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Friday 20 November 2015
A Favourite Scene in The Prisoner
There he is, Number 14, assistant to Number 2, lounging half asleep in an armchair in the anti-room of the Green Dome. He’s a loyal man, and only wishes to serve, to help Number 2 in his machinations against Number 6. But Number 2 only uses Number 14 when he needs him, in carrying out menial security tasks, like retrieving the top sheet of paper from a note pad on Number 6’s desk in his cottage. Or to have him follow Number 6, and watch him all the way to the Stone Boat, then help Number 2 retrieve the white envelope Number 6 left there. But when it comes to the important details, like discovering what Number 6 had written on his notepad, or what it was in the white envelope, Number 14 is kept well beyond arms length.
So there he is, loyal to the last, only too willing to serve, lounging in an armchair half asleep, when suddenly he hears the pair of steel doors open. He jumps out of the armchair, straightens his piped blazer, and stands smartly to attention. Thus giving Number 2 the impression that he’s been standing there all the time, ready and waiting for the word from Number 2 to do something. And what does Number 2 do? Calls him to heel like a lap dog, to follow him through the streets of The Village to the Town Hall and eventually the Control Room, where he leads away the Supervisor, his having been removed from his position. Number 14 himself is eventually removed from his position, accused by Number 2 of being a traitor. But Number 14 wasn’t a bad man, he was just following orders. If only Number 2 had trusted 14 more, taken him into his confidence, perhaps then things might have turned out differently for Number 2. But then again Number 14 was no match for Number 6, whom he wanted to enjoy giving a “dusting down,” but almost ended up with a dunking himself. And of course we know how it ended when 14 went round to ‘6 Private’ in order to exact his revenge upon Number 6 for “putting the poison in” with Number 2. I can still see Number 14 jump up out of that armchair and standing smartly to attention just as though he’s been standing there like that all the time. Who does he think he’s trying to fool? Number 2 obviously. But surely Number 2 isn’t that big a fool!
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