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Tuesday 21 July 2020

Watching The Prisoner - The General

    I have placed ‘The General before ‘A B and C’ in my screening order, on the basis of what is said during the opening sequence when No.2 says “I am the new Number 2.” Whereas in the opening sequence to ‘A B and C’ No.2 “I am Number 2.” I realize that later in the episode No.2 tells madam professor that he and No.6 are old friends; however sometimes one has to ignore certain things in order to make things fit. Otherwise that would put ‘The General’ after ‘A B and C’ and then that would make it wrong on the grounds of what No.2 says in the opening sequences!
   Just how long the Professor and his wife have been in the village is clearly impossible to determine. However there might be a clue in that bust of No.2 from ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’ Its clearly one of the busts seen at the Exhibition of Arts and Crafts, and being an artist what could be more natural than for Madam Professor to enter that exhibition. Which makes it, according to my own particular screening order, that it was about three months since the Professor and his wife were brought to the village.
   We do not know the names of the Professor and his wife, nor do we know their numbers, as they do not wear a numbered badge. Also they are permitted to wear their own clothes! This is possibly because they are not allowed out into the village, but remain under a form of house arrest, or life in a “safe house” cut off from outside influences, and vice versa. Indeed the only times the Professor is allowed out of the house is when he’s in the General’s office typing up and processing his lectures in readiness for their transmission.
   It’s also impossible to determine when the educational experiment of Speed Learn began, as by the time No.6 is sitting at the café in the opening scene;
   Number 6 is sitting at the Café drinking a cup of coffee. A helicopter is circling above, he looks as though he is wondering who is just arriving, or maybe he remembers the time when he piloted the helicopter for a short time. But the truth of the matter is, the pilot of the helicopter is searching for someone, as it turns out it’s the Professor they are looking for. 
    There comes a public announcement
Number 6 asks for another cup of coffee, but the Cafe is closing, he did hear the announcement......
    “Another coffee please.”
    “Sorry sir, we’re closing……… did hear the announcement sir…..about the Professor.”
    “I’m not one of his students.”
    “One coffee sir…two credit units if you please……’re never too old to learn sir.”
    “Who told you that, the Professor?”
    “No sir, the General!”
    “The General?”
    “Best of luck with your exams sir.”
    “Thank you.”
    Number 6 doesn’t seem to be aware of either the Professor or the General, which begs the questions where has Number 6 been all this time? After all the Speed Learn experiment didn’t just begin over night, judging by the students and the announcement, Speed Learn has been running for quite some time. Or at least that is the impression I get!
   This episode appears to have a link to ‘The Schizoid Man.’
    No.2 “Have you thought any more about that proposition I put to you when I arrived?”
    No.6 “Sorry, I’ve had no time.”
    “But you must have some views?”
    “I’m afraid not.”
    “Look old chap, we’ve been through some scrapes before, but we’ve never fallen out over them. The General’s not going to behead you!”
    “We won’t know until I’ve reported to the General, will we?”
    “Report to the General? That’s a new one!”
    So in this episode we get to meet the General, and turns out to be a computer! If this is correct its no wonder No.2 thought it was a strange thing for Curtis to say “We won’t know until I’ve reported to the General, will we?” Whether or not we are to believe the General mentioned in ‘The Schizoid Man’ is the same General as in the computer, is up to the individual. But it would make sense of No.2’s reaction “Report to the General? That’s a new one!”

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