Thursday, 7 July 2011

Mustn't Damage The Tissue!

    I sat watching Free For All the other evening, with a glass of Coca-Cola and a Pizza. I hadn't realised how much No.2 is so hands-on in this episode. Visiting No.6's cottage, and getting there so quickly after speaking to No.6 on the telephone from the Control Room, but through his television set, you can see a piece of the World map on the Control Room wall behind No.2. I mean No.2 appears at the cottage door almost instantly the phone call is over, if No.2 was ever in the Control Room in the first place, it could have been a trick, and one I cannot see how it was done. Certainly he's damned clever to have pulled that one off!
   I said No.2 was hand-on, he walks No.6 right through the election period. From putting the idea in No.6's head to run for electoral office, to the Polling Station, to oversee a landslide victory for No.6. No.2 even pilots the helicopter and goes in pursuit of No.6 when he was trying to escape by Jet Boat. And there he is again, in the therapy Zone, playing the part of an alcoholic. You know I almost believed No.2 when he said to No.6 To hell with the Village! But of course No.2 wasn't an alcoholic, he wasn't even drunk, and neither was No.6. And that's the hell of the Village, you can't buy an alcoholic drink for love nor credit units. You can't drink yourself into a stouper and forget the Village for a few hours. 
    All the way through the episode, there is the reminder that they musn't damage the tissue, either first stage only, or the drug used must be to the exact proportions the carry No.6 right through to the end of the election. Yet by the end of the episode, the tissue had taken a real beating, with No.6 left battered and bruised! But he still didn't talk.
    If No.2 is a statesman style of administrator, then the new No.2 is more direct. She soon dropped that 'little miss nice' routine as No.58, who couldn't even speak English. Yet as the new No.2 she spoke perfect English, and without any hint of an accent. She looked severe, as though she would have anything done to No.6, but within reason, and take pleasure from it. It is a pity that Rachel Herbert, the new No.2 of Fee For All didn't carry on her role into the next episode of The Schizoid Man. But that would be jumping the gun somewhat, because don't forget No.6 was a new No.2 for the shortest term of office in Village history!
    No.6 said to No.2 that everyone votes for a dictator, well he got that one right! Because as it turned out No.6 was no different. No sooner had No.6 attained the position of No.2, did he begin to dictate his will upon the good citizens of the Village. He told them that he has command. That he will imobilise all electronic controls. He told the citizens that they were free, free to go, free, free, free to go! But to No.6's disappointment, as his voice boomed out over the Village, no-one was listening!
    And then there are the inumerable continuity errors. Take No.6 for example, if you watch carefully you see that he changes his blazer as often as he changes scenes in the episode. While in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall witnessing the dissolution of the out-going council, and undergoing the Truth Test in the Labout Exchange Managers office, No.6 is wearing a blazer with broken piping on the lapel. But upon leaving the Labour Exchange, he's wearing a blazer with continuous piping on the lapel! It would seem that on most occasions Patrick McGoohan had one blazer for on-set film work at the MGM Studios, and one for location film work at Portmeirion.
    It was a dead cert that No.6 would 'run for office,' given the opportunity. And 'they' knew all the time what No.6 wouold do if he was elected as the new No.2, so they simply let No.6 get on with it, knowing that there was no chance of his actually organising a mass break out of the Village. Such was there confidence in their own ability to manipulate such a community as the Village.
   Free For All is a pretty straightforward episode, well as straightforward as any episode of the Prisoner can be I suppose. But there are one or two things which I have never been able to fathom out. One is the rotating of the inner wall of the Green Dome, that it reveals a single steel door, which when open leads into a cave. Where did the cave come from? What's more there's a segmant of the Village Guardian in the cave, with four men sat in chairs wearing dark glasses, why? What's going on? Is it some kind of indoctorination the men are going through at the membrane of the Guardian? Is it the Therapy Zone? Or could the men be members of some weird 'Rover' worshipping sect? I suppose, it's a touch of the allegorical, and inexplicable that forced me to draw my own conclusions over the years, and to be satisfied with that.

I'm Johnny Prisoner - A free man, not a number!

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