'Project Blue Book' Season 2 Finale Review: An ode to HyneQuinn's partnership amidst World War III threats
Spoilers for 'Project Blue Book' Season 2 Episode 10 'Operation Mainbrace'
There aren't a lot of shows that can maintain a steady arc as it progresses through a stellar pilot to a brilliant debut season finale, but History's 'Project Blue Book' had done that last year, and now, even beyond as it culminates its second run with a finale, titled 'Operation Mainbrace'. Plunging into the highs and lows of the oceanic depths, Dr J Allen Hynek (Aiden Gillen) and his US Airforce counterpart, Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey), in the titular investigation is sought out by Senator Kennedy himself when UFOs and USOs begin plaguing a massive naval exercise on the border of Russian waters.
It's not just the possibility of finally being a part of mankind's history that poses a threat to the driven duo; there's an actual possibility of a World War III on the horizon, thanks to a rather rogue Admiral aboard the ship. But none of the hurdles on Hynek and Quinn's path compares to the final outcome of their bond and faith in each other. Labeling it a bromance would take away the nuanced layers of their trust in each other, as is asserted by Hynek's inevitable quest for seeking out his close friend.
The episode's UFOs and USOs arrive right at the beginning as is the signature with the show. It announces its arrival to the naval fleet with an abandoned ghost ship every time, as we learn later in the episode. Following that arrives a giant triangular craft with blinding blue lights, as it rises from the ocean and steadily approaches the fleet before diving underwater right before a clash and vanishing within the depths of the ocean again. All of this information is divulged from the eyewitnesses aboard the crew after much deliberation and ambushing from Hynek and Quinn's end and that is telling of the Admiral they are serving. The sinister man refuses to even acknowledge that an incident of the kind had ever happened and so are the terrified crew aboard commanded to testify.
The moment Hynek and Quinn are able to resurface the crucial bits of information from the two prime eyewitnesses, the ghost ship appears on the horizon. For some reason, in their quest to seek out the truth, Quinn and Hynek sail to the boat and come across the captain of the ship sailing from Shanghai. With the glass and steering of the ship melted beyond explanation, Quinn and Hynek are informed of the tales of fishermen who have claimed to have seen a lost city of triangular crafts submerged. The truth, however, comes out just moments later when the Admiral spots an unidentified craft with blinding blue light charging at them. Quinn believes it's not the Russians heading for a World War III, so he bid Hynek a touching farewell and marches off at the source of the bio-luminescence from the ocean in a submarine.
Over radio transmission, Quinn informs the crew aboard the US Navy fleet that it's not the Russians; it's something inexplicable, but so beautiful. This doesn't convince the Admiral, however, as he decides to charge fire at the source of the light, the explosion takes Quinn away as collateral damage. It is one of those classic episodes that raise your hopes up for a possible, wholesome outcome with the two leads riding off into the sunset in all their glory; only that it's all a setup.
Quinn's death sneaks up like a painful catch from sleeping too well, there's no other way to describe it. But then again, the storyline did offer him all the happiness he had missed out on and couldn't really let him go on to live a normal life. Could they? No, that would have ruined the edge of Captain Michael Quinn, and as a man ready to take the fall, Malarkey couldn't have delivered his signature, lopsided smirk any better.
It is however in his demeanor as a crazed Hynek, fervently looking to lie all the loose ends surrounding the mystery of Quinn's death where Gillen shines his brightest. Like a desperate John Nash aching to prove his intelligence and later sanity in 'A Beautiful Mind', Gillen's Hynek is not only heartbroken in the wake of Quinn's death, but his coping mechanism is believing that Quinn's still out there somewhere. That's definitely not what a lot of us expected from the curious skeptic's case, but he believes in what he sees, and what he saw was Quinn's submarine along with the bioluminescent light just vanish, as they diffused their charges that had been fired at the source. Once he is able to connect all the dots, he reaches out to William for help.
Even as Gillen sails off towards an iceberg the way Arya Stark does seeking the 'west of Westeros', it is the character's friendship with his partner in investigation that stays with the viewer, who can finally sit back and relax, because their iconic chemistry is definitely far from over. Even in the backdrop of another Susie-Mimi reunion, before the Russian spy leads Mimi to her daughter, the show tries doing the two friends justice, but once again leaves us wanting more. That's not the case with Hynek and Quinn. Almost as if paying a touching tribute to the partnership between the duo popularly called HyneQuinn, it turns out, open endings can sometimes be the closure one needs.
'Project Blue Book' Season 2 finale aired on Tuesday, March 24, at 10 pm, on History.