1996 Reed, Kent, and Kirby Meyer. Last Modified: 21 February 2022.
Advice:Ifyou'reafirst-timeviewer,readthefollowingsuggestionsabouteachepisodeinparticulareitherbeforeordirectlyafteryou watchtheepisode.Thefollowingpointsshouldhelpclarifyafewconfusingeventsineachepisode.Thesenotesarenottosummarizethe episodes, nor will they spoil any of the endings.ArrivalTheWomanattheendofthestory(VirginiaMaskell)doeswantNo.6toescape,butshehastodoherduty(takeheedofthe ex-admiral's quote at the end of the episode).Dance of the DeadThisstoryisbetterreadasanallegorythanasan‘actual’situation.Forexample,itisobviousthatthecostumeseachperson wear at the party represent that person's personality.Free For AllAconfusingpartaboutthisepisodeisthatinthisepisode,No.2drugsNo.6throughoutthestory,buttheviewerdoesn'treally knowwhenNo.6isfullydopedorwhenhestartstoregainsomeindependentthinking(e.g,theboat/helicopterchaseandthe CatandMousenightclub).Justrememberthatthereareincidences(afterthemind-test)whenheisdruggedandalsoinstances when the drugs are wearing off.The Chimes of Big BenThisepisodewasaneditedversionoftheoriginal“ChimesofBigBen.”Theoriginalversionisnowcalled“TheAlternate ChimesofBigBen,”whichhadadifferentmusicscore(muchtomydislike)andafewextrascenesinit.Oneofthescenes,the ‘Triquetrum’scene,wasremovedbecauseMcGoohanlaterthoughtthattheVillagewouldnotallowsuchadevice.Andthe ‘pop’ sequence in the credits was just plain ‘corny.’CheckmateThewholeepisodeisbasedonsortingthe‘prisoners’fromthe‘warders.’ Adecentexplanationonwhythedoctorbrainwashes theQueen(RosalieCrutchley)intolovingNo.6isbecausetheywanthertocoerceNo.6tostayintheVillage(ratherthan escapeit),wherethetwocouldbe‘happy’together.Otherscholarsbelieveitisnothingmorethana‘low’attempttotryto trackNo.6;i.e.,mind-bendingawomaninto‘loving’No.6sothattheycantryandkeeptabsonhim!Thegeneralpopulaceof the Village (including the Queen) are ‘zombies,’ anyway, so they can be manipulated like this.Eithertheybrain-washtheQueentocoerceNo.6tostayortokeepaneyeoutforNo.6.(Ineithercase,thenecessityforthis experiment is so moronic, I had to reach for the ‘popcorn’ bowl.)The Schizoid ManOurscholarsfailedtoshockthemselveswhentheytriedholdingtheironehandonalamppoleandanotheronanelectric outlet. Hence, this may be considered a loophole in the plot, but we will let it slide.No.24knowsthatthepersonleavingisNo.6andnotCurtis.She'sjusttalkingtohimabouthowshewantshimtoforgiveher for being a traitor. (Remember, she has a ‘rapport’ with No.6).The GeneralTheinstanceatthebeginningoftheepisodewheretheProfessorrunsaway(onthebeach)andcomplainshowtheGeneral mustbedestroyedshouldbetakenwithagrainofsalt.Laterintheepisode,heseemstohaveforgottenthatheeverranaway. So,considerthatlittlesequencesomethingjusttogetactionstartedandnothingelse.(Oneofthereasonswhysomedon'tlike theepisodeiswhenNo.2thoughtTheGeneralcananswer“anyquestion,giventhebasicnumberoffacts.”Yet,No.2 graciously allows No.6 to pose the General a question without looking to see if it has the “basic number of facts!”)A.B. and C.ThereismuchdebateoverwhichepisodewithColinGordon(No.2)comesfirst--“A.B.andC”or“TheGeneral.”It's presumedtobe“TheGeneral”thatcomesfirstbecauseoftheintrosincehesays,“IamNumberTwo,”not“ThenewNumber Two” (like he says in “The General”).Many Happy ReturnsResearchmaintainsthatafewbandsofGypsiesdidresideinEnglandinthe1960s.However,chancesareextremelyrarethat No.6 would run across them (ANOTHER plot hole!)Living in HarmonyInthisstory,theJudgewantsNo.6tobecomeSheriff.SomeconsideritanallegoryofNo.2wantingtheinfofromNo.6.(But,I personallydon'tseetheanalogy).Ourresearchersbelievethatanotherwaytoseetheentirestoryisfromtheviewpointof No.2tryingtocoerceNo.6tostayintheVillage,eventhoughNo.2specificallystatshewantstobreakhim.Thereisnohintof No.6 being ‘cracked’ anywhere throughout the episode!A Change of MindThere is nothing confusing in this episode, but there are many plot holes in it (again!).Hammer Into AnvilTheplotwasverysimple,sotherearenoconfusingmomentsinthisepisode.TheideaofbringinginaNo.2thatisso obviously less intelligent than No.6 still boggles some scholars' minds to this date.Do Not Forsake Me Oh My DarlingTheVillageneedsSaltzmansothattheycouldlearnthe‘reversal’process(i.e.,puttingtwomindsbackintotheiroriginal bodies).AlsonotethatPatrickMcGoohanwasoffactinginIceStationZebraandcouldn'thelpproducetheepisode(asifyou didn't notice).It's Your FuneralThisepisodeisnotcenteredaroundNo.6atall.Instead,itisfocusedonNo.2.ThenewNo.2wantedtosetupanassassination oftheoldNo.2andmaketheVillagerslookliketheyweretheoneswhodiditandsufferreprisalsfortheaction.Hewantsto pique No.6's interest in the plot so No.6 could become a major suspect, supposedly so No.6 would get grilled for his ‘actions.’-- For the advanced Kents Notes reader (one who has watched the episode):Ithoughttheplotbricked!TheideaofbringingNo.6intotheplotwasriskyatbestforthenewNo.2(becauseNo.6hasa knackoffindingoutwhat'sreallygoingonandthwartingtheplan),especiallysinceNo.6wasplayingtheroleofonlyan ‘innocentpawn.’AndtheincidentatthebeginningoftheepisodewheretheWatchmaker'sdaughterfallsunconsciousin ordertomakeNo.6moreinterestedintheplot(andthusmoresuspect)waspoor(forthesamereasonasabove).Whywould shewanttogotoHIShouseforhelp?Number6doesn'tlikehelpingVillagers!(Shemusthavebeencoercedorbrainwashed to go there ... she did look like she was in a trance at the beginning of the episode.)The Girl Who Was DeathThefirsthalfoftheentireepisodeshouldbetakenasitlooks:aspyishadventurewithNo.6tryingtochasedown‘Death.’ Afterthecarchasingsequence,though,everythingbecomesmoreallegorical.Thinkofthatlittletownwith“theButcher,the Baker, the Candlestick Maker” as an allegory of No.6 ‘thwarting’ the Village and you'll better appreciate this part of the story.The lighthouse sequence could shed some light on “Fall Out,” the last (and FINAL) episode of the series.Once Upon A TimeTwopartstogetconfusedonhereare:1)what'stheconnectionbetweenNo.6andthatgreenflashinglampatthebeginning? 2) when does No.6 become his true self again?1)No.6issortof‘brainwiped,’i.e.aDescartes'‘tabularasa.’ThinkofNo.6asbasicallysomeonewhojustlostallprejudices andideals,andNo.2wantstoinstallnewpersonalitytraitsintoNo.6.Weird.Ifanyoneelsecancomeupwithabetter explanation, contact me. 2) Listen carefully. When No.6 says “six,” by then he's back to his original self.Notethat“OnceUponaTime”wasnotoriginallyintendedtobetheprequelto“FallOut.”Onceitwasdecidedthatitwasto be the next-to-last episode, they had to change the ending somewhat to ‘fit the bill.’Fall OutThe“AllyouNeedisLove”sequencewasdesignedbyMcGoohanasatwisted‘irony.’Towardstheend,thesongisreplayed, and the message is more clear: If we all have ‘love’ then the Village and death (The Prisoner) won't exist.WhenNo.6getshisoldsuitback,theswinginghangerspointoutthattheCommittee(otherVillagers?)hasjustgottendressed also.Thepeopleclappingrepresentdifferentgovernments,ideals,people,etc.oftheworldandaresupposedlythe Committee.Theywearmasksbecausethey'resupposedtobeabstractideals(personification).ThinkoftheButlerliketheU.S. Postalservice:‘Rain,sleet,snow,orhail,’hedoeshisjob.Hedesiresnoallegiancesandonlysideswithonewhenheknows it's for his own benefit.Duringtheendsequence,No.6talkstoapolicemaninthebackground.Ithasbeenconjecturedthatthisisthe‘euphoria’ sequence. No.6 is glad to be back in London. Our researchers don't think this is the case.The series ends just how the series began.NotethenumberofunansweredquestionsaboutThePrisoner.That'sthetroublewithtelevisionseries:toomanyloopholes(I better just stick to Shakespeare!) Review Questions1.In“DanceoftheDead”,whyisNo.2inaPeterPancostume?DescribetheironyofMaryMorriswearingaPeterPan costume. Cite two examples, both equally irrelevant.2.“Fall Out” was written in haste, and it shows. Why did McGoohan wait until the last moment to release the script?3.In“AChangeofMind”,No.2declares,“Stupidwoman!”Findotherexamplesofredundancyinclassicliterature(black and white television).4.“‘Hammer into Anvil’ sucks.” Defend or refute this statement.5.Compare and contrast “Living in Harmony” with H.R. Pufnstuf.6.Why is the first season of MacGyver often considered the best?