Second Only To One
Leo Mckern on first sight is a dramatic change from that of his two predecessors. Large and cheerful with a Goatee beard, his laugh seems to reverberate around the village. There is humour in his interviews with No.6, and seen the humour in No.6's deal with him to do some wood work for him! And at times he seems quite unconcerned as to why he is in the village.
However it is not long before this No.2 demonstrates certain strains of his previous counterparts, after Nadia Rakovski has arrived in the village who has been planted in the village. No.2 takes delight in bringing No.6 and No.8 together, and that delight seems to be extended in enjoying playing on No.8's fears as she is being interrogated at the hospital after her swim.
Soft and gentle is his apparent exterior, but inside there is a core of solid steel. He needs to know why No.6 resigned, but doesn't want him broken, he doesn't want him broken one piece at a time, a man of fragments! In one recorded report on No.6, No.2 states that No.6's humour is strong and unimpaired. I think the same could be said of No.2, who enjoys a rapport with No.6, which none of his contempories are able to forge. Not that they are supposed to of course, but then you know what human nature is.
Despite the need to know why no.6 resigned, this particular No.2 seems more concerned with seeing No.6 being to settle down, as he gently coerces No.6 into doing some woodwork for him. And don't be fooled, because when No.6 is carving the hull of his boat out of that tree trunk, No.2 is well aware of what No.6 is up to, and this he even finds humorous. If he cannot see that with his own eyes, then he has No.8 to keep him advised on the situation with No.6.
At the end, the plans fails and No.2 doesn't seem unduly surprised by the result. In fact he did tell Nadia. So this particular plan of The Chimes of Big Ben was not the idea of No.2 at all. At least he will not have to pay for this failure, "It was a good plan - you did your best. I'll stress it in my report" Nadia tells him. Perhaps that is the reason that this particular No.2 is later brought back to the village for a second bite of the cherry!
Rachel Herbert ranks as one of the nastier No.2's, she says at the end that they have means and ways, but they do not wish to damage No.6 permanently. However one gets the idea from her chilling words at the end that this No.2 would do physical and lasting harm to No.6 if she could get away with it. And remember, this new No.2's term of office has only just begun!
This No.2, like Nadia, has been planted in the village as a maid-No.58, with a photographic memory, of Eastern European extraction, who seems not to be able to speak one solitary word of English, but who isn't expected to be with them long, No.58 that is. But who at the end speaks perfect English and without the trace of a foreign accent. One could describe No.58 as being a master undercover agent, a brilliant actress and spy, for she was totally unsuspected and who was spying on No.6! She helps guide No.6 through the so called "Election Period," never far from his side, as in her guise as No.58 she takes No.6 to the Therapy Zone for a "real" drink, but who is drugged enough to see him through the election period. Yet the change over witnessed in the foyer of the Green Dome, is merely a pretence, and not one formed through any such village elections. The new, new No.2 wasn't elected at all. Well No.6 was, but not the new, new No.2 if you see what I mean.
This No.2 is a very astute and confident woman, who assures her predecessor that "All will be satisfactory in the end." She may not have uncovered the reason behind No.6's resignation, better briefed to break No.6's spirit "Will you never learn. This is only the beginning!" And so it was, because I remind that this was only the beginning of this No.2's term of office. What she might have planned for No.6 once he has recovered from his beating in that cave at the fists of the two mechanics doesn’t bear thinking about! Because this new, new No.2 has something of a sadistic streak, because it is she who attacks No.6 first. This in slapping No.6 several times, okay to bring him out of his drugged, and hypnotised state of mind, but who will be the first to say she did not enjoy slapping No.6 around?
Be seeing you