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Saturday, 6 September 2014

Many Unhappy Endings!

   Is there really such a thing as a happy ending? In ‘The Prisoner’ there is no such thing, and a prime example of that is the Prisoner himself. He resigns his job, is abducted to The Village where he is incarcerated for some 15 months. During that time he’s drugged on numerous occasions, kept heavily sedated. Put in dangerous scenarios. Undergoes mind conditioning. His identity is taken away from him and reduced to being a number. He’s brought face to face with himself, not once but twice. He endures a change of body. And is twice threatened with a leucotomy. He’s manipulated, physically beaten. Had his dreams invaded. His privacy taken away from him. Sentenced to death. Tricked, deceived, and betrayed by the very people he thought he could trust. And yet having survived all that and more, he’s just as much a prisoner at the end as he was at the beginning!
    Even Number 2 suffers. Yes some of them may leave The Village, although others have to pay the penalty for their failures. And I would tell you what that penalty is if I knew. Perhaps some find themselves co-opted onto the Town Council, those brainwashed imbeciles Number 6 confronts with his questions.
   The Village is projected as some kind of Shangri-la, a haven of peace and tranquillity. But for many ordinary citizens The Village is anything but. For a plant brought to The Village, Nadia Rakovsky, the Village comes as a shock. She didn’t think it would be like that. But at least she was able to leave, just like Cobb before her. But let us not forget, once in the grip of The Village it never lets go, just ask Number 2 of ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ and ‘ Once Upon A Time.’ He was once a prisoner, but he resisted for so short a time. I expect he thought that once his first term of office was over that would be it. But they needed him again, and being a good man he laid his life on the line for the cause……..and died for the cause. But even then his torment was prolonged, they couldn’t even let him rest in peace!
    Curtis was seconded to The Village because of his singular advantage, his uncanny likeness to Number 6, and that eventually cost Curtis his life.
    There was no happy ending for Madam Professor, left a widow, and forced to live out her days alone in The Village.
   Dance of the Dead. There’s an apt title for an episode if ever there was one. Poor old Roland Walter Dutton, he never had access to the “vital stuff,” he’d told that doctor-Number 40 all he knew. But the doctor wouldn’t listen when Dutton told him all he knew, he just pushed and pushed with his experiments to extract every little piece of information, and eventually tilted Dutton’s mind so that there was no coming back for him, his mind completely gone. I suppose it was much the same for those brainwashed imbeciles on the Town Council. And the “lobo” man, tamed through the leucotomy operation he was put through, to isolate the aggressive frontal lobes. And Number 8-the white Queen, another human experiment, her emotions tied in with the alarm system!
    Number 2 of ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ mentally he simply wasn’t up to the task. A broken man, destined to spend a great many days on the psychiatric wing of the hospital. And worse, Number 73 wasn’t at all happy in The Village, well she should never have been brought there. Twice attempted suicide, the one time she slashed both her wrists, and the other, she was successful by hurling herself through a hospital window. And the new Number 2 of ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ what can he hope for? He had failed, and after promising so much.
    The Colonel, like Curtis, had been seconded to The Village but didn’t know why. He said he was gratified, why did he feel gratified? He’d have been better off feeling afraid! Coming to The Village cost another man his life, and yet his body was free beyond the confines of The Village. There is a great deal of death in The Village, both Number 8 and 22 {of Living In Harmony} fell foul of the method used by Number 8. And it’s Number 2 who stands alone to face the consequences of this current attempt to extract information from Number 6.
   And then there’s Janet Portland. It could be said to lose a fiancé once would be a misfortune. But to lose him twice could be seen as downright carelessness! The question remains, did he return to Janet after ‘Fall Out, just for him to disappear a third time?
    I suppose you think Number 2 in ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ had it easy, after all, all he had to do was to get Number 6 to open up to children, when he wouldn’t even drop his guard with his own grandmother! Well that may have gone badly, but worse was to come for this Number Two. He was given the task of performing as Judge, while he resided over three trials, in trying to answer the question of revolt! But he lost control of the situation, and couldn’t recover it. Things got so bad that having lost contact with Control, he was forced to order the evacuation of The Village! More than that, he lost the rocket, he lost Number 1, and he allowed Number 6 to escape!
   And Number 6? As I said, he was just as much a prisoner at then end as he was at the beginning. Even if he was physically free of The Village, he would not be able to rest mentally. There would, I’m sure, still be a number of those nagging questions which he still wanted to find answers to. If not in London, then elsewhere!

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