There Is Always A Question
When exactly did Mrs. Butterworth arrive in the village? On the morning of the Prisoner's happy return perhaps. Ah, but was she in office on the morning No.6 rose from his bed to find the village deserted? If she wasn't the No.2 in residence, then she must surely have been briefed as to what Many happy Returns was all about. Because she was ensconced in No.6's house and in possession of his Lotus 7 by the time No.6 returned home.
It seems unlikely that one particular No.2 would oversee the supposedly deserted village, and No.6's planned escape only for a new No.2 to become as involved and so hands-on as Mrs. Butterworth. In the way she sees No.6's happy return to the village. If this is the case, then it is the first and last time it has happened, in that to which we are privy. Perhaps on this occasion the events in the village were being conducted from
! London before Mrs Butterworth's arrival as the new No.2
Many Happy Returns
Sees No.6 attempting to solve perhaps the greatest mystery, the location of the village. Well we saw the after effects of that didn't we. All No.6 achieved was to see his enforced return to the village he so longs to wipe off the face of the earth, to obliterate it and No.2 with it!
But with the episode of Many happy Returns, is there not a far greater mystery, that of the supposedly deserted village, or indeed did the citizens actually go anywhere? For myself I don't think anyone, save for No.6, went anywhere, but stayed where they are. The ordinary citizens drugged in their sleep as they so often are.
But it must have happened very suddenly, because it can be observed, as No.6 approaches the cafe on the morning of Many Happy Returns, that the outside tables have not been cleared. Cups and saucers, tea and coffee pots litter the tables from the previous days customers. And the cafe itself is closed.
And the way that cup and saucer was supposedly smashed by the village's black cat. In that lies a mystery, and the possibility that someone, unseen to both the viewer and No.6, had smashed that cup and saucer, and was hiding behind the white balustrade of the lawn to the old people's home. And writing of broken cups and saucers. In the past it was thought that the balding and be-spectacled man sat behind the desk in the opening sequence of the Prisoner had two saucers under his cup, which was upset when the Prisoner brought his fist down hard upon the desk. Only it wasn't two saucers at all, it was cup, saucer and a tea plate upon which would have been the man's biscuits. Proper biscuits of course, the ones with the cream inside!
You see, there are three kinds of mysteries within the Prisoner ones which are easily explained away. Ones which are important for No.6 to solve, like the location of the village, and the kind we can puzzle over, speculate and interpret to our own satisfaction.