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Friday 26 August 2016

Try It!

   It was day two of ‘Free For All,’ and the housemaid Number 58 has brought Number 6 his breakfast again, and pours out a cup of tea for him. At first glance when Number 6 says “try it” it appears Number 6 wants her to try drinking the tea first. However he’s not referring to any drink, he wants her to try saying “Be seeing you” in English, of course 58 {who later we learn speaks perfect English} feigns not to understand.
   And when Number 6 acts as though he was coming out of a trance or a drugged state when Number 58 keeps repeating “Ly ezeet azoon, ly ezeet azoona, ly ezeet azoona, ly ezeet azoona ly ezeet azoona,” he is indeed. It’s quite on the cards that the drug he has been given is wearing off at that point. At first Number 6 smiles politely, then his smile turns into, not a scowl, but certainly he’s down in the mouth, as Number 58 becomes more and more excited. He stands up, knocks against the overhead lamp, its as though Number 6 has come to his senses, and tears off his 6 rosette as though his fear is that they are gradually turning him into one of them by his acceptance of standing for election. He then bolts for the door of the cottage and runs outside, steals the taxi and drives away.
    Number 6 has his mind conditioned first in the manager’s office in the Labour Exchange, but the Manager is reminded by Number 2 to go to the first stage only, after all they mustn’t damage the tissue! And again when the effect of that has worn off, when Number 6 runs away from Number 58 and tries to escape by Jet boat, the pulsator in the overhead light above the bed is employed to condition 6’s mind further, in time for his second election speech delivered from the forecastle of the Stoneboat. And finally as to top up that mind conditioning, Number 6 is taken to a cave. Number 2 calls it the Therapy Zone, where a chemist has formulated a drug which worked quicker than usual, but to exact proportions to carry Number 6 through to the end of the election, as they mustn’t damage the brain tissue! Coincidentally the mixture of mind conditioning, combined with the use of a drug are three instances as those in ‘A B and C.’
   Finally, how it is Number 6 is able to say “Be seeing you” in Number 58’s language, is inexplicable as I’ve never quite been able to figure that one out, nor have I ever known anyone able to give a convincing explanation.

Be seeing you


  1. Hi David,

    I agree with most of your hypothesis, but I still believe that he wanted Number 58 to try the tea...I think that he suspects that he is somehow being drugged, and wants her to drink the tea to prove that it hasn't been laced with drugs.
    Her steady repeating of the same phrase is akin to the old tv hypnotists who drone the same phrase to put the subject into a trance.
    You are correct that he is starting to "come to his senses" and realizes that he is wearing "their" badge...which he immediately throws down and wants to get away until he can "think things thru"

    Just my thoughts about that scene!


    1. Hello Karen
      That’s the thing about ‘the Prisoner,’ it’s what one believes it to be, and quite right too.
      If Number 6 thought his tea, his food, were always laced with drugs, he would never eat or drink….until the time came he would eat and drink anyway, because he wouldn’t want to starve to death!

      I think when number 6 is coming to his senses and tries to escape, he just wants to get away from them, to stop them doing what they were doing.

      Just a thought.
      Be seeing you

  2. Hi David ,
    I'm not an expert on The Prisoner like you are , and I haven't been able to read the original script you might have INFORMATION about the episode that I don't have . I can only go on what on the VISUAL and AURAL clues presented in this scene .

    I absolutely agree with you about the Prisoner "coming to " and realizing that he was either drugged , hypnotized or being manipulated somehow . do things that he wouldn't do...such as his " discovery " that he was wearing a badge.
    ANY badge was a symbol of acceptance to him...and I think that's why we see the panic attack and the flight to get away from the Village in any way that he could .

    I have read in several articles that Patrick McGoohan wrote the WORDS of Number 58's "language " and that Rachel Herbert practised saying them with the accent.
    I believe that he made up the language because he didn't want it to be a KNOWN that NO ONE watching The Prisoner would be able to say "These are the words she's saying . "

    I believe that he made sure to keep as many details about the Village "incognito " as he could that we the viewers would experience feelings of confusion , disorientation and even Number 6 experienced life in the Village!


    1. Hello Karen,
      I haven’t read the original script for ‘Free For All’ either, in fact I’ve only ever read two copies of the original scripts, and those are ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ and ‘Face Unknown.’ I suppose it simply boils down to what one believes. Regarding the breakfast brought to Number 6 by Number 58 I can only go by what I see on the screen, he had no qualms about eating the breakfast brought to him at the outset of the episode, so I see no reason why he should have qualms about eating the second breakfast. Because if the scene is about Number 6 wanting Number 58 to try the tea she has just poured out, why is Number 6 so bothered about the phrase “Be seeing you?” He asks Number 58 to try it, to say “Be seeing you” in English. When she doesn’t, somehow he is able to say the phrase in her own language, and she then repeats it. If “Try it” demanded by Number 6 is to do with the tea, then the tea is soon forgotten about!

      Number 6 coming to his senses, having a sudden panic attack, realizing he’s wearing the badge he had so fervently rejected, and so he wanted to get away as far as he could. Yes I like that idea, I agree.

      Patrick wrote the script for ‘Free For All,’ but no-way did he come up with either the language or accent for Number 58. Rachel Herbert came up with that, the language was her idea, she based it on the language of a close friend who was Yugoslavian {as it was in those days}.

      Patrick McGoohan certainly wanted to keep the location for The Village a secret, only revealing it at the end. But of course anyone at Portmeirion when the location filming was taking place knew the location when they saw the series on television. And anyone who had ever visited Portmeirion, or stayed there on holiday.

      Be seeing you