The episode begins with two sisters, Cathy and Maryann, getting their truck fixed up at a local garage before setting off to deliver their goods – bottles of their own Hi-Brite soda. As they drive out, they mention how local brewery owner Mr Webb has offered to buy their bottling plant despite their falling sales.
Before long, the truck begins to speed out of control and ends up flipping over onto its side in a decent stunt. The sisters climb out unharmed and find the brake line has been cut back at the garage – no doubt under Webb’s instructions. A car soon pulls up and three of Webb’s thugs (one of whom was the villain Flagg in It’s a Desert Out There) get out to confront the sisters and remind them to take Webb up on his offer before they get seriously hurt.
Determined to fight back the sisters travel to LA and under an unseen Mr Lee’s instructions head to a cash point to withdraw $200. While their card is scanned, BA checks them out for any military connections and sees they are clean. The team show themselves, Murdock from within the ATM, and tell the sisters the good news – they’ve just found the A-Team.
We learn the sisters run a soda business that uses a natural spring on the grounds for its unique taste. Neither can work out why Webb wants to buy their plant. Hannibal’s first plan of action is to get sales back up, which will need Face to start an ad campaign and a small loan from the bank. Meanwhile, Murdock and BA start to tune up the bottling machinery in the plant to improve efficiency.
The marketing works, driving sales through the roof and enraging Webb. He orders his men to block the Hi-Brite trucks from making deliveries. Anticipating this move, Face drives a Hi-Brite truck disguised as a Webb’s Brewery truck into the brewery. He swaps routes with a Webb driver, effectively getting Webb to deliver Hi-Brite!
Meanwhile, Webb’s men are on the tail of a Hi-Brite truck driven by Hannibal and BA. The thugs overtake and block BA but are easily taken down by the team when they approach the van. Murdock then arrives and shoots the thugs’ truck, which instantly explodes in a fireball.
Thwarted again, Webb decides to put a stop to the sisters’ ad campaign by paying off Face. He sends his goons to collect Face (who’s operating out of an office with “Templeton Peck” on the sign) and bring him to the brewery. On the way in, Face checks out the security and scans the inside of Webb’s office for the location of his safe. He’s also given $10,000 and an offer: stop the campaign or suffer the consequences.
Using the insider information, Murdock and Face break into the brewery that night and sneak by the many armed guards. Part of the plan involves taking a polaroid off Webb’s office door and placing it in front of the security camera.
Inside Webb’s office, Face cracks the safe open and the two look through the paperwork, finding that Webb is buying up all the land in the area and making payments to a construction company. Before they can learn any more, the polaroid outside falls off the camera and the guards sound the alarm. Face and Murdock make a run for it, avoiding the gunfire from the guards and escaping by driving the van out through the gates.
Realising that Peck and the A-Team are connected, Webb takes his men to the ad agency but ends up stumbling into the filming of a tv advert. Face invites him to take part in a live taste test, but the brewery owner declines.
Across town, the rest of the team break into the offices of the construction company Webb has been paying. They find a model of the whole area redeveloped as upscale condos centred around a spring water lake exactly where the bottling plant stands. Hannibal realises that Webb is being funded by the same bank that agreed to the sister’s loan earlier.
Just at the wrong time, Cathy and Maryann head to the bank to pay off their loan early – advised by Face to avoid paying any more interest. The nefarious bank manager takes them hostage at gunpoint and sends word to the A-Team to meet at the brewery.
This gives the team chance for a quick montage as they rig a truck with various hoses, canisters and liquids from Hi-Brite. Arriving at the brewery, the team find all the bad guys standing out in the open, covered by armed guards on the roof.
Undeterred, Murdock drops the side of the truck and begins blasting everyone with high-powered soda fire. Surprisingly, this trick seems to beat guns as it knocks the guards over and off the roof. In the chaos, Hannibal and BA join the fight and overpower the thugs and their bosses with ease.
The next day, Hannibal confirms that everyone is going to jail and Hi-Brite soda lives on. Even better for the team it looks like he and Face both have dates to enjoy.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
No – although “a Chinese man” is mentioned by the sisters.
Does BA get on a plane?
Should someone be dead?
Yes – neither sister was wearing a seatbelt when their truck flipped onto its side at high speed with no brakes. Face and Murdock also dodged a lot of bullets during their escape from the brewery guards.
Trouble Brewing (S03, E24) is a pretty standard episode of The A-Team that’s let down by a rushed ending and poorly written twist. The team agrees to help two sisters whose soda company is being destroyed by a local brewery owner who wants to buy their bottling plant.
It’s a shame the story doesn’t do enough with its set up. The sisters make for good characters, with one less keen to hire the team than the other, and Webb proves a decent villain getting steadily more and more frustrated. However, it spends so much time getting to know everyone that by the final battle there’s about a minute of screen time left to resolve things.