Project Blue Book S02 E04 recap: Invasion, MK-Ultra and other takeaways

L-R: Aidan Gillen as Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Michael Malarkey as Captain Michael Quinn in HISTORY’s “Project Blue Book.” "Hopkinsville" airs February 11 at 10 PM ET/PT. Photo by Eduardo Araquel Copyright 2020
L-R: Aidan Gillen as Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Michael Malarkey as Captain Michael Quinn in HISTORY’s “Project Blue Book.” "Hopkinsville" airs February 11 at 10 PM ET/PT. Photo by Eduardo Araquel Copyright 2020 /

Project Blue Book sends Hynek and Quinn on a mission to investigate a terrifying alien encounter in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. What they find raises more questions than answers.

Project Blue Book steps up its game this week with Episode 4, “Hopkinsville.” When the Shoemaker family reports a terrifying encounter with aliens, Hynek and Quinn are dispatched to rural Kentucky to investigate their claims.

Jimmy Jay Shoemaker is drawing water from his well one night when he sees a UFO hovering in the sky. Shortly thereafter, he comes face to face with an extraterrestrial. From there, his night just keeps getting worse and worse as the aliens harass his family into the wee hours of the morning.

The episode is based on the Hopkinsville-Kelly incident of 1955. Of course, the Shoemakers are standing in for the real-life Sutton family of Kelly, KY. Our notions of aliens having huge, almond shaped black eyes and being green in color originate from the descriptions of eyewitness reports and artist renderings taken during the time of that event.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Hynek and Quinn. What lengths will Generals Harding and Valentine go to for self-preservation? Daniel Banks returns with some compelling intel and the super-secret project, MK-Ultra has begun.

Here are 3 important takeaways from “Hopkinsville.” Be warned, there will be spoilers ahead.

Was the UFO Encounter Staged by the Military?

  • The war heats up between Project Blue Book and the CIA: Harding and Valentine go full steam ahead with their plan to stage a UFO invasion in Hopkinsville using Hynek and Quinn as their pawns.
  • Alien handprint discovered: After interviewing the Shoemaker family, the Captain and the Professor have doubts about the authenticity of their story. Jimmy Jay claims that he shot an alien who ended up running off into the woods. Hynek and Quinn discover a neon green 3 fingered print on a tree trunk. It turns out that it is not biological but chemical in nature. Later, the duo takes the sample into town to a hardware store proprietor who identifies it as paint glaze and tells them Jimmy Jay purchased it.
  • Daniel Banks returns: CIA operative Daniel Banks flies to Hopkinsville with urgent news for Hynek and Quinn. He lets them in on the planned UFO invasion Pentacle memorandum and reveals his source named Rebecca.
  • Mimi and Even go to KY to head their own investigation: Mimi becomes frustrated when Allen won’t reveal what he knows about the alien encounter in Hopkinsville. So, she and Even go on a road trip. While they are there, they find out from the townspeople that Jimmy Jay Shoemaker is a known liar and is the owner of a local circus. The pair seek him out and tell him that they are scouting for Barnum & Bailey Circus. In exchange for information on his ordeal with extraterrestrials, they offer him the chance to make the big time by billing him on their traveling circuit as the alien killer.
  • The Jig Is Up: Hynek and Quinn show up at the Big Top and run into Mimi and Even. Unfortunately, it is revealed that Mimi is Allen’s source. Before they can dwell on that, she gets a brainstorm about how Shoemaker hoaxed everyone after seeing him paint a donkey so he could pass it off as a zebra. The group goes into the tent where the monkeys are being held. It becomes readily apparent that they were the “aliens,” because they are highly trainable. It just so happens that a can of the neon glaze is nearby and Quinn spots it. The Captain confronts Jimmy Jay about his ruse. However, Shoemaker is adamant that what he witnessed was real and that the government is just covering it up. Which begs the question did the Generals pay him to manufacture the story?
  • Pentacle Memorandum Begins: The planned UFO invasion commences with a huge commotion as the transports roll by the circus. Hynek and Quinn follow the convoy leaving Mimi and Even behind to deal with the frightened people.
  • UFOs Revealed: When Hynek and Quinn get to the site where the military trucks parked, they go wandering around the premises where they find a building. They enter and to their amazement, they see several flying saucers sitting there. Hynek looks at the call letters and the crafts are clearly Air Force. The Military Police shows up and escorts the pair to the Generals who are armed with a cover story.
  • Another Cover Story: They say that the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon are part of the Tethered Aerial Detection System. The saucers actually track boats, ground vehicles and manned airplanes. This reference to TADS, could in fact be a nod to the real-life Project 1794. It was the USAF’s attempt to create flying saucers that would be capable of traveling at supersonic speeds and would be adept at taking down Soviet bombers. However, Hynek and Quinn see through the Generals explanation and reveal that they know about the planned UFO invasion.

Banks Takes Hynek and Quinn Behind MK-Ultra’s Closed Doors

  • Top Secret Paranormal Experiments: MK-Ultra was a secret government project that Allen Dulles, the director of the CIA approved in 1953. It was designed to evaluate the effects of using LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs for mind control. Tests were done on human subjects in the United States and Canada. The program even employed psychics and sensitives for remote viewing purposes. Clairvoyants were given random coordinates and were asked to use their gifts to “see” certain events take place.
  • UFO Invasion Threat Imminent: Banks takes Hynek and Quinn to the CIA headquarters to meet one of the psychics in MK-Ultra named Rebecca. Prior to the pair’s arrival, she had drawn a picture of an alien predicting the Hopkinsville incident and the upcoming UFO invasion.
  • Hynek and Quinn may be CIA pawns: Rebecca refuses to talk with Allen and shares her visions with Michael. In her sketches, she depicts the chain of events leading up to the appearance of the extraterrestrial crafts in Hopkinsville. While this is happening, Hynek reveals to Banks that he may have encountered someone from Mk-Ultra and proceeds to tell him about the Man in Black.
  • War Games: Is Banks to be trusted or is he just using Hynek and Quinn to keep tabs on the Generals? Did he give them the intel on the planned invasion so that they would thwart it to expose Harding and Valentine and get the upper hand? Only time will tell…

The Return of the Man in Black

  • Not So Happy Encounter: After Allen returns from debunking Hopkinsville, he is accosted by the Man in Black and knocked out. Why? Is he upset that he is now on the CIA’s radar? Who does he work for? Hopefully, those questions will be answered on next week’s episode, “The Men in Black.”

dark. Next. Project Blue Book S02 E03 recap: Hynek and Quinn go inside Area 51

Project Blue Book airs every Tuesday on the History Channel at 10 p.m.

Are you enjoying Project Blue Book so far? Do you think Daniel Banks is a true ally to Hynek and Quinn? Why do you think the Man in Black is back? Let us know in the comments.