among others out of its temporal context, is one stock piece here. The futuristic
technology as displayed is straitforward naive, not only because of TV constraints.
Especially in the case of "The General" some truly misguided
suppositions about artificial intelligence are made. It is the worst episode,
clumped together out of leftover pieces and images, only held together
by the faint idea of the menace of omnipotent control.
PRISONER isnt just a soap opera, unfocused as the episodes may
be. To be sure, science fiction is not the basis that THE PRISONER needs to rely on.
kafkaesque and alienated character of Number Six dominates "Arrival",
"Checkmate", "Dance Of The Dead" and "Once Upon
A Time" together with some traces included in "A Change Of Mind",
"Fall Out" and in "Living In Harmony" although this
episodes is constructed differently.
holes are there, too, regarding continuity. Number Six seems to have a
fiancée, his former bosses daughter, in "Do Not Forsake Me...".
However, in "The Chimes Of Big Ben" he denies having a relationship
with a woman or being engaged. Neither do we get to know anything about
the duration of his stay in the Village which in fact might be intentional.
There is no interconnection of the episodes with the exception of the
last and the last but one.
Regardless of this a rather lively debate on the probable, proper or supposed order of the episodes has been going on during the past decades. Its
up to the explicitly scientific plots to deliver the most serious contradiction:
Because if you have the depicted means of manipulating and brainwashing
either to extract information or to coerce someone into cooperation why,
then, hold Number Six captive in a golden cage? Of course, this is the
basic assumption of the whole show.
It's the threshold of disbelieve that's been cleverly restricted to shoestring height. Just like
one has learned to accept that Kiefer Sutherland, in the "real-time"
series 24 is likely to
solve his problems within a single 24 hour period, never has to go to
the toilet and always having a charged battery pack in his mobile phone.
into the Villages structure of power is given, though in a rather
confused way, in "Its Four Funeral" and "Hammer Into
Anvil", the better story because of the way Number Two gets outmanoevered.
"Free For All" satirically hits on (only apparently) democratic
election rites. Number Six: "Elections, in this place?" Of course,
things never really are what they appear to be. Little wonder that this
episode wasn't screened in mid-60s Germany with students protesting against
former Nazis still and again holding political power and the US government
expanding the war in Vietnam.
Girl Who Was Death" is the most English episode, "Living In
Harmony" the most American. Both indicate the task the script authors
had to face with the Village as the place of action slowly exhausting.
"The Girl Who Was Death" is a live comic, a mad Holmes/Bond
parody which had already been written for DRAKE. The nameless stranger
of "Harmony" paraphrases certain western shows of the movie
and television era.
is at the center of "Checkmate". But it's the final image that
conveys the series central metaphor in one single shot: the Butler
putting one pawn back on the chessboard. End credits and start of a new
game. What remains are the same questions: who is prisoner, who warder?
Who is player, who piece? Who plays with whom?