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Recap / The A Team S 1 E 4 Pros And Cons

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While hanging out with a young friend of his, B.A. finds an old friend, Jase Tataro (the boy's brother), who is in hiding from the prison from which he escaped. In front of B.A. and the horrified brother, he is caught and dragged away. Shortly thereafter, B.A. pulls Hannibal away from a job interview, insisting that the team take the job and rescue the boy's brother from prison. The group arrives in the county and soon is embroiled in the seedy underbelly of the corrupt prison, which its warden runs as a training ground for bloody gladiatorial games.


The episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: The hairstyle adapted by Hannibal for his disguise in the episode, is slightly reminiscent of George Peppard's character in Banacek.
  • Always Camp: Hannibal takes advantage of this stereotype while playing a hairdresser in the prison.
  • Bait-and-Switch Accusation: Face is impersonating a visiting doctor/author Dr. Pepper (no relation) at a prison. The prison nurse announces that she knows he's not the genuine article, and instead of giving everything away, he stalls for time long enough to find out how she knows (different picture on the book jacket) and provide a reasonable explanation (printing error his publisher had sworn had been recalled).
  • Balloonacy: Part of the team once escaped from prison in hot air balloons made from garbage bags, hair dryers and hairdresser's chairs. It was Murdock's idea, of course.
    Hannibal: Murdock, how'd I let you talk me into this?
    Murdock [already floating away]: I don't know—I have intermittent memory loss. *floats away cackling*
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  • Bookends: Near the beginning of the episode, Hannibal is sitting across from a man working on Sinbad Goes to Mars, acting as his own agent and trying to finagle a part. At the end of the episode, he's back to working on the guy when the bulletin comes on the air about the exploits of the episode.
  • The Boxing Episode: Hannibal, B.A. and Murdock get themselves arrested so they can look into the illegal boxing racket (the scene where they crashed a car through a police station to get arrested made it to the opening credits), with B.A. being selected as a fighter. To prevent them from being separated, B.A. pretends to be a deaf-mute, with Hannibal acting as his interpreter.
  • Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': The team are trying to get arrested, but the local law enforcement fear that arresting tourists will bring in the FBI to investigate them. The team commit progressively worse and worse violations to try and get arrested, culminating in them crashing their car through the sheriff's office window.
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  • Car Meets House: Hannibal, BA, and Murdock drive a car into a police station as part of a plan to get themselves arrested.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Murdock exasperates the prison staff by faking a fixation and demanding trash bags every few hours...which turns out to be his way of getting the trash bags he needs for improvised hot-air balloons.
  • Creator Cameo: The photograph of "the real Dr. Dwight Pepper" is of series creator Stephen J. Cannell.
  • Hellhole Prison: The warden of the prison encourages fighting in order to scout out candidates for the fight program. Those that do good enough are separated, trained, and forced to fight to the death. Even for prisoners who can't fight it doesn't seem to be a great place. It's not a very safe prison (thanks to the aforementioned "encouraged fighting") plus the warden apparently thinks letting the prisoners get their hair cut is "coddling."
  • He Will Come for Me: B.A. tries to reassure Jase after they're dragged off to fight each other to the death, saying that the rest of the team will come for them and they just have to survive long enough for the others to find them. Jase doesn't believe they're getting out of this, but sure enough, the rest of the team arrives to rescue the two of them and put a stop to the warden's schemes.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When the prison staff takes B.A. away for one of the death matches, one of the guards comments mockingly on Hannibal's expression, questioning why he looks like that. Hannibal responds that he hates violence...right before smacking down the guy and knocking him out.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: The story takes place in Florida, but there are mountains in the background, which are found in California but not in Florida.
  • Papa Wolf: At the beginning, before he knows what's going on, B.A. mentions Jase's imprisonment and warns him that if he wants to mess up his own life, that's his business, but he'd better not mess up his little brother's.
  • Prison Episode: The plot has the team getting themselves sent to prison so that they can rescue an old friend of B.A.'s, who has been captured and taken back by the corrupt warden.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: BA wears a pink vest as part of his cover story.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Warden Beale forces prisoners to duke it out with the loser ending up dead and the winner on the run for his life while prison guards hunt him down.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: When Face is given his assignment as "Dr. Pepper", he can't believe he's supposed to impersonate a guy with the same name as a soft drink.