Mister T “The Crossword Mystery” (part 3 of 3)

Speaking of Mr. T and the gang, they’ve arrived at the Smithsonian, complaining that “everybody and his brother is here.” A little more cliché, please?

Since Mr. T basically has superpowers on this show, as soon as Black Guy asks where Miss Bisby is, T instantly says, “The where is there!” Rather oddly, they don’t put in a shot of her here; T just walks off-screen and the camera stays with Black Guy and White Girl, so maybe T’s just hallucinating again. Oh wait, false alarm: Black Guy also spots her, along with Phelps and Reyes, walking into an exhibit of the Crown Jewels.

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Inside, Miss Bisby looks at her watch, while one of the others (damned if I can tell which is which from what we’ve seen so far) pulls the fire alarm, and the other one turns off the lights. Various watermelon watermelon voices play over the team wondering what’s going on.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Only a true criminal mastermind could come up with a plan this devious.

Miss Bisby opens the display and sticks a crown into her suitcase. Yes, a full size crown fits into a regular suitcase. And apparently, that’s all it takes to steal an exhibit from the Smithsonian! Maybe this is where Dan Brown got his inspiration. Plus, you have to wonder why Richards even bothered with the whole hypnosis thing, instead of just hiring three thugs. The gang exposits uselessly for a while about what we just saw, and finally Mr. T once again points out the obvious: that Bisby is getting away while they’re jawing about her.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Taking “crown jewels” a little literally, aren’t you?

They follow Miss Bisby to a room with a lot of air and space vehicles, and White Girl complains about how quiet it is, for no reason other than to set up a space capsule suddenly rolling towards them, and Black Guy’s line, “Is that loud enough for you?” Damn, just how easy do these writers think it is to screw around in the Smithsonian?

Caption contributed by Ryan

And Marvin the Martian finally arrives.

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”…Oh. Well, good luck with that, we’re out of here.”

Black Guy and White Girl run out of the way, with White Girl even doing a forward flip apropos of absolutely nothing. Mr. T stays put, despite clearly having enough time to also get out of the way. But just by pushing against the capsule, he slows it down enough so that it just pins his leg against a raised platform. Sorry, but after the shark punching, that’s just not that impressive.

Mr. T says he’s fine, and even quips, “Always wanted to be part of the space program!” You know what would make these one liners a lot better? Effort!

They can’t move the capsule, so Mr. T orders Black Guy and White Girl to leave him and find Miss Bisby. White Girl stammers, “But, but!” Naturally, this sets up Mr. T’s wannabe heroic line, “But what? Just do it!” As they run off, Mr. T notices another capsule above him is about to fall. Do these people not get the concept of museum security?

When we come back from commercial, the guy from the phone booth walks up and says, “It’s all over, mister!” Anyone want to guess what T’s comeback is? “That’s Mr. T!” In a moment that really cracks me up for some reason, the guy’s reaction is to blithely say, “Whatever.”

He goes on to say that his plan is “going like clockwork,” putting a big pause before the last word, like it’s supposed to be some kind of play on words, though… you’ve got me what the pun is supposed to be.

Mr. T replies, “Everything except your brain!” and reveals that he was just faking being stuck [!], and he rolls the capsule away with one hand [!]. The guy says this is impossible, to which T replies, “Not for me, it isn’t!” And really, what did he expect from a guy that can swing alligators around?

Caption contributed by Ryan

Make your own A-Team joke, I’m too tired

The guy runs off, but Mr. T climbs over an airplane to get in front of him, and grabs him in a bear hug. The guy promptly spills the whole plan, but T just says, “I don’t want why and what! I want where!” And apparently, who and how can just suck it, too.

The man (I’m really not being lazy here, he never does get a name) says Miss Bisby is going to Penn Station in New York, just in time for White Girl and Black Guy to come in with Phelps and Reyes.

They say they had no problems getting them, but Miss Bisby got away in what I can only assume was a manner too expensive for this show to animate. Mr. T tells them about Penn Station, saying they should “make tracks” there, for extra street flavor. Then they leave all three of their prisoners inside an atmosphere re-entry pod [!] as they head out. Hope there’s enough air in there, considering two of these people are innocent pawns.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Three days later their skeletons were discovered, all of which had bite marks.

Oh, and our heroes make more meaningless small talk about how they’ve never thanked Miss Bisby for the things she’s done, since it’s been a while since they tried to remind us of the lesson we’re supposedly learning here.

Fade to a shot of the Statue of Liberty, since Penn Station just isn’t New York-y enough on its own. The camera pans over to the city, which includes a rather distorted representation of the Twin Towers. Oh, shudder.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Just…move on, please.

Miss Bisby puts the magic crown-holding suitcase in a locker, where Prof. Richards promptly picks it up. And she couldn’t just hand it off to him, why?

Caption contributed by Ryan

When did this change from The Manchurian Candidate to Get Shorty?

White Guy, Asian Girl, and T Kid walk in, the latter complaining about how long the trip was, and that they may have missed Bisby. Apparently, the fact that it would take her just as long to get there didn’t cross anyone’s mind. Asian Girl exposits that the file also said Miss Bisby was going to “destroy” herself miles away to avoid any connection to the crime. You know, I do appreciate that they’re being consistent here, in that the two groups of heroes don’t know what the other group knows, but it’s still kind of annoying having to hear everything about this plan twice.

Asian Girl says how worried she is, but White Guy tells her, “Relax, you’re with me,” and “everyone knows I never fail.” Urge to kill… rising…

Dozer spots Prof. Richards, but they quickly lose sight of him. Rather than trying to find him, they stand around and talk for a bit about how they have to find him. This crap would never happen with Mr. T around!

Then they start moving again, only to give up within seconds [?] when they reach a balcony overlooking train tracks. Asian Girl laments that they’ll never see Miss Bisby again, and White Guy does his part for the moral of the show, while still managing to be a jerk about it, talking about how much Miss Bisby meant to him. Asian Girl replies, “You mean, to all of us.” This is so much easier when the characters do my job for me.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Not conspicuous at all.

Richards promptly appears from behind them, making a kamikaze run on a luggage cart. How he pulled that off without anyone seeing him remains a mystery. Instead, we just focus on T Kid becoming indistinguishable from Scrappy Doo as he stares down the cart with a fisticuffs pose, and shouts, “Come on, come on!” Dozer even pulls him backward, just like Scooby, as he keeps shaking his fists.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Is it wrong that I want to be Richards so much here?

The other two kids run out of the way while Richards jumps off, leaving the cart to crash onto the train tracks and spill all its luggage. And naturally, a train horn immediately sounds.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Mild train station inconveniences. Action!!

The two kids jump down to the tracks with a ridiculous “flying arrow” sound effect, and start tossing the luggage off the tracks. Well, Asian Girl does, anyway, while White Guy hops into the stalled cart in what’s clearly an attempt to make it look like he’s doing something, when he’s really just slacking off. He finally starts pitching in right when the rest of the gang arrives, and he immediately stops again.

White Guy says, “We’ve got problems, with a capital P!” And as we all know by now, whenever the show tosses in an especially weird line like that, it’s just to set up a line for Mr. T. In this case: “And that rhymes with T!”

Mr. T pushes the cart off the tracks, and when he’s almost done, some wonky animation actually makes the cart fly the rest of the way. White Guy and Asian Girl are still the only ones clearing the luggage, which really makes me wonder where the hell the others are. They jump off the tracks just in time, and the show actually tries to make us think Mr. T might have been run over by a train. But then he appears on the other side of the tracks and says, “That’s one train I’m glad I missed!” Dammit, T, you’re not James Bond! You don’t have to come up with some cocky statement for every situation, and you’re clearly no good at it, so just stop!

Caption contributed by Ryan

Just couldn’t resist, could you, T?

T helps White Guy and Asian Girl jump back up to the balcony, then he jumps back up by himself, doing a back flip along the way. Eh, I’m just going with it at this point.

Mr. T then exposits that T Kid told them about Prof. Richards. Meanwhile, Dozer chases Richards outside, and White Girl grabs the suitcase and does completely pointless back flips. Hey, if I could do back flips this easily, I’d probably seize every opportunity to do them too, but that’s why I’m not on TV. Black Guy then takes Richards down with a dropkick [!].

Caption contributed by Ryan

And everything was going so well, too.

T Kid, backed up by Mr. T himself (meaning his head is rather disconcertingly at T’s crotch level), demands to know where Bisby is. Richards just says, “Uh, uh…”, briefly raising my hopes that we’re about to see a variation on the “Say ‘what’ again” scene. Instead, at Mr. T’s intimidating fist rubbing, Richards says she’s going to jump off the Statue of Liberty, and they can snap her out of it by saying the word “cancel”.

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Don’t look into his eyes. They will haunt you.

With the information they need, and time running short, the team runs off and… oh wait, first they stand around for a bit congratulating T Kid. Even Mr. T gets wrapped up in it, forcing White Girl to be the voice of reason and remind them all they need to move.

And they’d better get there fast, because Miss Bisby is already at the top of the statue. She’s even been there long enough to attract a crowd, which is pretty strange, because why wouldn’t she just immediately jump?

Caption contributed by Ryan

I imagine the voice actress considered actually doing this for real.

The gang arrives in a boat (where’d they get that? who really cares?). As they run to the statue, Mr. T tells them, “Take a deep breath. We’ve got a lot of stairs to climb!” Again, Miss Bisby is already at the top, and by all rights should have jumped already, so this is really pushing it.

Oh, and for no apparent reason, White Guy, Asian Girl, T Kid, and Dozer don’t go inside but just join the crowd. I should have known White Guy would again find a way to do as little as possible, but why do the others have to encourage him?

After a few shots of the others running up the stairs, they get to the top, where Miss Bisby is still inexplicably just standing there. Now, everyone knows just saying a single word isn’t nearly enough for Mr. T, so he instead shouts, “Cancel! Hear me, Bisby? Cancel!” Upon waking up, Bisby looks down and says the weirdest line in the episode: “Oh, my stars and garters!” She slips and falls anyway, but Mr. T grabs her just in time, saying “That’s the wrong way down, Bisby!” Yes, one last bit of condescension for the road.

Caption contributed by Ryan

“Maybe now you’ll stay in school!”

Later, the team is practicing, and White Guy shows off a poorly animated move where he basically shoots straight toward the floor in a somersault, and magically lands on his feet. He says, “Better than ever!” To which Black Guy earns my eternal gratitude by replying, “Yeah, one of these days you might even be good.”

Caption contributed by Ryan

Things roll right off the tongue in this position, don’t they?

After a brief mention that the other two hypnotized people are also okay, the writers explain what they think is the last remaining plot hole: Black Guy says that Richards had to wait until the Crown Jewels came to the U.S. before triggering them all. Bizarrely, he says this while wildly stretching, despite his voice not being affected at all. And we get nothing on why Richards used such a vague clue to get people to say the trigger word on his not-really-a-crossword puzzle.

Caption contributed by Ryan

And the carnage begins anew.

The team comments uselessly some more about how the plan didn’t work, and then White Girl says it might be time for Miss Bisby to find a new hobby. She even gives her a present: a book on stamp collecting. Way to go, something associated even more with nursing home residents.

Caption contributed by Ryan

”This is my shooting people hat. I shoot people in this hat.”

Everyone praises Bisby some more, and she replies, “I don’t know what to say,” with a rather angry look on her face that suggests she may yet go on that killing spree.

Time for Live Action Mr. T to wrap things up, and he starts off with, “It could’ve been bad. It could’ve been real bad.” Thin ice, T, very thin ice.

He tries one last time to attach some kind of moral to this: “You can’t take people for granted. You can be with somebody every day, and never really know them. So don’t treat people like furniture. Don’t treat a teammate like he’s invisible!” It goes on like this for a while, until he finishes up with, “Listen to a friend: Mr. T!”

So, can anyone tell me how knowing Miss Bisby better would have helped in this situation? Saving her had nothing to do with knowing anything about her, especially because she was being controlled by someone else. And even if they had been nicer to her in the opening scene and helped her with the crossword, it would have just put her under Richards’ control sooner.

Whatever, I’m done trying to figure out what goes on in Mr. T’s head. Next time, I’m definitely picking something a little less abso-ludicrous.

Ryan Lohner

Ryan lives in Sparta, New Jersey, a quaint little burg without much for kids to do except go to the movies. Thus began a lifelong love affair, as even back then he grew to love examining why a film worked, or didn't. He is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and currently studying for a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science. His hobbies include running, piano, and annoying people with that damn lowercase forum user name.

Multi-Part Article: Mister T "The Crossword Mystery"
TV Show: Mister T

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