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Recap / The A Team S 1 E 13 The Beast From The Belly Of A Boeing

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The team is hired by an airline to deal with a hostage situation aboard one of their planes. However, things go wrong one after another as B.A. goes catatonic when the plane unexpectedly takes off and Murdock is blinded by a gun flash in the face. Can the A-Team defeat the hijackers, and can Hannibal land a plane for the first time?

This episode contains the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Andrew Robinson hijacking a vehicle full of people for ransom.
  • All Up to You: As the only person besides the blinded Murdock who has any flying experience (even if it was only holding the stick for a few minutes during a supervised flight), Hannibal has to bring the plane down.
  • Always Know a Pilot: In spite of his blindness, Murdock's skill as a pilot proves invaluable. Even not being able to see, he can tell what's going on by listening and feeling the tilt of the plane, and manages to help Hannibal land the aircraft without doing more than damaging one of the airport buildings.
  • Angst Coma: When B.A., who hates flying, is trapped on the plane as it takes off, he goes catatonic for several minutes.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Hannibal and Face receive some money for a hostage situation and Face comments that it sure would be tempting to just take the money and run. Hannibal talks him down, but is clearly tempted himself.
  • Continuous Decompression: How Jackson meets his doom.
  • Crash Course Landing: The team takes over a plane from the bad guys, only to have Murdock blinded. They call the control tower for help. However, the control tower planned to give the team a false heading and have them crash-land in the ocean (due to the extreme unlikeliness that non-pilot Hannibal could pull off such a delicate landing). Amy, who was stationed at the control tower, pulls a security guard's gun and radios the team to tell them about it. The control tower and Murdock are able to guide Hannibal to landing the plane.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Die Hard on a plane, with several of the regular twists for it, including the heroes becoming impromptu pilots.
  • Driven to Suicide: When B.A. realizes the plane is taking off, he tries to jump out, despite the fact that it's already too high above the ground. Murdock, restraining him, asks if he wants to get himself killed; B.A. responds that he does if the only other option is being on the plane.
  • Episode on a Plane: The A-Team has to stop a group of six hijackers from holding a plane ransom and dumping it in the ocean. B. A. gets supposed to be on the ground, but he accidentally ends up on the plane and went into temporary paralysis. Murdock's eyes get wounded when a gun discharges in his face (and shoots a hole in the plane), so Hannibal has to land the plane at LAX while Murdock talks him through the whole thing with his eyes closed, proving that Murdock can fly any kind of aircraft.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: After talking and snapping his fingers in B.A.'s face fails to get a response, Murdock slaps him several times. This ultimately works; B.A. catches his hand on the last slap and warns him not to do it again.
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • The hijacked plane starts out as a Boeing 747. When they land to refuel and exchange passengers, it becomes a Lockheed TriStar. It changes back to a 747 in subsequent shots.
    • The lower level galley used by Murdock to gain access can only be found on either a DC-10 or Lockheed TriStar and not a Boeing 747.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Hannibal's plan to re-capture the hijacked plane consists of sneaking on board and then simply "overpowering" the hijackers. As for how...
    Hannibal: We give them the five million dollars and ourselves as hostages. Then we overpower them and, uh, Murdock flies us home.
    Face: Ah, we just "overpower" them.
    Hannibal: Right. We assume an offensive posture. Military history has taught us that conflict is merely the siezing of space from one's aggressor. They've got the space up there. We've got the offensive posture down here.
    Face: So the two of us assume an offensive posture against six guys with guns in an airplane at 35,000 feet over the ocean.
    Hannibal: Well, it's the application of the theory that's interesting.
  • Nobody Can Die: A notable aversion. This episode marks one of the rare occasions a villain dies in the show, when the terrorists' pilot fires his gun and gets blown out of the plane by explosive decompression.
  • Shout-Out: Murdock does impressions of Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, James Cagney in Mister Roberts, Marlon Brando and Richard Burton. He also quotes a line from The Caine Mutiny when telling the team how he's been found sane. "Caine has been kicked out of the harbor!"
  • Stock Footage: As the team lands the plane, there's a scene where it crashes through the airport window. The scene is actually from Airplane!
  • Temporary Blindness: While reclaiming a hijacked plane from a group of terrorists, one of the terrorists fires his gun in front of Murdock's face, giving him a powder burn rendering him unable to open his eyes. After the fight, Murdock is the only person capable of piloting still on the plane, and ends up having to tell Hannibal how to land the plane. He lands successfully, albeit through the wall of the air port, but it's acknowledged that it was ridiculous nobody got hurt.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: The United People's Resistance consist of Americans, hijacking an airliner with the aim to extort money.