In which the A-Team takes on the new Reich.
We begin the second part of the Bend in the River story with the team, Tawnia and BARRY VAN DYKE locked in some bamboo-looking cells by Doyle and his men. Barry’s being kept alive because he refuses to tell Doyle the location of the lost city of Del Rio – and the treasure that’s presumably there.
This being a low-security kind of stockade, the team promptly escape. Hannibal antagonises one of the guards, who decides to release and beat up Face in revenge. Face gets the upper hand, backing the man up next to BA’s cell, where he’s strangled unconscious. As Face retrieves the keys, Captain Bobbi arrives saying she couldn’t see them killed (despite being the reason for their capture when she stole the firing pins from their guns).
Bobbi is reluctant to take the team back towards the lost city, preferring to drop them back at safety. Hannibal quizzes her about what Doyle is trying to hide from everyone, but she says all she knows is that he orders construction supplies and she drops them off.
Barry’s two local guides don’t fancy another adventure either until he bribes them with Tawnia’s necklace this time. One of the men again swallows the jewellery, before eyeing up BA’s gold – only to be told: “don’t even think it sucker”.
With hardly any working weapons, the team, Barry, Tawnia, Captain Bobbi and two guides head back up the river. Docking the barge, they explore the jungle on foot until they find an ancient statue. Thanks to some unexpected knowledge from Murdock, the team work out that they need to move the giant carving to find out the direction to travel. BA heaves the stone and we find an arrow underneath pointing the way.
With a reel of stock footage and an obvious backlot set, the team find Del Rio. Face is underwhelmed by the lack of jewels, but Barry assures them the number of finds is a valuable archaeological wonder.
Suspecting Doyle allowed their escape to follow them to the city, Hannibal orders the team to rig up some defences using some of the original booby traps that are still working. A short montage ends just as Doyle and his men arrive, heavily armed.
Through a series of ropes, catapults, springing branches, nets and pits, the team make quick work of the attackers. They force Doyle to take them past the bend in the river to learn his secret. Once there, the team find a more unexpected sight than the lost city – Nazi’s building a nuclear reactor!
Doyle’s amused as the compound is full of armed guards and they are only five men and two women and hardly any guns. Bobbi steps up and says she can round up the help they need by asking her father… El Cajon! The pirate agrees, looking forward to taking his revenge on Doyle – presumably for threatening Bobbi in the last episode.
After another montage, this time of the pirates tooling up and BA dragging a canon, the team and their new allies are ready to set out on the mission. Hannibal tells Barry and Tawnia to stay behind so that they can tell the story if the team doesn’t come back.
The attack begins with Face and Murdock coming around the back, while Hannibal and BA lead from the boat – Hannibal with a machine gun and BA on the cannon. They riddle the compound with gunfire, sending the Nazi guards running in confusion. Some try to escape in traditional bad guy jeeps, but BA’s sharpshooting flips two through the air and into some impressive rolls.
Face turns into Indiana Jones for a moment, leaping onto a truck, swinging in through the door and punching a Nazi out. Finally, the head Nazi makes a run for his chopper, but Hannibal and Murdock jump aboard to throw him out and pilot it back to Earth.
The battle ends with a cry of dismay from El Cajon as his boat sinks. Hannibal laughs, saying he loves it when a plan comes together. El Cajon realises he’s been put out of the pirate business by the Colonel and laughs along, defeated.
Back at El Cajon’s camp, he begins a new life as an honest Captain by marrying Tawnia and Barry. That’s after he agrees to a fee of 3% of the Del Rio treasure for his services, while the A-Team take their customary 10%. They’re dismayed to hear that not only is Tawnia saying goodbye to them, but it might take several years to see their money from the dig.
In a final moment, Murdock congratulates El Cajon on the service, slapping his wooden leg which fires his shotgun just past BA. The Sergeant chases Murdock down and we freeze on him about to land one on Murdock’s jaw as he desperately yells “cut!”
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
No, we begin with the team already on the mission.
Does BA get on a plane?
No – but he’ll have to get back to America somehow.
Should someone be dead?
Yes. The final battle has bullets flying all of the place, a machine gun and a canon shooting into a crowded compound. Both jeeps that flip into the air roll over a fair few times when they land too (though we see the occupants get out unharmed as usual).
The Bend in the River Part 2 is a real highlight of an episode, surpassing the first part in sheer adventure. Form the first minute, the plot gets moving and from there on out it’s a race to find the lost city, followed by an unexpected Nazi twist and a huge scale final battle.
It’s sad to see Tawnia leave (although you can’t blame her for choosing Barry Van Dyke). She was a great foil for the team, showing up in episodes where she had a purpose to fulfil and always feeling like she should be there. He early tension with Face was fun, but like Amy, she suffered in later episodes from being told to keep out of the way when the action started. She gets a fitting send-off in this two-parter, starting the mission and going with the team to find her fiancée. She’s a good balance for the more jungle-smart Captain Bobbi and you believe her relationship and the new life she’s about to start.