You know, well no you don’t know, I am constantly being surprised by the way people see ‘the Prisoner.’ In an email from a friend who described ‘the Prisoner’ as a 17 piece puzzle. Now we all know that ‘the Prisoner’ is a conundrum, enigmatic, a puzzlement, but this is the first time in all my years of appreciation for ‘the Prisoner’ that anyone has called it a 17 piece puzzle, but it is an apt description.
Well that’s hardly a break through I hear you scream, we know ‘the Prisoner’ is a puzzlement, but what’s the answer? Well that is for each and everyone of us to arrive at, after all ‘the Prisoner’ means what it is, and not what we strive to make it. Number 2 once wrote on a blackboard find missing link, I suppose that would be the reason behind the Prisoner’s resignation. But that cat won’t jump anymore, because we know why the Prisoner resigned, “for peace of mind, because too many people know too much.” And what does that tell us? It tells us that the Prisoner had a conscience. Well having discovered the missing link, what do we do now? Put it together, well that’s all well and good, but how do you put the 17 piece puzzle called ‘the Prisoner’ together, when so many of the pieces are missing? Like the Prisoner’s name for instance, the job he resigned from. Why did he refuse to kill? Were both the Colonel and Fotheringay really traitors? Who was Nadia Rakovsky going to report to? Not the Colonel, he was all too aware of how things went during the chimes of Big Ben! Exactly what is the Village Guardian? Which side runs the Village? It’s run by one side or the other, perhaps both! Whose side is the Prisoner on? He says he’s on the side of the Village, but seeing as we cannot be too sure which side that is……possibly that of the British, or both. And yet the Village is an International community, a blueprint for world order, we can clearly see the problem!
The only way open to any of us, which gives us a chance of “putting it together,” can be through interpretation, speculation, and theorisation. And that can lead one down so many different avenues, making it so easy to get lost that you lose the train of thought you were following in the first place. However neither speculation and interpretation makes for the perfect scenario. Speculation is not fact, and how are we to know that what we interpret is the correct interpretation? More than that ‘the Prisoner’ can be interpreted in so many ways, Patrick McGoohan himself said a much, “That one thousand people can interpret the series in one thousand separate ways, and each one would be right,” or words to that effect. So that leaves us with theorisation, again one can theorise as much as one wishes, but that gets us nowhere. What’s more, the deeper one delves into ‘the Prisoner,‘ the more complicated it becomes. In order to “put it together,” one must have the facts.
We know that a man resigns his job for peace of mind, because too many people know too much! There is the Village where people turn up, people who have a certain kind of knowledge inside their heads which is of great value to one side or the other. People in the Village are there to either have that knowledge extracted, or protected. That everyone is a number. That there is no escape. And even with the basic facts, there is no-way that one can put it together, for there is much we cannot possibly know.
Perhaps I am looking at it from the wrong angle. Perhaps the puzzle has already been put together, perhaps not to our own personal liking, in the 17 episodes that go to make up ‘the Prisoner.’ That we as television viewers, and as fans of the ‘Prisoner,’ try too hard to dissect the series first, and then attempt to put it together again in order to make sense of it all, something which all the Kings horses and all the Kings men could not do!
Oh I am fully aware that I am one of the worst for theorising, interpreting, analysing, and scrutinising ’the Prisoner’ to death. But you see it has become my lot in life to do so, as anyone who reads my ‘Prisoner’ blog will tell you. And yet I assure you that you and I are not alone, there are plenty of fans of ‘the Prisoner’ the world over who are doing just the same. Individuals who like me, are fascinated by the television series created by one Patrick McGoohan.
Be seeing you