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Recap / The A Team S 2 E 5 When You Comin Back Range Rider Part I

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A Native American, Daniel Running Bear, enlists the A-Team to help against a cattle rancher who is illegally selling mustangs to a dog food company. Unfortunately, they've got double trouble in the form of a new military nemesis — Colonel Decker, a more ruthless officer who has replaced Lynch as the army's adversary for the team.

This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • 30-Second Blackout: B.A. messes with the electricity in the V.A. hospital so Face can sneak Murdock out a window without setting off the alarm. The whole thing is only supposed to last ten minutes, and what we see lasts even less time than that. Then the lights come back on and everything is normal.
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  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: One would be forgiven for assuming that The Range Rider is nothing more than a Bland Name version of The Lone Ranger created by the show to facilitate Writing Around Trademarks. It isn't. Yes, The Range Rider was a real show back in the 1950's. It starred Jock Mahoney as the title character.
  • Call-Back: Daniel couldn't get the money he needed to hire the A-Team, which he neglects to tell them about until after he's already met with them, saying that he had to meet them in person so he could get them to understand how important his job is. Hannibal says it's okay because it's happened to them before, and asks Amy if she remembers, calling back to how she also stiffed the team in the pilot episode.
  • Cowboy Episode: The whole episode is partially played out like a Western, with the team dressing up like cowboys, using smaller guns, and stopping Bus' train. Murdock, as the Range Rider, especially plays it up, much to B.A.'s annoyance.
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  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Bus may be mean as far as the heroes are concerned, but he is quite fond of his niece, and doesn't want her to find out about his dirty business with the mustangs.
  • General Ripper: Decker is chosen to take on the A-Team because of his willingness to use unscrupulous tactics to secure victory.
    B.A.: Yeah, Hannibal and this guy mixed it up once in the Doom Club.
    [...]
    Amy: What, he didn't like the way you sugared his coffee?
    Hannibal: No, I didn't like the way he blew up Cong hospitals like it was his favorite sport.
  • Le Film Artistique: Hannibal gets Face at a fancy Hollywood gala he's throwing for a film just like this. According to Face, he bought a cheap student film for $10,000, dubbed it into German, then subtitled it back into English with the name Wine For Breakfast claiming its original name didn't translate properly. Apparently this scam worked, well enough to get him a huge party and tons of money, both of which Hannibal drags him away from.
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  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Murdock, of course, can't resist sticking his ear to the train track to pretend he's listening to whether Bus' train is coming.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Murdock sings a bit of the Mr. Ed theme song.
    • The entire episode is one big shout-out to obscure 1950's western series The Range Rider. Murdock is shown watching part of an episode when Face and B.A. spring him from the V.A. hospital.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Murdock talks to his horse and claims he talks back. Murdock's statement on what the horse said about the train does seem to be right, but it's uncertain as to whether the horse can communicate or Murdock was just playing around.
  • Take That!: Hannibal collects Face from a Hollywood party at the start of the episode. Face's comments to him come across as a swipe at Hollywood, at producers, and at arthouse films.
    Face: In Hollywood, when you get someone else to pay the freight, you're not scamming. You're producing!
  • What a Drag: A downplayed version; the villains lasso Daniel and drag him behind their truck in punishment for him scaring off the horses they're trying to catch. He isn't killed, but his arm is broken and he's bruised.
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