The viewer of ‘the Prisoner’ is often asked to accept something without question, because much of the series will forever remain an unexplained puzzlement. The rest is open to questions and interpretations, that which have no specific definition or reason. Yet there is much we do understand about ‘the Prisoner series.’ And there are times in the series when we have to take certain things at face value, as in ‘Many Happy Returns’ for example. No.6 wakes up in what he sees as a deserted Village. Now it is quite inconceivable that everyone would have deserted The Village and simply leave Number 6 behind. So what does Number 6 do? Well he doesn't just sit about waiting for something to happen, no. He makes a search of The Village, to see if there is anyone about. But as it turns out, the only other creature sharing the Village with Number 6, is a black cat. Then Number 6 sets about construction of a Kon-Tiki style sea-going raft, from fallen trees and oil drums. He gathers his provisions, takes photographic evidence of The Village, and then puts to sea. He has no idea where he is sailing to, because he doesn't know where he is sailing from. Number 6 has set off sailing into the unknown, taking us with him! But just a minute, there’s the sound of breaking crockery, a broken tea cup and saucer are at the feet of the cat. The cat couldn’t have broken the cup and saucer, there had to be someone hiding behind the balustrade! But just at that moment we share Number 6’s disappointment that hope of escape has been dashed at the last moment. And yet share also his adulation at seeing only The Village cat!
From the moment Number 6 woke up in an apparently deserted
Village, he didn't question the situation. He never once thought that he should
just sit down and wait to see what happens next. Number 6 is a man of action,
and took what he saw as being the only way out of The Village. Such was his
desire to escape, to be free of The Village, that the dangers of the open sea
were far preferable to him.
If Number 6 can accept that The Village is deserted, then so can
we, the viewer. In fact he has drawn us into The Village, he has made Observers
of us all, watching as he chops down trees, empties oil drums, from which he
constructs his sea-going raft. But more than that, No.6 takes us along with him
on his epic sea voyage. And then back in time to witness his unceremonious
return to The Village.
Yet there is an episode in which we the viewers are a part of the
story as Number 2 and his assistant Number 10, and that is the story of ‘The Girl Who Was Death.’ Number 6 gives
nothing away, to either Number 2 or his Grandmother, and at the same time,
confesses nothing to the viewer, that's you and me. Because No.6 may have told
Number 2 and his assistant a blessed fairy tale, but he was telling the tale to
us as well. He drew the viewer into the story, who wanted to know as much as
Number 2 himself. And like Number 2, the viewer is just as frustrated
by Number 6. And if there is meaning by the gesture of the toy clown being
placed in front of the camera, aimed at Number 2. Is that also not also aimed
at the viewer?
Be seeing you