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Project Blue Book Season 2 premiere: The Roswell Incident Part 1 recap

Neal McDonough in Project Blue Book Season 2 Premiere: The Roswell Incident Part 1. Photo credit: History

Season 2 of Project Blue Book kicked off with the ever-popular Roswell case, as Captain Quinn (Mike Malarkey) and Dr. Hynek (Aidan Gillen) were called in by General Harding (Neal McDonough) to assist him in New Mexico.

Harding was getting anonymous phone calls by people claiming to have evidence of a government cover-up and threats to expose it.

Initially, Harding and General Blackstone (Spencer Garrett) closed the 1947 Roswell incident, strong-arming the city by silencing its citizens, forcing them to say they saw a weather balloon.

Despite what he experienced at the end of Season 1, Quinn toes the military line to “rubber stamp” the report and close the case.

However, when Hynek and Quinn come to review the case, they see nothing but redacted reports. Everyone is called to an emergency in the desert — a pile of tires set on fire with an upside-down American flag in the middle of it.

A box is retrieved, adorning Harding’s name that contains a message naming Harding as one of the people responsible for the cover-up of Roswell. At 9 a.m., they will view evidence of a conspiracy.

It’s clear that Quinn that Allen continues to get fed information from shadowy groups as he tells Quinn about classified details about the 1947 crash.

Mike Connors (Matthew MacCaull) is named as someone who woke up one early July morning to find his ranch littered with metals of extraterrestrial origin. He called in authorities, the military arrived to change the narrative, and he was paid handsomely for changing his tune.

Allen calls his wife, Mimi (Laura Mennell) and Quinn calls Susie (Ksenia Solo) to cancel their plans, but confirms they’ve become an item since last season’s finale. Susie and Mimi were inseparable in Season 1, but they have different goals to start Season 2.

For the Hyneks, Mimi is taking a more active role in helping Allen from the homestead. She’s been attending UFO support groups, which formed around strange sightings, under different names, to get a beat on what people are talking about without feeling like Big Brother is in attendance.

Interestingly, these groups are aware of Project Blue Book and its reputation for silencing the murmurs of conspiracies.

Laura Mennell as Mimi Hynek in Project Blue Book Season 2 premiere: The Roswell Incident Part 1. Pic credit: History

Support group leader Evan Blake (Keir O’Donnell) is told by another group member that Betty Carpenter is Mimi Hynek. He visits her at home, confronting her about what she knows.

Evan inquires about how much she talks to Allen about his work with UFOs. He also warns her that civilian UFO groups are enemies of the state, and the FBI has infiltrated groups across the country.

Evan hopes that with Mimi’s help, they can communicate and give information to the government through Allen, hopefully influencing Blue Book to expose the lies and truths of the government.

As for the Russian spy Susie, she befriended Mimi so she could get information on Blue Book in its early days, but cared about Mimi too much to follow her abusive handler’s commands. Instead, she killed him, and is operating rogue and has moved in on Quinn for either intel or as her next target.

Harding pays Connors a visit to ensure he’s not the one calling him. When confronted, Connors tells Harding he made a mistake in selling his silence and regretted lying to the public.

Connors refuses another sum of cash from Harding, who in turn, beats him up. Gen. Valentine (Michael Harney) orders Harding to tighten up the town like last time. Those orders are wearing on Harding, but he puts Roswell under quarantine.

Mimi gets word to Alan about Duncan Booker (Zach McGowan), who witnessed the saucer in the sky in 1947.

They discover a house full of notes and evidence about a second crash site and a man-made saucer under a tarp in his background. Booker and his girlfriend watched the crash, then were silenced by an individual who threatened them if they talked.

On the way back from interviewing Booker, Hynek and Quinn are stopped at the border of Roswell, where a sniper tries to take them out. Harding eventually confesses to the Roswell cover-up, explaining to Hynek and Quinn that it wasn’t a weather balloon.

He tells them it was a spy balloon that crashed, as a part of Project Mongul, used to detect sound waves generated by atomic bomb tests performed by the Soviet Union.

Mongul was a real government project and it was successful under the concept that a deep sound channel in the oceans also existed high in the upper atmosphere. However, that explanation still seems far off from what witnesses in 1947 Roswell were claiming to have seen. 

Quinn and Hynek help apprehend the shooter, who admits to doing everything but burning tires in the desert and calling Harding. He said he was in fear that what happened with the military shutting down the city again like in ’47.

Back then, he shot what he observed to be an alien life form. Everyone thinks that they can close the case until we are left with another saucer crash in the middle of town.

It’s not 9 a.m., but whoever is behind the phone calls believes that it’s worth it to speed up the process of spooking Harding, and we are left with the scene of the hatch opening.

Aidan Gillen and Mike Malarkey as Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Captain Quinn in Project Blue Book Season 2 Premiere. Pic credit: History

This is a solid return to the series. It’s nice to get back to the fast-paced storytelling and beautiful production design of Project Blue Book. Aside from the case-specific details, all of which continue to impress, I want to look at larger arcs in play.

I wish that Quinn, especially after his dogfight with strange lights, was more skeptical like Hynek. Perhaps this season is about tearing down Quinn’s foundation and trust in his superiors and puts him on a path to finding his own opinion of what he’s witnessing and how he is affected by the government’s lies.

It will be interesting to see if Susie is a super spy able to effectively spy on an Air Force Captain but if Quinn does discover her at some point, what will he do?

Harding is beginning to crack under the constant pressures of looking the other way and covering up. General Valentine is twisting him and having him do all the dirty work, but one wonders what he is doing at the top of the food chain.

I doubt we’ll ever see Harding on the side of leaning into public knowledge of alien existence and creating panic. Still, I’m curious if we’ll see him being somewhat disenfranchised, continually forcing others, especially the public, to lie again and again.

I’m pleased and encouraged by the direction the writers are taking Mimi this season. Being that she’s a housewife, for now, limits her role, but I like that she’s getting out and helping Allen on foot, versus just waiting for him to come home each night.

I want to see the Hyneks working as a team and Allen finding a trusting partner in Mimi and what she can bring. Hopefully, we can continue seeing a modern take on married couples who bucked the trends of their time.

But it’s nice to see this story stretched over two parts as Roswell could easily take up half a season.

We’ll see who s behind the last Roswell crash in the city in episode 202: “The Roswell Incident Part 2” next Tuesday on History at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Ernie Estrella is a TV and film critic. He is also a contributing editor at SyfyWire (formerly Blastr) and has also written for USA Today.
Ernie Estrella

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