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!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Say It with Bullets s2ep15

co-starring: Lauren Chase as Corporal Brown, Lance LeGault as Colonel Decker, Carl Franklin as Captain Crane, Monte Markham as Mason Harnett
Written by Richard Christian Matheson, Thomas Szollosi
Directed by Dennis Donnelly

The team are hired by a woman whose brother was killed after becoming involved with a gang selling military arms on the black market.

Another tremendous episode, one that sees writers Matheson and Szollosi move away from their previous, more formulaic episodes (“Bad Time on the Border”, “Labor Pains”) to deliver something much more entertaining. The key to this episode's success is the dual plotting, having the team evading Decker and trying to catch the arms smugglers at the same time. This means there isn't any sense of padding, the switching between plotlines ensuring action at regular intervals.

Indeed, this is probably the most action-packed of any episode with a variety of shootouts and chases along the way. The Team even commandeer a tank in the later stages for a unique set-piece that isn’t even spoiled by recycling jeep flip footage seen only a few episodes before during “In Plane Sight”.

Murdock’s TV fixation provides some good laughs (particularly “Candid Murdock”), though some of the show references will be lost on non-US audiences. The episode works best as a showcase for Peppard though, putting Hannibal centre stage at key moments and giving him some great dialogue to work with (“Lady, you’re lucky I have manners. You wouldn’t like to hear what I say to people who lie to me”).

The episode also contains my all-time favourite A-Team dialogue exchange, one that takes place towards the end, once the arms smugglers have been captured:
Hannibal: “These the only guys in the van, Murdock?”
Murdock : “Yes, sir. I checked for invisibles but they didn’t have any with them”.

This is as incident-packed an episode of the show as you are ever likely to see, a top class blend of plot, action and humour that represents the best of the A-Team. Concluding with a funny Murdock TV gag, this is another one to add to your must-see list. 10/10.

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