A-Team Episode 1×01 & 1×02

A-Team Episode 1×01 & 1×02

Hannibal, loving his plan, which has just come together (not for the last time)

“Mexican Slayride”

  • Location: San Rio Blanco, Mexico
  • Tank: Armored Bus
  • Disguises: The Aquamaniac, Homeless Drunk, Mr. Lee, ad-hoc Sleeping Mexican Guy
  • Scam: Private Jet (A Gulfstream II, N8000J)
  • Flight: Yes
  • Fixation: Ammonia
  • Flips: 3
  • Fee: $25,000 (down from $150,000)
  • Quote: “I love it when a plan comes together” – Hannibal, when a plan has come together and he loves it
  • Who is that?? Miguel Angel Fuentes, Quintana (aka, huge Mexican dude). Hint: Actually, I only thought I remembered him from something else. Turns out he’s so memorable from the A-Team, I guess I just know him from the last time I saw the show.

So we start! They won’t all be this long, but this is the pilot ep so I’ll give it some extra space. Funny enough, I was expecting this to be the darkest episode of the entire series, mainly because of memories of the team in a prison all solemnly discussing their readiness to die. Turns out that scene is in the next episode, who knew. Anyway, going by the numbers, right out the gate we’re checking all the boxes: we have a tank, four disguises, a scammed private jet, a very respectable three flipped vehicles, perhaps the most famous quote of the entire series, and the team even gets payed for their troubles! (If you’d like to know more about these stats, see my kick-off post for The A-Team blog.)

We’re introduced to the team via reporter Amy’s dossiers on each member. We learn Hannibal is “unconventional” which sets the stage for a fun show, but his character speaks for itself. For me, Hannibal will always be defined by his cigar, black gloves, those over-the-top disguises, one-liners, and of course that ever-present smile in the face of a tough situation.

This guy, being Face (definitely for the last time)

Face’s origins as an orphan are rarely mentioned in the show, but it’s highlighted here in the pilot. In 80’s TV, “orphan” usually means “street smarts,” but I’ve always seen Face as a bit classier than just a kid who grew up with street smarts. Anyway, he runs a terrific extended scam to procure a private jet for the team’s travel to Mexico. Later, he makes an attempt at scamming up the Mexican army (now that would have been quite the scam), but alas, it was not to be. I blame lack of charm due to him not (yet) being Dirk Benedict. Next episode, Face will have a new face.

B.A., building a Tank (via montage, of course) (and not for the last time)

Highlights for B.A. in this episode include what the B.A. stands for (that’s “Bad Attitude,” because of course it is…), as well as several common themes we see throughout the show with him, including his soft spot for helping kids, his mechanical know-how, and his fear of flying.

Finally, there’s Murdock, who pours the crazy on thick right from the start. Unlike the other three, Murdock is not actually running from the law, he’s living comfortably in the mental hospital. Dwight Schultz (I knew him later as Lt. Barclay on Star Trek: The Next Generation) nearly always steals the scene the moment he opens his mouth and adds a lot of fun to the show. He usually retains enough sanity to perform his duties to the team.

Murdock, putting both the Howl and the Mad in “Howlin’ Mad” (also not for the last time)

Now I had actually forgotten how much a role Amy plays in the show. She basically blackmails her way onto the team at the end of the pilot here, and is a regular in every ep this season. Her character will grow slowly through the season, but she never quite feels like a true 5th member. Still, her first official act as a member of the team is to help knock-out B.A. for another plane trip, and I suppose that’s a good start. And she also brings a computer to the team, which she mentions can be used to research stuff. I’ve heard they can be good for that, though I’m not sure I believe it.

A Jeep, driving in proper A-Team fashion (not for the last time). Oddly, these guys didn’t climb out afterward, but I’m sure they’re fine. Also, grenades totally count as Ramps.

The team flies to Mexico where bad guys are terrorizing a local village, and also holding our mission objective (Amy’s friend) captive. Things really get moving after the team drops leaflets (and poison) onto the bad guy marijuana field (drug lords rank right up there with biker gangs and rednecks when it comes to 80’s bad guys). It’s classic A-Team tactics to taunt the bad guys into a position where the main trap can be sprung. Fortunately for our bad guys, they’re delivered into the hands of the most restrained angry mob I’ve ever seen.

The show’s final action scene has Hannibal leaping from a helicopter onto a Jeep, punching out both bad guys in it, and then hauling them back to face justice. Hannibal is handed a cold one, we all have a laugh, and that’s one episode down! But before I close this one out, I just have to point out the wonderful pun in the title–I had actually typo’d the name of this episode as “sleighride” before fixing it.

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