Episode 8 – War Games
This week’s episode of Blue Book is a reworking of the true story of a group of GIs in Korea who were set upon by a UFO while on patrol north of Seoul. They were hit with a mysterious ray and afterwards developed dysentery and other symptoms suggestive of radiation poisoning.
At the time, it was thought to be Russian or Chinese aircraft but similar Soviet reports of UFOs seem to discredit this theory. PFC Francis Wall, the man at the centre of the report, claimed to have hit the alien craft with bullets from his rifle and that they made a metallic ding sound on impact. Rather than move the action overseas, the story is transplanted to a group of soldiers on manoeuvres.
While Hynek and Quinn are off investigating, Mimi is at home channelling Jon Snow in her ability to keep secrets, telling her killer Russian spy / best friend all about the mysterious alien tech that Allen had brought into the family home.
This seems to be a ‘monster of the week’ episode but it does introduce a few important elements, even if some of them are slightly contradictory. Firstly, there is the fact that the Generals are not as omniscient as we might have thought – a whole tier of deep state stuff is operating above them that accounts for the testing of a chemical weapon going on in the episode outside their knowledge. At the same time, there is the ‘secret weapon’ that they bring along to the site – a very jittery looking Corporal Wells who is able to communicate with extra-terrestrials. The same episode makes them seem like they have all the answers and yet, at the same time, renders them clueless to what is actually going on. Wells’ introduction and his actions throughout the episode were slightly underwhelming – I would have liked to have seen something more awe-inspiring but maybe that is yet to come.
Hynek and Quinn have some nice exchanges as the story moves along. My favourite is probably Quinn’s discovery that Hynek DID actually lie to him. There’s a very ‘Sam and Dean Winchester’ vibe to their interactions over the following few minutes was quite fun to watch.
There are some nice effects throughout the episode, including the bizarre lights in the sky, smashing light bulbs and another ominous scene with birds falling from the sky.
The real life story this is based on is a particularly sad one. Francis Wall retired at the age of 42 and never fully recovered from his experiences during the war. He was plagued with PTSD and, although his story never changed, no-one else from his unit ever came forward to corroborate it.
So, I’m not sure what this episode added to things except for showing us that there are forces at work beyond what the Generals know. Beyond Hynek’s ‘Deep Throat’ contact, Allen’s disintegrating marriage and the Russian agents, there doesn’t really seem to be a strong arc to this story that you can follow through. Hopefully, with a second season, this will feel more like a continuing narrative and less like pieces.
Thanks for reading,
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