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, 4 March 2011

Mind Games s4ep9

Co-starring: David Hedison as David Vaughan, Shelagh McLeod as E G Fowler, James Hong as Chow, Barney McFadden as Pell, Jack Ging as General Fulbright
Written by Stephen J Cannell
Directed by Michael O’Herlihy

Face is given a pardon for his involvement in the robbery for which the A-Team are wanted but is it a military set-up?

Series co-creator Cannell was certainly busy in season four. This is the third episode he wrote within the first eight shows and he would go on to write two more, including the infamous ‘Cowboy George’. Unless you have a soft spot for Boy George, this is the best of the five. Very much plot-driven, this is as talky as most of Cannell’s contributions to the series but there is a lot of mileage in the intrigue surrounding the reason for Face’s pardon.

For a Cannell episode, the action actually comes at regular enough intervals with a chase around the halfway point and a strong finale, even though the jetpack used by Murdock is written into the episode in a very clumsy manner.

Cannell’s episodes often had little or weak humour but that certainly isn’t the case here. There’s some great comedy as Murdock attempts to take over Face’s role within the team. He dons a suit and wig and sits in Face’s spot in the van, trying and failing to charm any woman he comes across.

It’s good to see Hedison (who played Felix Leiter in the Bond films ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘Licence to Kill’) in the supporting cast, adding a bit more gravitas than the usual rent-a-villain. Indeed, there is something about this episode that projects an air of quality that was sadly missing for too much of season four.

The episode introduces the character of General Fulbright played by Jack Ging, an actor who previously hired the team in season one’s ‘A Small and Deadly War’ and fought against them in season two’s ‘Bad Time on the Border’. Seemingly just another not-quite-as good replacement for Decker, Fulbright would fulfil the standard chase role for four further episodes before taking on a much more interesting dimension in the season finale, ‘The Sound of Thunder’.

As with most of Cannell’s scripts, there are issues with pacing and a slack middle section but these are less of an issue for an episode in which the battle is as much psychological as it is action-based. As a story, it certainly holds the attention and is wrapped up with one of the funniest final gags in any episode. 9/10

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