I don’t think there’s a merit badge for UFOs but if there was, Scoutmaster Emmett’s troop would be sorely disappointed. Brian (Ari Dalbert) is anyway. The one boy scout we come to know by name this episode, the show seems to keep him around solely for the purpose of looking hurt, when Scoutmaster Emmett (Kevin Christy) is exposed.
“The Scoutmaster” is Project Blue Book’s first hoax episode. It’s also the first time Quinn and Hynek work separately, that the show hasn’t tried to force a B-story with Mimi and Susie, and that the case-of-the-week leaves nothing left to doubt at the end. Emmett faked the photo of him standing by a UFO and he didn’t kill an alien.
The separation thing should be a big deal, but it’s not. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that Quinn isn’t around for the one time a case goes his way, but while Hynek calls Quinn and says that he needs him, after Emmett produces an “alien skull” (it was planted by the sheriff (Ty Olsson) and stolen from an Indian reservation), the case is all but resolved at that point. Other than Quinn’s authority, he doesn’t bring anything to the table that Hynek wouldn’t have brought himself
The way the truth comes out, with Hynek explaining to Emmett how he pulled off the hoax, feels better suited to an Agatha Christie novel than the show. It’s too theatrical, and sure, Quinn is present for the speech, but shouldn’t the police have been involved as well (implicated sheriffs not withstanding)? Quinn mentions making the false missing persons report the first charge, but what about grave robbing an Indian reservation?
And, of course, Quinn’s only really concerned with the true reason he came to Ohio – not to help Hynek but to figure out whether he stole from the government. You can say this for Quinn. His superiors write-off Hynek as a possible suspect (which seems irresponsible) but at least Quinn’s smart enough to realize Hynek’s capable. The show cuts away before we hear Hynek’s answer, but assumedly he denied everything, since he’s not subsequently arrested.
Quinn’s just gotten over being accused himself, and in the most insulting manner. Instead of coming to Quinn directly, General Harding stages an interrogation to catch him in a lie. Still Quinn remains loyal but, when you look at it that way, his coming to Hynek with his suspicions is a big deal. Usually he tells the generals everything.
Other thoughts on “The Scoutmaster:”
- General Harding discounts Rizzuto’s claim that Quinn would’ve killed him, but can you really control Russian Roulette?
- While recruiting Quinn for the interrogation, Harding tells him the missing material would guarantee the Russians the arm race. Was he telling the truth? Is that material sitting in the trunk of Hynek’s car, because it’s not the most impressive-looking object.
- It’s not a new convention (other TV shows have done it before) but in the past, the show’s flashbacks to alien encounters haven’t been too exciting but, because this encounter was a hoax, the flashbacks provide new footage.
- Two details that made Emmett’s story sketchy before he was found out: the alien head was decomposed, and he said he had fallen asleep for 48 hours (because if that were the case why didn’t somebody find him in the woods – alien abduction wasn’t part of his story)
- As always, Project Blue Book is more interesting when it deals with the facts, not conspiracies. While the episode’s Native American storyline felt underserved (along with actor, Graham Greene), it was fascinating to learn about the custom of head binding that’s fallen out of practice.
Project Blue Book airs Tuesdays at 10 PM EST on History.