This coming Thursday is Appreciation Day, the day on which citizens in the Village show their appreciation for those who govern them so wisely, or was that last Thursday? I suppose it could be any Thursday, or indeed every Thursday, seeing as no actual date is given for Appreciation Day. All we know is that next Thursday is appreciation Day. Do you know that Appreciation day has much in common with Election Day here in the Village? After all both days are days the Village sees an out-going No.2 and a new No.2, although the techniques used, differ somewhat. In both cases citizens show their appreciation, or voting inclinations by use of placards. And both result in a new No.2 taking up office as Chairman of the Village and Chief Administrator.
Other episodes of ‘the Prisoner’ also share a common denominator, ‘Arrival’ for example shows the Prisoner arriving on his first day in the Village, and ‘Many Happy Returns’ also is a day of arrival for the Prisoner
The common denominator for four episodes would be No.2 himself, as two pairs of episodes have the same No.2. While ‘Arrival,’ ‘Hammer Into Anvil, and ‘Living In Harmony have suicide as the common denominator. Two of these being Cobb and 73 jumping from hospital windows, although technically Cobb’s suicide was staged. And of course the letters of Cobb are the initials of the second episode ‘Chimes of Big Ben.’
It is said we all have a doppelganger somewhere in the world, and that is what links the two episodes of ‘The Schizoid Man’ and ‘Fall Out,’ the Prisoner’s doppelgangers! It is said that to have one double is unfortunate, I wonder what they would say of having two?
‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ ‘Many Happy Returns,’ ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ and ‘The Girl Who was Death’ are all linked by the Colonel, also ‘Dance of the Dead’ as they are all linked by the Prisoner’s ex-colleagues! Indeed the girl whose name is Death, might have been linked with the man who would become Death, had the ‘Dance of the Dead’ ended as it had originally been intended!
‘Once Upon A Time’ is inseparable from ‘Fall Out’ the one being the prequel to the other. Although with ‘Fall Out’ there is also the case of having two former No.2’s making the link, not only to the prequel episode, but to that of one other, ‘The Girl Who was Death!’
‘Checkmate,’ what might that have in common with other episodes? Well chess for one thing, the game of chess featuring in three other episodes, ‘Arrival,’ ‘The Chimes of Big Ben, and ‘briefly in ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ finishing in an eleven move checkmate win by No.6. No.6 must be losing his touch, against the General it was mate in seven moves!
As well as chess, there is also the female doctor-No.22 in ‘Dance of the Dead,’ and her male counterpart No.40 in ‘Checkmate.’ Both doctors are similar in attitudes, both keen on human experimentation, and seem to feel nothing towards their patients. Also ‘Checkmate’ can be paralleled with ‘A Change of Mind,’ because the doctor-No.22 suggests that No.6 undergo a leucotomy to knock out the fontal lobes, thus taming his aggressive tendencies. While in ‘A Change of Mind’ No.86 actually performs leucotomies on hospital patients, and it is suggested that No.6 has undergone a leucotomy to isolate the aggressive frontal lobes.
Escape, we all crave escape from one thing or another. And so it is that escape links ‘Arrival,’ ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ ‘The Schizoid Man,’ ‘Many Happy Returns,’ and ‘Checkmate,’ five episodes in which No.6 attempts to escape the Village. Although I suppose ‘Fall Out’ could easily be added to that list, making it six. And in turn that makes the Prisoner six times a failure, as he never escaped. And yet victory for the Prisoner in his machinations against No.2 link a number of episodes, just as defeat for No.6 and victory link the remainder. It all depends on how things balance themselves out I suppose ‘The Schizoid Man’ for example, could be seen as a failure for both No.2 and No.6. No.6 failed to escape in the guise of Curtis, while No.2 failed to extract information from the Prisoner. And yet on the other hand, ‘The Schizoid Man’ could be seen as a victory for No.2, as he did manage to stop No.6 from escaping. And much the same can be said of ‘Arrival.’ There is a thin line between success and failure, and success can be measured in many ways. In a way it’s as No.2 said “You’ve never understood us Number Six, we never fail,” and in a way I suppose he was right. For as even in defeat, however less apparent it might be, there is a kind of victory however small. However having said that, outright failure does link together a number of episodes. ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ ‘A B and C,’ ‘The General,’ ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ ‘A Change of Mind,’ Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ ‘Living In Harmony,’ ‘The Girl Who was Death,’ ‘Once upon A Time,’ and finally ‘Fall Out.’
It is written that each episode of ‘the Prisoner, with perhaps the exceptions of ‘Once Upon A time’ and ‘Fall out’ can be viewed as a story in it’s own right. And yet each episode is inter-linked with each other in so many ways, as the links of a chain.
Be seeing you