It is wondered where this Number 2 originates from, as Chairman of The Village he enjoys a number of quotations, after the style of Mao Tse Tung. Mao was the son of an impoverished peasant, and worked on his father’s farm, who eventually became Chairman of China, and used many quotations in his speeches. And this is an interesting parallel, because it seems that this Number 2 has a blunt, honest, and no nonsense manner. One of his metaphors “He who ploughs a straight furrow needs hoe for nothing” has a decidedly farming quality about it, and all in all it might be suggested that this Village Chairman originates from Peasant stock just as Chairman Mao. Mao was credited with the name of the Butcher of Beijing, after wiping out the astonishing number of 75 million of his own people. This may well give cause for Number 6 using the satirical phrase “‘The butcher with the sharpest knife has the warmest heart,” whilst on the balcony of the Gloriette. However Number 2 has a “sonic knife” at his disposal, which the doctor Number 86 uses to dislocate the aggressive frontal lobes, and that could also give cause for Number 6’s use of the phrase.
The inspiration for this episode is the 1959 thriller ‘The Manchurian Candidate,’ about an American Platoon being captured during the Korean War, then taken to Manchuria in Communist China. Members of that platoon are then put through brainwashing techniques. In The Village there is a purge being undertaken against unmutuals, and this can be paralleled with the American Communist witch hunts of the early 1950’s.
For one of the poorest produced episode of the entire series of ‘the Prisoner,’ it contains a good deal of underlying symbolism with both fact and fiction.
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