A-Team Episode 3×25

A-Team Episode 3×25

Not since “Bullets and Bikinis” have we seen a low-concept, character-driven drama coupled with such nuanced cinematography as this.

“Incident at Crystal Lake”

  • Location: Crystal Lake, Centerpoint, California
  • Tank: Armored Armored Car
  • Disguises: Old Gas Station Attendent
  • Scam: No
  • Flight: Yes
  • Fixation: Fishing (with a dummy). This time, he manages to hook Face into his schtick as a bonus (and you get a pun for your bonus!)
  • Flips: 0 (unless a boat counts)
  • Fee: N/A
  • Quote: “It always happens to you.” – Hannibal, referring to Face’s tendancy to get into trouble through no fault of his own. Live by the Face, die by the Face, I suppose.
  • Bonus Quote: “They’re fine, we double-checked them this afternoon…” – Hannibal, referring to the bullet proof vests that underwent practical testing earlier…
  • Who is that?? Kristen Meadows, Ranger Jenny Sherman. Hint: she’s since left South Africa and lost her accent.

This episode opens with a rather brilliant armored-car robbery which ends in the bad guys cracking open an empty armored car and then squabbling over whose fault it is. In other words, a perfect start an ep! Technically, the ep opens with Face falling for the ol’ distraught girl with car broken down on the road-side routine–but that could be any episode.

My first thought the moment we’re introduced to Murdock’s dummy was “this thing is so getting shot up.”

The two opening bits dovetail nicely–the girl, of course, is a plant for Decker. After a brief shoot-out, our heroes escape to a quiet cabin by a lake, which of course is where the bad guys escape to as well. They capture the girl (no not that girl, a different girl–we like her because she doesn’t work for Decker. Well, I mean the moment she recognizes who they are she calls Decker on them, but that’s before she knows how awesome they are… though four seasons in, how could she not know how awesome they are? Seriously, does she not watch TV???) and that’s where things get interesting.

The girl, actually a familiar-looking park ranger, deliberately sets up a confrontation between the bad guys and our heroes. It’s a great move since, as far as she’s concerned, they’re all bad guys and this problem may just solve itself. This episode really delivers across the full spectrum of the 80’s bad guy roster: we have Charles Bronson guy, Big Mute guy, Luke Skywalker haircut guy, and Creepy Threaten-the-girl guy. Four bad guys, four A-Team members. How do you suppose the math will turn out?

The bad guys swipe The Van, some other stuff happens, including B.A. almost watching Hannibal blow it up (which I never believed for a moment…), and before we know it, it’s montage time, running a bit early. The stand-in clients seem to be especially enjoying the show, and I’ll just point out that even this far in, I still don’t think we’ve ever had montage scenes or soundtrack recycled even once. The montage remains typically cagey throughout, and at the end, I was pleasantly surprised to find the armored tank was, appropriately, the armored car the bad guys rode in on.

Another, favorite, patented A-Team moment, the “What is that? (And why is it not slowing down?)” moment bad guys invariable go through before a tank goes through them.

The bad guys are captured, but remember that accelerated pacing? 12 minutes left means cue those “the element of surprise is for chumps” MP sirens off in the distance. Only this time, Decker changes it up, instead roaring in on a chopper, guns blazing. Nice for a change. The boys are captured, the bad guys get away, and it looks like we’re in for two more acts! Murdock springs’em, some dumb car stubbornly refuses to flip landing square on its wheels, and the requisite flying leaps seal the deal.

This episode, I don’t know about this episode–there was a perfectly good chopper that didn’t get stolen for the getaway, the car didn’t flip, and the mysterious bandaid on Hannibal’s chin throughout the whole ep was never explained. Now on the positive side, I love a good 80’s tough guy fight and B.A. delivered a beautiful rendition of classic “let them have the first punch.” There was also more action thanks to the double-final acts, so the way I see it, that all cancels out leaving a moderately fine episode.

There’s one, final point, though. It’s with a heavy heart that I can only assume, since it was abandoned at the gas station where the boys had their shootout with Decker, that the Facemobile has been impounded by the military and we’ll never see it again. Alas, poor Facemobile, we hardly knew you. I suppose Face is going to have to ride along with the rest of the team in The Van now, forced to deal with B.A. if he wants them to pull over for those poor girls in distress.

Which he does.

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