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Project Blue Book - The Green Fireballs - Review

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Project Blue Book “The Green Fireballs” was written by Harley Peyton and was directed by Norma Bailey. Things heat up on several fronts in this episode. I’m still really impressed by the production values of this show. There are more great guest stars in this episode – Michael Imperioli (Rizzuto) and Ian Tracey – who IMDb is listing as “The Fixer.”

The episode starts with a really creepy sequence of the White Forest Missile Range test site that is entirely populated by mannequins – who often look eerily like real people. Soldiers and scientists are putting finishing touches on the area. I really like how we get a flavor for the time period as the two soldiers debate who would win in a fight between Gary Cooper and John Wayne.  The bomb sequence suddenly initiates on its own – and then appears to shut down the same way. As soon as the launch aborts, the soldiers are giddy with relief – until the green fireballs show…

Hynek (Aiden Gillen) is not sleeping and keeps seeing Fuller – he’s burnt and trying to tell Hynek something. When he can’t sleep, Hynek retreats to working on his new camera in his office – and that’s where Mimi (Laura Mennell) finds him. Mimi is freaked out because he’s not eating or sleeping. Hynek ends up yelling at Mimi that there are things that he can’t tell her. Susi (Ksenia Solo) is listening and calls to report that Hynek is going to White Forest and that they have to meet.

Hynek and Quinn drive to the site. Hynek is convinced that the green fireballs are meteors, and he’s going to prove it with his camera, which should be able to capture it. Quinn is onboard with proving the truth with science. There’s too much at stake and people need certitude – it’s another allusion to people’s general fear at the time of the constant possible threat of nuclear annihilation.

Quinn interviews the soldiers, but Hynek tells them that what they likely saw were meteors. The soldiers point out that the fireballs came straight at them, continued straight and then went back up – could a meteor do that? Hynek says that under the right conditions, a meteor could!

When Fairchild (Robert John Burke) shows up unexpectedly, it’s a little hilarious to watch Quinn jump to his feet with a snappy salute – and to try not to blow his cigarette smoke at his superior! It quickly becomes clear that Fairchild is only there to see Hynek – and he wants to know that Hynek’s cameras will prove the meteor theory. It’s suddenly clear where the funding for the camera that the Air Force had turned down, had come from.

Quinn is furious with Hynek for going behind the Generals’ back. He tells Hynek that he’s landed the both of them in the middle of a war between the Air Force and the government. Hynek insists that it’s a risk he’s willing to take.

The person Susie called is her “associate” (Currie Graham) and they meet at the local botanical gardens. He insists that there’s nothing of value in watching the Hyneks. Hynek is just an astronomer for the Air Force. He accuses her of being interested in Mimi! Susie insists that Hynek is important – he’s visiting the site where the Americans test their nuclear weapons! He insists that they are needed elsewhere – Virginia.

As the two move to exit the gardens, they run into Donna (Heather Doerksen). She’s dropped her camera. She recognizes Susie, and Susie vaguely mentions “her husband.” Once Donna has wandered back to her group, Susie asks her associate to give her 48 hours to give him something that will prove the Hyneks are worthy of their time.

Hynek sets up his equipment at the test site and explains it to Quinn. He also explains why the meteors appear to be green. As they are talking, Quinn notices a burning cigarette and chases down Master Sergeant Rizzuto of the motor pool – who is dressed like one of the mannequins and was there taking pictures of the set up. Quinn brings Rizzuto in for questioning – after not getting a satisfactory reason for what Rizzuto was doing there without authorization or clearance.

Rizzuto tries to feed Quinn a story about a girl and getting drunk to explain why he was there, but Quinn recognizes that he’s full of shit. I actually really liked how Quinn broke down all his reasons for not believing Rizzuto, demonstrating that he is a skilled interrogator. Hynek just isn’t interested at all and says Rizzuto isn’t their problem. He goes back out to the test site while Quinn breaks into Rizzuto’s apartment and discovers a handful of passports in a hidden place under the floorboards. He takes pictures of the passports and a book full of numbers that he finds.

Meanwhile, Hynek sees the lights flicker and then has a vision of Fuller again before passing out. When he wakes, the Fixer is there and tells Hynek that he’s nearly ready before telling him to meet him at a church – and to get back to work as the lights are coming back. Hynek watches as the green lights come back and mutters “What are you?”

Harding (Neil McDonough) and Valentine (Michael Harney) show up and tell Quinn that Rizzuto is a Bolshevik spy. The green fireballs might be how the Russians are spying on them too. They tell Quinn that they can’t let it get out to the public because it could cause a panic – and that’s why they (the Air Force) rejected Hynek’s project to begin with. Quinn is the perfect lapdog, eagerly asking what he can do to help.

However, Hynek has already gathered all his data, and when Quinn arrives to tell him that they’ve been shut down, case closed, they’re going home, Hynek tells him that the green fireballs are definitely not meteors. Quinn points out that the best way to break a man is to deny him sleep. He knows Hynek hasn’t been sleeping and suggests that it’s impaired his judgment. Hynek is not amused and tells Quinn that he wants a partner that has his back and who will back him up. Hynek isn’t there to toe the line, he’s there to find the truth.

Quinn points out that Hynek when behind the Generals’ backs to Fairchild. He circles back to blaming it all on Fuller’s death, and Malarkey is great as Quinn remembers the first time he saw a man die and the effect it had on him. Hynek is not deterred, however, and with Quinn not having his back, he heads to the church to meet with the Fixer.

We finally get a proper scene with Ian Tracey as the Fixer and he doesn’t disappoint. For the most part the Fixer dodges Hynek’s questions about him. The Fixer presses Hynek on what he found – proof that the fireballs were not meteors. Hynek has also considered that they are Russian surveillance technology, but the Fixer suggests what if they are from someone who has been watching (aliens!) and who have decided that they’ve made too much progress? Hynek tells the Fixer that that is what Fuller told Mimi. Hynek wants to know what’s going on, but the Fixer tells him that if he knew, he wouldn’t need Hynek. The Fixer gives Hynek a set of keys.

In the end, Hynek gives the Generals the report they wanted. The green fireballs were meteors. Harding pulls Hynek aside and points out that he’s the one who gave Hynek the job. Hynek shakes his hand in acknowledgment, and Harding then tells Hynek that if he ever goes behind his back again, he’ll shit-can him so fast his head will spin – the threat is very clear.

As Hynek enters a military storage unit of some kind – that looks totally like the warehouse in Raiders of the Lost Ark – we hear Hynek’s voice telling the Fixer that Haley’s comet flew closer to the earth than it ever had before on the day he was born. Other people were terrified that this was a bad omen, but Hynek’s mother saw it as an omen that he’d be a great man. The Fixer responds that he has no idea what kind of man he’ll be – yet. Hynek uses the key that the Fixer gave him to open a compartment, and he takes out a weird artifact and takes it with him.

On the homefront, Susie and Mimi have coffee, and Susie convinces Mimi to break into the locked box in Hynek’s den for Mimi’s own peace of mind. As Mimi takes out the box, Susie “finds” the key that her associate had made. Mimi finds the journal and Susie only gets a cursory look before Mimi finds the entry about Fuller’s death and asks Susie for some privacy.

The doorbell rings and Susie answers. It’s Donna looking for Mimi – to ask more questions about Susie probably. Susie puts her off – Mimi is indisposed, and Donna leaves as Susie’s associate watches. When her associate comes to her house later, Susie tells him about the journal and that Hynek is investigating experimental weapons – like mind control. She tells her associate that he needs to stay out of her way so she can investigate – they can’t afford to be careless. Her associate appears to be on board, but takes her out to the car and opens the trunk. He’s killed Donna! And he wants Susie to dispose of the body!

At the base, Fairchild comes to see Rizzuto – and this will be important…

Mimi is waiting up for Hynek when he gets home. The journal has changed her anger with him into sympathy and rather than continue their fight, she hugs him. He knows he needs someone on his side, so he shows her the artifact. She remarks that it’s much lighter than she’d expect. They decide no more secrets, and Hynek tells her that they’ll be a team going forward.

I thought this was an interesting episode that deepened our knowledge of the sides involved. Clearly, the government and the Air Force have somewhat differing goals. I was disappointed to see Quinn and Hynek apparently more at odds, but I wonder how long Quinn will really toe the line or if he’ll be able to throw off his military training and help Hynek really look for the truth. It’s also going to be interesting to see who will be happy with the “truth” Hynek finds. What if what he finds doesn’t align with what the Fixer wants? Meanwhile, Susie’s associate took a turn for the even more chilling – and it’s hard to believe that Michael Imperioli as Rizzuto won’t be playing a greater role. And is Susie interested in Mimi? Or will she continue to strike up something with Quinn? Funny we had no mention of their drink together… What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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