The A-Team “The Taxicab Wars” (part 3 of 3)

Before heading out, Murdock displays a new level of psychosis as he now has a conversation with his sock puppet, and he gives the sock a raspy, “Nick Nolte first thing in the morning” kind of voice.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

Later, Amy dispatches Face to pick up a guy, but Face prefers a pickup that’s more likely to lead to him getting laid. I can’t remember if this was a recurring thing for Face, but given that I plan on recapping a lot more episodes, I’m sure we’ll all find out.

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The Love Cab guys are sent out to get the new cabs off the streets, and next thing we know, Billings is trying to keep an old couple from getting into B.A.’s cab. B.A. notices this and the inevitable confrontation ensues.

Billings: You’re a big one, aren’t you?
B.A.: To be more to the point, I’m a mean one, sucka!

Billings gets tossed over the cab, and hilariously, B.A. then casually begins to load the old couple’s luggage into his cab. A few more goons show up, and B.A. tells the couple to get in the cab. Did anything like this ever happen in D.C. Cab? I’ve never had any real desire to see that movie, but if T did stuff like this in it, I’ll have to take a look.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

The old couple needs to go to the airport, and of course, a chase with the Love Cab guys ensues. B.A. calls it in, and Amy radios for help. Face also responds, with a nervous looking lady in the back seat (Liz Sheridan, who later played Jerry’s mom on Seinfeld). Hannibal cuts off one of the Love Cabs, and we get some decent ‘80s TV action as the cars bump fenders. It’s nothing too spectacular; we’re only halfway through, after all.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

Face gets involved, and I really have to say the nonchalant way all the passengers are handling being thrown into a six-way car chase is quite admirable. Sure, the old couple is doing the whole British stiff upper lip thing, and Seinfeld’s Mom has the hots for Face, but still!

Hannibal’s cab is taken out quite suddenly, doing a barrel roll as it crashes. Face is diverted, and he crashes into the fallen cab. B.A. is in deep shit now, and ends up crashing into a parked car.

Hannibal climbs out, completely unhurt by the crash, and goes to Face’s cab, where Seinfeld’s Mom now starts flirting with both men. Okay, this woman is clearly on something.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

Hannibal is remarkably cheerful and optimistic, given the circumstances. Meanwhile, the couple in B.A.’s cab are scared out of their wits, so they get out of his cab and hop into the next available cab. Which just so happens to be Murdock’s cab.

Caption contributed by Ed

“Man, I pity the fool who makes me remember being in a Joel Schumacher movie!”

The couple complains about B.A. being crazy. And then Murdock starts talking to his sock, after which they get out of his cab and leave. Yeah, I could see that coming a mile away. You could, too? Good, because this show isn’t supposed to be deep. Although, hearing Mr. T talk about deep philosophical issues would be pretty damn funny.

Later, the team is looking over the damaged cabs, while Murdock is doing another sock puppet routine. B.A. finds this about as amusing as I do, and growls at Murdock.

Hannibal has Amy get some info on Crane, namely his home address. Hannibal’s plan is to go there in the same disguise he used at the start of the episode, and give them a warning.

Caption contributed by Ed

He loves it when a plan comes together. As well he should, seeing as its his goddamn catchphrase!

Like I said, it’s possible that none of these guys is entirely sane.

Face drives to Crane’s house, along the way showing off a huge handgun Cal has given him, while fretting that his car might get damaged. Hannibal reassures him that he’ll just have the bad guys shoot around the car if things get rough, and man, do I ever miss George Peppard. The guy was a pretty cool actor.

They pull up to Crane’s house, and engage in a little exposition while the gate guard is calling in their arrival. Hannibal’s plan is to pose as the new owner of Lone Star and try to get Crane to buy them off, at least before they take him out, that is.

They’re buzzed through, and it turns out they’ve found the frequency for Crane’s security system, and they radio the frequency to B.A. and tell him to be ready. They’re met at the house by Ryder and some other guy who isn’t being played by a noted character actor, and Hannibal gets five minutes with Crane.

And then they finally get to Crane, who’s sitting in his backyard with his girlfriend in lounge chairs. Well, the bad guy is the owner of an evil cab company. What did you expect, something glamorous?

The meeting goes about as well as can be expected. Hannibal and Face ask him to pay for all the damaged cabs, and Crane tells them to shove it. He has Ryder and Strike (the guy not being played by a noted character actor) get rid of them.

Hannibal fakes a heart attack, and Face signals B.A., who crashes Mega Van through Crane’s gazebo. He gets out with Murdock, who’s armed with a machine gun.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

The goons back off, and Hannibal tells Crane he had better come up with the money. Once the team is gone, Crane chews out his guys and declares war on Lone Star Cab, and we’re off to our final act.

Over at Lone Star HQ, Amy comes out with guns for Face and Hannibal, while Murdock comes out of the garage with a suspicious small bag. B.A. grabs it, and it turns out our nutty hero is carrying an orange and white checkered cape and mask. Captain Cab, indeed!

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

B.A. gripes about this to Hannibal, who’s only upset that Murdock doesn’t have a cowl. And yes, another running joke of the series is how Hannibal is completely fine with Murdock’s insanity, while B.A. is constantly irritated by it. We’ll cover other running jokes as they come up.

Everyone except for B.A. and Amy leave, and the plan is to get the Love Cab guys to the garage where the main part of every A-Team episode will unfold: the ridiculous action climax preceded by the Alteration Montage of Heroic Justice.

I dearly love the montage aspect of this show. It’s always the most amusing part of every episode, simply because it’s like opening a present from your coolest relative on Christmas Day. You have no idea what it’s going to be, but you know it’ll be worth it.

The montage itself is just various shots of cabs being taken apart and modified, and B.A. welding stuff, and bolts being tightened, and paint being sprayed, and from the looks of it, they’re modifying a cab into… I’m guessing a tank.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

We cut between this and the rest of the team luring the bad guys to the garage. We also get the unveiling of Murdock in full Captain Cab regalia, jumping out from a phone booth. I have to say that while Superman may have the powers and the impressive physique, Captain Cab has just a little more charm.

Caption contributed by Ed

Captain Cab!

Hannibal places a call to Crane, in his rich Texan character’s voice, relating a story about a wolf getting caught in a fire while trying to steal some chickens. Watch the episode, it’s better than it sounds. Hannibal and Face arm themselves and drive off, while we get a dumb gag with Murdock and a motorcycle cop.

At Love Cabs, Crane gets Billings, Ryder, and Strike ready. Suddenly, Hannibal and Face haul ass into the parking lot. They crash through the garage and shoot up the cabs. They drive off as Crane and company run out. Ironside puts on his Michael Ironside Face and they head off to Lone Star.

Caption contributed by Ed

Ladies and gentlemen, “The Ironside”.

After they leave, Murdock sneaks in and breaks into Crane’s safe. Well, technically, he blasts the shit out of it with explosives, but really it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Hilariously enough, not only is he way too close to the explosion to emerge unscathed, but the door is blown open perfectly, and none of the money inside is damaged, either. He does a bit with the sock puppet and then empties the safe, save for a few bills he crazily leaves behind.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

Is it any wonder Dwight Schultz hasn’t had much of a visible acting career since this? I love the guy, but he goes into this sort of thing so deep that it probably screwed up his chances at being taken seriously as an actor ever again. What was the last notable role he had? That’s right, as a nervous, twitchy guy on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I rest my case.

Hannibal and Face arrive back at Lone Star, just as Crane and his goons appear. Crane gets out and begins shooting up the first cab he sees, during which Face and Hannibal remind any viewer who wasn’t paying attention that the cab is actually Crane’s own cab with a new paint job.

Crane follows up by driving right through the Lone Star garage, where they’re met by B.A. in the modified cab. To be honest, it’s not their best modification. At the end of the day, it’s really just a cab covered in some metal plates, but it’s fine for what it needs to be. I give it that much.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

Crane’s cab rushes forward, and the reason for the design of the modified cab becomes clear when the Love Cab does a barrel roll off the cab/tank. This show really loves that stunt.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

The team holds the bad guys at gunpoint, with Murdock of course hamming it up like… Well, like Dwight Schultz on The A-Team. Hannibal has the cops called in and reveals the ruse to Crane, and then we go to a commercial.

Our coda wraps things up nicely, as it seems the whole “10% ownership for the team” thing was a legit offer. Though, as far as I know, this is never mentioned again in the run of the series. Face gets some kissing action with Kathy, which comes out of nowhere, since she really only has a few lines and has barely anything to do after the first few minutes. I guess it was good to be Dirk Benedict.

The A-Team "The Taxicab Wars" (part 3 of 3)

Murdock gives us one final sock puppet gag, and then the episode ends.

All in all, this is a fairly typical episode of the series. Lighter than air, entertaining as hell, and quite cheesy. It gets even better than this, though. Did you know Hulk Hogan made two guest appearances on the show?

But that’s a tale for another day.

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 "The Taxicab Wars"
TV Show: The A-Team

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  • Aileil Taliesin

    You said you didn’t know how Mr. Schultz decided how to play the character so I thought I’d share a neat snippet known to those of us who frequent his fansite. Apparently, he once met a gas station attendant whose speech pattern and body language intrigued him so much he made a point to remember them in case he ever found a use for them, along came the role of Murdock, and the rest is history. So, inspired by real life. Very nostalgic article, thanks.