Recap / The Prisoner E 8 Dance Of The Dead

The discoveries of a radio and of an old friend give Number Six new hope of escaping the Village.

  • Affably Evil: This Number Two, played by Mary Morris. She's unfailingly polite, even as she threatens Number Six with "death" and a mock trial to demonstrate how powerless he is.
  • Anachronic Order: Was originally aired eighth in order, but was one of the first four scripts commissioned after the pilot episode, and MacGoohan himself placed it second in his "correct" chronology of the important episodes.
    • This episode strives to establish a lot of the rules of how the Village operates, and the limits the wardens have imposed on themselves - they can't brainwash Number Six with harsher techniques (yet) - when dealing with the Prisoner.
    • Number Six acts angry, hostile, and uncooperative throughout the episode. He warns one of his guards that "he's just arrived here" and has yet to figure out some of the social customs of the other Villagers.
  • Driven to Suicide: The (apparent) fate of Six's friend. During the fake trial at the end, Number Six discovers that his friend is catatonic and likely lobotomized.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Six's friend defects to the side of the Village. But only because they broke him.
  • Kangaroo Court: Number Two tries Number Six on a minor offense - possession of a radio that can only receive messages from the outside - rather than try him on the more serious offense of trying to sneak information out on a dead body.
    • Number Six is found guilty and sentenced to death which Number Two then tells Number Six in private they will alter the already dead man into Number Six's appearance to trick the outer world of his "death".
  • Masquerade Ball: The Village is prepping for one during the episode and everyone's invited (even Number Six, who doesn't want to go).
    • The costumes take on symbolic significance. Number Six is forced to wear a tuxedo similar to what James Bond wears (inferring his background as a spy, and hinting at the Actor Allusion of MacGoohan once offered the role of Bond), his handler Number 240 is dressed as Little Bo Peep (her role in the Village as a herder of docile prisoners), and Number Two as Peter Pan (androgynous ruler of a hidden neverland).
  • Wham Episode: According to Patrick MacGoohan, the second in correct chronology of the seven episodes that "really count".
  • What Could Have Been: The episode was originally written for a man to play the role of Number Two - Trevor Howard - but he was unavailable. They recast the role for Mary Morris making her the first woman out of two - depending on which order you watch - to play Number Two. She is the only woman to speak as Number Two during the opening credits.
    • This change forced Number Two's costume - originally Jack the Ripper - to be Peter Pan, referring to Morris' performance in that role earlier in her career.

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