A-Team Episode 4×04

A-Team Episode 4×04

Granny Hannibal (Grannibal?? That’s a keeper!) shows them how they did things back in her day. (Her day was pretty rough.)

“Lease with an Option to Die”

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Tank: No
  • Disguises: Mrs. Murdock
  • Scam: Private Jet (with propellers), Access to city records
  • Flight: Yes
  • Fixation: Yo-yo Idiot
  • Flips: 0
  • Fee: NA
  • Quote: “I wanna fly!” – B.A., never. Except when Mama’s in trouble!
  • Bonus Quote: “Mama’s waitin’, foo!” – B.A., when Mama’s waitin’!
  • Bonus Bonus Quote: “He loves it when a plan comes together” – Hannibal, when B.A. (leader of the A-Team) has a plan come together and he loves it.
  • Who is that not?? There were actually a few false alarms for me this time around. Rico’s co-henchman is (sadly) not the big guy from “Harder Than It Looks
  • Who is that?? But I did at least recognize Wrigley Field from its cameo in The Blues Brothers, and of course Liz Sheridan, whom we’ve seen here before. Finally, we do have a proper who is that: Ismael Carlo, Mr. Alvarez. Hint: He shows up every season or so.

This episode probably goes down in the record books for “Quickest Identification of the Villain as Real Estate Developers.” Thugs trying to bully people into leaving the building they’re living in? That’s got the stench of R.E.D.s all over it. Unfortunately for these bad guys, the nice lady they’re roughing up is none other than B.A.’s mama. It’s off to Chicago to meet some family and kick some behind!

In classic A-Team form, our heroes unify the tennants behind one “Mrs. Murdock,” head of the new Tennants Association. This plan is at the suggestion of B.A.’s loyal officer, Hannibal–who delivers the line for him (B.A.’s mama thinks B.A. is in charge of the Team). We’re still waiting for Murdock to deliver the line, he’s the only one who hasn’t yet. Speaking of deilvery, the bad guys are soon delivered right into the hands of kindly old Mrs. Murdock (aka Grannibal Smith).

Per the standard by-the-book episode format, we follow the bad guys up the ladder. Now the thing about this show, is that’s it’s predictable–and I mean that in the absolute best way. The way that tells us, for instance, if Hannibal is in disguise as a wheelchair-bound grandma and there are bad guys trashing the place around him, that soon enough, granny is going to whip out an automatic weapon and start spraying bullets like a hailstorm. I looked forward to this moment with great anticipation and it didn’t disappoint–we even got a bonus upgrade from the usual guns in the form of an Uzi (a weapon usually reserved for unscrupulous bad guys, not our tasteful heroes).

Father Face (there’s one we haven’t seen in a while) scams his way to plant a bugged bible at the bad guy HQ under the guise of having accidentally (that is, on purpose with a sledge hammer) hit his car. Then bad guys set the place on fire, our heroes put it out; the bad guys do karate, our heroes punch them out (you may be thinking this is possibly a martial art other than karate, but remember this was the 80’s and non-karate martial arts hadn’t been invented yet); Murdock falls from second story window, lands on his back, and walks it off. It’s all action-packed enough to work as a final act, but there are actually a few acts to go, including some nice moments with B.A.’s mom.

Murdock’s walking off the fall here from a second story window was a new level of un-realism for the show, but we’ll roll with it. As I’ve said before, it’s a well known fact that people were simply tougher in the 80’s. If that doesn’t work for you, think of the fall as a flipping vehicle, and the ground as the window he emerges just fine from. Remember, we’ve already proven that good guys follow the law of emerging just fine.

Face shows the lawyer how to lawy, tag-teaming with her to scam the records out of Seinfeld’s Mom, and we find out–actually, I’m not entirely sure what we find out. There’s some convoluted scheme involving placing properties under the names of people living in old folks homes… I’m pretty sure it means they’re all rich now, so hey, win for the old folks!

The red was the standard detonation color throughout the 80’s–you cut the red wire, never the blue one! Fortunately B.A. is aware of this. Disaster averted.

After bad guy says some nice, incriminating stuff on camera, he sets a bomb in the building. Our heroes disarm it. This was a particularly nasty model, with a ticking LCD–obviously the ticking part is indicative of some kind of secondary backup timer. For a moment there, I really thought this was the episode where they all blow up and die, but fortunately I was wrong this time. Anyway, the ep closes with a short foot chase, a shootout, some flying leaps and a return of the Milk ad!

I love that the team (especially Hannibal) continually throws things back to B.A. to maintain the illusion that he is in charge. A more modern show would have quickly turned it against him, embarassing him in front of his family for a cheap laugh, but the illusion is preserved throughout the entire ep. I can’t speak to B.A. deceiving his own mother this way, but I will give the rest of the team credit for keeping it classy.

Final thoughts: if you were around for the early 90’s, you likely remember Mr. T advertising for 1-800-COLLECT. So save a buck or two and call yo’ Mama! (Seriously, though, don’t. 1-800-COLLECT is apparently still around as of this writing and charging $29.99 for the first 5 minutes… and I thought Real Estate Developers were evil).

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