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Saturday 21 June 2014

Prismatic Reflection

    The subject for this article concerns itself with the effectiveness of Number 2. Which of the Number 2’s was the most effective? To be able to answer that question depends on his or her remit at the time. Take Number 2 of ‘Arrival.’ Yes he did carry out the de-briefing of the Prisoner, although the only information he got was the time of his birth, and they probably knew that anyway. He briefed the Prisoner on The Village, and yet failed to extract any information through either a de-briefing session or via the maid Number 66. There was never any pressure on this Number 2, and really the attempt at extracting information did seem somewhat half hearted. So perhaps that part was not in his remit, only to welcome and brief the Prisoner on The Village, in this he was successful. It might be thought that his successor would have gone about it is a very different way. And yet the new Number 2 didn’t even attempt to extract any information from the Prisoner whatsoever. He threatened that if he didn’t give them what they wanted, they would take it. Then he assigned Number 9 to Six, just as she had been assigned to Cobb. But even then there was never any talk about any sort of information, just of escape! And so it was that the new Number 2 successfully demonstrated to the Prisoner that escape is not possible. So confident of that, that he let the Prisoner keep the Electro Pass. So in this respect Number 2 was successful.
    The next Number 2 seemed to be set slightly apart from the plan to extract the reason behind the Prisoner’s resignation, perhaps because he could see they were using the wrong approach. Yes he was there to see that the planned escape of Number 6 and Nadia went smoothly, in fact at times he seemed to be enjoying himself. But other than that Number 2 was never directly involved with the plan, he administrated it. He saw to it that Number 8 becomes vulnerable in the eyes of Number 6, so that he would take her under his wing. And when the escape plan was put into operation, once Number 6 knew where The Village is, Number 2 saw to it that Number 6 was not hampered in that plan. And so once again Number 2 was effective because he fulfilled his part of that plan.
    Number 2 of ‘A B and C’ however was not so effective, perhaps because he was being put under pressure by Number 1. Well he shouldn’t have spent so much time researching and computing the Prisoner’s whole life, and he would have had more than three days left. Also he should have been paying better attention to what the doctor Number 14 was doing. Then he might have seen what she had seen on the wall screen, herself! But at least this No.2 discovered two things. Firstly that the Prisoner was not selling out, and secondly he really was going on holiday!
    Is The Village such a pocket democracy as is claimed? Whether it is or not, the election process features heavily in ‘Free For All.’ Number 2’s remit is to get Number 6 interested in local elections. Persuade him that he’s just the sort of candidate the community needs. Suggest that with Number 2 having such a unanimous majority, that it’s bad for morale. That people don’t appreciate the value of free elections. In fact get Number 6 elected as the new Number 2. Well Number 2 carried out his remit to the letter, and as it happens without damaging the tissue. So in this regard Number 2 was very effective. He’d done his job and so set himself to leave The Village, to return to the homeland.
   The new Number 2, the former Number 58 {because Number 6 was never the new Number 2} did have to bruise the tissue slightly as Number 6 was being restrained. How effective this Number 2 is, is difficult to gauge, seeing as we see so little of her towards the end of the episode. However she did play her part effectively during the election period. No-one guessed that she was the real new Number 2.
    ‘The Schizoid Man,’ well it never was Number 2’s idea in the first place. Nor did he resist the idea, well bearing in mind it’s origin, no he didn’t, and neither did Curtis if it comes to that. Number 2 was effective in the fact that he did achieve his remit. Curtis was able to impersonate Number 6, to take away his sense of reality. And at the end, despite Number 6 attempting to turn the tables on Number 2, he was able to prevent his escaping The Village. Nevertheless Number 2 failed to achieve the goal set out. That is to break Number 6, and attain the reason behind his resignation.
    ‘Many Happy Returns’ is an unusual episode as there is no Number 2 in The Village, or at the very least we do not see a Number 2 not until much later. Number 6 is allowed to escape The Village, and actually manages to make it all the way home to England, and his home in the City of Westminster. But it’s all a put up job, as Number 2 Mrs Butterworth {although we do not know it at the time} is living in the Prisoner’s house. When we finally get to see Number 2 in The Village, we cannot be sure if she is a new Number 2, or was actually in The Village at the time of Number 6’s escape. The lesson here is to show Number 6 that if escape is possible, then no matter where he goes, there is nowhere that “they” cannot find him, and bring him back to The Village. Seeing as Mrs Butterworth is the only 2 we see in this episode I can only say that she was effective in the part that she played.
    ‘Dance of the Dead,’ possibly the darkest ordeal which the Prisoner was put through. Number 2, like her administration, is efficient. Although I have never quite understood what was achieved by this episode, unless it was to try and break the Prisoner’s spirit. To show him the folly of his ways. Seeing as the Prisoner is new to The Village, that his wild spirit will quieten, and the foolishness will fall away to reveal a model citizen. If that day does not dawn, then it will be made very uncomfortable for him! No.6 said to Number 2 “You’ll never win.” but judging by the way the teleprinter suddenly burst into life after having had the guts of the machine ripped out, to me that demonstrates that the canvas shoe is definitely on the other foot!
    A “checkmate” win for Number 2 I think! It is clear that Number 2 is a very effective administrator. He allows Number 6 to carry on with whatever he is doing, because he wants the doctor’s new gadget to have a proper test. He doesn’t even panic when Number 6 and his men go calling on him, and tie him up. After all there was never any danger of Number 6 and his reliable men of escaping. Not when he had M. S. Polotska in his back pocket so to speak.
    Since when does Number 2 take leave from The Village? And since when does a Number 2 actually retire? I suppose one who has done sterling work for both the good of the people and the community of The Village. Amongst his numerous achievements, is the electrification of the clocks. The new mural in the library. The golf course, and new café facilities. As well as the clock golf, and the new Blue Zone in the post. Hence the ACHIEVEMENT monument dedicated to Number 2, for his achievements. I know that the community is easily manipulated. We saw that during the local election period. But for myself, I like to take some things at face value, and Number 2’s achievements is one of them.
    You will observe that there are a number of Number 2’s missing from this article, that is because they failed in their instructions for one reason or another. And therefore their effectiveness being ineffective, fruitless, futile, and completely unproductive. And yet, even though a number of Number 2’s did fail time and time again in ‘The Schizoid Man,’ ‘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 yes ‘Fall Out.’ the fact of the matter is Number 6 is still in The Village!
   As for Number 2 of ‘Arrival,’ ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ and ‘A B and C,’ I place them in a list all of their own, because there are certain reservations about the four of them, which depends on their instructions from Number 1. As they either achieved something, or that any such failure could not be wholly attributed to Number 2, the blame lying elsewhere, and with others!
   So out of the Number 2’s remaining, of ‘Free For All,‘ ‘Many Happy Returns,’ Dance of The Dead,‘ and Checkmate,‘ which of them was the most effective against Number 6? For my money it has to be Number 2 -Mrs Butterworth, and perhaps it is the most difficult choice to make. Why? Well it stems from the morning Number 6 woke up to find The Village deserted. Even at that point there had to be a Number 2 in The Village, even though the Green Dome was unoccupied by any such person at the time. To have Mrs Butterworth as the most effective Number 2 would mean that she was in The Village the morning Number 6 found it deserted until he eventually put to sea aboard his raft. She then left for London to take up residence in No.1 Buckingham Place in time for the Prisoner’s return home.
    And then there’s the cat to consider. We first see the cat in ‘Many Happy Returns,’ but Number 2 tells Number 6 in the following episode ‘Dance of the Dead, that the cat is hers. So is this Number 2 in The Village the day Number 6 wakes up to find the place deserted? Clearly it is impossible to say. And if she is, why bring Mrs Butterworth to The Village as Number 2? For arguments sake, and for my own personal clarity of mind, I have to think Mrs Butterworth-Number 2 is responsible for ‘Many Happy Returns,’ and so the most effective Number 2. She allowed Number 6 time to build his sea-going raft, and in however long that was, a day, two days, she maintained a manipulation of the community, by sedation. She allowed Number 6 to escape The Village, seeing that his safety was guarded by two supposed gunrunners aboard M. S. Polotska. She was there when the Prisoner returned home. She fed and watered him. Saw to it he was washed, shaved, and given a suit of clothes before sending him on his way. And in the end, saw to it that Number 6 was happily returned home to The Village. In this Number 2-Mrs Butterworth demonstrated that no matter what, it was the easiest thing in the world to bring him back to The Village. And not forgetting that the cat came too, when Number 2 arrived at ‘6 Private’ to present Number 6 with the cake!
   And yet having just typed that, there is one other Number 2 to be considered for his effectiveness. That of the retiring Number 2, who in his time may not have had any direct dealings with Number 6, but was never the less an industrious Number 2, in having carried out sterling work for the people and the community of The Village.
   So two very effective Number 2’s for two very different reasons. Such is my personal choice. But without a doubt readers of this article will have their own ideas as to who is the most effective Number 2.

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