"The truth is like the sun. The more you look, the more it blinds." [SPOILERS AHEAD]
I love when I predict something that I think will happen on a TV series and it comes true in the next episode. It makes me feel a little smarter. Sure, there's already tried and true methodology to dramatic television, and common approaches for laying down plot points, subplots and episodic story arcs that wrap up between 40 and 45 minutes, but it's still a nice "I knew it". Last week, Project Blue Book introduced the sexy blonde spy in the series premiere, and although this is a somewhat peripheral part of episode 1, in this week's "The Flatwoods Monster", we have nearly full disclosure on the secret photographer of the Hynek family.
Susie, the outgoing new friend of Hynek's wife Mimi, works for the KGB. That was quick. It seems like our primary villain has been revealed. Things turn a little Sin City in this episode, as a scandalous car scene involved a little heavier closeness than would be expected between the two characters. The seductress KGB agent is very film noir, replete with fatalistic implications on the part of Ksenia Solo's Susie. I'm glad History Channel is willing to really take it there, finally.
As for the monster-of-the-week, it's centered around a West Virginia occurrence of strange activity concerning a family who witnessed a streak of light hurtling through the sky and subsequently decided to investigate it themselves (everyone's best idea). Upon seeing a raging fire in a forest ravine and a glowing rock like a "raging red diamond", they all lock eyes with what they describe (and draw a picture of) as a tall, gangly monster. The children are effected by burns around the eyes and strained eyesight, but the adults are not harmed physically in any way.
The actual historical account of this WV story played out al little differently according to reports, but the show takes a smooth approach to how they play the monster off as a hoax to the public. It coincides with the resolution of the origin story as well, including the streak of light in the sky and a monster seen in the forest. The resolution of an owl seen at a distance being the monstrous culprit is what put the story to rest (for some) after all. The drawing of what was in the woods that night according to eyewitnesses is rather different than one would imagine for an alien creature, but not so far off from a misidentified barn owl.
We see Aiden Gillen's character use some of his former Petyr Baelish guile from Game of Thrones when he wraps up the case and returns home to his family. There's a slight moment of hesitation we see in his face during these scenes which may be to tell the audience that keeping secrets has become his new modus operandi, just like his new bosses in the government.
This time around we see a little more of the Man in Hat, and since he's now he's been referred to as the "Man in Hat" officially, I enjoy that little piece of mysterious MIB history bleeding into the show. And bleed they do, because the second episode saw a nasty death of a minor (and innocent) character. The Man in Hat is doing more than just staring vaguely in the direction of Dr. Hynek from a mist-shrouded distance whenever he's investigating alien activity.
The other man on the top, Neal McDonough as General James Harding gives a stirring performance in this episode as he keeps the younger Hynek and his partner in control of the alien narrative. His dependency on their discretion is clear by the very end of the episode. Truly, this episode may move at a more languid pace and is based in more practical explanations for unexplained UFO and alien sightings (the owl/monster), but it contains some pretty heavy reveals toward the end that implicate how profound this series' story might end up being.
Whether or not it mirrors the historical record of these accounts can be considered irrelevant. Its liberty to present a compelling story based on some situations as vague as urban legends is what gives it the creative potency it has. Such as the CGI monster we see briefly in this second episode, which I find vaguely reminiscent of the alien in the movie Super 8. I can't be the only one to notice this. 🤔 If you're looking to get a little closer to the historical Flatwoods Monster, there exists a very real Flatwoods Monster Museum in Sutton, West Virginia that I'm sure has just the monster plush I need in my life.
Until next week!
🛸 Project Blue Book airs every Tuesday night at 9pm EST
on the History Channel.
I'll be reviewing each episode of Project Blue Book after it airs every week. If you liked this review, please subscribe to the blog to be notified of new posts. A like or share goes a long way!
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