Recap / The Prisoner E 3 AB And C

Number Two decides to manipulate and observe Number Six's dreams to see if he was "turned" by one of three people, codenamed A, B, and C.

  • Anachronic Order: One of the most obvious of the series. The Number Two played by Colin Gordon appears in this episode as terrified of failing his masters if he doesn't break Number Six... yet he appears later in the series in the episode "The General" as though nothing was wrong and indeed appears more confident and convinced his plans will succeed. There is no evidence Colin Gordon was meant to play two entirely different Twos, yet this series came out before the idea of continuity in a television series caught on (most shows in that era would recycle the same actors in different roles all the time). There's also the fact that he says "I am Number 2" in the Couch Gag and "The new Number 2," in "The General" - therefore, most episode orderings place them as a pseudo-two-parter with "The General" first in order to make things more sensible.
  • All Just a Dream: Literally, the majority of the episode is a vision projected into Six's mind.
  • Bad Boss: Number One is implied to be this by the way Number Two is clearly terrified of failing him.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Six intentionally allows himself to become one during the C segment as he begins to take over the dream.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The agent code-named A is based on a colleague of Number Six who defected to the other side. Number Two is convinced that A was trying to tempt Six to do the same, except the first dream session proved Six hated A for what he did. He even dreams a Curb-Stomp Battle on A to display his contempt for his ex-friend.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At first, Six's dreams are just of him handing in his resignation... which means the first dream Nos. 2 and 14 see is basically the opening credits.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The device used to project a false dreamscape into Six's mind.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Six realizes a woman (named B) he trusts in the dream is a fake by the way she's terrified of being threatened when the real-life one scoffs at danger.
  • The Reveal: In-story, the Village has no idea who C was, only that Six met him at Madame Engandine's parties. Six dreams that C is Engandine, and that C is working for a shadowy figure called "D". Subverted in that Six is faking his dream during the third session, and maybe lied about Engandine being C. D is a complete fiction... whom Six mocks by making him Number Two under that mask!
    • Number Six does reveal that his plan after visiting Madame Engandine's party - where he was going before the Village kidnapped him - was to honestly go on a vacation: he never planned on defecting at all.
  • Rule of Three: The dream-reading machine can only work three times, there are three subjects that the Village has under suspicion (A B and C), and all three revolve around Madame Engandine's parties.
    • The Prisoner's first two dreams have him arriving at formal, rather sedate shindigs at Madame E's home. After Six discovers the ruse he switches out the dream serum with water before the third session and fakes the third party. He imagines it as a raucous Sixties swinging affair, nothing like the original dreams (which should have tipped off Number Two that this wasn't a real dream session).
  • Trust Password: Six, when discovering his friend B isn't behaving like herself in his second dream, asks her about "her son," a tidbit of information the Village didn't know about. It throws off Number Fourteen's attempts to manipulate the dream state, which confirms Six's angry realization that the dream version of B isn't real.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Number Two is convinced that the reason Six resigned was to defect or sell out to the other side. Six makes it clear - especially in the first two dreams that were real - he wasn't.
  • Xanatos Gambit: As typical in the Village, they have one planned for Number Six via a Lotus-Eater Machine. Six turns the tables on them by taking control over his dream.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Implied to be the fate of Number Two for wasting the Village's time.