This recap of Project Blue Book Season 1 Episode 8, “War Games”, contains spoilers. You can check out the last time we wrote about the show by clicking these words.
It has been a while since we last checked in on Project Blue Book, History’s on-going series about real-life investigations into post-war UFO sightings, and little has changed. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the show was good when it started and remains so, following a similar formula each week while gradually complicating the basic premise, which sees professional sceptic Dr. J Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen) and his yes-sir-no-sir military mate Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) investigating weird happenings at the behest of a deeply suspicious Uncle Sam.
The weirdness in “War Games” is supplied by a platoon of American soldiers who’re convinced they’ve had a run-in with some kind of extraterrestrial, and are suffering from wacky psychological effects as a result. General James Harding (Neal McDonough) is characteristically convinced that this is all a product of wartime trauma and is dismissive of their increasing hostility; he’s much more concerned with despatching Hynek to “kill” whatever threat is responsible. But Hynek, true to type, is on the hunt for an ulterior motive, and his more humanistic approach is starkly opposed to Harding’s blase treatment of the rank and file.
It’s the birds that give it away again – Project Blue Book seems to have a fascination with birds revealing mysteries, and whenever Hynek’s neck is craned towards the sky, you know he’s up to something. An unusually hostile flock suggests the possibility that the soldiers have been afflicted by a virus; unglamourous as ever, but that’s the point. There are some fun scenes in “War Games” built around the soldiers being right on the edge of kicking off and an especially good bit in which Hynek talks down a potentially volatile situation, which is the show in microcosm, basically.
Mimi Hynek (Laura Mennell), meanwhile, is being taught the ins and outs of firearms by her budding love interest (and Russian spy) Susie Miller (Ksenia Solo), which hardly bodes well. The inevitable sexual tension is still there, but I like how Project Blue Book is stringing it out rather than committing to it fully, as it’d be all too easy to reel in viewers with some sexy time and then undermine the slow-burning dynamic. Mimi is still underused and her shenanigans feel wholly secondary to her husband’s, but at least there’s some actual development there.
“War Games”, then, was another fine episode; the antsy platoon worked well, even if Hynek connecting the dots wasn’t as clever or compelling as it has been in other installments, and Project Blue Book still promises a great deal of intrigue and mystery to come. The premise remains dynamite, and a pretty solidly positive reception seems to ensure a decent lifespan for the show even beyond this already above-average first season.