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Friday, 19 September 2014

A Death In The Village!



    Death is not a word to be afraid of, it merely means the end of one thing, and the start of something else. Yet death features heavily within the 17 episodes of the 1960's television series the Prisoner, commencing with the possible death by suffocation of that young man in the central Piazza by that membranic Village Guardian. Then came the faked death of Cobb in ‘Arrival’ and his subsequent "staged" funeral. Cobb was supposed to have committed suicide by jumping out of a hospital window. If it had been real, Cobb might not have been the first, and certainly wouldn't be the last. As to follow him was a young woman, Number 73 in the first scene of Hammer Into Anvil, driven to suicide by the sadistic Number 2. And there was also the death of an old woman, Number 113 a month ago. ‘A B and C’ saw the threat to 'B' who feared that she was going to be killed, pleading with Number 6 to help her. But they dare not kill him! Well who dies in a dream?
    Number 12-Curtis fell foul of The Village Guardian in the episode of The Schizoid Man. Rover took against Curtis, possibly in the way he nervously gave the password "schizoid man." Curtis died, through suffocation by Rover.
    ‘The General’ saw two deaths, that of the Professor, and Number 12 who was trying to save him from electrocution, but who was also electrocuted to death in the attempt. Is there a case for three deaths I wonder? Could you count the self-destruction of the General as a death? Depends on how one looks at it I suppose!
     The episode ‘Dance of the Dead’ has death its basic plot, as the title might suggest. To begin with there's the body of a man washed up on the beach, the body of Number 34 discovered by Number 6. Death was caused possibly by drowning, suffocation, or a mixture of both in the form of the Village Guardian. The death of Number 34, who the Observer Number 240 had been watching, Number 6 who had been sentenced to death at his trial, and a termination order had been issued against Roland Walter Dutton! Not forgetting that originally the script called for everyone at the Ball in the evening to die. Everyone that is but Number 6, who might then himself have become death!
    The episode ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ a very apt title, seeing as it is about the assassination/execution of a retiring Number 2. Had this assassination/execution plot succeeded, then mass reprisals would have been taken out upon the innocent citizens of The Village. In other words a purge would have been carried out, and possibly mass deaths of innocent citizens into the bargain!
   ‘Living In Harmony’ saw the death of two people twice over, that of Number 8-the Kid, and Number 22-Cathy, to make nothing of the lynching of Johnson, Cathy's brother. The Kid shot down in the street, this after the Kid had strangled Cathy to death with his bare hands. Of course that was as with the lynching of Johnson, Cathy's brother, pure fantasy, although later Number 22 was strangled to death by the bare hands of Number 8, who then committed suicide, by throwing himself off a balcony so as to avoid the retribution of the Judge, or should that be Number 2? Oh yes, and there was the killing of Will, a rancher gunned down by the Kid in the Silver Dollar Saloon, and Jim, who wanted the stranger to help them clean up their town. And three of the judges men shot to death in the gunfight with The Man With No Name.
   ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ did her utmost to kill Mr. X, who foiled her at every turn, not so however Colonel Hawke-Englishe, who was murdered at the wicket by an exploding cricket ball! And then there were the deaths of all Napoleon's Marshals, caused by "backfiring" rifles. And what of the girl herself and her father, Professor Schnipps? Blown to bits, first by two German hand grenades, and then blown to atoms by the rocket built inside the lighthouse as itself explodes.
    The episode of ‘Once Upon A Time’ saw Number 2 attempting to make Number 6 kill him. But what if Number 6 had actually driven the tip of the foil into Number 2’s heart? He and the Butler would have been trapped in the Embryo Room with a dead body until the time lock released the door! Death visited Number 2, either through the drink, or driven to it by Number 6 and the stress of the situation. Either way Number 2 would have remained dead had it not been for the advent of ‘Fall Out,’ in which the “late” Number 2 was either resuscitated, or resurrected.
   ‘Fall Out’ of saw several deaths, mostly those of the armed security guards. No-one else apparently died in the violent and bloody revolution of ‘Fall Out.’ The only other deaths were those of Number 1, who presumably died somewhere, somehow sealed as he was in the nose cone of the rocket. Either burning up on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, or on impact with the ground, or into the sea. Along with a segment of The Village Guardian. I think we can include that, I think we can, because whatever it is, alien, or manufactured membrane, it is a living thing! Death is much a part of life as life itself, Media vita in morte sumus - In the midst of life we are in death, as it is in ‘the Prisoner.’

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