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!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Lease with an Option to Die s4ep4

Co-starring: Ray Wise as Philip Chadway, Brion James as David Plout, Ismael Carlo as Alvarez, Wendy Schaal as Karen, Della Reese as Mrs Baracus
Written by Bill Nuss
Directed by David Hemmings

The team travel to Chicago to help BA’s mother who is being forced out of her apartment building.

One of the best episodes of the season, this marked an auspicious writing debut for Nuss who would go on to write nine further episodes and would be story eidtor in season five. Some of his episodes were very good (Wheel of Fortune, Alive at Five) and some not so good (Body Slam, The Crystal Skull). What singles this one out is a strong story, a nice line in humour and the great embarrassment it causes BA. As you might expect, BA’s mom is one of the few people able to get the better of him. It’s a great source of comedy as BA has told her he is the leader of the A-Team and particularly given that his mom’s pet name for him is ‘Scooter’.

Reese makes the most of her role as Mrs Baracus and the episode gives the chance for Mr T to have proper dialogue for a change rather than just passing comments and moments of aggravation. There’s a strong supporting cast as well with Schaal as one of the building tenants, Wise as the villain of the piece, regular Hollywood bad guy James as his chief henchman and Carlo (appearing in his fourth A-Team episode) as the building superintendent.

The comedy doesn’t entirely come at BA’s expense. Hannibal dons one of his best ever disguises as a little old lady who, together with goofball son Murdock, sublets Mrs Baracus’ apartment. This leads to one of the best ever meeting-villain-in-his-office scenes as Hannibal’s grandma tires of negotiations and pulls out an uzi.

The action mainly comes in the form of threats to the safety of the building and its tenants but works very well all the same. The reason that Wise wants the apartment is rather obvious and so the interest level does drop a little in the second half as the plot wanders off in all kinds of directions but this is still one of the strongest entries in season four. 8.5/10

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