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Monday 4 June 2018

Prismatic Reflection

    By the end of ‘Arrival,’ we have met with two Number 2’s, the second of which seems to enjoy only a brief term of office, and yet we have no idea the length of term in office of his predecessor. How long is a term of office for any such Number 2?
    It is difficult to calculate just how long any particular Number 2’s term in office might be. Take the first Number 2 we meet in ‘Arrival.’ I cannot believe that he was brought to The Village simply to de-brief the Prisoner, in order to simply bring his file up to date. Or to brief the Prisoner on The Village, and after one simple attempt to try and extract the Prisoner’s reason behind his resignation, which failed, was then removed from office. How ever long this Number 2 had been in office we simply do not know, and yet it might be that by the time of the Prisoner’s arrival in The Village, it may have been suggested to Number 2…. that just before he goes, he deals with the new arrival. Then there is a new Number 2 in The Village, which seems reasonable enough seeing as his predecessor has reached the end of his term in office. And at least this time we see when a new Number takes up his term in office, even if we don’t know when that term comes to an end! One might ask why the need for the change in Number 2. After all the first 2 could just as well have overseen the plan to demonstrate to Number 6 that escape from The Village is not possible. But the change in Number 2 does work another way, and its rather clever really, because the introduction of a new Number 2 has the effect of resetting Number 6. That when he pays a call on Number 2 having been discharged from hospital, he has to begin all over again with a new Number 2. This next Number 2 does appear to be very much at home when we first see him. What I mean is, it appears to have taken him no time at all to become familiar with the workings of, and the personnel in The Village! He has certainly hit the ground running, explaining to Number 6 that if he doesn’t give them what they want, they’ll take it. And quickly sets up a scenario in order to demonstrate to Number 6 that escape is not possible. He also seems somewhat friendly towards Cobb, and Cobb appears unfazed by this new Number 2, who tells Cobb that he thinks he’ll let Number 6 keep the watch {Electro Pass} just to show that escape is not possible. Anyway what’s Cobb to this new Number 2 in order to talk to him in that way? To hope that Cobb’s stay had its lighter moments? This new Number 2 certainly has a complete grasp of what has been happening in The Village before he arrived, which implies that a briefing session had been held. But it doesn’t matter, because by the time of ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ this Number 2 has been replaced!
   The problem being with this attempt to gauge any length of Number 2’s term in office is, we can only go by what we see on the screen! Because by the time of ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ a new Number 2 has already been installed, what’s more he already appears to have had time to develop something of a rapport with Number 6. The Exhibition of Arts and Crafts, so the public address announcer informs us is just six weeks today, that tells us that this Number 2’s term in office ran for longer than six weeks. It might have been eight weeks, or as long as five months. We simply do not know when he replaced his predecessor or when he was replaced by his successor, and that can be said of almost any Number 2. Nor do we know what takes place or the length of time that takes place between the seventeen episodes that we do see.
    In ‘A B and C,’ Number 2 has just three days in order to bring the episode to a satisfactory conclusion and that’s fair enough. But why only three days? Was Number 1 placing undue pressure on Number 2 deliberately? The answer is a simple one, no. The doctor-Number 14 had developed a new wonder drug, which when used allows access to a subject subconscious, to get into a person’s dreams, as she was able to do with Number 6. The trouble is only three doses of the drug can be used on the subject, as a fourth would kill him, hence the limit of three days.
    But when did this idea of getting into Number 6’s dreams in order to extract the required information, ie why did he resign, come about? Did Number 14 develop her drug in The Village, or was she brought to The Village because of her drug? Number 2 said that they had researched and computed the Prisoner’s whole life, but does that suggest that this particular Number 2 oversaw that process for ‘A B and C?’ Surely they had already researched every aspect of the Prisoner’s whole life, seeing as they had a file on him by the time of his arrival in The Village! However Number 2 believed that Number 6 was going to sell out, what made him believe that? Perhaps it was the research on the Prisoner’s whole life that he had had computed, and it was the result of that which led Number 2 to his belief that the Prisoner was going to sell out! But what that has to do with why the Prisoner resigned I don’t quite know, because that’s what I thought Number 2 wanted to know. But this is getting far away from how long this particular Number 2’s term in office was. If all Number 2 had to do was to have the details of the Prisoner’s file fed into a computer, it wouldn’t have taken the computer long to come to the conclusion that it boiled down to three people, A B and C! In short this Number 2 might not have been in The Village all that long before the commencement of ‘A B and C.’ We know that his prime objective was to extract information from Number 6, but did he also run The Village administration as well? The Tally Ho suggests that he did. “Is Number 2 Fit For Further Term?” The headline has nothing to do with Number 2’s administrative ability, it questions the man’s health. He suffers from a stomach ulcer, hence his frequent drinking of milk, which was advised in such cases. But in any case, this Number 2 is the first we see retained for a second term in office, as he oversees the educational experiment of Speedlearn. Yes I realize that it should be ‘The Schizoid man’ next, but we’ll come to him in a while. And forget that ‘The General was produced before ‘A B and C,’, otherwise the headline in The Tally Ho would suggest that this Number 2 might have been put up for a third term in office. Besides I quite enjoy the idea of these two episodes running consecutively.
    When it comes to a question of time, by the time of ‘The General’ both the General and the educational experiment of Speedlearn, have long been established in The Village. Evidence of that is plain, from the public address announcement about the three part history course at the outset of the episode. It is clearly impossible to estimate the length of time it took to establish this educational experiment in The Village, or indeed when the experiment was first implemented. As for Number 2, ‘A B and C’ and ‘The General’ can be seen as separate terms of office for him because of ‘The Schizoid Man.’ On The other hand had both episodes run consecutively, but in the order of ‘The General’ then ‘A B and C’ as produced, then both episodes could come under the umbrella of one term in office. And the Tally Ho headline “Is No.2 Fit For Further Term?” would make better sense.
     Are we really to believe that a local election is held once a year so that the citizens can elect their new Number 2? Well not really, seeing as the new Number 2 turns out to be the former Number 58, and she hadn’t been elected by the people. So Number 6 wasn’t really the new Number 2 at all, and even if he was, as Number 2 he was possibly to have served the shortest term in office of any Number 2. As for the out-going Number 2, we know when he left The Village, as soon as his successor had moved into the Green Dome. But sadly we’ve no idea of when he took up the position. As for the new Number 2, her term in office appears to have been as short as that of Number 6. It all depends on what took place after, between Number 6 having carried back to his cottage on a stretcher, and then being taken out again on a stretcher that first night of ‘The Schizoid Man!’
    At the outset of the episode there is one month until The Village Festival. Number 6 was taken from his cottage and secreted in ‘12 Private’ during the night of February 10th by medical staff, and was supposed to have woken up on the morning of the 11th. However on that morning Number 12 was waking up in ‘6 Private’ and doctors and medical staff began to put Number 6 through a number of mind conditioning techniques. More than that his appearance was to be amended, and that process began with Number 6 growing a full beard, which would have taken between four to six weeks, depending on the individual. Certainly by the time Number 6 does wake up in the strange apartment of ‘12 private’ The Village Festival has come and gone, as there is no further reference to it. So this particular Number 2’s term in office began before the outset of the episode, as the plan involving Number 24 and her mental link with Number 6 had been put in place before the actual episode, and then they had to find a look-a-like for Number 6, resulting in the pulling of strings in order to second Curtis to The Village. So perhaps Number 2 was looking at a term in office of about 5 to 6 weeks. However I will throw another date into the mix, Wednesday August 15th. This date can be clearly seen on a poster on the notice board outside the Recreation hall {when Number 6 and Number 6 are having a fist fight} advertising a concert of folk music. It seems highly improbable that a poster advertising a folk music concert in August would be pinned to the notice board in February!! Obviously the date on the poster is something the television viewer was never meant to see, and would probably not have been seen without the advent of the
DVD together with the re-mastering of the 35mm film, together in High-definition. If however the date on the poster was correct, that would mean Number 6 lost 6 months of his life in The Village, but as it stands he lost at least month!
    And now we come to Mrs. Butterworth, a very charming and amiable woman, who eventually turns up in The Village on March 19th as the next new Number 2. And that is something quite unique knowing the date of her arrival, as we might suppose that this was the first day of her term in office, having so recently arrived, that she had little time to change out of her dress and into Village attire before having to wish Number 6 many happy returns, and present him with a cake! Prior to this, Mrs. Butterworth operated in
London as an agent working for The Village, and had been ensconced in No.1 Buckingham Place to await the arrival of Number 6, such was her involvement in this episode. Whether or not at that time she had already been appointed to take up her position as the new Number 2 in The Village, is unknown. It might be thought that Mrs. Butterworth was in The Village at the every outset of ‘Many Happy Returns,’ and was overseeing the entire scheme against Number 6. But that cannot be, as the voice during the opening sequence is that of a man, and it’s a man we see sitting in Number 2’s chair. So he is a Number 2 whom we know absolutely nothing about, and yet almost any of them, if not all, fall into that category. However this Number 2’s term in office may well have lasted some 29 days, allowing a couple of days for Number 6 to build his sea going raft, the 25 days he was at sea, and two more days until he was eventually replaced by Mrs. Butterworth on March the 19th. As for her departure from The Village, that is unknown, however there is the black cat to take into consideration. The cat was in The Village at the time Number 6 was about to set sail aboard his sea going raft, and was still there upon his return. Indeed the cat came walking into the Prisoner’s cottage at the feet of Mrs. Butterworth. But surely the cat cannot be hers, because Number 2 in ‘Dance of The Dead’ laid claim to the cat, saying she works in The Village as well, that she’s terribly efficient, almost ruthless. It sounds as though Number 2 was describing herself! And seeing as we have strayed into the ‘Dance of The Dead,’ one might be forgiven for thinking that this Number 2 over saw the events of ‘Many Happy Returns’ simply on the basis of the presence of the cat. That would be fine, if there was not the male Number 2 during the opening sequence to take into consideration!
    So we can just about say when Number 2 arrived in The Village, and when Number 2 departed for home. What we have never known before is for a Number 2 to go on leave, or indeed to retire from the position. But that is the case of Number 2 in ‘It’s Your Funeral.’ And while this Number 2 has been away on leave there have been at least three “interim” Number 2’s in his place, one of whom still operated in The Village even though Number 2 has returned just in time for his retirement, operating from the Computer Room, that is, and not the Green Dome. How long Number 2 was away on leave is an unknown factor, as is the number of interim Number 2’s who served while the current Number 2 was away. So again its an impossible calculation to make, as we do not have the basic facts. However this Number 2 who is about to retire, may well have been the longest serving Chief Administrator ever to serve in The Village. Simply because of all his achievements which could not be achieved in a matter of weeks, but in months! And if we are to judge by what we see in the screen, that Appreciation Day is an annual event at which the citizens say farewell to an out-going Number 2 and the same time welcoming his successor, then the retiring Number 2’s term in office has been of 12 months duration. And that makes all other Number 2’s “interim,” and there being 19 of them in total, that would give each one a term in office of more or less one month as each one deals with Number 6 in one shape or another, the Prisoner having been incarcerated in The Village for 15 months. Leaving the permanent Number 2 to deal with his many achievements as celebrated on Appreciation Day. That’s why Number 6 didn’t know who this Number 2 was, they had never met until Number 6 went calling on Number 2 to report the assassination attempt on is life!
    Once upon a time Number 2 had been brought back to The Village, something he was hardly happy about judging by his mood. He shouted at his
Butler to remove the breakfast, but to leave the coffee. “The coffee leave it!” he shouted at the diminutive man. He wasn’t very happy with Number 1 either, in fact he began to lay the law down when he was given only a week in order to finally bring the question of Number 6’s resignation to a satisfactory conclusion. Number 2 considered that a week wasn’t long enough, suggesting that Number 1 doesn’t want to damage him. So why only a week, after all Number 6 wasn’t going anywhere, unless Number 1 was deliberately putting pressure on Number 2. Reluctantly Number 2 had no choice in the matter. But at least in this case we know that Number 2 wasn’t brought back to serve an actual term in office, that duty fell upon the shoulders of Number 26-the Supervisor, but for the following week only. After that the duty fell upon someone else, because the supervisor was then charged to go and attend the Embryo Room, after which he took Number 6 to Number 1!
    It would appear that there was a democratic crisis, that the following session in ‘Fall Out’ was held in security. The proceedings of which were presided over by a President, or High Court Judge. The person of whom was a former Number 2 who attempted to gain information from Number 6 through the telling of a fairytale! This former Number 2, then acting as President, must have been brought back to The Village during the previous week. So whatever the outcome of Degree Absolute, it was realized that there would have to be a trial in order to bring this question of democratic crisis to a satisfactory conclusion. Even if that meant bringing a man back from the dead!
   So who was overseeing the administration of The Village during ‘Fall Out? Not the Supervisor, he had taken his seat on the Assembly, it had to be whoever it was the Supervisor handed control over to. Whoever that was, I bet he got a shock when the President/Number 2 gave the command to evacuate The Village!
   The reader will have observed that I have not included the episodes ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ ‘Living In Harmony,’ and ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ in my calculations, as it is clearly impossible to say how long Number 2’s term in office was during those episodes.
   This has been a difficult, and tricky article to write for most of the time. Of course any calculation for the length of time of Number 2’s term in office, other than what we see in the episode, can only be an estimated one. The problem being, that at times two basic facts are unknown, those of arrival and departure. In some cases we have one or the other, but not both in the one episode. However one thing may be concluded, any length of time Number 2 has in office, appears to be dependent upon the task in hand at the time.
    And what exactly has this proved? Apart from proving to have been an interesting, and compelling exercise, that regarding Number 2’s term in office, all any of us can really go by is what we see on the television screen. That being the case, there are times when Number 2 lasts little more than two or three days in office, such is the running time of the majority of episodes. Although it may not be enough time for Number 2, it has to be enough for the television viewer.

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