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Friday 17 January 2020

Watching The Prisoner – Checkmate

    It has now been 3 months and 6 days since the Prisoner’s abduction to the village and yet we have witnessed a mere 3 hours and 20 minutes of those 3 months and 9 days. During which time at a secret establishment an electronic engineer invented an electronic defence system. A problem developed, he thought that every nation should have it, because in his mind it would have meant world peace. Such thoughts were seen to be treasonable, so presumably he was put under close surveillance. But then some petty bureaucrat let his bag, containing the plans for the electronic defence system, get swiped by an agent working for the village. Once the plans had arrived in the village scientists began to work on them in order to implement an electronic defence system for the village. However problems probably developed in trying to reduce the system to a workable size, and so seeing as the inventor was being brought to the village anyway for expressing treasonable thoughts, No.2 forced No.53 {the Rook} to work with scientists and eventually his electronic defence system evolved into the Beam which is deployed in a later episode, ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ to bring down a pigeon!
    In an earlier episode No.6 questioned how many of each, who is standing beside you now? He went on to say he intended to discover them, who the prisoners and who the warders. In this episode No.6 is given a lesson in learning who is for him or against, the way it is in life, you judge by people’s attitudes. And so armed with knowledge No.6 sets about discovering people he can trust.
    No.6 organises an escape plan, but alone on the raft the Rook has time to think and puts to No.6 his own test. You see there’s been a slight misunderstanding.
   “You, you’re one of them!”
   “I’m not, you are! You deliberately tried to trap me.”
   “I did what?”
   A slight misunderstanding, when No.6 took command of the escape venture his air of authority convinced the Rook that he was one of them. Then he rowed the raft back to shore, made his way to the Green Dome, convinced the rest of No.6’s confederates, who released No.2.  No.6 asked what will happen to them? No.2 said they would be back on the chessboard the next day as pawns. But we never see No.56 the shopkeeper again, he’s replaced by No.112, a weasel type of character. The white Queen is never seen again after being seen down on the beach, neither is No.53 {the Rook}.
    Who says people do not enjoy themselves in the Village? Down on the beach citizens spend time sunbathing, playing beach ball, building sandcastles, sailing plastic boats, or simply relaxing in the sunshine giving the village an almost holiday resort atmosphere. Less work and more play you might say.
  There might be the enjoyment of a car chase in ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ when Mister X is the hunter on the trail of the Girl, there is also a car chase of sorts in ‘Checkmate,’ and for once No. 6 is the hunted! No. 8 is put on the trail of No. 6 by the doctor who has had her hypnotized into believing she is in love with No. 6 and he with her. No. 6 steals a taxi and No. 8 steals another and goes after him but how she manages to lose him I don’t know seeing as the village is small enough, you’d think it would be difficult to lose anyone. At one point No. 6 takes a side road and No. 8 drives on seemingly out of the village and along the driveway towards…..towards where? But there’s no danger of interference as No.2 wants this new device {the reaction transmitter} to have a proper test. There is also the question of love, No.8 declares her love to No. 6 and sees how they could be happy together. Whilst the Girl in ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ having declared her love for him, would probably love him to death!
   Whereas ‘Free For All’ has an election for its theme, ‘Dance of the Death’ is wrapped around death, ‘Checkmate’ has technology and experimentation as its theme. Adaptation of Pavlov’s experiments with dogs, and Naval experiments using Dolphins to detect submarines. The doctor No.23 sees the citizens of the village only as experimental subject matter. It doesn’t take her long to size up No.6 wanting to know his breaking point. The doctor-No.40 of ‘Dance of The Dead’ saw how every man has his breaking point, but then he went too far with Dutton. No.6 on the other hand is put through a number of severe word association tests, and it’s in a couple of scenes we see the psychologist No.39, who we shall see again in ‘The Schizoid Man’ to be watched on Feb10th.

Be seeing you

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