“Project Blue Book – Episode Five – Foo Fighters” (2019)
Created by: David O’Leary
Featuring: Aidan Gillen, Laura Mennell, Michael Harney, Ksenia Solo, Michael Malarkey
Crop Circle: “An area of standing crops which has been flattened in the form of a circle or more complex pattern. No general cause of crop circles has been identified although various natural and unorthodox explanations have been put forward; many are known to have been hoaxes.”
This new series revolves around secret U.S. Air Force investigations into supposed UFO encounters and unexplained phenomenon, undertaken by astrophysicist, and eventual ufologist, Josef Allen Hynek in the 1950s and 1960s.
This week’s episode, the fourth, follows the pattern of the previous three installments, which is rather enjoyable, it follows yet another true event but it does exaggerate even more than the others how the two investigators were treated as well as their own encounter with a possible UFO. The episode seems to be realistic however it takes a sharp turn when after what must be a fictional account of an interaction with a possible UFO our main characters attempt to find answers on a military base that is run by an ex-Nazi scientist that has been taken by the Americans after WWII to seemingly work on the nascent space program, under Operation Paperclip.
The term foo fighter was used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena seen in the skies over both the European and Pacific theaters of operations.
Though “foo fighter” initially described a type of UFO reported and named by the U.S. 415th Night Fighter Squadron, the term was also commonly used to mean any UFO sighting from that period. Formally reported from November 1944 onwards, witnesses often assumed that the foo fighters were secret weapons employed by the enemy.
The Robertson Panel explored possible explanations, for instance that they were electrostatic phenomena similar to St. Elmo’s fire, electromagnetic phenomena, or simply reflections of light from ice crystals.
As we move through the first season it is starting to become apparent what kind of show this is turning into, that is a Cold War version of the “X-Files” (1993-present) which as I have stated in the past is not a completely bad or negative thing to be, especially in this day and age of ‘fake news’. What I mean by that is that “Project Blue Book” (2019) is taking real events or at least real reports of reported events that really have not been substantiated, then making narrative leaps in terms of showing them onscreen as well as creating new stories about how they fit into a wider narrative, albeit something of a conspiracy revolving around new technology as well as paranoia. For some people who have watched the “X-Files” some of the stories as well as the narrative flourishes may seem all to familiar but I am actually enjoying it as it is similar to viewing something I enjoyed from a new angle, but I can understood others who may think this is a little bit of a ripoff.
This episode is a continuation of what was revealed to Hynek in an abandoned show ground as well as the revelation that there is a group of ex-pilots who may be receiving some kind of signals from UFO’s after their own encounters with the Foo Fighters from the above, hence the name of this episode. We are now halfway through the season so the narrative is starting to take shape especially with bits and pieces of information being revealed to the main character. This is also the first episode where the A and B stories seem to cross over with the Susie and Captain Clarke meeting for a kind of debrief which is not written well especially since as the audience we know elements of her life that others have no clue about which is a reflection of lazy writing as in a perfect world we should not know what she is doing either but that revelation in may mind was made far too soon in the first season.
Of course we still have the dual narrative of the possible Russian spy befriending Hynek’s wife which has now been folded into an alien conspiracy plot that links back to episode one, whether or not this ever happened is unknown to me, but I would say not as it adds too much color to the series. That is not a bad thing but it does nicely tie in the entire family to a possible over arching alien conspiracy which is right out of Chris Carters playbook. The other idea that we are seeing even more of is the Cold War plot linking to the ‘Red Under the Bed’ as well as the nuclear war tensions that existed. This is becoming more of a plot device as I have said above but it is becoming a little tiring as the show really has to be about one thing before it starts to get going as the spy angle can take from the main story which needs to be established first.
Episode Five – Foo Fighters
Directed by: Norma Bailey
Written by: David O’Leary & Emily Brochin
A series of strange clues lead Hynek and Quinn to a secret group who claim to have witnessed strange lights during combat, and a way to contact them.