We open on a small-town fire truck, sirens blaring as it hurtles along a country road. Its path is blocked by a group of men parking their car in the way. The fire crew are used to this by now — a rival firm wants the town’s contract and are trying to bully their way to it.

The gang, led by the Principle from The Breakfast Club, are particularly scornful of the Chief because she’s a woman — which gets them giggling. To add to their threats, the men smash a windscreen and start a fight.

The Chief heads to LA, where she’s by an unseen Mr Lee and a fisherman to a waxwork museum where she hears Hannibal’s voice. As they’re talking, a Colonel Briggs (played by Charles Napier) arrives to arrest the team — having taken over from Decker. He unmasks wax figures one by one, even beheading one in a guillotine but can’t find the fugitives.

When he leaves, the headless body rises to reveal Hannibal. The Chief explains her case, noting that her rival Chief Kelsey offered twice what the contract was worth to buy her out. There’s no time to dwell on this suspect behaviour though as Briggs charges back in, forcing the team to make a swift exit in the van.

Back at the fire station, the crew have had enough and with the A-Team seemingly on the run all but one quits to protect themselves. Shortly after, the team arrive — despite Briggs having met the Chief and so likely knowing their next move.

There’s hardly time to test the pole though before the first call comes in and the team suit up, with BA driving the fire truck. Of course, it’s another setup with Kelsey and men waiting for them. Hannibal makes light work of the two chasing cars, taking them both out with single shots to their tyres which causes one to dramatically flip over.

Arriving at the blaze, the team help two people out of the burning building but there’s a child stuck on the first floor. BA climbs the ladder to rescue him, bringing the boy to safety and pointing out that he’d have died if Kelsey had stopped them.

As has been the case lately, it turns out that Kelsey isn’t the big bad. He’s working for a man named Mr Rogan who demands that he gets the fire contract in the next few days. While he thinks that over, Face and Murdock arrive as fire inspectors — telling Kelsey that they don’t want the embarrassment of his fire station burning down! Scamming Kelsey outside, they plant an electronic device in his drawer.

Later, at the station, the Chief flirts with Hannibal and asks if he’s married. Before she learns much, there’s another call but Hannibal stops her and her loyal crewman from going. “We’re not fighting a fire, we’re fighting a war” declares the Colonel before the team head out.

This time, Kelsey surround and outguns the team. They have an ace in their pack, however, as the device in Kelsey’s desk was an explosive which Face activates to set his station alight. Radioing for confirmation, the goons scuttle back to base to help put the flames out.

The nifty device was also a bug (until it caught fire) and the team listen to a recording of Kelsey talking about Mr Rogan and the blueprints for the town courthouse. We learn that Rogan is a mobster about to stand trial and the team figure that Kelsey must be trying to break him out.

Thanks to the team’s recent efforts, the Chief’s old crew come back to work — impressing the Chief who flirts with Hannibal some more.

With the station fully staffed, Hannibal and BA disguise themselves as safe delivery men and drop off a new safe at Rogan’s lawyer’s office while he’s out. It’s comically too large to replace the current safe, so the two head off to get another model. As the office door closes, Face pops out of the crate to break into the safe.

There’s a nasty surprise waiting for the team at the station in the shape of Colonel Briggs and his team. As ever, he’s not aware of Murdock, who slides down the pole and starts a rumble that allows BA and Hannibal to escape with him in the fire truck.

Face has no better luck, as Kelsey arrives at the lawyer’s office and pulls a gun on him. We learn that Kelsey plans to start an electrical fire at the courthouse, respond first to the fire and walk Rogan out in a firefighter’s uniform to help him leave the country.

Thankfully, BA smashes into the office on the fire truck’s ladder and knocks the one guard out to free Face. Realising that the Chief is in danger if she responses to the courthouse fire, the team drive over at full speed.

The team arrive too late to stop the escape, but charge after Kelsey’s fire truck in their own. Pulling up alongside them, Hannibal aims the water cannon at the gang to knock a few of them from the truck. Murdock and Face leap between the moving trucks to take another two men out, but Murdock is attacked and finds himself hanging from the ladder. Hannibal jumps across to take out the last attacker and save the Captain. There’s just time to make a getaway and leave Kelsey, Rogan and the whole gang behind for Briggs.

Later, as the team say goodbye to the fire crew, Hannibal and the Chief have a good smooch to cap off a fine plan and a fun episode.

Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.

Does Hannibal wear a disguise?

Yes — he’s a safe deliveryman. It’s not very inventive but does the trick. We also hear about Mr Lee and the fisherman on the pier. He also dresses as a waxwork but I’m counting that as a hiding place as he doesn’t interact with anyone.

Does BA get on a plane?

No — but he gets to drive a big red fire truck.

Should someone be dead?

Yes. The car flip in the early chase is a brutal one.

Fire is a fun episode of The A-Team, bringing them back to the familiar setting of a small town but trying out a new situation as they become firefighters. Even with the now quite regular appearance of a second bad guy, this never feels like the formula is getting stale.

Using the fire trucks and equipment gives the team new things to do and a fresh army face in Napier is a decent replacement for Decker through Charles Napier’s presence alone. The stunts are the standout moments in the episode, with the final chase a real highlight. Stunt performers fall from speeding fire trucks to the ground and two manage to jump from one truck to the next — pretty seamlessly for a show that once replaced Face with a mannequin for a motorbike jump.

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Originally published at https://www.lukemcgrath.co.uk on October 26, 2020.

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