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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Prismatic Reflection

    The Prisoner, is all things to all men, to everyman in fact, and women of course, because women are also amongst the many fans of the series. But what is ‘the Prisoner?’ A remarkable television series, a work of art? An action adventure series about a spy who resigns his job? An allegory? A parable? A conundrum? The truth of the matter is ‘the Prisoner’ is all these things, and possibly more, I suppose it all depends on one’s perspective. With ‘the Prisoner’ Pat McGoohan is entertaining us, telling a story, and yet at the same time, he’s giving us a message through social commentary. The warning of how Britain, or the world will become, a global Village, an International community, the Village being the blueprint for world order. Certainly Britain is the worst country in the world for surveillance coverage, that prediction has come true. He was also telling us not to simply accept things as they are, but to question. To speak out when we see something wrong is happening. Through ‘the Prisoner McGoohan shows us a man in isolation, taken from his world, and put in an alien environment, who rebels against his confinement, his only desire is for escape. He is the individual against society. But the community must live, but so too the individual, and society is made up of such individuals.
   As a story ‘the Prisoner’ makes good entertainment, even though there are certain aspects of the story Pat McGoohan left out, like the Prisoner’s name, what he did for a living before he went and resigned. We do not get the full story, because we never see, will never know, what happens between the episodes. After all the New No.2 of ‘Free For All’ has only begun her term of office at the end of the episode, and then the next thing the viewer sees is No.2 of ‘The Schizoid Man’. ‘The Prisoner’ at times, is rather like a letter, it can be as much fun reading between the episodes of the series, as it can be between the lines of a letter.
   ‘The Prisoner’ is a conundrum, you have to “put it together” yourself, like putting the pieces of a jigsaw together for it to make any sense, the only trouble is, we are not given all the pieces! As an allegory, the events depicted in ‘the Prisoner’ are used to convey a deeper meaning, a moral, perhaps a spiritual meaning. And there’s symbolism, especially in Number Six’s abstract sculpture, the symbol of human aspirations, knowledge, freedom, escape, but why the crosspiece? Symbolic of the cross, or the simple fact that Number Six needed a spar from which to hang the sail of his boat, which would be the realistic way of looking at it, because there must also be realism as well as symbolism. The scene when No.6 is explaining his abstract sculpture to the Awards Committee, is one of my favourite scene in the series. Because it demonstrates No.6’s ability to think on his feet. I wouldn’t think for a moment that No.6 had all that about the church door, and the other piece, on the same general lines, although somewhat more abstract, representing freedom of a barrier, depending on how you look at it, readily prepared. It’s more off the cuff in my opinion. And the abstract sculpture really the kit form for a boat. But then building something from a kit would be nothing new to the Prisoner, after all he built his Lotus 7 with his own hands. He knew every nut, bolt, and cog, and that at least shows the Prisoner is mechanically minded. And being good with his hands, allowed him to build that Kon-Tiki style raft in ‘Many Happy Returns.’ But as anyone who has been to Portmeirion will know, the tide can go out for days and not return, depending on the time of year. So what if that had been the case while filming ‘Many Happy Returns?’ If the tide was out, what price escape for No.6 then? Perhaps instead of a raft, he could have used the Mini-Moke {Village taxi} loaded with extra cans of petrol, stocked with provisions, to escape across the estuary and beyond in the Mini-Moke! If that had been the case, that “they” had expected No.6 to escape, by Village taxi, then the building of the Sea-going raft would have caused a bit of a delay in matters, don’t you think? 

 I’ll be seeing you            

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