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!

Friday, 10 December 2010

The Big Squeeze s3ep15

Co-starring: Wings Hauser as Jack Lane, Al Ruscio as Gino Gianni, Janine Turner as Theresa Gianni, Marshall Teague as Travis Mason, Joseph Sirola as Nathan Vincent
Written by Stephen J Cannell
Directed by Arnold Laven

The team help a man whose restaurant is under threat from a loan shark.

Written by series co-creator Cannell, this is an intriguing episode that is predominantly set-bound and talky but the cast are on fine form and it works well due to the excellent work of Peppard and Schultz and a typically flamboyant performance from Hauser as the villain.

There’s no meet-the-client scene here and Cannell is clearly trying to avoid working to any kind of formula, so there’s also no pre-finale construction montage and more plot than in most episodes. The result is something of an acquired taste but there is more emphasis on the comic element than in Cannell’s other episodes and all of the cast get their share of the humour, even BA with his reference to the AOAMS (the Association of Angry Mud-Suckers and they aren’t a funny union).

The talkier episodes are usually the weaker ones but Cannell has fashioned a strong storyline here, putting Hannibal to the forefront as he poses as an Irish restaurant owner. Murdock gets to try out his Irish accent as well, memorably trying to out-Irish Hannibal at one point and he also gets to sing “I’ve been working on the dishline”. His best scene though comes as a priest leading a mock funeral, saying “Let’s have a hand for the deceased! …… Perhaps a moment of silent prayer is better”.

In many ways, this is similar in tone to season two’s ‘Recipe for Heavy Bread’ but is stronger through its humour and willingness to break away from the set-bound chat. The pacing is rather stop and start but once the team gets around to talking to boss Sirola, the episode is better for it. There’s plenty of gunfire at the finale and the episode is never dull but you’d be forgiven for feeling somewhat under-whelmed. Overall, it is a taste of things to come in season four, a creditable attempt to break free of what had become the A-Team formula but not an entirely successful one. 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment