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Project Blue Book Episode 4: "Operation Paperclip" Review


"The truth is like the sun. The more you look, the more it blinds." [SPOILERS AHEAD]

There's a lot to unpack in this episode of Project Blue Book, and we're still in the first half of the series. Where last week left us a few clues and a few coverups, this Tuesday's episode circled around and exposed some hefty secrets. We begin with Hynek himself seemingly witnessing a silent, cigar shaped craft in the sky while on an airplane. The pilots even insist the UFO is stalking the plane. In fact, Hynek was dreaming of the most recent case he and Quinn are investigating near Huntsville, Alabama. We've seen the effect of Hynek's new UFO work on his family so far, but we're just now getting a glimpse of how deep into the mystery he's gone as well, and the effect it's having on him. Upon arriving in Alabama, Quinn and Hynek interview a hog farmer and witness to the reported encounter. Quinn cuts it short when he claims to have the answer: a just-as-baffling ex-Nazi scientist working on rockets at a nearby Air Force Base. This has heavy implications of its own. However, Dr. Hynek isn't sold on this being the only explanation. As they leave, the MIH (Men in Hats) are very visible to the viewers as they do their spying from behind some shrubbery, barely concealed.

Mimi's mystery spy back at home is one of the characters we finally get answers about. Turns out it's an extremely spooked Lieutenant Henry Fuller from episode 1, and he claims everyone is in danger and does some very intense freaking out. Mimi's husband's work is clearly causing quite a bit more discomfort to those around him than anyone would have guessed. Fuller ends up cornering Mimi in her own house, only to be ousted by Susie showing up right on time. Her surveillance of the Hynek home has afforded her some new info this week, including the ability to arrive in super hero fashion brandishing a gun. Her tiny spy camera, however, is fantastic and in fact historically accurate. (The Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is worth a visit!) Fuller remains a threat, as do Susie's real intentions now that she has photos and inside information to send to her Russian contacts. Mimi is still too concerned with the danger of her husband's work and the growing paranoia of Cold War era society to see behind Susie's lies. She needs more friends.

Hynek and Quinn have more to research in Alabama and after being turned away from the rocket testing base, Quinn breaks right in past the officers and through the barricades. The consequence is simply an audience with Werner von Braun, the scientist with a very dark former affiliation. This aspect of the episode is entirely true, as von Braun is an historically accurate figure, taken to the US after World War II to work on the V-2 rocket first in Texas and then in Huntsville, Alabama. Hynek and Quinn are given lofty scientific explanations as to why the rocket launch could be mistaken for a UFO, and are then sent on their way. Still dissatisfied, Hynek gives over to curiosity and gleans more information from the hog farmer, and stumbles upon every conspiracy nut's dream: a crop circle. While we never get an explanation for it, we go deeper down the rabbit hole with Quinn's grand plan to break back into the base and snoop around. Hynek, along for the ride, joins him in the discovery of an alien body floating in suspended animation. Eerie greenish glow and all, this makes the crop circle seem like a flippant extra.

After setting off alarms and being tracked down and stopped by von Braun, they are told it is the body of a monkey they had seen, and that it'd just been to space and back. The ex (or current) Nazi scientist flatters Hynek to no end for his intelligence, and even goes so far as to offer him a job. Gillen's Hynek does a great job of deflecting this flattery and keeping the audience in mind with showing disdain for the scientist's Nazi past. After being given dissatisfying excuses for what everyone in Huntsville had witnessed, but all parties go their separate ways.

The final shocking moment is when General Harding arrives to the rocket base and is seen viewing what can only be described as the test launch of a circular flying disk. Piloted by a terrified and protesting soldier, he's loaded into the literal flying saucer before it hovers and then gyroscopes into oblivion in a flash of lights. The crop circle, the Men in Hats, the alien body, and now a flying saucer disappearing before our eyes. We are in deep, dark alien territory now. Where History is planning to take this series is now up for even more speculation after this plethora of conspiracy and popular UFO theory specimens (pun intended) throughout the episode. As of now, we may have a dramatic portrayal of reverse engineered alien spaceship technology. Or, a government capable of inventing it by means of former Nazi scientists. This mystery eludes us for now.

🛸 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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I'm Amy, a writer, researcher, YouTuber and artist from Upstate, New York. Invested in all things strange and unusual for my entire life, I've travelled to over 30 countries, and explored some of the most terrifying, famous haunts in the United States.
             
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