About this blog

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire ... The A-Team.

This was the introduction to one of the great TV series of the eighties. The purpose of this blog is to build up the definitive episode guide to the show across its five seasons which ran from 1983 to 1987. So this isn't too much of a burden, I'm intending to watch a couple of episodes a week and given that there were around 100 episodes made during its run, this will turn into a year-long project!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Labor Pains s2ep7

co-starring: Charles Napier as Ray Cross, John Vernon as Ted Jarrett, Penny Peyser as Laura, Alan Autry as Gary, Lance LeGault as Colonel Decker, Carl Franklin as Captain Crane
Written by Thomas Szollosi, Richard Christian Matheson
Directed by Arnold Laven

The team helps fruit pickers who are being treated like slave labour by their bosses.

A typically solid second season episode, one that ticks along nicely but without any of those moments that would make it anyone’s favourite. Perhaps the problem is that the overall effect is rather low-key, particularly after the action sequence that opens the episode. The first five minutes comprises of an extended chase sequence which sees BA performing a couple of spectacular jumps in the A-Team van to evade the pursuing Decker. It’s a lively start and as good an action scene as you’ll find in any episode but the story that follows does seem rather flat in comparison.

The supporting cast is certainly impressive with bad guy Vernon (the mayor in “Dirty Harry”), lovely Penny Peyser (best known for her role in “Crazy Like a Fox”) and henchman Napier (who would return to pursue the team as a stand-in for Decker in season three’s “Fire!”). Individually, there are some strong scenes, most notably when the team crash Vernon's party to steal food for the workers.

Overall, though, the episode never seems to get out of second gear and remains very watchable without being particularly memorable. The final battle (which includes a cabbage launcher) is just a little too ridiculous and over too easily. There's also a sense that Vernon is such a tough character that it's not wholly convincing that things would improve for the pickers as smoothly as is suggested. Nice try but no cigar. 7/10.

1 comment:

  1. A cabbage cannon? Seriously? Against guys with rifles? The A-Team members are supposed to be Green Berets! Turning this show into a cartoon is what caused a lot of people to tune out by Season Four!

    Well, this episode does have its high points. As pointed out in H.M.'s comment, there is a great Decker chase scene that kicks off the episode. Face gets a rare moment with B.A. in which B.A. informs him that if Hannibal didn't put Face on the Team, Face would probably be in jail. Face runs one of his funnier scams in which he is unable to fast-talk a farmer.

    Jeez, why didn't Jarrett just pay his workers what he promised them? Then he could have avoided having his BBQ ruined and later getting shot by a cabbage.

    Guest star Alan Autry played for the Green Bay Packers in the 70s (under the name Carlos Brown). He would go on to star in the TV show "In the Heat of the Night" and eventually become the mayor of Fresno, California.

    I'm pretty sure the teaser at the beginning (scenes for tonight's episode) was different back in 1983 then it is on the DVD, but I can't confirm it.