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Friday 6 November 2015

The Prisoner Under The Spotlight

    It’s all a bit of a trial really, or is it more likely that Number 6 is put to the test! Despite the Prisoner's pronouncement that he was not going to be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, de-briefed or numbered. Pushed? Well yes, pushed into his resignation because he became disillusioned with his job, or perhaps because Patrick McGoohan became fed up with ‘Danger Man’ because the scripts were becoming a bit thin. In truth, when you look at the scripts of ‘Danger Man’ they are pretty repetitive, but that's perhaps for another time. Filed, in one of those grey filing cabinets, amongst so many grey filing cabinets we see during the opening sequence of the Prisoner, marked RESIGNED. Stamped, this is slightly trickier, stamped as being trodden on, suppressed, even to be eradicated by force, or stamped officially, his fate to be sealed. Indexed another tricky one, alphabetically listed perhaps! Briefed, this took place on the day of his arrival in the village. Partially by the oriental taxi driver, then later by Number 2, in both his office and during the aerial tour of The Village. De-briefed, Number 2 carried out the de-briefing of the Prisoner, again in his office on the morning of the Prisoner's arrival in The Village. Numbered, you might think that it was the medical orderly at the hospital who actually gave the Prisoner his card of identity which carried his number 6, and you are right in that thinking. But it was the Supervisor-Number 26 who actually numbered the Prisoner, when the yellow alert was announced, sending Post 14 to give chase to Number 6 on the beach.
   After that it all became something of a trial for Number 6. ‘Arrival’ saw the Prisoner meet with an ex-colleague Cobb. Number 9 was assigned to Number 6, in a game to see Number 6 attempt to escape, and to show him that there is no escape!
    The Chimes of Big Ben, to try and extract the reason why the Prisoner resigned. Number 6 had to place his trust in Nadia-Number 8. Constructed a boat in readiness for an escape attempt. But he found that he had been betrayed on all sides. He had allowed himself to be hoodwinked by Nadia Rakovski. Betrayed by both the Colonel and Fotheringay.
     A B & C, another attempt to try and extract the reason for the Prisoner's resignation, through the manipulation of Number 6’s dreams.
    Free For All, an election in The Village? Number 6 involves himself in the political machinations of Number 2. And 'they' knew that Number 6 would not be able to pass on such a given opportunity. His plan is not to bring the system down from within, but to organise a mass breakout so that he could escape in the confusion, and 'they' know this. 'They' know Number 6's game from the outset, that's why he's allowed to go so far, because the new Number 2 is already in the village, and assigned to Number 6, who fails in his attempt, he also learns that there is no democracy in The Village. And the tissue, well that remains undamaged, just bruised a bit.
    The Schizoid Man, The Prisoner's identity has been taken away from him. He has no name, he was given a new identity, that of No.6. But now even the identity of Number 6 is taken away from him, and he has been conditioned in his left handedness, his likes changed, to think he is someone else. Then Number 6 willingly takes on the guise of Curtis in an attempt to escape. And Number 6 would have made it, but it was the lack of one important piece of information which let Number 6 down.... the fact that Susan had died a year ago!
    The General, Number 6 is not directly involved at the beginning of this episode. He's just another citizen of The Village, who then involves himself, because he cannot resist the words of the Professor "Speedlearn in an abomination. The General must be destroyed!" Speedlearn is an educational experiment, and the citizens, student guinea pigs! Number 6 brings the General down with one question which is insoluble for both man and machine.............WHY? The General might very well have been able to answer any question, given the basic facts, but with WHY? there are no basic facts!
    Many Happy Returns, Number 6 wakes to find The Village deserted. He doesn't appear to question this, but leaves The Village via the only way open to him, the sea. He returns home to find a woman living in his home, and that she owns his Lotus 7. The Prisoner pays a call on his ex-colleagues, who help him find the location of The Village, to where Number 6 is unceremoniously returned, no better off at the end than he was at the beginning! But at least now he knows the location of The Village!
    Dance of the Dead, the Prisoner is put on trial and sentenced to death for breaking one of the rules! Yet the death sentence against Number 6 is quashed, if there ever was one in the first place, seeing as Number 2 saw him as having a future with The Village. And apparently the only place he can now exist is in The Village. Because to the outside World….he’s dead!
    Checkmate, the only power one gets in The Village is through the human game of chess! Having tried to escape on his own in the previous episode, No.6 now takes another tack, he finds reliable men to help him escape! Trouble is, Number 6 is so much the control freak regarding this latest enterprise, that the Rook puts Number 6 to his own test, and puts paid to any escape, much to the Rook’s own despair!
    Hammer Into Anvil, Number 2 sees himself as the hammer, and Number 6 the anvil. But as it happens hammers wear out faster than anvils, and Number 2 is but a weak link in the chain of command waiting to be broken! Number 2 plays himself into the hands of Number 6, simply because he doesn't trust anyone, not even his closest assistant Number 14.
    It's Your Funeral, Number 6 gains a community conscience, as he battles the machinations of an interim Number 2!
    A Change of Mind, Number 6 has lost his community conscience as suddenly as he gained one in the previous episode, as the citizens are turned against the lone wolf! He much prefers his own company to that of others! Again Number 6 is threatened with a leucotomy, which is the second time. And if the suggestion of a leucotomy was rejected by Number 2 in ‘Checkmate’ on the grounds that Number 6 is far too important, then the viewer can rest assured that it's not going to happen here. And for a second time in the series, Number 2 has been let down by a woman!
    Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, the Prisoner undergoes mind transference with the Colonel, the irony being that he has to either be brought back, or somehow return to The Village, in order to have his mind and his body reunited.
    Living In Harmony, is possibly the first role playing game, or virtual reality game that takes place in the mind!
    The Girl Who Was Death, a little light entertainment. Relief from that which has gone, and for that which is yet to come!
    Once Upon A Time, a one to one situation, which must result the success of either one of them, Number 2 or Number 6. And as it happens it's No.6 who gains the upper hand, but at a price he's not happy with, the death of Number 2. Number 6 might not be able to kill, but cannot suffer a death at his doing!
    Fall Out, the final manipulation of the Prisoner. But where is the victory? Because at the end, as he was at the beginning, he is still the Prisoner!
    It has been all of a trial for the Prisoner, and yet he survived the sixteen ordeals, in order to suffer the final ordeal, the facing of himself. It's no wonder Curtis, Number 1, turned into a screaming maniac! I bet he thought oh no, not again, and having climbed up the ladder got himself sealed in the nose cone of the rocket where he was safe from Number 6!
    Yes, it was all a trial really, or perhaps you like to think the Prisoner had been put to the test. But either way at the end of ‘Fall Out’ the Prisoner is about to put himself through the ordeal again. In fact we the viewer put the Prisoner through the ordeal again and again, every time we put the video or
DVD of the series on the television, watching in the relative comfort of our own homes. Safe in the knowledge that it's being done to someone else other than you. What’s more think yourself lucky that its not you being put to the test!

Be seeing you

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