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The Prisoner in the Village

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posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 08:17 AM
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During the mid-Sixties, a secret agent called John Drake was the central character of “Danger Man”, a series on British television.
I must admit that I never watched much beyond the opening credits- just long enough to confirm that we were not going to see the comedian Charlie Drake, who was more to my taste.
(In fact I have spent most of my life “remembering” that the agent was introduced as “Charles Drake”. My own personal Mandela effect).

From September 1967 the same actor, Patrick McGoohan, appears as the central character in “The Prisoner”. He has been a secret agent of some kind, and the story begins with his dramatic resignation from the service. Shortly afterwards, the agent is kidnapped and taken to “The Village”, a world of anonymous people known by their assigned number.

It is natural to identify the two characters. The actor himself denied the connection, but it was promoted by others on the production team. In fact there’s a moment in one episode when an old friend addresses him as “Drake” instead of the usual “Number Six”. So if they were not the same character, they clearly had the same name and the same profession. It’s easier to make sense of the story if we assume continuity.

The best way to explore the situation is through the questions Number Six himself asks at the start of each episode.

“Where am I?” “In the Village”.

The Village has to be detached and anonymous, because that’s how the system works. Disorientation.
In the “Many happy returns” episode, Number Six finds his way back to England and works out the approximate location of the Village by estimating the speed and direction of his journey.
The result seems to place the Village in a large circle centred on south-west Spain (or Gibraltar?). The calculation is vindicated when he succeeds in guiding a plane back there, which ought to settle the matter.
Yet the journey from the Village to London in the final episode throws the question open again. They appear to be driving on the left side of the road and without being obliged to cross the sea. This was apparent evidence at the time (no Channel Tunnel) that the Village was on the same island.
On the other hand, a road sign shows them approaching London by the A20. If you check your copy of any British road atlas, you will see that the A20 is the Dover road. So perhaps they took the car ferry after all.

“What do you want?” “Information”

That seems natural enough. They are a spy system, and spy systems want any information they can get.
When it comes to the crunch, though, they appear to be obsessed by one particular question; “Why did you resign?”
With the implied supplementary question “Were you going to join the other side?”

“Whose side are you on?” “That would be telling.”

In those days there were only two sides, just as there were only two television channels. “This programme is boring, let’s see what’s on the other side”.
One would expect hostile treatment to be coming from “the other side”. In the first episode, a shopkeeper is speaking Russian [?] to his customer, before abruptly switching to English when Number Six enters. The drivers are ostentatiously non-English. In “The Chimes of Big Ben”, he is encouraged to believe that he is travelling back from the Russian end of the Baltic.

But these things, if you’ll excuse the pun, are red herrings. Every time Number Six meets an old colleague or manages to contact his old headquarters, he finds himself trapped in the intrigues of the Village. Either his former employers have been heavily infiltrated by the Village organisation, or they are running the Village themselves.

The real clue is the obsessive line of questioning- “Why did you resign?” Only his former employers could have such intense anxiety about that issue. “Were you going over to the other side?” is a question which “the other side” would not need to ask. They would know the answer already.

I think this conclusion makes it possible to guess the real answer to the question.
I believe that the interrupted explanation (in “Big Ben”) would probably have continued along these lines; “For a long time now, I’ve been feeling that “our side” was beginning to resemble “the other side” too closely, to the point that there was little to choose between them. This took away any sense of purpose in playing my part in the combat”.
That would account for the angry atmosphere of the resignation scene.
Then his treatment in the Village at the hands of his own people would have the ironic effect of proving his point.

There remains a puzzle about his own response. If the Village is run by his former employers, then he’s already told them his original answer to the resignation question. So why does he refuse to answer the question now? Where would be the harm in repeating what he said to them at the time? The only logical reason to maintain silence would be the residual possibility that his interrogators are “the other side” after all, in which case it would be his duty to preserve that secret.

The ambiguity is completely dissolved in the symbolic final episode, when a bewigged judge presents the situation in terms of the problem of controlling British society. Then Number Six returns to a London which begins to look like a relocated Village, judging by the matching door on his old home.




posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 08:18 AM
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“Who is Number One?” “You are Number Six”.

Only recently have I realised that this evasive response might be re-punctuated as a genuine answer to the question- “You are, Number Six”. More single-minded fans were probably decades ahead of me.

The answer is foreshadowed in the “Checkmate” episode. There are two kinds of people inhabiting the Village, and Number Six works out a way to distinguish between them. There are the genuine prisoners, who are timid and obedient, and the disguised guards, who are fearless and proud. On that basis, he identifies a selection of genuine prisoners, teaching them to recognise each other, and recruits them into an escape project.

However, there is a major flaw in the development of this theory. He has neglected to include himself in his observations. With more self-awareness, he would have spotted the need to allow for a third category, the fearless and proud genuine prisoner. As it stands, the theory appears to identify Number Six himself as a disguised guard. His allies, following the logic which he taught them, come to this conclusion, and betray the escape scheme in order to protect themselves.

In the last episode, Number Six is finally allowed to meet Number One. But this means, in fact, that he meets himself. The encounter begins with a clip of his classic speech of self-assertion, focussing on the word “I”, which his masked protagonist picks up and echoes in a series of yelps. Number Six unmasks him twice, first revealing a secondary mask (the yelping ape) and then exposing the face of Number Six himself, looking rather flushed.
All this was hideously confusing on first broadcast. When the scene is “recollected in tranquillity”, the implication is that the two men are a matching pair.
The inflated corporate ego which runs the Village is nothing more than a manic version of his own inflated ego.

Number Six, the individual, believes in the supreme value of the individual over against society.
Number One, the corporate identity of the Village, believes in the supreme value of social harmony even at the expense of individuality.
Each of them condemns the other as arrogant and self-centred.
To that extent, they may both be right and partly wrong.
So perhaps we should not be uncritical in our sympathy with Number Six.
Should we not be conscious, instead, of the flaws in both sides of the argument, and the need to strike a balance between them?

“Perzactly!”, as Charlie Drake would have said.



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 08:22 AM
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Identity confusions

Number Six




Number One



John Drake, the Agent (CharlesDrake?)



Charlie Drake, the Worker






posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 08:32 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

whoa. nice write up.
Its funny to think about but even the ones running the villiage are in the villiage.. I mean out here in real life..

if you try and herd sheep for too long you become a shepherd. at that point youve lost your own freedom to the sheep.

Only way to be free is to not be in control..
society cant work without laws..
so society enslaves us, but then again it gives us basically all value we care about.

like the compromise you were talking about.
there is a balance point. Ive lived both extremes and extreme freedom is prefered by me but realistically its not doable..

humans are weird.
we have to make the best of it.
I quite like society, even though its mind control.

lol



oh and i saw something i dont know if maybe its a remake? was a three part series i think called the villiage.. It creeped me out so hard. I think thats my biggest fear. being trapped in a society with no individualism.


i can't find whatever im talking about. It was on amercan tv. each "episode" was multiple hours long.

he was number 6. all the houses were the same.. he tried to leave but it was all desert. he flew a plane back. I remember him wanting to meet number 1 and it confused me so bad. the leader of the villiage was drugging his wife i think?

anyway..

wish i could find it.

maybe it mandelad me lol.. i really felt like it was called the villiage.
edit on 2-9-2017 by Reverbs because: (no reason given)

edit on 2-9-2017 by Reverbs because: (no reason given)


finally..

you are the best. ive been meaning to rewatch this and i have the day off today..


edit on 2-9-2017 by Reverbs because: (no reason given)

edit on 2-9-2017 by Reverbs because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 09:33 AM
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The real world "village" was in Portmeirion, Wales

goo.gl...

After World War II, many double agents who had worked for the Germans and had switched over to English side retired, but the authorities could never really be absolutely sure which side they were really on, so they were given a pension and allowed to live in the French villages.



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 09:40 AM
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a reply to: stormcell
Indeed. Our family had visited Portmeirion the previous year and recognised the place before it was announced. I've been back since. The location is much more condensed than it appears on screen. Different camera angles make it look more extensive.



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 09:44 AM
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originally posted by: Reverbs
oh and i saw something i dont know if maybe its a remake? was a three part series i think called the villiage.. It creeped me out so hard. I think thats my biggest fear. being trapped in a society with no individualism.
i can't find whatever im talking about. It was on amercan tv. each "episode" was multiple hours long.

I took a brief look at the American remake when it was broadcast here, and was not impressed. As usual, the original was better.
edit on 2-9-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 10:07 AM
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Well done...interesting analysis!!



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 10:36 AM
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Thanks for the memories I watched this as a kid years ago. I forgot that Charlie Drake was in .



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 11:19 AM
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Ah...The Prisoner. Watched it as a teenager and was very drawn to the continual struggle for freedom. It frustrated me beyond my ability to understand the meanings and the episodes were way beyond my little world. I had to quit watching or lose my mind.



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 11:56 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


Hi, good write up.

I am a big fan of "The Prisoner". Your analysis is fair.

Patrick was a very Christian man. He would not even kiss actresses on camera because of his dedication to his wife. I think the Number 6 is very telling (the number of man in all his imperfection).

I think he and fellow writers wanted there to remain an enigma. It is deliberately meant to be slightly out of kilter with reason at times. Surrealism was very popular in the late sixties. "The Prisoner" is most definitely surreal. Definitely a Dali element at work in some of the crazy imagery. Also, perhaps freemasonry is touched upon (the Old Boy's Network and Number 6 trying to escape when he knows too much and is in too deep for them to ever quite let him go).

I left the system and did get hammered for it. It's no joke leaving the Matrix. They'll put you through continual interrogation. Consider how many loops a long term ill person has to continually jump through to prove their illness. Society audits all its members continually.

I think also his journey through the village to meet himself eventually is a psychological journey through one's own psyche and through the layers of society and authority, from dispossessed prisoner Number 6, never giving in to what designation the machine has given you, to find your own self autonomy as Number 1; being your own boss of your own psyche, fully empowered; perhaps realizing the blame is not wholly upon authority, too.

It is a masterpiece. It works on many levels, like poetry. Patrick was a fine actor and a very gifted intellectual man. It is the fiftieth anniversary this year. It was made in 1967. It still has full relevance, out of its time. It is wonderful. You can buy the whole thing on Amazon video for a very good price, which is what I will do very soon.





Be seeing you!


edit on 2-9-2017 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 11:58 AM
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originally posted by: Justso
Ah...The Prisoner. Watched it as a teenager and was very drawn to the continual struggle for freedom. It frustrated me beyond my ability to understand the meanings and the episodes were way beyond my little world. I had to quit watching or lose my mind.


thats how I feel about the world these days. :p
A mind is a terrible thing to lose.



originally posted by: DISRAELI

originally posted by: Reverbs
oh and i saw something i dont know if maybe its a remake? was a three part series i think called the villiage.. It creeped me out so hard. I think thats my biggest fear. being trapped in a society with no individualism.
i can't find whatever im talking about. It was on amercan tv. each "episode" was multiple hours long.

I took a brief look at the American remake when it was broadcast here, and was not impressed. As usual, the original was better.


oh Im sure. Of course now I get to watch the better version last.. Though it does beg the question.. Will the American remake seem like the original to me, and is it just a psychological effect that makes the original better?

With james bond movies for instance it seems like whatever bond comes out when you first start watching is the bond you think of as james bond and the others never cut it.

I watched the opening theme.. its oddly exactly the same series..

well I found it on youtube so.. Here we go.



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 12:56 PM
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a reply to: Reverbs

by the way this might be too much for me to watch
.

its making me very uncomfortable.. which i guess means ive reprogrammed myself to fit back in my slot.. Pain avoidance..

there was this time in my life all i could think about was getting out. that was when i was 4.. You guys had to all be in on it. well later as i progressed I turned out to be right and wrong about it.. Its been so long you know? Do any of us remember?

"we are all pawns you see..
your move."

just finished the first episode.

reminds me of one of my most intense dreams. I was being interrogated again... and on my bedroom wall a projection..

WHAT GAME ARE THEY PLAYING!
AND
WHO'S PLAYING IT?

it just kept flashing faster and faster to break me or something.

real life ive had odd times as well.. Im not the smartest person in the world but even if I were when you are playing mind games with people playing ming games with people playing mind games who the hell knows whats going on anymore??

so in order not to lose ones mind you can resign from trying to play and there you are again safely back in the matrix..

"would you like a lemon in your tea?"


ugh...
Id be more specific but actually I wouldn't..
Now what?

now i laugh.

haha




Then I always think.. Could a human mind survive outside the villiage. And i think of that god dude from the bible saying "stop it dont get smart i made the perfect cage for you pets. its got everything.."

lol

I think about how easy it is to get people to turn on each other, and how valuable loyalty is. loyalty only works on a level.. go above the level and its changed.. say im loyal to usa. I was in the Army.. but now say a ufo lands in my back yard and shows me all about earth so i know it all and shows me all the other planets with life.. now i think we are the bad guys on earth.. right??

so you have to stand up for something bigger. call it values..

I happen to love TRUTH and LOVE myself.

Its not anyones fault really that we are in the matrix. and if you coukd point a finger to who it would be pointless. Its human.. Its psychology. You like it here.. Almost everyone does.. And they will die defending it.

remember the part of matrix where its being explained to neo that he cant trust anybody in the matrix? They arent "in on it" but until they wake up they are your enemy.

society is saftey.
We did this.
Now what?

And not surprisingly ruthless people rise towards the top of our saftey bubble. But then again the center of the bubbke moves just as loyalties.. centers of power are as transient as human psychology. Help redifine society and the old guard will snap at you.

Its all so quaint.

I just turned on a "program" on a "channel" to reprogram(deprogram?) myself and duh.. They are talking about the same thing. Just a different set of words.. Its basically people who built society..

oh life..
you so silly girl.


edit on 2-9-2017 by Reverbs because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 04:51 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
It is natural to identify the two characters. The actor himself denied the connection, but it was promoted by others on the production team. In fact there’s a moment in one episode when an old friend addresses him as “Drake” instead of the usual “Number Six”. So if they were not the same character, they clearly had the same name and the same profession. It’s easier to make sense of the story if we assume continuity.


This (bolded remark) is news to me, a fan this last quarter-century. The Drake/No 6 riddle would have been settled long ago if this were the case, surely?

There are some crossover elements between Danger Man ("Secret Agent" in the US) and The Prisoner - but they are more conceptual than continuity. E.g., Portmerion (the village) appears in episode one of DM (but not as "the village"). So it's hard to argue that Drake ends up somewhere he's already been, which was not being used as a "secure facility" at that time, but now has no idea where he is.

The Prisoner is not so much a sequel as a reimagining of the pretty old-school and strait-laced DM, viewed from an acid-frazzled late 1960s perspective. Even the question "Why did you resign?" can be read as a question aimed by authorities at the youth movements of the time, who were 'dropping out' of social conventions.

I have to squeeze in a personal anecdote here: McGoohan occasionally claimed that he got the idea from a rumoured prison camp that existed in Scotland during WWII, where 'security risks' were impounded. I thought this was far-fetched rubbish, till around ten years ago when I had cause to interview a centenarian.

She had worked at Bletchley Park in England, where the decryption programs of the Second World War were carried out. (We tend to forget what a big deal that was: it was so ultra-super-mega classified that it was kept secret until the 1970s!)

Out of the blue, this elderly woman (who was totally in command of her faculties, and sharp as a pin) volunteered to me that occasionally Bletchley Park codebreakers would get drunk and indiscreet in local pubs, and they would be shipped out the next dawn for some secret camp in the wilds of Scotland and never heard of again! As far as I'm concerned, that's the sort of statement you can take to the bank. Whether or not there was such a camp is unknown, but that's what everyone at Bletchley Park was told awaited them if they spilled the beans.



posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 05:01 PM
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a reply to: audubon
I will have to see if I can track it down. I just made a mental note when I heard it ("That's interesting- he's not supposed to use the name"). It was so casual (half-way through a sentence) that I'm not suprised that it should go un-noticed. It might even have been a slip by the actor rather than the character.


edit on 2-9-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



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