there to perform last rites. Murdock’s distracted as he’s in character as a film director, but Face manages to quiet the Captain long enough to hide him inside a coffin and escape.
Meanwhile, BA tells Hannibal that he won’t be eating or drinking anything he gives him because he knows they’re flying to Peru. The Colonel smiles, BA has already drunk his dosed milk and collapses.
Down in Peru, we meet the big bad – Doyle. He’s looking for Kruger, who El Cajon denies made it to his camp. When the pirate tries the same trick on Doyle, the boss grabs his wooden leg and warns him that he better not try anything. On learning about Barry’s capture and that he’s a wealthy American, Doyle demands to see him.
The team arrive in a nearby village, having transported BA in the coffin from Murdock’s escape. He’s understandably annoyed and this and Hannibal has to order him to focus on the mission.
Their first stop, with Tawnia in tow, is a local where they ask for the river guide that worked with Barry. Hannibal antagonises the locals into a fight, then calls in BA who shoots the place up. They’re told the guide has already gone up the river and they’ll need to follow him.
Before the team can buy passage on a small barge, the bar patrons catch up with them and start an attack. The boys defend their position bit are forced to commander the barge. One local makes a valiant attempt to jump their car from the docks to the barge but falls short and lands in the river.
The barge’s Captain, Bobbi, emerges and pull a gun on Hannibal he turns the tables on her. She agrees to take the team to the bend in the river, reasoning that they’d just take her boat if she didn’t agree and that’s all she has.
As they enter El Cajone’s territory, the two boats standoff until the pirates open fire. The team are well prepared and cover the attackers in bullets, setting fire to the boat which begins to sink. The pirates escape unharmed into the water but are rounded up on the riverbank by the team.
El Cajon leads the way to his camp, where BA organises to lock the pirates up and free the prisoners. Sitting in his shack, El Cajon tries the shotgun trick on Hannibal but finds his weapon is waterlogged and won’t fire. On learning that Barry is now the hostage of Doyle, Hannibal forces El Cajon to call his boss and invite him to the camp on urgent business.
When Doyle arrives, the team ambush and surround him. Tawnia angrily demands to know what he’s done with Barry. Doyle’s unmoved and when Hannibal aims a warning shot, he finds his gun doesn’t fire. Captain Bobbi shows herself and reveals she’s sabotaged all of the A-Team’s weapons.
With the team captured, Bobbi tells Doyle she needs to make another trip along the river as the fight at the dock cost her half her cargo. She’s told that every trip past the bend is a risk and this will be her last. As she leaves, El Cajon and Doyle argue over who gets to kill Bobbi when she’s made her final trip.
Despite their predicament, Hannibal is upbeat. He says the plan’s going well because they’re being taken to the same place as Barry…
To be continued!
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
No, the client is Tawnia so there’s no need for games.
Does BA get on a plane?
Yes. He’s knocked out with drugged milk and transported to Peru in a coffin.
Should someone be dead?
Yes – both times the pirates attack we have bullets going everywhere and boats sinking. At least one person wouldn’t have survived. Plus, the guide might have choked on the necklace he swallowed.
The Bend in the River Part 1 is a real step up for the third season of The A-Team. Cinematic in scope, it could easily be a jungle adventure movie from the 1980s. It takes the team to a new and dangerous location, where they’re on the back foot with the local gangs and river pirates.
With Barry Van Dyke starring as Tawnia’s captured boyfriend, there’s a personal connection to the mission and the stakes are set high. The team will need to use their experience from the jungles of Vietnam to survive and overthrow the local team of villains the rule the land beyond the bend in the river.