The new No.2 talks the prisoner into becoming
a candidate for the village election. No.6 is told that, if elected,
No.1 will no longer be a mystery to him. In the Village square he's encouraged to make a political speech and announces that he intends to discover who the prisoners and who the warders are. The audience reacts according to the cue cards held by the butler. The moment he announces his intention to run for office, the villagers produce election placards from nowhere with his face on them. Number Six is assigned an assistant, a chalet maid No. 58, for the duration of
the campaign. Constantly enthusiastic, she follows No. 6 everywhere, but speaking only a strange foreign language.
Summoned to the Town Hall, No. 6 is interviewed en route by the local newspaper, the "Tally Ho" but, while he answers questions with "No comment" or "Mind your own business", the journalist writes down whatever answers he thinks are appropriate. In the Town Hall, No. 6 is invited to question the outgoing council, but gets no response to his questions. No. 2 eventually warns him that his attitude is a "serious breach of etiquette" and No. 6 finds himself descending below the chamber where he endures a bizarre kind of brainwashing from what seems at first to be a cheerful, if officious, interrogator.
No. 6 is awakened and goes outside, appearing to be a perfect political candidate, promising a lot but actually saying very little. Back in his cottage he recovers his mind again and attempts a desperate escape. Taking a speedboat he heads out to sea, fighting off two guards who have jumped aboard. No. 2 watches from a helicopter, hovering above, as Rover is summoned and No. 6 is again brought back to the Village for more brainwashing. This time the treatment seems to stick, and he gives more political speeches, leading the Villagers across the square in true campaign fashion. Later, at the Cat and Mouse club, he appears to be aggressive and agitated, demanding an alchoholic drink. No.58 leads him to the "therapy zone", an illicit drinking area, where he meets No.2 who appears somewhat worse for wear. After accepting a drink, No. 6 collapses having been drugged yet again by No.2, now revealed to be perfectly sober.
At the election, No.6 enjoys a landslide victory and becomes the new No.2. Once in his new office, he and his assistant play with the electronic devices until a pulsating light puts him into a trance-like state. No.58 now reveals herself to be something more sinister than a dotty chalet maid and slaps him repeatedly and sadistically in the face. No. 6, now understanding his situation attempts to escape himself but is badly beaten and brought back to the office where No. 58 awaits him. Now wearing the No. 2 badge and speaking perfect English, she reveals that the whole scenario was rigged from the start as a lesson to him that they can break him in many ways, including both mental and physical torture.
Writer: PADDY FITZ|
Director: PATRICK McGOOHAN
Eric Portman (Number Two)
Rachel Herbert (Number 58)
George Benson (Lab Exch Manager)
Harold Berens (Reporter)
John Cazabon (Man in Cave)
Dene Cooper (Photographer)
Kenneth Benda (Supervisor)
Holly Doone (Waitress)
Peter Brace (Mechanic)
Alf Joint (Mechanic)
Although shown as the fourth episode, this was the second to be filmed, back-to-back with "Arrival", and like that episode has location footage by the bucketload. It also shares some gimmicks not used again, such as duplicate Villagers - the electrician & gardener in "Arrival" and the photographer & newsvendor in "Free". This episode was one of two to be hit by censorship with the superb but arguably sadistic fight in the "Rover Cave" deleted for UK transmission. It was not shown in it's entirety until 1984. Other one-offs in this episode include the "Cat & Mouse" nightspot, never to be seen again, and the aforementioned Rover Cave. Just what those four sunglass-wearing guards are up to is anyone's guess!
The writer of this episode is "Paddy Fitz" which was a pseudonym of Patrick McGoohan. Bearing in mind his fearsome reputation, one might be forgiven for thinking the name was chosen to reflect his temperament, but he claims it comes from his Irish upbringing and from his Mother's maiden name, Fitzpatrick. The photo on the election placards is McGoohan's 'Danger Man' publicity shot. This was issued as a signed postcard to Danger Man fans when the programme was in vogue.
Eric Portman was ill when he played Number Two and had difficulty remembering his lines, reading most of them off cue cards which accounts for the stilted mannerisms and off-camera fixed stares. He died not too long after filming this episode. Rachel Herbert delivers a fine performance as No. 58, and her transition from dotty chalet maid to sadism personified is absolutely chilling. The odd language she speaks sounds vaguely Polish and she in fact took a lot of the intonation from a Polish friend of hers. It doesn't actually mean anything though, McGoohan deliberately wrote it as gibberish.