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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Watching The Prisoner – Free For All

    Continuing the screening of ‘the Prisoner,’ it has been 39 days since No.6 arrived in the village. During that time Cobb, having returned to London as a Civil Servant, has been busy working for his new masters. While in the village several No.2’s would have come and gone, most probably there would have been new arrivals from time to time, builders reconstructing a cottage in readiness for such a new arrival having turned it into a citizen’s home from home. As for No.6, he would have been finding his feet in his new surroundings, perhaps attempting an escape during that time, or having been put through a number of different “ways and means” as No.2 attempted to extract the reason behind his resignation along with other information. And there would be time enough for No.6 to counter No.2’s machinations, or simply to poke his nose into business that was none of his concern. Then again, there must have been times when nothing much happened to No.6 at all during those 39 days, because it’s difficult to think that any incumbent No.2 was brought to the village simply to deal with No.6. And even if he or she were, there would be times when No.6 would have to be given time to recover from any ordeal, and the end of ‘Free For All’ is a good demonstration of this. No.6 having stumbled into a cave is faced with the same two motor mechanics he had encountered during his earlier escape attempt by jet boat. They were allowed to extract their revenge on No.6 in treating the Prisoner like a human punch bag. No.6 still refusing to talk is returned to his cottage on a stretcher, battered and bruised he would presumably have been given time to physically recover before any No.2 would be allowed to put No.6 through another ordeal. Besides which No.2 is Chairman of the village, Chief Administrator and there would be the day to day running of the village to oversee, as well as other such Prisoners to deal with. Roland Walter Dutton for example who according to him had been in the village a couple of months by the time he encounters his old colleague No.6. In my screening order of ‘the Prisoner’ ‘Dance of The Dead’ follows ‘Free For All’ after about another three or four weeks, give or take. Which means Dutton is already in the village by the time of ‘Free For All,’ perhaps his arrival coincided with that of Cobb, Chambers, and even that of No.6!
   Also there would be other business which takes place in the weeks between episodes, such as the acquisition and the implementation of the Seltzman machine which would have to be brought to the village at some point. And the arrival of the ‘Fall out’ rocket transported to the village on the back of the Scammell Highway transporter.
    However for the time being its election time, and No.6 is just the kind of candidate the village needs to stand for election against No.2. What kind of candidate might that be, one who’s outlook is particularly militant and individualistic, and that is demonstrated in No.6’s first electoral speech.
    “I am not a number, I am a person! In some place, at some time, all of you held positions of a secret nature, and had knowledge that was invaluable to an enemy. Like me you are here to have that knowledge protected or extracted. Unlike me, many of you have accepted the situation of your imprisonment and will die here like rotten cabbages. The rest have gone over to the side of our keepers. Which is which? How many of each, who’s standing beside you now? I intend to discover who are the prisoners and who the warders.”
   And yet later in the episode No.6 conducts a political broadcast on television, “The community can rest assured that their interests are very much my own, and that the security of the citizens will be my primary objective. Be seeing you.”
   No.6 stands looking at himself on television, he seems very pleased with himself, and tells the housemaid No.58 “obey the rules and we’ll take good care of you.” His attitude is assured, he’s positive, and he already begins to sound like No.2, talking about the community’s interests being very much his own, and the security of the citizens being his primary objective. What’s more when has he ever been one for the rules? That doesn’t sound like No.6 at all, must be to do with the brainwashing. Even when he’s floundering in the water having been attacked by the Guardian and half drowned he can’t help himself from spouting that speech “The community can rest assured that their interests are very much my own, and that the security of the citizens will be my primary objective. Be seeing you……be seeing you….!”

Like the man said be seeing you

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