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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Arrival

    ‘The Prisoner as a series contains many iconic lines, however ‘Arrival’ has two such lines, “I will not be pushed, stamped, filed, indexed, briefed, de-briefed or numbered. My life is my own.” Well it may come as a bit of a shock to some, but by the time the Prisoner-Number 6 has been ensconced in The Village he has most definitely been pushed, stamped, filed, indexed, briefed, de-briefed and numbered, and as for his life, its no longer his own, no matter how much he doth protest! There is also the famous line “I am not a number, I am a free man,” that may have been the case in the outside world, then again I’m not so sure that’s true. What about his code number ZM73, and he must have felt like being a prisoner of his job, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone and resigned the way he did. But in any case, he’s in a prison now, The Village, he’s both a number, and no longer a free man, again as much as the man doth protest. Later in the series Number 6 refines the line “I am not a number, I am a free man,’ to “I am not a number, I am a person,” meaning he is an individual. By the end of the series Number 6 will have vindicated the right of the individual to be individual!
    As the episode progresses we the viewer are shown an advanced surveillance system, well advanced for the time. As well as another Village security system, which appears at times to be independent, while quite unbelievable, the membranic Guardian. Apparently it’s called Rover, well what else would you call a guard dog? No offence Rover! The Guardian appears alien to this world, yet was probably born genetically, engineered by bio-chemists in one of the laboratories, developed for The Village, or in The Village for some security company in the outside world?

   The scene with the maid-Number 66 is the first lesson that shows Number 6 cannot trust women in The Village, later in the series, even the four-legged variety. However the Prisoner soon sees through the maid’s attempted deception. Later the opportunity for escape comes through Number 9, a woman who gives Number 6 an Electro Pass, which synchronises with the alarm system. Another piece of Village security equipment. She came by the device because she knew the last pilot. She refuses to escape with Number 6, because she never intended to, not without Cobb. Number 9 is yet another lesson that women in The Village cannot be trusted. And yet, she is but a pawn, used by Number 2 in a game against Number 6, and it may not be wondered that this was the first time, seeing as she had been assigned to Cobb in the same way. And how many times before?
   The Prisoner’s first escape attempt is one “off the cuff,” a spur of the moment thing. He over-powers two Guardians {human guardians} in a Mini-Moke, then dives off along the beach. However the Prisoner does not get so far before he is overpowered by the white membranic Guardian. This scene will be played out once more in ‘Free For All,’ instead of two Guardians, two motor mechanics. The Mini-Moke, for a jet boat, and water for land!
   The Village is Italianate, one could be almost anywhere. It’s Wonderland, surreal, just look at the guy at the hospital wearing the Prisoner’s suit of clothes. Cobb’s funeral has been faked, seemingly for the Prisoner’s benefit. But to what gain? There seems no gain to begin with. Yet Number 2 must bring Number 6 and Number 9 together, and what could be more natural for two people who once knew Cobb to grieve at his funeral. But before that, Number 6 is discharged from the hospital, and as soon as he can, storms off to have it out with Number 2 about Cobb’s death. The only trouble is Number 2 has been replaced. We do not know why, but it is a clever trick which makes Number 6 have to begin all over again with a new Number 2!
   The first Number 2 was a gentleman, but business like, he even said that it might be possible for Number 6 to be given a position of authority. That position came, if ever so briefly in ‘Free For All.’ The new Number 2 wants to find out where Number 2’s sympathies lie, although he himself is less than sympathetic towards Number 6. He goes on to describe a man who is unlikely to walk out. But Number 6 didn’t walk out, he resigned! Get Number 1 the Prisoner demands of Number 2, but as far as Number 6 is concerned, Number 2 is in charge! But Number 6 isn’t to be so curtly given the brush-off. He persists about Cobb. But unbeknown to the Prisoner, Cobb isn’t dead. He’s preparing to leave The Village, well he mustn’t keep his new masters waiting.
   It is an interesting point that Number 9’s badge contains an inverted 6, a numbered badge which Number 6 only wears on two occasions in the entire series.
   Finally Number 6 attempts to escape by helicopter. However he is to be frustrated, as this is an ingenious plan on the part of Number 2, to demonstrate to Number 6 that escape is not possible. Also another piece of Village technology is demonstrated, the flying of the helicopter via remote control, the helicopter being effectively “pilot less,” flown by an operative in the Control Room. This technology is used today by the military as “pilot less drones” are flown remotely by operatives from a Control Room.
  So the Prisoner has learned two lessons in ‘Arrival. Firstly there is no-one in The Village he can trust in any circumstance. And that anyone who can be trusted, has to be an enemy! Secondly, attempting to escape is a pointless exercise. But that will not stop him from trying again!

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