No.6 and No.24 (oddly, this character played by Jane Merrow is known by name, Alison) are practicing mind reading, they have discovered they are "sympatico" and are able to identify cards and symbols telepathically. While taking photographs of him, Alison bruises No. 6's fingernail accidentally.
Later, at night, No.6 undergoes hypnotherapy and there follows a sequence of conditioning treatments and some cosmetic changes. He wakes up in an unfamiliar room, unaware of the treatments, and now sporting a moustache, black hair and wearing a badge reading "No.12". No.2 greets him as a familiar, as if he was someone else, and explains that he is an outside agent of the Village and has been selected because of his physical resemblance with No.6. He is told that his job will be to convince "No.6" that he is someone else in order to make him crack. Unconvinced but going along with it for the time being, our hero is transformed back into his usual appearance.
Returning to his original cottage, the real No. 6 meets his double and they engage in a series of tests, each trying to prove the other is a fake. No. 6 is at a disadvantage as he has been programmed to use his left hand, making him rather inefficient. No. 6 attempts to prove his identity by calling on Alison to repeat their mind-reading, but she betrays him, obviously in on the duplicity. By this time, No. 6 is almost convinced he's someone else and is close to breaking but he notices the bruise on his fingernail which, being in an adanced stage proves that he's 'missing' several days and gradually recalls the brainwashing he's been through. To reverse the conditioning, he gives himself a severe electric shock and reverts to his true self, and in doing so regains his will to escape.
Confronting his double, he first tricks him into revealing some of the plot and then gets the better of him in a fight. The double is persuaded to reveal his true identity and the password which he uses to confirm his identity to the Village. He then panics and runs away, only to be killed by Rover. Seizing the opportunity, No. 6 impersonates the double in order to leave the Village in his place but, despite some contrition by Jane Merrow's "Alison" in the closing moments, the escape attempt fails.
Writer: Terence Feely |
Director: Pat Jackson
Anton Rogers (Number Two)
Jane Merrow (Alison)
Earl Cameron (Supervisor)
Gay Cameron (Number 36)
David Nettheim (Doctor)
Pat Keen (Nurse)
Gerry Crampton (Guardian)
Dinney Powell (Guardian)
Trivia: Back to Borehamwood again for this episode with much use being made of the standing set behind the studios doubling for Portmeirion (a "schizoid village" perhaps ....) McGoohan plays both Number Six roles via a very competent split-screen special effect. Honorable mention has to go to Frank Maher who effectively also plays both roles by being one or the other No. 6 duringthe complicated swap-overs necessary for the split screen work and all the back views of each Number Six when the split screen effect wasn't totally necessary. In addition to his duties as stunt co-ordinator he coached McGoohan in both fencing and pistol-handling.
Anton Rogers recalled watching some scenes being made for "Once Upon A Time" while at the studios, confirming that what was to be episode sixteen was actually made very much earlier. This is the only episode to refer to "Rover" by that name, amazing that the name stuck so well. The self-administered electric-shock therapy by Number Six is ludicrous as it would kill him instantly if it was for real !