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Tuesday 21 March 2017

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling & Living In Harmony

    ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ is perhaps the worst episode in the entire series of ‘the Prisoner,’ although I’m aware of one person who considers this episode to be his favourite! In my opinion there are more holes in this episode than there is in a wedge of Swiss cheese! In ‘Dance of The Dead’ there was a body in the mortuary which was to have been amended slightly, along with the wallet in his pocket, so to the outside world Number 6 would be dead. So why didn’t Janet Portland know that, and when ZM73 approached Sir Charles Portland, why didn’t he mention something about ZM73 having died in an accident at sea? I can only imagine they didn’t know, because  that amended body wasn’t recovered from the sea!
    Okay, in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ it's possible to transfer the mind of two people, spies for example. What if an exchange of spies took place and if the one which was returned had the mind of their choosing, they would able to break the security of any nation. That spy then gathers information, is returned to the Village, the information in his head extracted, then all unhappy memories of the Village are wiped from his mind, and put back into circulation to acquire more information. Well that's all fine and dandy, but what happens to the other chap whose mind is not his own, what's he supposed to been doing all this time? And don't forget, if this mind transference can be done to one pair of subjects, the operation can be repeated on several subjects, leaving half of them with wrongly housed minds!
   I wonder how Sir Charles Portland knew about the photographic transparencies, which the Prisoner had left at the  'World Camera' shop a year earlier? He must have known enough to be able to send "Mr Carmichael", who was presumably one of Sir Charles Portland's men, perhaps Potter, to collect the photographic transparencies. So presumably "Mr Carmichael" was in possession of the receipt, in order to collect the transparencies. Which would suggest that Janet Portland handed over the receipt to her father Sir Charles, either that or he found it amongst her possessions!
   The receipt could easily have been retained and given back to Janet, and the photographic transparencies returned to the shop by "Mr Carmichael." And then making up the story about the clerical error by a young assistant, in having mistaken the last numbers of 0 1 for 1 0 for when the Prisoner comes calling for the photographic transparencies himself, but spotting that they had already been signed for, by "Mr Carmichael!"
    I have written a number of pieces on the subject of this episode. For those who have not read them, here are three links as examples.

    ‘Living In Harmony,’ well Number 6 doesn’t care to live in harmony, he proved that much in ‘A Change of Mind!’ But Harmony is a good town, just do as the Judge says, and he’ll take care of you. This is my second least favourite episode, which is surprising really, when considering how much I enjoy watching American Westerns, especially those starring Randolph Scott. What’s more time and time again I’ve watched films about a frightened townspeople of an American frontier town turn to one man, either a town Sheriff, a stranger, or hired gun to “clean up their town” for them. Four films come to mind, ‘High Noon' 1952 starring Gary Cooper, ‘High Plains Drifter’ starring Clint Eastwood, and ‘Invitation To A Gunslinger’ 1964 starring Yul Brynner, and 'Man From Del Rio' 1956 starring Anthony Quinn.
   Harmony might be a good town, but the people have no guts to rid their town of a bad Judge and his gunslingers themselves. So get some guns on Sheriff!
    Number 8’s technique was good, it was as if Number 6 was living an early form of virtual reality game. The trouble was so were Numbers 2, 8, and 22, and in some shape or form they all allowed themselves to get involved, to do what they would really have done. And each suffered from a distinct lack of self-control. So the attempt to break Number 6 in his mind, fill him with hallucinatory drugs, put him in a dangerous environment, give him love, take it away, isolate him, make him kill, then face him with death. But it didn’t work, and for that Number 2 will have to carry the can. He’ll take the blame, and eventually pay for the failure, but in what way? Will he simply be forced to remain The Village? That doesn’t sound so bad, unless of course he will be forced to remain in The Village as a prisoner! Maybe he fears the worst, that he will have for forfeit his life for the failure, to be put up against a wall and shot perhaps. Of course there’s always forced suicide, or confrontation with the Guardian. Who can say what fate befalls a failed Number 2. Perhaps at the end of the day all Number 2’s are afraid of his or her masters, afraid of failure. There have certainly been more than one or two of them about, from time to time!   It is said that the Prisoner is all in the mind, that it's a dream created by the Prisoner in his mind. Well if that's the case, then the episode of ‘Living In Harmony’ is doubly so, don't you think? Either that or ‘Living In Harmony’ is the first Virtual Reality game!
   It has also been suggested in the past, that the Village is a place created by the mind in which people with, mental problems, are put. Certainly the Prisoner-Number 6 is described as having a persecution complex, suggesting that he's putting himself through the seventeen episode ordeal of the Prisoner! I'm not sure what fans of the series will make of this, I'm sure they have ideas and theories of their own. But it is a fascinating thought, that some fans of the original series, who see the Prisoner in this way, cannot see the reinterpretation of the series in the same light.
   Of course we are all familiar with the term "role playing" games, and ‘Living In Harmony’ might very well be the first, as Number 6 plays out the game in his mind, before finally coming face to face with his opponents, who all turn out to be nothing more than cardboard cut outs! It is also interesting to note, how part of The Village can be placed out of bounds, and with a little set dressing can be turned into an
American frontier Town of the mid to late 1800's.
    So, the Prisoner, The Village, and ‘Living In Harmony’ are simply all in the mind, a dream. It wasn't as Number 8 said, that Number 6 could separate fact from reality so quickly, no, no. It's simpler than that I feel. As the Sheriff, after the gunfight with the Kid, Number 6 is again faced with death, as the Judge shoots Number 6 with a Derringer. But the thing is, you cannot die in a dream, and so just before the point of death, Number 6 wakes up.

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