No.6 must have thought something was a bit odd when he woke up that morning to find there was no water and the electricity had been cut off! Even stranger when he went outside he found the village deserted. I wonder what was in his mind at that point? He must at the very least have wondered “Where is everyone?” “What happened in the night to drive people out, and why was he left here alone?”
Could it be that everyone, including No.2 had escaped, or been evacuated and left No.6 behind? Had there been an emergency in the night, the village suddenly evacuated and No.6 having somehow been forgotten and left behind? Well No.6 didn't hang about to find out, and after constructing himself a sea-going raft, he set sail for god knows where! But what of the good citizens of the village, where had they gone? Well they hadn't gone anywhere. They were still there in the village, kept heavily sedated all the time No.6 was building his raft, so that no-one would be seen out and about. Once No.6 had set sail, the village returned to life. And again, when No.6 was being unceremoniously returned to the village, the night before everyone was once again sedated, so that on the Prisoner’s return, the village would again be deserted, until it came, almost instantly, back to life. I mean the village couldn't be evacuated, the population held over in some other place, and then returned back to the village once No.6 had departed. That would have been too much of a logistical problem for the village administration.
Why anyone should think that the village was actually deserted is quite beyond me. Obviously the village wasn't deserted. That the citizens were kept sedated, and all village personnel ordered to keep out of sight, until No.6 had finally set sail aboard his sea-going raft. Well there must have been one person out and about, hiding behind the balustrade, the person how smashed the cup and saucer! And then, so to maintain the illusion, once word of No.6's imminent arrival back in the village, the same effect was played out again. There's nothing complex about Many Happy Returns, except for that village cat - that's the only surreal, enigmatic thing about the episode. Because, there was the black cat sitting on a table on the lawn of the Old People's Home when No.6 set out on his sea voyage. And then when No.6 was so unceremoniously returned to the village, that same black cat was still sat in the same place some 27 days later!
Be seeing you