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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Prisoneresque

Cape Wrath
   Welcome to Cape Wrath…. a psychological thriller set in a 21st century suburban paradise, and called the Prisoner of its day. Underneath the pleasant façade lies such a rich seam of unsettling secrets where everyone has something to hide. On the run from the past, the Brogan family are sent to Meadowlands to create a new life as part of a protective custody programme, and arrive blindfolded. But as they get to know their neighbours and settle into this mysterious world they begin to realize that everything is not what it seems.
    The 2007 television series ‘Cape Wrath’ can be described as being Prisoneresque, indeed at the time it was considered to be ‘the Prisoner’ of its day, even if less subtle in its brutality and sexual content. But it is more comparable to the second series of THEPRIS6
NER-2009 rather then the first. Cape Wrath at the time was described as being a cross between ‘the Prisoner’ and ‘Twin Peaks.’
   Meadowlands can be described as a typical
New England town, and rather like The Village. Everyone is there for life, no-one is allowed to leave, and there is no escape. When Evelyn Brogan and her daughter Zoe decide to go shopping in the nearest town they call in at the local petrol station. There was no membranic Guardian to stop them from leaving Meadowlands, no supervisor to issue a yellow alert, no warning to Post Fourteen of the prisoners approaching the outer zone in their vehicle. But there was an out post of a kind, in the form of a petrol station. As Mrs. Brogan was paying for her petrol, a young girl Kerry, approached her daughter Zoe pretending to be a friend of hers, and using her real name Nicky Foy. Kerry upset Zoe so much, that Evelyn Brogan turned the car around and drove her daughter home. Thus effectively having stopped the pair from leaving Meadowlands! Later when Danny Brogan goes to call on Samantha at the Motel, Kerry emerges out of room 111 telling Mark she cannot permit access without scheduling an appointment. Then Samantha comes out of the room. Danny complains to Samantha about the local Police detective knowing all about him. Samantha tells him he’s safe, that Meadowlands is the safest place on Earth. Why is it so safe? Meadowlands is controlled from room 111 in the Motel which is actually the administration building. There is a large wall screen showing Meadowlands and the surrounding area. As for Samantha she is a cross between No.2 and a Supervisor. For a “midnight football match” Danny Grogan is given the number 6 yellow tabard, an in-joke perhaps?
   The thing about Meadowlands is everyone there is there as part of the protective custody programme, for their own protection, and everyone has their secrets, secrets they would prefer no-one else to know. The good people of Meadowlands may have been given completely new identities but no-one can change what is in their minds, they are still the same people they were before being taken to Meadowlands. A sexual predator, Jack Donnelly, is always a sexual predator, well he is until he’s battered and strangled to death, and buried in a muddy hole by Danny Grogan and his cross-dressing son Mark! After that the local police detective, Bernard Wintersgill, starts asking questions about the whereabouts of Jack Donnelly, there follows an investigation. But Samantha tells Wintersgill that it really isn’t his problem, at least she admits there’s a problem, but as she sees it as a number of curious incidents do not mean Wintersgill can conduct a full police inquiry. He’s to go back and just carry on with his job, which is to police Meadowlands and whatever curious incidents it happens to throw his way! As Samantha tells Wintersgill, no-one leaves Meadowlands, which to Wintersgill means Jack Donnelly is still there…somewhere, and he means to find the body and prove that Danny Grogan is the murderer, and will go to any lengths in order to prove it.
   As a soap opera ‘Cape Wrath’ continues in this vein, with murderous intrigue, infidelity, family life, lies, deceit, loves, hates, friendships, relationships just the content of everyday life in which people deal with everyday problems. But eventually Brogan’s brutal murder of Jack Donnely is brought to light, to the attention of Samantha, who even has photographs taken by Freddie, a young man who works for Samantha, whose remit is to see new residents settle in, but who misused his skills. What he did to Danny Grogan was to turn him into a murderer by using an auto suggestion technique, associating something which Danny knew to be true, Jack’s death, with something he wanted Danny to forget….Cape Wrath! Danny wants to know what it is he and his family have been brought to.
   Back in
London to Samantha’s masters Cape Wrath appears to be a white elephant, it would appear that Samantha’s accelerated process seems to be an unequivocal failure, and yet she confirms to her masters that her father’s theories do work!
   Danny has a plan to escape Meadowlands, and stocks up with petrol bought at the local petrol station. Watched by the petrol attendant he is allowed to fill up his car, but when he attempts to fill a petrol can the fuel to the pump is cut off! He doesn’t know what’s real anymore, who’s trying to get inside his head! So to fool Samantha he appears to be happy and settled, too happy and too settled, and that makes Samantha suspicious, as people in Meadowlands are under as much surveillance as those citizens in The Village! But Danny’s family do not want to leave Meadowlands, they want to stay, Evelyn thinks Danny is being paranoid, that everyone in Meadowlands are against them, against him! He has money, food, and petrol, and organizes a party to which he has invited everyone, this will be his only chance to get out of Meadowlands, and his wife and two children are going with him! But Mark Brogan tells his sister Zoe the trouble with Meadowlands is, the more you struggle the more you get tangled up.
   What was it Danny Grogan said with great optimism on the day of his family’s arrival “A new house, a new life, new us.” That would be all very well, if it wasn’t for that fact that no matter where we go, we take our problems with us! And that is another parallel between ‘
Cape Wrath’ and THEPRIS6NER, both places are filled with broken people!
   So Danny Brogan leaves his family behind and drives as fast as he can away from Meadowlands and out into the countryside {as No.6 does in Many Happy Returns} trying the radio to pick up any broadcasting radio station, there’s nothing but radio static. Then eyes wide open Danny stops the car, gets out, climbs to the top of a rocky hill and stands there looking out over a desolate landscape of hills, mountains and desert, a wasteland with nothing for thousands of miles in all directions, and in the middle….. the fertile oasis of Meadowlands!
           This final scene is similar to a scene in THEPRIS6NER, when in ‘Arrival’ Six first drives out into the mountains and the desert stretches for thousands of miles in all directions!

 Be seeing you

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