In which Face find himself drawn to old habits.
In Ecuador, a group of drunken bandits reach the end of their bottles and start to tear up a classroom. They’re interrupted by two nuns begging them not to wake up the 20 orphans asleep nearby. The men pay no attention until their leader, resting at the orphanage as he recovers from a leg wound, tells them to knock it off.
Back in LA, Face has scammed a new apartment and has a girl over who thinks he’s a neurologist. There’s tap on the door when Father O’Malley from Face’s former orphanage arrives with a message. He old flame Lesley has sent him a letter and the fraternity pin he once gave. Concerned, Face ushers his girl out and calls in the team.
The letter is vague and Hannibal isn’t buying it until Face tells him he’s going to hire the team himself. Amy will be in charge of the money and BA wants to make sure they aren’t flying. Driving out of the city, Hannibal calls Colonel Lynch and impersonates another officer to tell him they need to send a plane as he’s just spotted the A-Team on their way to a nearby airfield. BA is quickly drugged and the team fight their way onto the very plane sent to catch them.
On the flight, Face reveals to Amy that Lesley was his first and only love. He was hoping to marry her but one day she left with no explanation. He’s been heartbroken ever since but couldn’t bear not to help her when he got the letter. In Ecuador, the team soon find the orphanage but are told to go away by a nun who’s being held at gunpoint. Face sees Lesley though and realises something really is wrong.
Dressing as nuns, Face and Murdock sneak into the compound to find out what’s going on. They learn the outlaws are occupying the orphanage until their leader is well enough to return to action. Face stays inside to protect the nuns while Murdock reaches the rest of the team to concoct a plan. On his way out, Murdock knocks out one of the outlaws with the line “do not pass go, do not collect $200” from Monopoly and used many years later in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Of course, it makes perfect sense that the Pet Detective was a fan of Howlin’ Mad Murdock.
Hannibal plans a classic Trojan Horse manoeuvre, hiding BA, Murdock and Amy inside a truck filled with whisky. The delivery “breaks down” just outside the orphanage gates and Hannibal, now disguised as a local driver asks the outlaws for help. They proceed to push the truck inside and get blind drunk on the cargo until the team leap put of the truck, beat them up and throw them inside. They’re driven out into the countryside and stripped to their shorts.
Back at the orphanage, the head nun isn’t as happy as Hannibal hoped. The outlaws have many friends who’ll be coming back with them for revenge. It seemed odd that the A-Team didn’t take the wanted men to the police and just let them go instead until you realise there were still 10 minutes left of the episode to fill.
We get a montage as the team rig the orphanage with defences to ward off the upcoming attack. Not long after the outlaws begin to storm the walls but are repelled by some hydraulics that flip them back outside, exploding bottles and a lot of gunfire. Outside a truck is shot into the air but amazingly doesn’t flip over and lands back on its wheels. In a final move, the leader drives straight through the compound gates and straight into a deep pit where he’s held at gunpoint and surrenders.
The next morning, BA arrives with a new car he’s swapped their plane for so they can drive to the dock and take a three-week boat trip back to America. Face asks Lesley (now Sister Theresa) to keep hold of his pin, which she accepts as the two reconnect with a hug. As the Sister says farewell, Face turns and we freeze on the smoothest wink of the decade.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes. It’s late on but he dresses up as a whisky delivery driver to fool the outlaws into getting drunk.
Does BA get on a plane?
Yes. He’s drugged offscreen and bundled into a plane. He does make the team take the boat back though.
Should someone be dead?
Yes. Most of the outlaws who got flipped over the orphanage walls would have broken necks and there were bullets flying all over the place in the final battle.
The Only Church in Town is a great episode of The A-Team. It has the classic face-from-the-past storyline and we learn more about Face’s early years before he joined the army. We also see him swiftly dispose of one girl to help the one that got away.
The battles in Ecuador against the outlaws are fun with more traps being used than we’ve seen for a while, which makes the final battle different. It lacks a great main villain and the last battle would have been unnecessary if the team had just dropped the outlaws off at the police station the first time. Despite that, it’s a lot of fun.
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