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Recap / The A Team S 4 E 12 Uncle Buckle Up

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Hannibal, concerned that his career in monster movies is coming to an end, tries to branch out into television programming when the Uncle Buckle-Up show holds auditions for a new actor for Buckle-Up's sidekick, Ruff the Bear. However, all is not well behind the scenes. For reasons unknown, a group of men are trying to kill the lead actor. Now it's up to the team to protect Buckle-up and find out the dark secret behind recent developments off-screen.


This episode includes an example of the following tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: Jorge, the original Ruff the Bear. He drinks so much that it gets him in trouble with his uncle, who runs the show and could fire him.
  • Contractual Purity: Sydney is angry with his nephew Jorge for his behavior partially because it would mess up the squeaky-clean image of the show for the kid fans if they saw the actors doing such things.
  • Description Cut: When Nick Gretsch is chewing out his men over their second unsuccessful attempt to kill Sydney and mentions that they left a man with the enemy, his underling assures him that Cobb can be trusted not to talk. Cut to Cobb singing like a canary as B.A. dangles him over the lion enclosure at the zoo.
  • Destination Defenestration: At one point, Gretsch gets fed up with the man supposed to be doing in Sydney and forces him up against a window, threatening to throw him out.
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  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: The team finds bags of a white powder while investigating the warehouse. Hannibal tastes a bit and promptly identifies it as heroin.
  • I Owe You My Life: Although Hannibal initially gets sent away due to taking the part too seriously, he ultimately gets the role after the team saves Sydney from a murder attempt.
  • I Have Your Daughter: Gretsch has Sydney's daughter (who also happens to be his PR manager) kidnapped and held hostage to force him to do an endorsement of the faulty Uncle Buckle-Up merchandise.
  • Nepotism: At the end of the episode, Jorge, newly released from the hospital, interrupts rehearsal and Sydney apologetically tells Hannibal that while he's grateful for what he and the team did, nepotism is a part of the business. However, Hannibal does get to play the role for one show.
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  • Opinion Flip Flop: Face is unenthusiastic about Hannibal going after the part of Ruff the Bear, saying he'll look silly. When Murdock says that characters like Ruff can command $25,000 for a single appearance, Face changes his mind.
  • Shout-Out: Hannibal does the Cowardly Lion's roar during his audition.
  • Viewers Are Morons: The "children don't notice things" variant comes up during Hannibal's audition. When the show people ask Hannibal to give a mighty roar to prove he can play Ruff, Hannibal answers that he went to the zoo for research and real bears don't do that. The staff says it doesn't matter because kids won't feel bothered about it, and Hannibal tells them that they shouldn't underestimate their young viewers.