After the exceptional penultimate episode of Project Blue Book’s first season, I was expecting great things from this finale. Indeed, it makes a very strong start with Aidan Gillen’s Professor Hynek racing against time to get to the Washington Monument.
The setting itself harks back to 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still; the pace of this initial few minutes is relentless and promises much.
The inspiration for this “Invasion of Washington” is a real life event from 1952 in which many independent pilots and radar operators, both civilian and military reported UFOs over the nation’s capital. In reality, this all happened in the dead of night but the show moves the action to broad daylight in an attempt to make things more shocking.
As the story goes, the radar blips returned a week later and aircraft were dispatched to intercept. Mostly, the blips disappeared before the air force could engage them, but one pilot did end up chasing down some bright lights less than 1000ft from the ground, but they moved too quickly for him to get close.
While Hynek is in the capital, his wife discovers surveillance at home and enlists the person responsible (her Russian agent friend) to figure things out. Joel is ‘at a friend’s’ again. It’s strange that, in a story about UFOs and alien invasion, the most outlandish part of the story is just how much time the boy spends away from home. It makes me wonder why they included his character if he was to be so often shipped somewhere else to allow his mother to have an adult plotline.
Back in Washington, President Truman, played by the great Bob Gunton (am I being obtuse?) wants answers. Hynek and Quinn meet up with their ‘deep throat’ contact who gives them some startling evidence; evidence that allows them to get the Secretary of Defence on their side. Their optimism is short-lived, however, as their new ally is dispatched in short order.
Gillen does a great job in this episode. I especially like the way his frustration with the brass is less and less veiled as things move on. He has a great line to the generals when they question his ability to follow orders –
“I apologise, General, I hadn’t realised we were at war, or that you were giving orders; in either case, I’m not a soldier, so…” – Brilliantly delivered.
So, season 1 closes out with a few intriguing cliffhangers which I won’t elaborate on. Suffice to say, the show looks to be taking a few steps further away from the real life cases and into more fantastical territory. Either way, I have a good feeling for next year. Season 1 closed out in a strong way and the relationship which has been built up between Quinn and Hynek is in a good place. I can’t say there has been the greatest consistency in this throughout the run, but they have a much more believable dynamic now which gives me hope. In a time when good shows get cancelled without much sense (The Punisher, for example), it would be good to see something like this have time to find its feet.
Thanks for reading. You can check out the rest of my thoughts about Project Blue Book by clicking the links below.