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Tuesday 20 December 2011

The Therapy Zone

“I’m Going To Escape And Come Back!”

    Yes No.6 seemed only too keen to escape during The Chimes of Big Ben, only to hurry back, if only to wipe this place of the face of the earth, obliterate it and No.2 with it! True, upon his arrival in the village the Prisoner did demonstrate the accepted behaviour patterns, and tried to escape not once, but twice and then again during The Chimes of Big Ben. Yet for a Prisoner who is as keen as mustard to escape the confines of the village, No.6 had a limited amount of escape attempts. I haven't counted the episode of Free For All because in truth this was not an escape attempt. No.6 had wanted to conduct a mass break-out once he had been successfully elected to the position of No.2. Yet they had been onto this as early as the time No.6 underwent the truth test in the Labour Exchange managers office.
   The Schizoid Man was next, and something of an opportune escape attempt which failed because he had not known that Susan, Curtis's wife had actually died a year ago. Well there was no way No.6 could have known that, was there? But then two episodes on we come to Many Happy Returns and a golden opportunity to escape, but not by road or trackway. Nor by the mountains, too high and with no visible sign of a pass through them, although in the episode No.6 is looking down upon the mountains! No the only way is to escape seems to be by sea. The village being apparently deserted gave No.6 the time he needed to construct his sea going raft, to take photographic evidence of the village before setting sail. He didn't seem to feel the inclination to just sit down and wait, he didn't think this could be anything other than the golden opportunity that he had been waiting for. Well No.6 hadn't banked on Mrs Butterworth had he? Nor upon his untimely return to the village, such is the predictability of the Prisoner. They, the authorities of the village knew that if No.6 ever escaped he would instantly go running back to his ex-colleagues, that he would want to find the location of the village for himself. After all he had sworn to escape and come back.......!
    Then came the episode of Checkmate, only this time No.6 has chosen some reliable men to aid him in an attempted escape. But then could his reliable men actually trust No.6? It was a good plan and one which might have worked had it not been for No.58 who put No.6 to his own test, and got it utterly and completely wrong! And this was the last escape attempt to be made by No.6, until that of Fall Out, but even then the Prisoner hadn't escaped. He is still as much a prisoner as ever he was.
    As for the remainder of No.6's time in the village. Well that was spent mainly poking his nose into things and places it had no business. At one time he even saved the citizens from mass reprisals by his intervention of the assassination/execution plot. So No.6 did care, No.2 of Once Upon A Time asked No.6 "Why do you care?" and No.6 replied "You'll never know!"
    Whether or not No. 6 ever carried out other escape attempts we shall never know. Well he was a citizen of the village for well in excess of 12 months, and what we see during the 17 episode period is but a fraction of that which we do not.

I'll be seeing you


  1. Hello David

    Perhaps it was not just to escape 'The Village' that was revealed, in the 'truth test' but No.6 desire to 'escape' the confines of society, as hinted by his choice of tropical isolation for his holiday.

    This could even be reflected in McGoohan's choice of television as he often said he chose television 'to pay the bills' and still later that ' one has to work in order to do the things one wants'. Here the 'escape' would have been from television to the long held ambition of writing and directing film.

    Judging from Mr. Bernie Williams description of Mr. McGoohan's and his experience with the studio system in Hollywood that 'freedom' was indeed a 'myth'.


    Mr. Anonymous

  2. Hello Mister Anonymous,

    One does have to work to "pay the bills" and to gain money so that you can do the things you want to do. But one cannot escape the confines of society, unless of course one becomes a tramp, a hermit, or finds a desert Island to live on.
    Regarding the 'escape' from television to writing and film direction, I'm not so sure that McGoohan was any freer than he was doing television work.
    I understand that after moving to America he eventually bought a house and had a high wall built around it to keep his privacy from prying eyes. Also McGoohan wouldn't play the Hollywood game.
    When I think of what McGoohan might have been, because of his drive, his determination, and his acting ability, able to write and direct.....I cannot help but think McGoohan made some strange decisions in his working life. Certainly his choice of latter days films to work on were strange to say the least. I can count on one hand the films I remember Patrick McGoohan for, but really I remember him for his British television work.
    No, I think even when Patrick McGoohan moved to America he was still as much a 'Prisoner' as ever he was, and I'm not talking about the television series, but of the man himself. Patrick McGoohan could have gone on to be a great actor, even film director. But he didn't play the game, because he didn't accept the Hollywood way of things.