Recap / The Prisoner E 7 Many Happy Returns

Number Six awakens to find the Village utterly deserted. Has he been abandoned, and can he escape back to Britain?

  • Ambiguous Situation: Who is working for who, how much was under the Village's control, and how much of this was deliberate is never made clear.
  • Foreshadowing: Mrs. Butterworth has a maid, similar to how Number Two has the Butler to take care of things.
  • Ghost Town: What the Village turns into one night while Six is asleep.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Six briefly suffers from this before he realizes he can use the situation to escape.
  • I Gave My Word: The reason why Six wants to come back and look for the Village.
    • It harks back to what he told Number Two in "Chimes of Big Ben":
    "I'm going to escape and come back. Escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it, and you with it!"
    • It's also why Number Two shows up at the end of the episode with a birthday cake. She DID promise him that cake, after all.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Why did we see a shot of a milkman on the air base? The "milkman" was the pilot who stranded Number Six back in the Village, presumably after stealing the real pilot's uniform.
  • Mind Screw
    • This is what the events were all about and do one of the best jobs in battering Six's ego.
    • It's worse: The whole episode is meant to be a birthday present: grant him the dream of escaping and doing what he could to expose and destroy the Village once and for all. And they let him, well, except for that last bit.
  • No Dialogue Episode: For the first thirty minutes or so, there is almost no dialogue. Whatever snippets there are come from Romany-like travelers and background noise.
  • The Reveal
    • Number Two is Mrs. Butterworth.
    • The Prisoner confirms he built his iconic car the Lotus 7 with his bare hands.note 
    • Number Six confirms that his birthday is March 19.note 
  • The '60s: Mrs. Butterworth as an example of a jet-setting hipster woman living within Swinging London of the era.
  • The Unreveal
    • While the episode takes great pains to map out The Prisoner's journey escaping from the Village there is still the likelihood they manipulated that as well.
    • When Number Six returns to his home, he tells Mrs. Butterworth - who had moved into his apartment since he'd been gone for so long and the lease expired - that his name is Peter Smith in order to prove he was the previous tenant. Since he didn't have any reason to lie to her, it's possible this is his real name. Subverted with the realization that the Prisoner had a variety of cover names including one - Schmidt - which is a clearly Germanic version of Smith, and Smith could have easily been a civilian cover.
    • The opening credits did not show us a face of the new Number Two and used a generic man's voice. It was to hide the fact that the real Number Two was a woman we'd see during the episode as Mrs. Butterworth.
    • So, how many people were in on it? The gunrunners? One of them wears a striped wooly hat like many Village guards. Was the police stop-and-search really completely unrelated, or the way the Village actually planned on getting him to London? How many of his superiors were part of the scheme? Was Thorpe, since the same actor plays No. 2 in the possibly-later episode "Hammer Into Anvil"? Is the Village really off the Portugese/Moroccan coast or did the Village pilot fly them to the real location? None of this is ever revealed.
  • Wham Episode: Many of the episode orders put this roughly in the middle of the series as the point where Six gives up on trying to escape the Village and instead starts playing his own mindgames to defeat it instead.