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, 6 May 2011

Firing Line s5ep3

Co-starring: Frank McCarthy, Judith Leadford as Carla, Rodney Saulsberry as Sergeant Reagar, John Darbin
Written by Frank Lupo
Directed by Michael O’Herlihy

The team try to escape from a maximum security stockade while awaiting execution for the murder of Colonel Morrison.

The final part of the court-martial trilogy is a worthy conclusion, providing the bridge between the first two episodes and the Stockwell missions that were to follow. The jail setting is naturally restrictive but writer Lupo manages to come with ways to get the story out and about and build action into the plot.

The episode gets off to a clever start with Face having a nightmare about facing the firing squad, complete with Hannibal in full aquamaniac costume. After this, the episode settles into a plot which cuts between the cells and Murdock’s attempts to arrange a breakout (further establishing the Murdock/Frankie rapport). The highlight (in terms of both action and drama) is when Hannibal tries to imagine an escape scenario but in spite of all the gunfire and explosions, it can only end in tragedy.

BA gets his own amusing premonition about what may happen come dawn on the day of execution and there's an amusing discussion amongst the condemned men about their last meal. It's a strong episode for Murdock as he shows his determination to help his friends, particularly in the confrontation on the plane with Stockwell.

The tension remains high as the execution looms, though the escape comes earlier than you might expect and an unnecessary action sequence is tacked onto the end. There are perhaps too many plot threads to resolve (and the subsequent working arrangements to set up) for this to be as free-flowing as it could have been.

A more definitive solution to what really happened in Vietnam would have been better than Stockwell's best guess but as untidy as the final third is, this remains a very enjoyable episode and is as essential viewing as the other parts of the trilogy. 9/10

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