Search This Blog

Saturday 27 September 2014

The Prisoner – The Worst of Ordeal!

    Seventeen ordeals to go through, as Number 6 is put to the test. From his arrival to his eventual fall out, and at the end he’s no better off then as he was at the beginning. And yet he appears to have come through his ordeal pretty much intact and secure, despite still being a prisoner. Because if Number 6 realised anything, he should have realised that even after leaving The Village, its influence persists, just ask Number 2.
    So which out of the seventeen tests was the worst ordeal for Number 6 ‘Arrival?’ It couldn’t have been very pleasant for the Prisoner to be abducted from his home and everything he knows, to wake up in an alien environment, picturesque as it might be. He tried to escape twice, and found it impossible, because escape from The Village is not possible. He’s tricked, fooled, and betrayed, all in just over a day, depending on the time of his arrival in The Village. He has an uncomfortable encounter with The Village Guardian, he finds it altogether too suffocating an experience. But generally nothing actually harmful befalls Number 6. He’s simply gone through a number of unpleasant experiences.
    During ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ Number 6 appears to be very much at home. He even explains certain workings of The Village to a new arrival, in order that she might not have to go through the type of morning he had to go through on the day of his arrival. Because of a plant, Number 6 embarks on a daring escape plan which will see him undertake a twelve hour journey back to
London. All being well, he and Nadia will arrive in an office Number 6 knows very well. But all is not at all well. Number 6 in his desperation to escape has allowed himself to be hoodwinked, by a supposed damsel in distress. All that time and effort wasted in forming a plan of escape. Creating pieces of sculpture which when put together make a boat, a boat which doesn’t look at all seaworthy when they first put to sea. Poor old Number 6, he thinks he’s on a journey back to his world, when in fact it’s only a short trip back to The Village. But Number 6 doesn’t know that. He’s timing the journey to make sure it tallies, which of course it does. Again Number 6 has been betrayed but not just by a woman, but by his old colleagues the Colonel and Fotheringay. No physical harm has befallen the Prisoner, only both time and effort have been wasted on both sides. And yet surely The Prisoner must have suffered some mental anguish, to realise that it’s his own side has had dealings with his incarceration in The Village, and betray him they way they did.
    ‘A B and C’ this time Number 2 means business! And through the use of a doctor and her new “wonder” drug they are able to enter the subconscious mind of Number 6 by inception. Not only to enter the subconscious, but to manipulate his dreams. And yet he is able to outwit Number 2s machinations, besides the doctor didn’t report Number 6 opening his eyes and seeing her in the laboratory. This gave Number 6 an edge, and when he discovered what had been happening, he was able to dilute the third dose of the drug. By this means he was able to manipulate his third dream, and turn the tables on Number 2. Number 6s dreams had been invaded, and yet no real harm had befallen him.
    Quite by chance Number 6 is just the sort of candidate The Village needs! He is to stand for election as the new Number 2. Well he might as well, seeing as he’s nothing better to do with his time. During the election of ‘Free For All’ Number 6 is drugged, and is put through a mind conditioning process. But luckily for him the tissue must not be damaged, meaning the brain tissue. And apart from a few bruises to the tissue, when the two motor mechanics extract their revenge upon Number 6, he comes out of it, beaten, but essentially intact.
     In ‘The Schizoid Man’ they take away Number 6’s identity, which as it happens it the only identity the man has, seeing as they had already taken away his name. They gave him a new identity, Number 12, force feed him drugs, brainwash him and condition him to be left-handed instead of right. Then they face him with himself, Number 6. The man’s in a right mess this time, he doesn’t know who he is, and being betrayed by Number 24 didn’t help. Then again if it had not been for the Polaroid picture taken of Number 6 by Number 24, the plan may very well have succeeded.
   ‘The General.’ Perhaps not so much an ordeal for Number 6 in the true sense of the word. Unless the educational experiment of Speedlearn, as well as the General, have been brought to The Village specifically to test how Number 6 would deal with the machine. Indeed the internal mechanics of The Village. But this seems highly doubtful.
    On the other hand ‘Many Happy Returns’ ranks  high on the ordeal scale of things. Put to the test, Number 6 does not fail, as upon discovering The Village to be deserted he immediately sets about constructing a sea-going raft. He takes photographic evidence, and sets sail on a dangerous sea voyage. As well as pitting himself against the elements, he has to fight off two dangerous gun-runners. Swim a number of miles, to be washed up on the beach at
Beachy Head. Then he scales a chalky cliff, and after being given refreshment by a young gypsy woman, he’s set on his way again. Avoiding a police road block, he jumps into the back of a moving Luton van, and eventually arrives back at his home in London, only to find someone else living there, and in possession of his Lotus Seven. All of which Number 6 takes in his stride. He meets with the Colonel and Thorpe, and manages to convince them enough to have his story checked out. The final part of the test is for Number 6 to find his way back to The Village, which he manages to do, not satisfied to have someone else make the search on his behalf. And finally he returns home to his cottage in The Village, and there’s Mrs. Butterworth bringing him a cake in celebration of his happy return. Number 6 appears to have passed the tests with flying colours!
    ‘Dance of the Dead,’ in which Number 6 is put to the test by a doctor-Number 40 to see if Number 6 will talk when put under pressure. He doesn’t, but might have done had the test gone on longer. In the evening down on the beach Number 6 puts himself to the test by testing himself against The Village Guardian. And yet this time he is found wanting, as the Guardian out paces Number 6, who ends up run into the sand, finally to end up resting on his knees. The next evening Number 6 is put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to death. Avoiding the lynch mob, Number 6 finds himself confronted by a machine, which he duly rips out both printing paper and electrical wiring. He thinks he has sabotaged the machine, and yet moments later the machine bursts back into life. Number 6 tells Number 2 that they’ll never win. Then how very uncomfortable for him. And yet it seems that the reverse can also be said!
    A ‘Checkmate’ win for Number 2! Having been versed in how to distinguish between the whites and the blacks {prisoners and warders} Number 6 selects his own reliable men, and sets about a daring plan for escape. There are a number of different tests within this episode, association tests, along with the testing of a new electronic device, a reaction transmitter that is tied into the alarm system. As well as the Rook putting to Number 6 his own test, and arriving at the wrong conclusion! Number 6’s patience is tested by Number 8 who claims to be in love with him. And Number 8’s love is tested by Number 6’s cruel rejection of her love.
    ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ a case of trial and retribution. Retribution for the death of Number 73, and Number 2 tried sorely for the suicidal death of 73. Because this time the canvas deck shoe is definitely on the other foot, as Number 6 puts Number 2s paranoia to the test.
    ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ a testing time of the retiring Number 2. As for Number 6, his ordeal continues by countering the machinations of Number 1 and an interim Number 2.
    If he’s not very careful Number 6 could find himself having ‘A Change of Mind,’ but worse than that, the whole community sent him to
Coventry! This is one of the most unpleased ordeals for Number 6. He is completely isolated within the community, a lone wolf having to endure real loneliness, and with the threat of a leucotomy hanging over him like the sword of Damocles. But Number 6 is merely drugged, and once he begins to have doubts, as well as avoiding the taking of the Mytol drug he’s soon back to his old aggressive self.
    And now we come to ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ and probably the worst ordeal of all. To be abducted from ones home, and to wake up as someone else, must be one of the worst of nightmares. Number 6 soon understands why he finds himself in such a situation. However if he doesn’t find Professor Seltzman, and even if he does, if the Professor hasn’t perfected the reversal process, ZM73’s mind will have to remain wrongly housed in the body of the Colonel, and vice versa. On a more fundamental level, ZM73 cannot make anyone believe who he really is. Except eventually for Janet Portland, his fiancée, to whom he gives a message, that could only be from him, he needs her faith. And then ZM73 must set about finding Seltzman. And even if his does find him, he still needs to return to The Village in order for the reversal process to be carried out. Finding Seltzman is but the first step. The next will be trying to find his way back to The Village!
    Place the Prisoner in a dangerous environment. Give him love, take it away, and make him kill! Number 6 has been fed an hallucinogenic drug. He thinks he’s in an American frontier town of the 1800’s. And yet no real harm can befall Number 6 seeing as all the events in Harmony take place in his head, a kind of early interactive reality game. Yes Number 6 does get shot in the head by the Judge, but it’s like a dream, and no-one dies in their dream. So Number 6 did what we all do at the point of death in a dream, he woke up!
    Number 6 told them a blessed fairytale! This was probably the easiest of all the ordeals Number 6 was put through. Sit there and tell three children a story, but in the hope he might give something away to children. Number 2, or Number 1 must be losing their touch, or having run out of ideas!   However there was just one idea left, Degree Absolute. It had to be either one of them, Number 6 or Number 2. Number 2 said he was a good man, is a good man but if they get Number 6 he will be better. So Number 6’s mind is regressed back to his early childhood, and taken through his life from there. But Degree Absolute can be dangerous, used in psychoanalysis, and in extreme cases the doctor changes places with the patient. That’s where the danger lies, if the doctor has his own problems, which of course, Number 2 has. This is a tough ordeal, not only for Number 6, but for Number 2 as well. A whole week, locked together not only in the Embryo Room, but also in a psychological and physical battle. Only one can survive this test of survival, in which only the strongest wins the day.
    And finally ‘Fall Out.’ I wonder what was going through the mind of the Prisoner as he was taken to see Number 1, what did he think he had to gain? On the whole ‘Fall Out doesn’t appear that much of an ordeal for the former Number Six, as he sits there in the chair of honour as two trials take place. However there is no trial for the former Number 6, instead high praise is bestowed upon him. He has revolted, resisted, held fast, maintained, destroyed resistance, overcome coercion, the right of person, someone or individual, and what’s more his private war is applauded. So all that remains is the recognition of a man, a man of steel, a man magnificently equipped to lead them or go. He has vindicated the right of the individual to be individual. He is the only individual, he is on his own. So what do they do? Build him up and then think to knock him back by facing him with himself, by facing the former Number 6 with the truth. That he is solely responsible for The Village.
   It would appear that the Prisoner has been his own worst enemy. But why put himself through this ordeal, to test himself over and over again, repeatedly? It certainly accounts for the fact that no real lasting harm comes to Number 6, seeing as he has Number 1 looking after him!
    So which of the ordeals is the worst for the Prisoner to have been put through? You who are reading this will have your own ideas about that I’m sure. But I suspect two candidates would be ‘The Schizoid Man,’ and ‘Many Happy Returns.’ However for myself, it has to be ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.’ Because even though Professor Seltzman could reverse the effect, ZM73 would still have had to have found a way back to The Village, had it not been for the agent turning up at the barber’s shop in the guise of a chauffeur! 

Be seeing you

No comments:

Post a Comment