- Alternately, none of the show is real - not even the knockout gas - except for the "driving scene" that opens and closes the series. Consider the driver as a fan of spy movies (or perhaps has just seen one). He crashes the car (off-camera), because he's driving way too fast. He enters a coma, where he imagines himself as "Number Six," a spy in an epic battle of wills. Meanwhile, doctors and his loved ones are trying to get him to wake up...but the spy-flick world he's dreamed up won't let him respond. He just keeps reliving the "show" until he finally dies or loses his mind. Tragic, really.
...This in no way contradicts the previous WMG, thinking about it.
- It's also worth noting that when he returns home in Many Happy Returns, he lives in building number 1.
- According to George Markstein, Number One and Number Six were unequivocally the same person. In Markstein's original plan, it would've been eventually revealed that Six had in fact designed the Village, but had become disillusioned and disgusted by his own creation. He had orchestrated his own resignation in order to infiltrate the Village and bring down the system from within. The drawback to this was he didn't know which Village he had been taken to, which would explain why he was always so eager to discover which side his interrogators worked for - "Whose side are you on?" "That would be telling."
- Word of God confirms that, at the least, Six is still a prisoner. Whether he's still in the Village is ultimately less important.
- In "Hammer Into Anvil", he pretends to use the codename "D.6", which he may have chosen because D really is his initial.
- One could easily tie it into George Markstein's (relatively) mundane Mind Screwdriver conception of The Prisoner. Number Six, ie Drake, revealed the existence of Colony 3 to his agency in 1964. In 1968 he tries to resign and finds himself in a suspiciously similar situation. He simply has no idea if the Village belongs to the Opposition or his own side (or indeed if that even truly matters), and that is why he feels some personal responsibility for the place, as Markstein envisioned. And Colony 3 implies at least two more exist - perhaps the Village is Colony 4. (Or for maximum irony, Colony Six.)
- Alternately, Fall Out represents a descent into madness that will forever obscure the information they are looking for.
- This is the approach used in the comic book sequel — that getting Six to accept a number, even Number One, was the victory sought.
- This is how the 2009 series ought to have done it. *grumble*
- Always been my theory. The chronology goes as such: the British government become aware of a spy deprogramming camp on British soil, "The Village". They send Number Six to investigate, he pretends to resign and lets himself be captured. This is why his resignation is so obviously suspect, it's meant to look like Six has some secret or another so he'd be more likely to draw the attention of The Village. It also explains why he only spends about half the episodes trying to escape, just enough to keep up the ruse that he's a prisoner. The automatic doors at the end of the finale are just normal everyday technology. After he finally cracks the Village in "Fall Out", he is so completely wrecked by the experience that he resigns. BAM, everything makes sense.
- Which is pretty similar to the direction George Markstein intended to take the series in before he left the show.
They were so desperate to make Number Six one of them because Number Six was one of them. Somewhere along the line, Six lost his memory (say, an imperfect regeneration into his 'John Drake' persona) and joined British Intelligence. He then resigned many years later when he finally began to realize he wasn't human. The information that the Village really wanted was "how much does the outside world know about you, and ultimately us?"
The Butler was the only human of the bunch, sworn to secrecy and servitude.
- 17 different actors play Number Two - is he granted a new regeneration cycle?
- This idea is referenced in the Shattered Visage comic series. At the end, Drake asks Number Six who Number One is, and Six asks her why there even has to be a Number One at all.
There is no way to tell for certain what is "real". We have to devise our own answers; we have to interpret: which is what art invites us to do. Audience interpretation is a necessary part of what makes art art. Without audience interpretation, there is no art. It's been over forty years, and people still ponder and debate over the meaning of McGoohan's masterpiece: it still resonates with us today, prodding us to think. It is art, not story, Q.E.D. (Of course, I could be wrong!)
- I mean, technically you're not wrong... but The Prisoner is definitely a TV series. Otherwise it'd be like calling The Persistence of Memory (the one with the melting clocks) by Dalí "a surrealist work of art, not a painting"... when it's most definitely a painting. Those aren't mutually exclusive categories. You're definitely right about The Prisoner being more about What It's About than what actually happens, though.
- And everyone who contributes to the WMG page is an Unwitting Pawn in said experiment.
Everything from the room with the Judge to Six meeting One was an elaborate "play" or "farce" in a similar vein to Living in Harmony (or to the explanation used in Shattered Visage). Said judge and robed figures were actors, while the armored guards were there just to stop Number Six if things got out of hand. The goal was to induce a mental breakdown via their bizarre, overwhelming behavior and the unmasking of Number One (who was another actor made to resemble Number Six through their futuristic technology - if they can watch people's dreams or raise the dead, it ain't that much of a stretch to have them be able to change a person's physical appearance).
Upon meeting "Number One", Six, whose psyche had already been assaulted by Number Two's experiment from the previous episode and by the incidents in the room with judge, begins to go crazy, but his independent mind, resilient will, and devoutly-held principles win out at the absolute last second (right after the Number One actor escapes through the upper hatch). The idea was that, after the meeting, he would descend down the staircase as a broken man and finally tell the authorities everything they want to know. Instead, Six not only arrives mentally intact, but uses the guards' thwarted expectations (and the Butler's helpful HeelFace Turn) to catch them off guard and (along with Number Two and Number Forty-Eight) shoot his way out.
The rest is pretty simple to explain. He escapes and is free from the village..., but the government might now be using the same invasive, oppressive technology and methods that the village used...or maybe automatic doors became all the rage.
The last shot mirrors the beginning because it shows us that Number Six is now once again "behind the wheel" and taking charge. Remember, in every other case that shot was used, it led up to him "taking charge" by handing in his resignation. Reusing this shot shows that he has resumed his position as master of his own destiny. As government (possibly) becomes more centralized and Village-like, it might be more difficult for him to maintain this position, but for the moment, he is a free man.
First of all, Number Eight seemed to die at the end of Harmony. You could chalk this inconsistency up to them raising him from the dead in a similar way they did with Number Two. That said, even taking that into consideration, it seems odd that Number Six would allow him to leave the village with him, the Butler, and Number Two given the fact that Number Eight is an unhinged murderer. Therefore, they must be two separate characters.
- I'll buy it. Number Eight has a completely different personality than Number Forty Eight; even Number Two's post resurrection new personality wasn't that different from his personality in "The Chimes Of Big Ben" and "Once Upon a Time". So, obviously, Number Eight was the serious twin who got a job with the Village superiors immediately (hence his being in cahoots with Number Two in "Living In Harmony"). Number Forty Eight was the free spirited twin, which is why he's on trial for his rebelliousness. Now what I'd like to know is, where does the photographer from "The Girl Who Was Death" fit into the family tree?
You see, Drake got a call from an old friend asking him to do a job where he pretends to be someone else. Drake agrees, uses Curtis as an alias and flies out to meet his friend, not knowing that the friend is the new Number Two of The Village (or even, at that point, that The Village exists at all).
Once he gets there, Drake is kind of horrified by the place (shades of Colony 3) and the fact that the government he works for (and, it's implied, all governments) is a part of it, but he agreed to do the job and John Drake keeps his word.
The longer he "is" Number Six, however, the more he sees Six's point of view and begins to root for him. He also becomes more disillusioned than he already was with his own work (it's shown in some episodes of Danger Man that he gets easily annoyed and fed up with his superiors). But he realizes if he resigns, he'll end up a permanent resident, just like his doppelganger.
So Drake decides to make the ultimate sacrifice, pretends to freak out and commits suicide by Rover not only to save himself from incarceration in The Village but to give Number Six a chance to escape. Too bad he didn't mention Susan first.
Number Six fails in his escape attempt because he didn't know about the death of Curtis's female companion Susan. "Wait, but John Drake wasn't married." Prove it. We never saw his personal life. He always claimed he wasn't married, but that could have been a lie to protect her (or Susan could have been a girlfriend or fiance). On Danger Man, Drake never fooled around with the many women who really seemed to want him to fool around with them. Obviously he's an honorable guy who wouldn't take advantage, but maybe he had a ladyfriend back home who he was loyal to as well.
Patrick McGoohan is on record saying that Number Six is not John Drake, they just happen to look alike. Just like Number Six and Curtis. I'm just sayin'.
However, you could also read his remark this way: The Soviet Union has heavily infiltrated the governments of the western nations via spies; therefore, these other nations are poised to become conquered by, and therefore become like, the SU itself.
Once Number Six resigned, the agency was actually okay with it and was content to leave him alone, but the man behind the desk (a spy for Russia) contacted his superiors. Taking advantage of the fact that Number Six was no longer on the British government's radar, they snatched him and took him to The Village.
The Number Two from A, B, and C has been appointed to find out to whom (if anybody) Number Six leaked info, but that's only part of the story. Had he been successful, his superiors would have contacted (or captured) this spy to find out what other countries are plotting against England and then contact this nation to form a secret alliance (and threaten to out them to the British unless they comply).
- This analogy works even more because The Village was likely inspired by the division of Germany into West (German controlled) and East (Soviet controlled), and the Berlin Wall that had been put up several years prior to the start of the series. The Berlin Wall effectively trapped people on the Eastern side in East Berlin, and it proved very difficult to escape. Attempts to go in or out of East Germany were heavily regulated, with many people stuck there for decades due to the Berlin Wall being patrolled by armed guards who were allowed to shoot on sight (Roger being an analogy for these).
Think about it. It apparently moves from place to place, weird things happen on it, and you never really escape from it.
and The Prisoner is moved around from Village to identical Village at different intervals so he can't figure out where he is. It would explain why each time he escaped/was let go that he escaped from a different point on the globe and why there would suddenly be an overhaul of all the Villagers (the Supervisors and the Butlers are all clones).
This is played upon in the "trial" scene in the final episode, where Six is compared to the revived Number 2 and Number 48 as different types of "rebel". It could be that the whole thing is a metaphor- the Village symbolises the controlling and conforming aspects of society, trying to mould the individual to its will. Six represents in individual trying to find his own identity in the midst of a would-be-conformist society. He tries to "resign" - to be his own man- but the Village (the system) tries to break him, and can't understand why he wants to drop out. His attempts to escape are ultimately futile- because there can be no true escape from wider human society, so he tries to resist and subvert it. Again, the closing scene could be significant- still a "prisoner" who is part of society, but is the true individual, having overcome the conforming aspects of it and having become "Number 1" in the sense of being master of one's own destiny.
- Note: this theory draws quite heavily upon the trial in the final episode, specifically the comparisons between the revived Number 2, Number 48 and Number Six, and what they are said to represent.
Hence the fact we don't know which organisation really runs it. It's pretty much stated by one character that it's some secret organisation which has obviously infiltrated the governments and security services of all the major countries, and there's even use of the "all seeing eye" symbol at one point. Not to mention the frequent attempts at mind control and brainwashing by various means.
Basically the inverse of the above WMG, and the fact many conspiracy theorists claim links to (usually more modern) media. Let's be honest, the parallels are uncanny...
As we now know, James Bond is simply a name assigned to anyone who is assigned to an MI-6 agent whose position is 007. As this show premiered the same year that both You Only Live Twice and the David Niven version of Casino Royale were released, clearly Agent Connery was on his way out. Enter Agent Drake whom MI-6 had wanted to supersede Agent Connery in the position. Alas, Drake's refusal to shoot-to-kill resulted in a resignation from his post, but he didn't want to disclose this fact because he'd simply realized that he'd continue to feel pressure from MI-6. So they gassed him, kidnapped him and the rest is history... meanwhile, Agent Lazenby didn't work out, but Agent Moore turned out fine.
- Number Six is Alec Trevelyan- 006, get it? That gives him a motive to betray the spy agency Numbers 2 work for, and there's nothing saying Number Six couldn't be of Russian descent.
Now, my theory: Number 6 was a secret agent who resigned. His government wanted to know why, so they kidnapped him and sent him to the Village (which he knew nothing about previously), and tried to break him to find out why he resigned. Why he resigned is a McGuffin, and probably had to do with some Offscreen Villainy by his government, that was unrelated to the plot of the actual show. The remainder of the series, which has No Ending, is his struggle to not undergo a breakdown, and to escape.
McKern's Number Two is brought in as the final Number Two to break Number Six. He starts with a conventional approach like his predecessors ("The Chimes of Big Ben"), but realizes that it won't work. He reviews what has been tried before (at the beginning of the episode "Once Upon a Time"). The reason he didn't do this sooner is that he was merely told that it was a difficult prisoner. When he realizes he's dealing with someone completely different, he calls Number One to authorize "Degree Absolute", thus setting up "Once Upon A Time" and "Fall Out".
And where do these episodes fit? BEFORE the episode "The Girl Who Was Death", which is the REAL ending of the series, when the Village is reduced to HOPING Number Six will reveal SOMETHING, ANYTHING to them. Of course, Number Six isn't buying their cheap tricks, as usual. He may be still a prisoner, but he's the one in charge now.
Notice how in "Many Happy Returns" No. 6 doesn't even make mention of Janet despite being back in London for several days. There are several other times in the series where a mention of her may have made sense too, such as Nadia asking him if he was married. In "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling" it's clear 6's mind is back to a point in time before he resigned, meaning he may still have been keen on marrying her.
Most of the peculiarities of the village such as: the number system, the Rover and the constant surveillance; are delusions or hallucinations created by Number Six's own mind. Number Two is just a delusion he projects onto the various psychiatrists and therapists that attempt to treat him, explaining the shifting identities. Degree Absolute is clearly based on Regression therapy and he is treated with Aversion Therapy in Schizoid Man. Many other episodes can also be explained either as attempts at treatment or Six's paranoid delusions.
The village itself is a high security mental hospital run by the government for officials, agents and others who have had access to state secrets and may be at risk of revealing said secrets either during treatment or while in an altered mental state.
Building on this, the unusual nature of the final episode can be explained by Number Six lapsing into a severe psychotic episode.
- Alternatively, Number Six returned to The Village shortly after realizing that he is Number One, and recruited the remaining committee members to form an organization known as Shocker in order to bring perfect world order. The Great Leader's odd appearances are a result of the Seltzman machine (Seltzman may have been recruited/forced to work for Shocker) being used to transfer One's mind into a more menacing body.
Number Two and The Butler were the final test: to see whether Number Six would reveal the information to his allies. Clearly, he won't, and so he's no longer a threat. The Village won: they succeeded in their goal of breaking and reconditioning Number Six, and therefore could let him go. The ending with his door closing like the doors in the Village is symbolic: he too has succeeded in his goal of going home, but he will never truly escape the Village.