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Recap / The A Team S 3 E 19 Moving Targets

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The A-Team is hired to test the security for a sheikh somewhere in the Middle East. They overcome his guards with ease, and so are put in charge of the security for his daughter, Princess Salina, and Prince Hassan. The team sets to work only to find themselves being undermined at every turn, and after a raid on the airport the plane that was to transport Salina to her wedding crashes in the wilderness. The team is forced to make their way through rough desert terrain, dodging attacks from terrorists who want to stop the wedding and create destabilization in the region.

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This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Truth: B.A. is allowed to take revenge on the team for forcing him to fly, as mentioned under Cool and Unusual Punishment. As part of his revenge, he calls Murdock out on his eccentricities and specifically mentions his invisible dog, Billy, who Murdock actually hadn't mentioned in the episode. Murdock's response is to ask how B.A. knew Billy was there when Billy is invisible.
  • Arranged Marriage: Princess Salina has been arranged to marry the prince of a neighboring country which has long had bad relations with her own country for a long time, in the hopes of stabilizing the region. In contrast to most depictions of arranged marriages in media, she actually does say that she loves the prince. At least at first. It later turns out that she was The Mole leaking information to the terrorists, because she had been seduced by the rebel leader Kalem, and wanted to be with him instead.
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  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Murdock takes a pistol from an enemy mook and proceeds to hold both the mook's pistol and his own in the same hand, with his finger on both triggers.
  • Broken Heel: The princess gets one of these on the trek out of the wilderness to civilization. Hannibal breaks the heel off her other shoe, so she'll be even.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When B.A. rails about Murdock crashing a plane with him aboard, Murdock tells him he's making himself too important, as Murdock could have crashed the plane without him.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When the rebels attack the airport the team is forced to knock out B.A. (again) so they can get on a plane. This time, however, they're in the middle of a mission, so they can't wait for him to calm down. Hannibal decides that the only way to solve the problem is to let B.A. take his revenge on them after the mission is over, to Face and Murdock's horror. B.A. is creepily cheerful throughout the rest of the episode, and the Team dreads what he'll do to them. Finally, when it's all over, B.A. prepares to punish them. He lines them all up and calls them out on their flaws and why they annoy him. B.A. also reveals that instead of flying back, he's chartered a boat. To pay for it, the rest of the team has to help with the upkeep as well as repaint the whole thing. Hannibal quips that he would have preferred a less unusual punishment.
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  • Distinction Without a Difference: Murdock did NOT crash the plane! He merely landed it without the usual accompaniment of thrust and lift function!
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Murdock's quirk of the week is pretending to be one of these. He goes by the name Pasadena Murdock, gives speeches about glorious adventuring, and insists that the team synchronize their watches even though they'll all be together.
  • Honey Trap: The rebel leader, Kalem, used this to get Princess Salina on his side, by pretending to love her and want to marry her. He very obviously has no actual interest in her, thinks nothing of holding her at knife point to turn the tables on the A-Team, and later admits that he could never love a Spoiled Brat princess. She admits herself that she didn't really love Kalem either, she just wanted to rebel against her father.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: The team's plan for airport security is to get a big fancy limousine, which will be completely empty. The Princess herself will be in the Jeep trailing the limo, dressed as a soldier.
  • Mugged for Disguise: The team beats up one of Kalem's soldiers and steals his uniform in order to sneak onto the villain's ship.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When B.A. comes out of the plane smiling (especially given that he'd been yelling in rage and threatening to beat up Hannibal minutes before), Face instantly becomes wary
  • Qurac: The unnamed Middle Eastern nation of which Salina is princess is basically this... and certainly not southern California.
  • Red Herring: The A-Team are hired to protect a sheikh's daughter on her way to her wedding, and the show makes a point of making it seem like the sheikh's head of security Jabar is a double agent, leaking security info to the rebels who want to kidnap the princess, since he has a motive for disliking the A-Team (they embarrassed him and his guardsmen during their "audition" for the sheikh) and spends the first part of the episode constantly complaining about the changes the team has made to his security measures. It turns out the inside "man" was Princess Salina herself, since she'd been seduced by the rebel leader, Kalem.
  • Retractable Weapon: The rebel leader Kalem keeps an Assassin's Creed style hidden blade in his sleeve.
  • Shout-Out: Murdock insists that B.A. won't punish him harshly for forcing him to fly, because of their great relationship, name-dropping the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and Robin and Batman. Face insists their relationship is more like Pinocchio and the Whale instead. Murdock admits he's probably right.
  • Spoiled Brat: Princess Salina. She talks down to pretty much everyone other than her father and Face. (And that's just because she has a crush on Face.) She insults her servants, the soldiers, and her father's new wife. She complains about the A-Team's measures to keep her safe. Worst of all, she was willing to break her Arranged Marriage and elope with a terrorist leader instead, thereby throwing the entire region into turmoil... and admits that it wasn't even about love, she just wanted to rebel against her father.
  • Would Rather Suffer:
    • When B.A. wakes up enraged about being put on a plane, Face says that he would rather sit near a king cobra without clothes on than let him out of his restraints.
    • At the end, B.A. announces that he booked them passage on a freighter for the return trip and volunteered the other three to pay for it by helping around the ship (including repainting the whole thing). Hannibal wryly comments that he would have preferred it if B.A. had made him eat one of his cigars.
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