Television/Streaming review: “Project Blue Book – Episode Nine – Abduction” (2019)

“Project Blue Book – Episode Nine – Abduction”


Ten Episodes

Created by: David O’Leary

Featuring: Aidan Gillen, Laura Mennell, Michael Harney, Ksenia Solo, Michael Malarkey

Alien Abduction: “The alleged abduction of a person by an extraterrestrial being.”

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 ninth, breaks the pattern of the previous installments, which is a nice change, in fact this feels like a bottle episode. It does take a real case from the files but it does exaggerate, like many of the previous cases how the two investigators approach the ‘victims’, as well as the event itself which is almost entirely fictional in its setting as well as its outcome . The episode, as with the previous, seems to be realistic in how it portrays all the happenings, however it takes a sharp turn when dealing with what happened as well as the possible importance to UFOlogy that this case would ultimately have.

“Abduction” has been inspired by the renowned Barney and Betty Hill abduction case which had captivated the public as the couple opened up about their encounter. Although Betty and Barney’s story isn’t the first reported case about alien abduction, their story was certainly publicized to such an extent that it began to shape how discussions about alien encounters and abductions are done, to this day.

As we move further through this first season (now renewed for a second) 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 Cold War 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 particular case, based on the Hills’ story play’s a large part in the overall narrative as well as the future of “Project Blue Book”. This story comes at a very interesting point on the show, when Hynek and Quinn are almost at odds with each other ever since Quinn discovered the strange object Hynek had been hiding from him for so long. This case might be crucial for their partnership, as Quinn is on the verge of losing his head over the Air Force’s incapability to rely on the truth and mask facts with fiction.

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, we even see a Saturday alarm test where people are told to seek shelter.

An aspect of this episode as well as something it had in common with earlier episodes is the relationship between Susie and Mimi, we still are unaware of the actual objective of Susie as this week she takes action that throws her entire purpose into doubt. It is a surprising twist in a plot that is definitely subordinate to the main Blue Book plot but does peak to power in relationships that existed then especially between men, women and the countries they originate from.

As this is the penultimate episode there are certain points that need to be hit, so of course the man in black turns up to light the way for Hynek to take him on a trip that will be continued in the final episode of the season.

Episode Nine – Abduction

Directed by: Alex Graves

Written by: Sean Jablonski

A man, who claims he was abducted by aliens, and his wife arrive at the headquarters and hold Hynek and Quinn hostage until they learn the truth.

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