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!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Sound of Thunder s4ep23

Co-starring: Tia Carrere as Tia, Jack Ging as General Fulbright, George Kee Chung as Colonel Sien, Haunani Minn as Mi Lin
Written by Frank Lupo
Directed by Michael O’Herlihy

General Fulbright hires the team to travel to Vietnam to rescue Colonel Morrison, the one man who can clear the A-Team’s name.

At the end of a disappointing season, out-of-the-blue came one of the show's very best episodes. Like the season one finale ‘A Nice Place to Visit’ (also written by show co-creator Lupo), this story is much more serious in tone as the return to Vietnam brings back difficult memories for the team.

The war and its long-term effects had briefly been touched upon over the course of four seasons but never to this extent. At its heart, this is a well-written story, one which takes a number of interesting turns during its tightly-packed 45 minute running time. The episode is exceptionally well-performed by the cast, clearly relishing having a quality script to work from. There is also excellent support from Carrere and particularly Ging, whose General Fulbright character was very much the figure of fun in his previous episodes but here takes on an entirely different and much more effective role.

The silent opening gets the episode off to a somewhat unnerving start. This is far away from the show’s usual ‘comfort television’ approach and there are many little touches which add to the unsettling tone (such as a music score which sounds like rotating helicopter blades). The excellent set design also adds to the effectiveness of the episode, there being a real effort to create a feeling for the story’s Vietnam location.

The plot takes a number of intriguing turns and deals with some interesting issues without ever seeming heavy-handed. There are also lighter moments, such as when BA agrees to fly but ends up blanking out (Murdock: “He didn’t blank out, he was mildly catatonic”). The action is very much within context throughout and as such is highly effective, never more so than in a final set piece which has a scope and a scale that makes it one of the show’s best. Director O’Herlihy delivers a sense of realism that the show previously (and famously) side-stepped, extending to people being shot on camera for one of the few times in the show’s run.

The episode establishes the action credentials of Carrere’s character and the final scene suggests she will be joining the team, though this was not carried forward into the season five revamp. This season finale may well have been the show’s swansong in any case, as noted by Murdock’s “everything comes to an end” T-shirt.

The episode ends on a contemplative note as Hannibal and Murdock again ask questions of themselves and their ability to put the worst aspects of the war behind them. It is a genuinely affecting moment and demonstrates why this genuinely is one of the great A-Team episodes. It is an absolute must-see for fans and stands up alongside the very best of any TV show. 10/10

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