Under Surveillance – “She’s One of Our Best Observers”
When does an Observer herself become the observed, or rather who observes the observers?
In Dance of the Dead Number 240, who is one of the village’s best Observers, allows herself to be followed to the Town Hall by Number 6, which is strange, she being his observer!
"Observers of life should never get involved" Number 2 tells us, well certainly that can be said of Number 240, she gets to know those she is assigned to observe, but they don't get to know here, and being an observer she and her like can never get involved, otherwise they fail in their objective if they become known as observers to other citizens, they would shun her and her kind, surely.
So exactly who is watching who? Well the observers watch the more fractious citizens, like Number 6, and in the Control Room there is the big stainless steel electronic eye which orbits the Control Room and who so ever is behind that keeps an eye on Control Room personnel. The all seeing eye of Number 1!
And just how good are these observers, well if they were any good at all Number 6 for example would not be allowed to get away with half the things he does;
Pouring away a cup of drugged tea in A Change of Mind into a flower pot.
Number Six took a length of rope and life belt from the stone boat during Dance of the Dead. Being able to follow the doctor-Number 14 and then entering the laboratory in A B and C
In Checkmate the stealing of a surveillance camera by the Rook, and electrical equipment and a screwdriver form the electrics truck, not to mention Number 6 stealing an aerial off one of the taxis!
But then in Hammer Into Anvil Number 6 knows he is being observed and turns that to his advantage, as well as Number 2's paranoia!
Being under surveillance, one does tend to forget the cameras are there and act naturally. Also they make one act accordingly all the time if one knows one is constantly under surveillance, peoples behaviour changes. The trick is to know when and when not one is actually under surveillance and when one is not.
Observers of Life Should Never Get Involved
So with the observers busy watching the more fractious children, as No.2 in Dance of the Dead puts it, which means not every citizen has his or her own personal observer, who is it then who observes the observers themselves?
In the control room there is a round steel shell which orbits the Control Room. Inside is a closed circuit camera, it also has what appears to be, steel eyelids, as indeed does the steel closed circuit cameras housed in the blue steel of the No.1 rocket in Fall Out. So I think it's safe to say that it is No.1 who is keeping an open surveillance eye on the observers, the Supervisor and all Control Room personnel. Just as he was watching the proceedings of the three trials during Fall Out.
So its a case of the observers becoming the observed, a demonstration that no one is beyond surveillance. So with that thinking, had No.1 actually seen for himself just what No.6 was up to during the episode of Hammer Into Anvil? If he did, then he was simply throwing No.2 to the wolves, such was the weak link in the chain of command just waiting to be broken. A test which No.6 passed with flying colours, I should imagine, from No.1's position, and who would have been very happy with the result. If it is as I imagine, the Prisoner being a series of tests for No.6 to pass. And if No.2 of Hammer Into Anvil was actually Thorpe of Many Happy Returns, he wasn't as strong as he might have imagined himself to be, mentally that is. And if that were the case, then No.6 actually knew who this particular No.2 is.... Thorpe, an ex-colleague who treated him with scorn and contempt as he sat listening to his ex-colleagues report along with the Colonel.
Thorpe then having heard this story about the village from his ex-colleague, might, just might have done some digging of his own. Perhaps through this, his position and knowledge of his ex-colleague No.6, he would be the ideal man to break No.6 once and for all. He would really enjoy that I should imagine, just as No.14 would enjoy 'dusting No.6 down!'