The A-Team “Cowboy George” (part 2 of 2)

Back at the radio station, Murdock is doing his thing, while an armored truck drives toward town. In the bar, Chuck makes a call, and reports the truck is approaching. The jeeps move out, and B.A. calls Hannibal with the news that they’re heading for Twin Rivers.

As the redneck crowd starts to whoop it up, Hannibal has a backstage chat with Boy George, telling him that he’s going to have to stay on stage as long as he can, to which George reacts with bemusement. Hannibal gives George a great intro, and George enters to boos and jeers.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Before leaving, Hannibal offers some words of encouragement, off-mike.

Hannibal: Well, all yours.
Boy George: You could always throw them some raw meat.
Hannibal: Good luck!

Boy George and Culture Club do their first number, which we see more or less in full, eating up a good three minutes or so of screen time. Well, what the hell else would you hire the guy for? Acting? Jesus, just ask anyone who’s sat through a movie with Mick Jagger. When Freejack is one of your top three performances, it’s probably a good idea to stay on good terms with Keith Richards and the rest of the band for as long as possible.

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Oddly enough, the Culture Club song plays over the bad guys doing their thing, Murdock in the booth while the station manager yells at him from outside, and Hannibal and Face heading for wherever the hell the bad guys are heading.

Caption contributed by Ed

Still, he’s more entertaining than Howard Stern has been in the last fifteen years.

However, I do have to say this episode is easily the most entertaining thing Culture Club has ever been associated with. The rednecks appear to agree, as we cut back to the bar where they inexplicably seem to be enjoying themselves now.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

B.A. reports the bad guys are going after an armored truck, and Hannibal guesses they wanted to get the pipeline workers out of town so they could rob the oil company payroll. I’d joke about this making no sense, but since it turns out to be dead-on accurate…

The song continues, and I must say, it’s quite odd to have a Culture Club song playing over an armored car heist. Ironically enough, Murdock isn’t the only one with a song stuck in his head right now. I’m gonna need some John Fogerty real soon, I think.

The song even plays over B.A. and the others ambushing the bad guys. Well, at least it’s not a Kenny Loggins song. (Jesus, was there a movie in the ‘80s he didn’t write a song for? I swear, at least fifty percent of his output can be found on those “Best of the ‘80s” albums you find in bargain bins.)

After the break, the team meets with the sheriff. He calls in some deputies, and they turn out to be the guys from the armored car heist. Naturally, this leads to our heroes being locked up by the apparently phony sheriff. I’m guessing this is Kurt.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Back at the bar, George is starting up another tune and there’s nothing to cut back to, so we get what I would guess is the full song. Oh man, I feel a bad moon rising. Who’ll stop the rain, huh? Who?

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Sorry, give me a minute. I’ll be in centerfield if you need me.

Okay, I’m back!

The concert continues, and the phony sheriff appears at the bar and tells Chuck he needs to make an announcement, because they need to buy some time. The announcement turns out to be that the payroll has been stolen, and the “thieves” (meaning the A-Team) are in the local jail. The guy also mentions he’s “filling in” for the real sheriff, so we can pretty much assume that guy is teats up by now.

The workers are adequately incensed, and they start to form a mob to head over to the jail and get their money back. Boy George decides to go to the radio station to warn Murdock.

Well, at least we won’t be getting any more three minute Culture Club music videos. That goddamn song from earlier though… Oh crap, it’s like déjà vu all over again! Better run through the jungle, whoa, don’t look back…

Just give me another minute. I’ll be down on the corner talking with the old man down the road and that sweet hitchhiker.

Ahem, sorry. I’m better now, really.

Back at the radio station, Boy George shows up just as the station manager and a few others are prying the door off the booth to get to Murdock. Murdock signs off quickly, and George tells him the situation. At the jail, Hannibal has figured out the bad guys’ plan, and Face produces a set of lock picks so they can escape.

The lock is easily picked, and I really have to question the bad guys’ strategy here. Sending the pissed off rednecks to run wild on the A-Team I can dig, but to leave the guys who were handily kicking their asses just a while ago locked up without a single solitary guard? Even that redneck farmer guy Batman fought planned things out better than this.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

The A-Team gets to the front of the sheriff’s station, and the mob has arrived. Face is sent to find another way out, but all he finds is the real sheriff, and sure enough, the guy has gone to join the choir invisible; this is an ex-sheriff!

Face tells the others he found the dead sheriff, which means not only are they suspected bank robbers, they’ve got an unexplained dead body, too. Just then, the rednecks pick up a nearby bench and use it as a battering ram to try to break down the door. Hannibal being Hannibal, he takes it all in stride and remarks, “I can’t think with all this noise.” Did I mention how much I miss George Peppard?

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Back from the break, the rednecks are still trying to break into the jail. Meanwhile, Boy George and Murdock have come up with a diversion, and Murdock tries to pick the lock of a general store. He gets a bobby pin from our guest star, but still can’t pick the lock. Finally, Boy George kicks the door in.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Murdock grabs a backpack and goes to a rack of women’s clothing, where Boy George helps him pick out a dress. And yes, it would seem Murdock is about to employ the Bugs Bunny strategy of dressing like a woman to outsmart his enemies. Which makes sense, given this show is basically a live action cartoon. God, this is bordering on absolutely brilliant.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Back at the jail, the attempt to get in is stalled by Murdock showing up, posing as the pregnant wife of one of the “robbers”. Murdock pleads with one of the workers, managing to throw in a Lennon Sisters comment in the process, and bluffs his way inside the jail.

Damn, I never thought I’d be able to find a connection between Dwight Schultz and Kurt Russell.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Inside, Murdock reveals the “baby” is really his backpack full of explosives, and after an odd moment where Face tells Murdock he looks better as a woman, they blow a hole through the building to escape.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Murdock says they can head off the bad guys at the airport (though where he got this little tidbit of information is unclear), and we finally get an action scene not underscored by sappy pop ballads.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

They approach the villains, and Murdock fires a machine gun at them while hanging out of the van door. He turns out to have one of those clips that never empties, and the jeeps must be filled with nitro, since he manages to blow up one in a huge fireball better suited to an oil refinery explosion.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Now it’s Hannibal’s turn for some action. He shoots at another jeep, causing it to do the predictable roll and flip that every A-Team episode requires.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

Murdock fires at the plane, causing it to leak fuel and come to a stop. Chuck and his buddies are caught, just as the angry mob catches up. Hannibal explains the situation to them, and leaves Chuck in their hands. Somehow, I think none of these guys has ever seen The Ox-Bow Incident.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

The episode ends with a quick coda and another performance from Boy George, and I’d like to take a moment to remember when I was just a little boy, standing to my daddy’s knee. My papa said, “Son, don’t let the man getcha, and do what he done to me.” I can also remember the fourth of July, running through the back wood bay. I can hear my old hound dog barking, chasing down some hoodoo there.

Ah, born on the bayou.

The A-Team "Cowboy George" (part 2 of 2)

The end credits play over “Karma Chameleon”, and at last, this strange ride is over. Oddly enough, the episode works just fine, even with the utterly superfluous plot, cardboard villains, and padding by way of the music. They work the music into the story in an interesting way, and Boy George doesn’t embarrass himself.

Good times, and next up, things will get even stranger.

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: The A-Team "Cowboy George"
TV Show: The A-Team

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