In the village hospital, No.2 interrogates a woman, No.73. Apparently she tried to commit suicide by slashing her wrists and for some reason No 2 is most insistent on finding out why. No.6 is passing by outside when he hears her scream and rushes inside. Just as he gets to the room, No.73 jumps out of the window to her death. No.2 immediately blames No. 6 and threatens, "You'll pay for this". No. 6 replies, "No. You will" No.6.
Later, he is dragged into the Green Dome where No.2 threatens him. Quoting from Goethe, he likens himself to a hammer and the Prisoner as the "Anvil". However, depite his posturing and threatening, No.2 reveals his basically cowardly nature as he receives a call from No. 1 and becomes fawning and anxious. No. 6 realises that he can exploit this weakness and starts a low-profile series of ingenious but fake plots to undermine N0. 2's confidence.
Knowing he is being watched, No. 6 goes into the village store and listens to six identical versions of "L'Arlésienne" while monitoring his watch. He also leaves a copy of the village newspaper with the word "security" circled and he adds a question mark near it.
No. 2's assumption is that there's a coded message somehow imprinted into one of the recordings, particularly as he later discovers a message reading, "To X.O.4 ref. your query via Bizet record. No.2's instability confirmed. Detailed report follows. D.6."
No.2 becomes convinced that No.6 is a fake, installed in the Village to spy on him. No. 6 continues to plague him with what look like more plots to discredit him, hiding blank pieces of paper which No.2 believes carry messages but which he can't decipher. The papers are blank but by this time No. 2 is so paranoid that he can't accept it, even starting to blame anybody and everybody and accusing them of being in on the deception. No. 6 places an ad in the local newspaper which is meaningless but appears to the crumbling No. 2 to be another coded message. The village psychiatrist receives a mysterious call about his "report on No.2's mental health" which is montitored by No. 2 and, again taken seriously although it's an obvious deception. No. 6's pranks become more and more bizarre, such as having a birthday message read out on the Village radio from "No. 113" wishing No 6 a happy birthday. Except that No. 113 is dead and isn't No 6's birthday!
No. 2 gradually falls apart, he takes each prank as confirmation of the plot to discredit him, and distrusts absolutely everyone else around him. Finally No. 6 calmly walks to the Green Dome to face a completely broken No. 2, alone and with all his arrogance gone. Continuing with the deception, No. 6 playfully allows No. 2 to talk himself into being replaced.
Roger Woddis (Writer)
Pat Jackson (Director)|
Patrick Cargill (Number Two) |
Basil Hoskins (Number 14)
Victor Maddern (Bandmaster)
Norman Scace (Psychiatrist)
Derek Aylward (New Supervisor)
Hilary Dwyer (Number 73)
Arthur Gross (Control Operator)
Peter Swanwick (Supervisor)
Victor Woolf (Shop Assistant) |
Michael Segal (Technician)
Margo Andrew (Girl)
Susan Sheers (Code Expert)
Jackie Cooper (Guardian)
Fred Haggerty (Guardian)
Eddie Powell (Guardian)
George Leach (Guardian)
This episode marks a return appearance for Patrick Cargill, previously seen as Thorpe in "Many Happy Returns", but the characters are not meant to be the same. The actor was a past master at playing dotty villains and it's virtually the same character and performance as he gives in the "Avengers" episode "The Fear Merchants", which also incidentally features Annette Carrel who played "B" in "A, B & C". Patrick Cargill did very well in the theatre and in television situation comedy too.
Portmeirion's Castle Restaurant once again provides the exterior for the hospital. McGoohan's stunt double, Frank Maher, is much in evidence, particularly during the sequence where Number Six is trailed down to the beach. The Bizet piece "Prelude" from the L'Arlesienne Suite, which is heard repeatedly, isn't from a commercial recording at all, it was one of the pieces of Prisoner incidental music specially recorded by Albert Elms. The band in Portmeirion are miming!
Peter Swanwick makes another of his semi-regular appearances as the Supervisor and, for, once, is allowed a brief moment of comedy as he finds himself inexplicably fired. The radio programme he's just been hosting is yet another one-off plot device, inserted for the sake of the story and then put away forever, as is the "beam" which Number Two orders to be used to bring down the pigeon. To be deployed from a flagpole, aimed, focussed and fired in less time than it takes the pigeon to fly across the Village is weapons technology indeed!