This Project Blue Book review contains spoilers.
Project Blue Book Episode 6
The latest episode of Project Blue Book returns to the possibility that some UFOs may be alien spacecraft, although it seems the U.S. Air Force is convinced its the Russians. Either way, Hynek decides to team up with the person he trusts the most to figure it out, his wife, Mimi.
This episode starts with military personnel setting up a fake neighborhood setting in the Nevada desert. It is an area used for testing nuclear bombs. Suddenly, an alarm blasts and a voice begins a countdown for launch. This strikes terror into the hearts of the men, and they scramble to get out of there. Luckily, when the clock hits zero nothing happens. In the control room, the technicians don’t know why the launch sequence began. As the men at the test site get on their knees and pray, strange green lights are seen zipping around the sky. We are left believing these “green fireballs” must have had something to do with the mishap.
Back home, Hynek is working hard on a camera system that will track motion in the sky so he can prove the green fireballs are meteorites. Fuller’s death still frazzles him. Mimi is concerned about him working so hard and not spending time with the family. When she presses him on it, he yells at her that he cannot share with her what he’s working on and that what he is doing is important. Before he can adequately apologize for yelling, he has to leave to Nevada with Quinn to investigate the green fireballs using his new system.
Meanwhile, Mimi is left concerned about Hynek’s work with Project Blue Book. Her friend Susie (the Russian spy), suggests Mimi has the right to look through her husband’s papers. They go to Hynek’s den, and Susie happens to find a set of keys. They use them to get into a locked box that has a journal in it. It is Hynek’s Project Blue Book journal. Mimi discovers Hyenk saw Fuller commit suicide and had tried to stop him.
In Nevada, Hyenk and Quinn see the light and Hynek eventually does catch them on his camera equipment. It also turns out Hynek had gone over General Harding and Valentine’s heads and got approval for his camera system from the secretary of defense. Harding and Valentine tell Quinn they did not approve Hynek’s request because the green fireballs are advanced Russian technology used to spy on American nuclear testing. They do not want the public to know about this.
Hynek runs into the man in black again after he has visions of Fuller and gets confused and dizzy. It is not the first time this has happened. Hynek asks the man in black why he is there and is told Hynek sees him when he needs to and vice versa. Later, while meeting in a church, the man in black gives Hynek a set of keys.
Hynek then goes to Valentine and Harding, who are not happy he went around them and hands them a report concluding that the green fireballs are just meteorites. They are satisfied with the report, but Harding threatens Hynek he should never go over their heads again. While talking with the man in black, Hynek admitted the green fireballs do not appear to be meteorites. He speculates they could be advanced human technology, but feels they are too advanced for that.
After meeting with the generals, Hynek unlocks the gate to a secured area of the Nevada base. He goes down into a warehouse, reminiscent of the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He finds a row of small boxes, similar to a safe deposit box and opens one with another key. Inside is an alien looking artifact. It looks kind of like a blocky wand. Back home, he shows it to Mimi and tells her he is going to share everything with her from now on and that they will work together.
What I like about the way the series handles the UFO phenomenon is that it offers up several possibilities. Although it is very loosely based on real Project Blue Book cases, it keeps the audience guessing. Valentine and Harding seem to believe the Russians are to blame for most UFO incidents, even the green fireballs. However, in this episode we find Hynek moving closer to the idea it might be more complicated than that. It is also hinted that Hynek may be a victim of mind control. The show does keep me wanting to see more, and apparently, I am not the only one. History recently announced Project Blue Book is getting a second season.
There are some great real UFO cases referenced in this episode. The green fireballs were a real phenomenon occurring in the southwest in 1950, especially New Mexico. They were seen so often that the U.S. Air Force set up a special study to investigate them called Project Twinkle. The conclusion to the investigation was that the fireballs were misidentifications of human-made objects, meteorites or other natural phenomena. However, not everyone agreed.
In 1952, Life Magazine featured a story on UFOs that gained a lot of attention. In fact, in his book, Project Blue Book chief Edward Ruppelt claims the article gained so much attention that it helped influence the creation of Project Blue Book. The article featured cases from previous UFO investigations, including Project Sign, which was often referred to as Project Saucer by the media. It also included information about Project Twinkle.
One of the experts quoted in the article was Dr. Lincoln La Paz, who Life described as a “mathematician, astronomer and director of the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico.” He investigated the green fireballs.
“[Dr. LaPaz] points out that normal fireballs do not appear green, they fall in the trajectory forced on them by gravity, are generally noisy as a freight train, and leave meteorites where they hit,” according to Life. “The green New Mexican species does none of these things. Neither do the green fireballs appear to be electrostatic phenomena—they move too regularly and too fast.”
Although the Life article only mentions La Paz in the section regarding the green fireballs, what readers did not know was La Paz, and his family witnessed another UFO sighting referenced in the article. The article reviews several UFO incidents and “Incident 2” was witnessed by “one of the U.S.’s top astronomers.”
This astronomer, who turned out to be La Paz, chose to remain anonymous regarding the sighting. He described what he saw as a “sharp and firm regular outline, namely one of a smooth elliptical character much harder and sharper than the edges of the cloudlets… The hue of the luminous object was somewhat less white than the light of Jupiter in a dark sky, not aluminum or silver-colored… The object clearly exhibited a sort of wobbling motion… This wobbling motion served to set off the object as a rigid, if not solid body.”
Another UFO incident indirectly referenced in the show was from the testimony of Robert Salas, who was a missile launch officer in March 1967 when UFOs were spotted above ground, while in the underground missile control bunker, nuclear-armed ICBMs were going offline. According to researchers, UFOs are often seen around nuclear facilities. Similar reports have also come from France and Russia.
The U in UFO stands for unidentified. In some of these cases, whatever was seen remains unidentified. It is very entertaining to watch Hynek try to discover the answer to the UFO mystery. However, he seems to be realizing there may be more than one answer. The 1952 Life article appeared to conclude that UFOs pose a real problem and that solutions may be far off. Will Hynek discover more answers in season 1, or will we have to wait for season 2?
Life concluded, “Before these awesome questions, science – and mankind – can yet only halt in wonder. Answers may come in a generation – or tomorrow. Somewhere in the dark skies there may be those who know.”