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Summer-Glau.com Forum » Filmography » The Cape » Exclusive : The secrets plans of Thomas Wheeler revealed !
Exclusive : The secrets plans of Thomas Wheeler revealed !
chrisdvanne_ Post # 1 | Wednesday, 09 Feb 2011 - 14:55
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Thomas Wheeler keep saying his inspiration for The Cape comes from the pulp magazines of the thirties, comic books like The Shadow or The spirit, which is partially true.
But his inspiration comes also from his early works and namely a novel he wrote in 2005 called The Arcanum (Arcanum means "secret" or deep secret wisdom").
Here is an image of the cover of the book (on the left) and a screencap of an image shown at the very end of the show, after the credits. Creepy isn't it.

What do we know about this novel?

Quote (Wikipedia)
Origins
Thomas Wheeler intended to write a novel about the Spiritualist Movement featuring a world of séances and shadows. The lead character was to embody the essence of the times, who would have the physical attributes of Harry Houdini (magician and escape artist), the sleuthing skills of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes), the creepy intellect of H. P. Lovecraft (author of horror, fantasy and science fiction novels) and the otherworldly skill-set of a Marie Laveau (voodoo queen). Eventually Wheeler decided to use the original personages, and create a new character, the enigmatic leader of the Arcanum — Konstantin Duvall. Wheeler's brother suggested a vital element of the tale with the question: "Why can't it be their last adventure?

Quote (Wikipedia)
Plot summary
The year is 1919 and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must investigate the murder of his mentor (and founder of the secret society The Arcanum), Konstantin Duvall. To do so he must reunite the scattered members of the Arcanum: Harry Houdini, H. P. Lovecraft, and voodoo queen Marie Laveau. Doyle finds himself embroiled in a story of war as old as time itself, for possession of the world’s most powerful—now missing—artifact: the Book of Enoch, the chronicle of God’s mistakes, within whose pages lie the seeds for the end of everything. Peopled with the twentieth century’s most famous—and infamous—figures, the stakes go beyond the realm of humankind—into the divine.

Sounds like the American version of "The league of extraordinary gentlemen". No wonder because Wheeler said on numerous occasion ('The Cape':Creator Tom Wheeler discusses the show's 'pulp' roots) he was a fan of Alan Moore (writer of the comic book "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen").
In an interview about the book, wheeler said : "My approach had turned them (the 4 main characters) into superheroes. They weren’t real. They showed up in puffs of smoke."
It reminds me of a certain caped crusader smile
But there is only one hero on The Cape so far whereas there is at least four members of Arkanum; well, things could have changed with time.
Wheleer said : "“Orwell’s sort of a superhero herself, the two of them are going to be good partners. But in the distance, there are plans for other people, inspired by the Cape, to show up.”
More people showing up means more superheroes.

Quote (Wikipedia)
A number of previous adventures of the Arcanum are mentioned throughout the novel, including;

* The 1905 discovery of the proof of mermaids in Madagascar
* The discovery and exorcism of the skull of "Bluebeard"

Mermaid is the other name for siren (does it ring a bell) and you probably remember that episode number two of The Cape was supposed to be titled "Bluebeard".
Wheeler said in an interview that one of the writers has a doctorate in mythology but Wheeler did his homework too.

Wheeler said :"This “last” adventure of The Arcanum was only their first to be told. There are countless shadows yet to explore in this old house, adventures dating back centuries and generations of membership left to reveal."
Unfortunately, only one adventure was written and published, just like only one season of The Cape will air sad

This early work has a lot of supernatural elements, religious references whereas there is no such thing apparently in The Cape. Wheeler always said "there is no superpowers" on The Cape, just magicians tricks. He tries to give a realistic explanation to every weird aspect of The Cape, the spider silk-made cape for example.
But this book shows Wheeler is found of mythology and i can't believe he wouldn't enclose some on The Cape. I'm not talking about the gallery of supervillains and the comic book universe we were sold but about over-arching stories with mystical elements, like in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981). Did i say "Ark"? And which Ark are we talking about?

In fact there is a lot of these elements and we had hints throughout the already aired episodes :
First there is the name of Peter Fleming's company, The Ark corporation.There is also the mysterious tarot organization. or the cape itself, able to plunge into your soul and amplify it. Or the mysterious calendar Max Malini was consulting at the end of 1.04 Dice (see what i told about destiny in the "Dice" thread). Or the world Siren that we saw during 1.02 Tarot.
These are the pieces of bigger puzzle; you can be sure Wheeler hinted us on purpose. Most of the reviewers and viewers missed this aspect because they were blinded by the bigger-than-life villains and situations (and by the show's flaws).
I don't know how these pieces fit together...yet. And maybe we'll never know. But at least we know that there is more on The Cape that just the campy comic book vibe.

I hope you enjoyed the ride and prepare yourself for more revelations on the forthcoming articles.


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Message edited by michelangelo - Friday, 11 Feb 2011, 00:41
 
chrisdvanne_ Post # 2 | Wednesday, 09 Feb 2011 - 21:26
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I think, as well as other fans, that one character, considered as being part of the good ones, will turn and revealed being a bad one at the end of the season. Of course the term "bad" must be taken in a mystical and mythological sense; robbing banks for example doesn't qualify.

The most obvious candidates being Orwell and Max Malini. At this stage, we can only try to guess who it will be and guess the reason why. Still we have tangible elements that can name Orwell or Max.


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chrisdvanne_ Post # 3 | Thursday, 10 Feb 2011 - 14:48
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The first time we heard of Tarot was is episode 1.02 called...Tarot. Bingo!

On this episode, Orwell mentioned to Vince the existence of a "secret society of killers", obviously named after the tarot cards; she said that meeting Cain, who had a tower symbol tatooed on his arm, "could be the first confirmation of the existence of Tarot".
And when Vince said he had never heard of it when he was a cop, Orwell answered : "You have not faced anything like this as a cop, i promess you that".

The tone of her voice and the words she uses -i promess you that- proves that she has an intimate knowledge of this society. At least something that goes beyond a simple surveillance of the crime activities in Palm City. Could it be that Orwell, or someone close to her in the past, was a member of this society?

We will come back to that later.

So what do we know about Tarot?

Quote (Wikipedia)
The tarot is a pack of cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play a group of card games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. From the late 18th century until the present time the tarot has also found use by mystics and occultists in efforts at divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways. Occultists call the trump cards and the Fool "the major arcana"

What did you say? "Arcana", like in the Thomas Wheeler novel "arkanum"? Maybe, maybe not. Once again The Cape flirts with mysticism a lot, as stated previously.

There is many ways to interprete the tarot cards and one card can be interpreted differently whether it is reversed or not, depending on the card pulled before or after,...

We know for a fact that Cain, the poisoner, was The Tower in the Tarot;

Quote (http://www.learntarot.com)
The Tower is an unsettling card. Fire, lightning, falling people on jagged rocks - definitely looks like trouble! Card 16 will not be welcomed by those who dislike change. It represents a sudden, dramatic upheaval or reversal in fortune. Usually change is gradual, giving us time to adapt, but sometimes it is quick and explosive.

The card's description fits well with the idea of poison and the way to overcome it, like Vince did.

We know for a fact that Goggles and Hicks were The Chariot in the Tarot;

Quote (http://www.learntarot.com)
The Chariot picture Julius Caesar riding his chariot triumphantly into Rome. He has defeated his enemies and conquered vast, new lands. This is the spirit of the Chariot. This card represents the victories that are possible through willpower and self-mastery. A military image is appropriate for the Chariot because this card stands for the strengths associated with combat - discipline, grit, determination and assertiveness.

The chariot is not necessary a "negative" or "bad" card but Thomas Wheeler has given us hints to interprate Goggles and Hicks; let me show you.

First we see their van, painted with semi-naked woman holding a sword and throwing flames dragon (see screencap) : bad sign.
When we see Hicks on screen, he just shot the man in Afghanistan; there is a close-up on his rifle you can very clearly catch sight of a scorpion at the end of his shotgun (see screencap) : bad sign.
Back to Goggles when he meets Fleming; at the back of his electric-powered wheelchair, you have a pattern featuring a skull and flames (see screencap) : bad sign.
Again, you can see the link between this card and the killing team.

Click on image for full size

In tarot cards, there are 22 major arcana; we have seen only two of them. There is plenty of room for other major arcana to appear in the show (woult it have had a continuation).


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Message edited by michelangelo - Saturday, 12 Feb 2011, 07:57
 
chrisdvanne_ Post # 4 | Thursday, 10 Feb 2011 - 22:35
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I wonder if we will hear from Tarot after Fleming said to Hick at the end of Goggles and Hicks : "Tell your masters i won't use them again"".

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chrisdvanne_ Post # 5 | Friday, 11 Feb 2011 - 23:54
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Found on io9.com a few days ago :
"If The Event has just one moment like The Cape did where Fleming randomly plays holographic 3d chess with no purpose then randomly tosses everything into the air... well that alone was worth 5 episodes of viewing."
ROTF. There is no gratuitous scene on a scripted show. Just scenes you have not understood.

In this post, we will take a closer look at the hologramme seen in 1.02 Tarot.

Fleming uses a game of chess-like computer with holographic interface in order to solve a problem; different datafiles appear on the hologram such as Orwell's logo, an helicopter,...Fleming re-arranges the desktop items and finally 16 items are placed on a chessboard-shaped hologram. Then he twist the chessboard and after some computing, a file named "Siren" is shown on screen. As if by magic!



I included a large screencap featuring the 16 different items present in the hologram.

chess hologram

At the time ep.1.02 aired, we didn't know what these 16 items were; now that 6 episodes aired, we can look back at the chessboard and decode most of them. The 16 items are consolidated into a single Evil/Genius Plan file named "Siren". But in the same time Thomas Wheeler gives us some kind of dashboard for the show, a schedule for the first season of The Cape as we will see.
We will try to check the 16 data file (see large screencap) and then we will see what Siren could mean.

  • Data file 1 :


    Orwell logo : Fleming knows the existence of Orwell and wants him/her "eliminated". Orwell is part of the equation, nothing new.

  • Data file 2 :


    We see an oval games console-like device. Of course everybody has recognized Trace, the know-your-future console shown in episode 1.05 Dice. In wich way this device was supposed to fit in this plan is still unknow to us.

  • Data file 3 :


    We see a satellite.These are the satellites "manufactured, licensed and operated" by Ark as said Fleming to Marty on ep. 1.03 Kozmo. Thanks to them, Ark police forces were able to locate Orwell. Maybe it was the satellite Goggles uses in episode 1.06 to locate his target : he did this at the begining to give Hicks the exact coordonates of the target. He uses also a satellite to locate Vince Farraday and his son.

  • Data file 4 :


    We see an helicoptere that reminds us the ones we've seen on two occasions on the Pilot. Firstly when Vince went to Ark corporation to meet Peter Fleming : while he was waiting in the hallway, we were given a full video presentation of Arkcorporation, including helicopteres.Secondly when Orwell took control of Vince's computer. This is linked to the operations of police that the Ark corporation is leading in foreign countries.

  • Data file 5 :


    The Tower card : we know all about it since we saw it in episode 1.02 Tarot. (or see post #3). Re-arrangement : Fleming pulled the Tower card out of the tarot card game that was present initially. Meaning : The Tarot recruited Cain as he was in prison and then turned him into one of its assassins, namely The Tower.

  • Data file 6 :


    I don't know what this is. Maybe a report. I'm waiting for your ideas.

  • Data file 7 :


    We see a USA map covered with militaries (or police force). Re-arrangement : the map filled with police forces was created from a single policeman. If you look the animation on slow-motion, you see the soldier throwed on the map then multiplicate then fill the map. Of course it represents the Ark corporation using Palm City police as a guinea-pig for his privatized police force. Then doing the same thing all over the USA.

  • Data file 8 :


    We see Cain when he was in prison, before he was recruited by Tarot and became The Tower (see data file 5). Btw who recruited him personnaly when he was in prison?

  • Data file 9 :


    We see the Gemini zodiacal sign.
    Quote http://www.astrology.com
    Since Geminis are a mix of the yin and the yang, they are represented perfectly by the Twins. The Gemini-born can easily see both sides of an issue, a wonderfully practical quality. Less practical is the fact that you're not sure which Twin will show up half the time. Geminis may not know who's showing up either, which can prompt others to consider them fickle and restless.

    This could represent the Fleming/Chess duality. But i don't think so. Under the prism of the show's schedule, this gemini sign could foreshadow episode 1.11 entitled “A Game of Chess”. The reason is twins were mentioned on a short synopsis of the episode : "The episode sounds very Chess related, he gets to have a “romp” with sexy twins." (Source : Spoilertv).

  • Data file 10 :


    We see an island. Everybody has recognized the famous Alcatraz island, whose famous visitors were Al Capone and Clint Eastwood (in "Escape from Alcatraz" (1979)). On the show, this is Owl Island, where the prison is located; its famous prisoners being Dice and Goggles seen in episodes 1.05 and 1.06. Owl Island and the secretary of prisons,Patrick Portman, seems to play an important role and no doubt the island would have been featured on a episode, maybe 1.12 or 1.13.

  • Data file 11 :


    We see Scales. Scales help is necessary for the smuggling part of Ark corporation. Of course it refers also to episode "1.04 Scales on a train".

  • Data file 12 :


    We see a caped and masked characater. The Cape or more generally Kozmo as related in episode 1.03.

  • Data file 13 :


    We see Peter fleming and a little girl, seemingly happy. Warning spoiler : Orwell is Fleming's daughter! Just kidding, those who have followed the show from the begining last summer knew that even before the show aired. Though i'm a little surprised Tom Wheeler and Summer Glau keep saying a big surprise is coming in ep. 1.07 and 1.08, given the more than blatant hints we had in ep. 1.03 (music box).

  • Data file 14 :


    We see the Tarot cards game. Fleming told Hicks at the end of ep. 1.06 : "You can tell your Masters, i won't use them again". But i don't think we're done with Tarot, given that there is 21 potential members we have not seen and i don't think the Masters won't like being treated this way. More, there is a strong possibility one of the existing characters is a member of Tarot or was or will be, maybe without knowing it him/herself (remember the 5 missing Cylons in BSG?).

  • Data file 15 :


    We see a coffin. This is foreshadowing ep. 1.07 The Lich, where a coffin is opened and a girl rise from the dead. See promo video.This episode has a supernatural vibe but we know there isn't any on The Cape. Just freaks of nature.

  • Data file 16 :


    We see Secretary of Prisons Patrick Portman. Owl Island must be within his jurisdiction.Btw why is it so important for Arc corporation to take over the prisons, besides the fact to make Palm City a police state?

    Now that we have listed all the data files, it's time to discuss the output data : Siren.

    The holo-computer scene is in ep. 1.02 but we have seen the word "siren" in the pilot. When orwell hacked Vince's computer, she showed him a video of Ark corporation and a document adressed to/titled SIREN, as seen on the screencap below. Is SIREN the recipient's name or the operation's name i don't know.



    If someone has a good sight and some time, he can try to decipher what's on these documents, in order to have a better idea of what SIREN is.
    The only thing i've hardly been able to decipher is the first two line (remember english is not my native language); it says imo:

    SUJECT-ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION IN ----------- AND
    RECOMMANDATIONS FOR ACTIONS (?) IN THE UNITED STATES.

    Based on the video, Orwell's comment and this words, SIREN concerns un-official military operations conducted in foreign countries by Ark, with the intention of applying them in the U.S.A. Are involved L-9 and Scales for the smuggling part.
    As you see, nothing that mysterious.

    My explanations may not be accurate or i might have missed something; feel free to give me your point of view.

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    Message edited by michelangelo - Saturday, 12 Feb 2011, 16:04
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    chrisdvanne_ Post # 6 | Saturday, 12 Feb 2011 - 22:35
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    On the pilot, when Vince went to Ark corporation to meet Peter Fleming, he saw a detailed video presentation of Ark activities in the entrance hall : on the screen, we can see an helicoptere, the Ark logo, Fleming meeting foreign militaries, road construction, a tank,... while an anonymous voice comments these activities : nothing but classical business video presentation.

    But if you take a look at the Ark logo, you see that the word ARK is mirrored horizontaly : this is a very commun way in movies to tell the audience that the company is double-sided. For those who don't buy the concept i have uploaded a picture of Spiderman 3, mirrored vertically this time (notice the comment on the poster ; the battle within). Now you see what i mean.

    Five minutes later, Vince is in front of his desk and Orwell hacks his computer. On the screen, we see an helicopter, the Ark logo, Ark troops conducting operations on foreign countries, L-9 ("officially doesn't exist", says Orwell)....while Orwell comments these activities : how can you not link this presentation of criminals activities with the presentation of business activities.

    My point is, Ark corporation has a double activity, just like Peter Fleming has a double identity. I'm tempted to make a parallel between Ark and Fleming: they both suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder.
    Does Fleming knows about the L-9 explosive (which we know is linked to Siren from my last post) ? One may ask the question because Chess was there everytime we had L-9 on screen. I'm tempted to say no he doesn't. Just like Scales doesn't know about Chess being Peter Fleming until Vince told him in episode four. (i wonder why Marty or Scales had never talk about that with Chess)
    As some fans have asked, where is the line between Fleming and Chess?
    Wheeler said on Collider : "We get to know Peter Fleming, as a character, and we come to realize that he is Chess, but Chess thinks he’s Chess". Episodes 9 to 11 were supposed to answer these questions, according to the sysnopsis and titles we know.


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    Message edited by michelangelo - Sunday, 13 Feb 2011, 20:01
     
    chrisdvanne_ Post # 7 | Wednesday, 16 Feb 2011 - 08:24
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    The Lich was heavily voodoo-cult-religion oriented. Thomas wheeler is familiar to them because it recall the atmosphere of Arcanum and particularly Marie Laveau's universe, the voodoo.

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    Summer-Glau.com Forum » Filmography » The Cape » Exclusive : The secrets plans of Thomas Wheeler revealed !
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