In which Hannibal is floored, Murdock dragged and the others left holding watermelons.
A loan truck driver is taking his cargo to market when he’s faced with a crude roadblock that’s clearly not the police. Hitting his foot to the floor, he breaks through but the truck veers off the road and falls onto its side. It’s the best stunt of the series so far and one that leaves the driver in hospital.
On the mend, but looking worse for wear, the driver is visited by Amy who promises him that – for a fee – her friends can help. The driver needs to get his cargo of watermelons to market before they spoil but a local thug is stopping him and trying to take over. While the driver, his daughter and Amy talk, a hospital orderly buzzes around and orders the two visitors out of the room.
The orderly is non-other than Hannibal in disguise (this was obvious, I just didn’t mention it before to build some mystery). He introduces himself to the driver and notices they’re both veterans (always helps to add a veteran or child to the mix). Hannibal takes the case for a 30% cut of the watermelon profits and leaves. Weirdly, it’s only when he addresses Amy as Hannibal that she realises who he is. I wonder whether she still thinks Mr Lee is part of the team.
We catch up with the rest of the team in the van, where Murdock has an imaginary dog that Face is playing with while BA gets riled up. The plan begins with Face and Hannibal disguising themselves as police and pulling over a truck that the owner had promised to the victims but later failed to deliver. They manage to hijack two trucks, break through a roadblock and arrive at the watermelon farm after a quick chase with the bad guys.
With the villain on his way, Hannibal wants to size him up. The team split up into two pairs, with everyone wanting to be on BA’s team. When the big bad shows up, a fight breaks out and Hannibal is knocked out – only to tell the others he “loves it when a plan comes together”.
That plan sees the farm pinned in on both sides with only two roads out, both blocked by the opposition. Needing a way to break through, they force Amy to let them add armour plating to her new car. BA promises she’ll barely notice a scratch after the mission is over.
After a speedy montage, Face and Murdock set off in the car with Hannibal behind them in the truck. With the watermelons on the road, the villains instantly forget about the second truck and move all their goons to face the team. The three easily smash through the roadblock and begin to deploy smoke and nails to defend against the chasing mob. It doesn’t work for long as they’re chased off the road – only to reveal an almost empty container.
Murdock immediately helps the captured members of the team escape by – what else – pretending to be a horse while Hannibal drops a cigar into some petrol, blowing up Amy’s car. Luckily there’s a helicopter standing by which they make use of, taking a few watermelons with them for good measure. They soon catch up with BA, who being chased down by a few cars, and help out by dropping their cargo through the windscreen of one and flipping it over. It’s game over as BA is left to drive to the market.
With the crop sold a little under expectations, the team drop their cut to 20% and everyone’s happy with a well-run plan. Everyone except Amy who sees the wreckage of her car and threatens Face that he better fix her a new one. We end on a great moment for Murdock’s ongoing “is he / isn’t he” as he’s dragged away by his imaginary dog. Classic freeze frame.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes. He’s a hospital orderly that manages to fool Amy at close quarters.
Does BA get on a plane?
No flying required this time.
Should someone be dead?
For the first time, possibly not. The truck crash at the start is a brilliant stunt and we see some realistic injuries for once when the driver’s in hospital. There is an explosion and a car flips over, but they don’t seem as high octane as previously.
West Cost Turnaround goes to show again why The A-Team caught on so well during its first run and has remained popular ever since. The quality of this first season in particular barely ever dips and this episode is the third in a row of top tier adventures for the team.
It’s the classic formula, big bad guys bullying the underdogs, but done so well it doesn’t matter that you know what to expect. The characters are so well-drawn and everyone again gets the chance to shine. It’s fun to see Hannibal get knocked out as he usually has the upper hand over the villains, as well as Face and Murdock asking to be on BA’s team and not his.
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