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Recap / The A Team S 2 E 23 Curtain Call

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It's another normal day for the A-Team, another innocent saved, another villain vanquished...until the vengeful villain takes a shot at Hannibal and Murdock jumps in front of it. Suddenly the team has to deal with a medical emergency, with Murdock losing blood and then developing an infection and a fever. The implacable Colonel Decker, determined to use this liability to catch the team, makes matters even worse.

This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Brick Joke: Face scams a cabin for the team to hole up in by posing as a hunter, "Bear Claw" Jones, and telling the cabin's inhabitants that he's after a bear, Old Luke, and the ten thousand dollar reward for his hide (which, of course, they go after, leaving the cabin empty). Later, after the army bursts into the cabin, they catch the two accountants who live there. One of them says the soldiers are probably after Old Luke.
  • Clip Show: The episode has several of the main characters remember scenes from previous episodes.
  • Continuity Nod: The team drops a lot of references to other episodes; for instance, B.A. mentions how Murdock once gave him a transfusion.
  • Friendship Moment: Most of the episode is a long string of moments that prove how much the members of the team care about each other, and mostly how Face, Hannibal, and B.A. care about Murdock.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: It's uncertain whether Hannibal was planning on faking out Decker and getting away with Murdock without being arrested from the beginning. However, when he sees an opportunity, he begins formulating another plan, which leaves Decker (as usual) frustrated and down several tires.
  • In the Back: In the opening, the team turns around and begins to walk away from the villain. Unfortunately, the villain takes the opportunity as a last chance to kill Hannibal and attempts to shoot him, kicking off the rest of the episode.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Murdock's condition hampers the team's efforts to get away from Decker, as they can't move fast over the country with an injured man. Murdock, aware of this, begs Hannibal to leave him and get the rest of the team to safety. Hannibal, of course, refuses: "We go out together, or we don't go out at all."
  • Lesser of Two Evils: As Murdock's condition worsens and Face and Tawnia still haven't returned with medical supplies, Hannibal tells B.A. that he's going out to look for them, and if he can't find them, he'll find Decker instead and bring him back. The sheer fact that Hannibal thinks bringing the team's archnemesis directly to their hiding spot is the better option (and that B.A. doesn't argue) is a big sign of how bad the situation has become.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Averted. When Tawnia protests Face's plan to steal a first aid kit right out from under Decker's nose, Face retorts that Murdock will die without it.
    • Later in the episode, Hannibal asks Decker if he and the other members of the team can ride with their injured member in case he doesn't make it.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Played with. Murdock is definitely not all right after being shot in the shoulder, despite his quip that it's "only a puncture in the old fuel tank." He quickly loses a lot of blood and then becomes delirious with fever as the wound becomes infected, in spite of the others' attempts at first aid. However, he survives and returns to normal quickly after his teammates manage to get him some genuine medical treatment.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite having no remorse about taking advantage of the team's weakness in trying to save their injured member, Decker does get a moment toward the end when he lets them ride with said injured member after capturing them in case he dies before they can get medical attention.
  • Taking the Bullet: Howlin' Mad Murdock jumps in front of a mook trying to shoot Hannibal.
  • Undying Loyalty: The other members' loyalty to the dying Murdock makes up a lot of the episode's plot. Hannibal flatly refuses his plea for the rest of them to ditch him and get themselves out (and B.A. agrees with him), and Face makes it quite clear that he is willing to risk capture and being sent to prison in order to get the proper medical supplies to save Murdock's life.
  • Virtue Is Weakness:
    • Col. Decker talks about how having one man wounded will make the A-Team's ability crumble as they try to save their injured member. He's right that it hampers them, but it doesn't stop them. Given that the "virtue" in question is loyalty to their injured friend, it overlaps with a platonic version of Love Is a Weakness.
      Colonel Decker: [The A-Team] think as one, feel as one, and act as one. But with a wounded man in their midst, they cease to be that. The good of the unit becomes the good of an individual. And that will be their undoing.
    • It occurs again when Hannibal surrenders to him because Murdock is too weak to be moved. He remarks that Hannibal should have tried to shoot his way out, as he himself wasn't hurt.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out!: Murdock is shot and Hannibal takes the bullet out with a knife. Subverted, as Hannibal is not concerned about the bullet itself (he notes that bullets often sterilize themselves in the barrel) but about the pieces of clothes that it took with it. However, it is still portrayed as a dangerous operation.