The A-Team “In Plane Sight” (part 2 of 2)

Hannibal heads up to the cockpit to check in with Murdock. Murdock is working on his “Dick Nash” persona, and since he’s supposed to be a drug smuggler, Hannibal suggests giving him a rough edge.

But Murdock is rather distraught, and he fears he might be becoming too normal to give his character that requisite “edge”. Hannibal gets a little worried as well, and I honestly have no idea what they were going for with this scene. Could be humor, but there’s nothing really amusing going on. And given the nature of the show, I’d say straightforward drama is probably out, too.

That bit of strangeness out of the way, the plane lands and Judy implants the trigger word before waking up our rather large friend. B.A. wakes up irritable and grabs Face, so Face says “eclipse” and B.A. falls right back asleep. Face and Hannibal are delighted that B.A. now has a kill switch.

And then it looks like Murdock is back to his abnormal self, as he enters the cabin with a makeup kit and sporting a rather nasty looking scar.

Caption contributed by Albert

All planes have TV Monster Make-Up kits. They’re right next to the flight recorders.

They get off the plane, telling Judy to wake B.A. up after they’re gone. We cut to an office, where a youthful Lance Henriksen makes his first appearance, in the role of “Mack Dalton”. Sure, he doesn’t get to do much, but goddamn does he ever have a cool name!

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

Murdock enters in his Dick Nash character, and they have a talk. Well, Dalton talks, while Murdock demonstrates his tough edge by breaking a soda bottle open against a table. But then he sees it’s grape soda, and drops it to the floor.

Caption contributed by Albert

“This sure as hell ain’t made from the best stuff on earth!”

Dalton is rather perturbed, but proceeds to take Murdock to see the cargo he’ll be running. After they’re gone, Face and Hannibal enter, and Hannibal quickly finds a folder with all the information he needs. Jesus, even Thomas Magnum snooped around a bit!

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B.A. shows up at the window, and Face tells him to keep an eye out for trouble while they look through the folder. They soon learn that the man in charge of the smuggling ring is Winston Corliss, a notorious drug dealer who fled to Colombia to avoid extradition.

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

Meanwhile, on the airfield, Murdock and Dalton load crates onto the plane. A man named Pete drives up, and Murdock’s cover is quickly blown.

Pete: That ain’t Dick Nash. I worked with him a few years ago on the Caribbean line.
Dalton: Are you sure?
Pete: Positive. Dick Nash is black.


They go after Murdock, but the rest of the team shows up to take the bad guys out. Murdock gets a gun from the glove compartment of Pete’s car, and empties it into the ground before doing a whole Dirty Harry riff. Eventually, B.A. locks Pete and Dalton in a shed and they all get in the plane.

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

There’s a repeat of the “eclipse” gag, and then Hannibal explains how they’re going to capture Corliss and turn him over to the authorities in order to facilitate NITTS’ release from prison. Since Corliss can’t be extradited from Colombia, the plan is to lure him out of the country. This plan will turn out to be a rather silly one, involving a faked plane crash, but then again, considering the show we’re watching, it seems rather unsporting to complain about that sort of thing.

Back from commercial break, we’re back in Venezuela. Col. Sanchez has gotten word about a downed plane, and he tells his second in command to organize a search party.

Elsewhere, Murdock is getting himself to look adequately beaten up, a look enhanced by a punch in the face from Face.

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

Hannibal wants Murdock to wander the highway pretending he was injured in a plane crash, until someone picks him up and takes him to a hospital. Somehow, he knows Corliss and his men will go to the hospital looking for Murdock, to find out where he crashed the plane with the cocaine shipment.

Murdock will then lead Corliss to the plane in Venezuela, and once he’s outside of Colombia, they’ll have him arrested and extradited. Which, again, will somehow lead to the release of NITTS.

You know, if all of Hannibal’s plans are this ridiculously convoluted, no wonder he loves it when they come together!

We finally meet Corliss, who hears about the crash and takes the bait. Later that night, Murdock is at a hospital, while Face poses as his doctor. Murdock is doing a good job faking delirium (as only Dwight Schultz can), and after some back and forth with Face, Dalton and Pete enter, abducting both men.

Meanwhile, Hannibal and Judy go to a sign reading “Venezuela 5 km”, and put a “1” next to the 5. So, basically, Hannibal’s plan is something out of a Road Runner cartoon? Not that I disapprove, I mean, I’ve always felt that when in doubt, one should always copy from the masters. Granted, the “1” they slap on is ten times whiter than the rest of the lettering, but we’re not dealing with master criminals here.

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

We next get a big montage as Hannibal, B.A., and Judy monkey around with the plane, and throw some foliage around to simulate a crash scene.

Their plan is compromised when Col. Sanchez and his search party show up. I guess the most he could round up was two or three other soldiers. Either that, or it’s all the casting director could find that week.

The team decides to get away in the only available vehicle: the plane. Yes, Hannibal actually hops behind the wheel and taxis an airplane through the jungle.

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

B.A. leans out and shoots at the pursuing soldiers. He takes out the tires of one jeep, which of course crashes but kills and injures no one. He then shoots at Sanchez’s jeep, which does the obligatory roll. This makes the lack of injuries even funnier, given how exposed the passengers of a jeep are compared to a normal car.

Caption contributed by Ed

The stunt team loves it when a contractual obligation comes together.

Oddly enough, there are one or two shots where there’s no muzzle flare from B.A.’s rifle as he fires it. I guess the props department wasn’t on speaking terms with the special effects team that week.

Cut to the bad guys’ car heading to the plane crash site, and the purpose of changing the sign becomes clear: Corliss VOs that they’re still 15 km from the border, so he’s still safely inside Colombia.

Murdock is in the back of the bad guys’ car, rambling deliriously while leading them to the plane. Of course, they don’t find the plane where it’s supposed to be, due to the chase scene we just witnessed. So Dalton gets pissed and threatens our heroes, and then we cut to commercial.

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

Back from break, Hannibal gets out of the plane, and realizes they need to signal Murdock and Face as to their new location. Hannibal decides the best way to do this is with his duck call.

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

The duck call works, and after some incoherent rambling from Murdock, and the bad guys wandering around aimlessly with Murdock and Face, everybody eventually ends up at the plane. Sanchez and his men also show up, and a shootout/fistfight ensues, with the team shooting it out with the military, and Hannibal going after the bad guys.

During the course of things, Face asks B.A. for more ammo, which results in B.A. accidentally being put to sleep. Yes, evidently “Give me clips!” works just as well as the actual trigger word.

Sanchez eventually gets the team and the bad guys rounded up. The trick with the road sign is revealed, and Corliss realizes he’s actually in Venezuela. Face and Murdock unload the cocaine, Hannibal pretends they’re all undercover DEA agents, and Col. Sanchez promptly arrests Corliss for drug smuggling. After a gag where Murdock sneezes into a bag of cocaine, it’s time for the episode coda.

Caption contributed by Albert

The secret to how Dirk Benedict stays looking so young.

Back at the farm, Mr. Hicks smiles as he sees a ludicrously huge headline in the paper about Corliss’ extradition. It seems NITTS will be released in a few days, to the delight of his family. So, not only did the team manage to free him in as roundabout a manner as humanly possible, he’s not even out yet at the end of the episode!

The A-Team "In Plane Sight" (part 2 of 2)

To wrap things up, B.A. asks Hannibal how they were able to get him on the plane this time around. The hypnotism ruse is finally revealed, but the trigger word doesn’t work anymore. It turns out Judy deactivated it. Hannibal holds off an angry B.A., who actually puts his fist through a door as the episode ends.

Caption contributed by Albert

I get the feeling a lot of days on the A-Team set were like this.

So, at the end of the day, we get an average at best episode with some humorous moments, and a nice early turn from one of my favorite character actors. But I bet there’s still more entertainment value to be had in this one episode than all two hours of the new movie!

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 "In Plane Sight"
TV Show: The A-Team

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