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!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Wheel of Fortune s4ep13

co-starring: Lydia Corneill as Jody Joy, George McDaniel as Joshua, Judd Omen as Lazarus, Richard Evans as Jack Stein, Bermie Pock as Jeremy Woods
Written by Bill Nuss
Directed by David Hemings

Murdock is kidnapped by a group of men who claim to be CIA agents and want him to be their pilot on a dangerous mission.

My recollection of this episode was of it being one of the better entries in the season and while it is a good one, this time it seemed more of a weaker retread of ‘Bounty’. The basic structure is the same as it moves between the kidnap of Murdock, the team in pursuit and Murdock befriending a young woman to aid his escape.

The episode is bookended with Murdock appearing on the ‘Wheel of Fortune” TV show, hosted by Pat Sajak with Vanna White turning the letters. It’s probably the only time in the whole season that having real life people play themselves didn’t ruin an episode. On his first visit, Murdock spends his winnings on a humidor for Hannibal, a year’s supply of car wax for BA and a waterbed for Face.

Like Face in ‘Breakout’, Hannibal appears in this episode only on the phone. Unlike ‘Breakout’ though, having the team split up doesn’t come off very well as Face and BA aren’t a natural team and they actually don’t appear all that frequently until towards the end. Early on, Face is cornered and captured as he goes out looking for Murdock, meaning BA has to smash through a shop window to rescue him. After this though, Face and BA disappear into the background as the episode focuses on Murdock.

The key relationship in the episode is between Murdock and would-be Vegas showgirl Jody Joy and while it isn’t as genuinely affecting as the one in ‘Bounty’, it’s still responsible for much of the episode’s energy. Cornell is bright and bubbly and good eye candy. She seems to be enjoying herself as well. Maybe appearing in an A-Team episode was the most exciting thing that ever happened to her?!

There’s an uneven structure at work here which means Jody doesn’t appear until the final third, around the same time that BA and Face arrive on the scene. Without much time left, the end comes rather too quickly and conveniently, particularly given the way that Face and BA are cornered late on.

Still, there is much to enjoy here in what is one of writer Nuss’ better episodes. The pacing is generally fine and the action is well-delivered and while it may be a paler version of ‘Bounty’, any episode that puts Murdock centre stage can’t be all bad. 7/10

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