Thursday, January 15, 2009

"The Prisoner"--Episode Five

The Prisoner

Episode Five

"The Schizoid Man"

The man whom we will call "the Prisoner" resigns and is gassed exactly as before. He wakes up in the Village.

The following conversation accompanies a similar miscellany of images.

Prisoner: Where am I?

Number 2: In the Village.

Prisoner: What do you want?

Number 2: Information.

Prisoner: Whose side are you on?

Number 2: That would be telling. We want information. Information... Information...

Prisoner: You won't get it.

Number 2: By hook or by crook... we will.

This Number 2 is a determined-looking man of about thirty.

Prisoner: Who are you?

Number 2: The new Number 2.

Prisoner: Who is Number 1?

Number 2: You are Number 6.

Prisoner: I am not a number. I am a free man!

Outside the Prisoner's cottage, the birds are singing. Inside, on the Prisoner's kitchen table, is a large heap of cards marked with the traditional ESP symbols: the circle, the cross, the square, the star, and the three wavy lines. Next to the heap is a small pile of cards that are face-down.

Prisoner: Now.

After a second, a young woman -- Alison, Number 24 -- replies in a confident voice.

Alison: ... A circle.

Prisoner: Right.

He throws the card he is holding onto the heap. It is indeed marked with a circle. He picks up the next card from the pile and looks first at it, then at Alison, who we see is sitting in a meditative pose facing away from the Prisoner on the edge of the coffee table in the living room. She has her index fingers steepled against her forehead.

Prisoner: Now.

Alison: A... star.

Prisoner: Right.

He picks up the next card. It has a square on it. Alison turns to look at him.

Alison: Thank you, Number 6.

Prisoner: What for?

Alison: For letting me practise my mind-reading act on you.

Prisoner: Now.

She resumes her pose.

Alison: ... A square, no, a cross... no, a square. Definitely.

Prisoner: Are you sure it's a square?

Alison: Yes!

The Prisoner puts the card down, impressed.

Alison: I don't know what I'd have done without your help; nobody else believed in me.

Prisoner: They have no imagination.

He picks up the next card. It's marked with a cross like an X.

Prisoner: You should concentrate, otherwise you won't be ready for the Village Festival.

Alison: There's still a month.

He looks at the card, then at her.

Prisoner: NOW!

Again she resumes her pose.

Alison: ... A cross.

Prisoner: Right... Now?

Alison: ... Three wavy lines.

Prisoner: That's the lot.

She leaps up, eagerly grabbing her Polaroid camera from the table.

Alison: Can I take another picture now?

Prisoner: You've taken five already.

Alison: Yes, but I need lots of practice if I'm to stand a chance in the photographic section.

Prisoner: Is there any event you haven't entered?

He starts to sort the cards out. She approaches, holding the camera to her eye.

Alison: Only the pole vault, but I might.

Prisoner: Bet you haven't -- aagh!

She has knocked a soda siphon over and the nozzle has struck the Prisoner's left index finger.

Alison: Oh, I'm terribly sorry! Did it hurt?

Prisoner: It's a mortal injury, wounded for life, look.

He shows her his finger. There's a dark bruise at the base of the nail.

Alison: Oh, I'm so sorry, it was clumsy of me, really.

Prisoner: Don't worry, it'll mend itself.

Alison: Can I... still take the picture?

Prisoner: You'll have to hurry up!

He fans out the cards she got right, and holds them up to the camera, smiling.

Prisoner: Seventeen out of twenty-five's quite remarkable.

She takes a photograph. He makes some notes on a pad.

Alison: Couldn't it just mean that we're... simpatico?

Prisoner: It might, but there's more to it than that: out of the last four runs, you've got seventy-three out of a hundred. You're gifted.

She removes the picture from the camera and puts it on the table in front of him. The bruise on the Prisoner's finger is clearly visible in black and white, as is the date on the calendar behind him: it's the 10th of the month.

Alison: Like it?

Prisoner: Well, as you say, you... need a little more practice!

Alison: Ye-es, I see what you mean. Could we try another?

Prisoner: What? Yes, all right, what do you want me to do?

Alison: Well, erm, look this way.

Prisoner: Yes?

Alison: And... put your hand to your face.

He buries his face in his left hand.

Alison: Yes, but not over your face! Just to your mouth.

Prisoner: Thinking.

Alison: Because they... that's marvellous.

She photographs him looking pensive. He grunts in response.

Alison: Yes, I'll keep this one for myself.

Prisoner: OK.

Alison: Erm, can we try another run with the cards?

Prisoner: Ah, no no, it's getting a bit late. You might reduce your average and get discouraged.

Alison: Are you tired?

Prisoner: Don't forget the cards.

Alison: Tomorrow?

Prisoner: We'll see.

Alison: Tomorrow.

The Prisoner shows her to the door. He clicks his fingers as it opens.

Prisoner: Be seeing you!

Alison: And you!

She leaves and the door closes behind her. The Prisoner continues to click his fingers as he wanders back toward the kitchen.

That night, Number 2 strolls into the Village Control Room and beckons to a white-coated doctor.

Number 2: Switch me in to Number 6.

The Supervisor -- a Haitian gentleman -- operates a switch, and the dimly-lit interior of the Prisoner's cottage appears on the main screen.

Number 2: Closer, and infrared.

We see the Prisoner asleep in bed.

Doctor: The breathing is shallow, his sleep is light.

Number 2: Let's deepen it for him, shall we? Pulsator. Visual.

A bright pulsating light descends from the ceiling towards the Prisoner, accompanied by a low resonant tone.

Number 2: Aural.

After a few seconds of this, the doctor and his assistant enter the Prisoner's bedroom and give him an injection. He doesn't react, even when they lift him onto a stretcher. Number 2 smiles. They take the Prisoner's calendar and wristwatch.

Time passes. The Prisoner lies inert in a hospital bed as a mole is surgically removed from his wrist. He receives another injection.

More time passes. The report sheet ("Serial No. 22.49.698") on the end of his bed gives the date as "Feb 11th"; the space for noting "Physical marks" is blank. The Prisoner is sitting up in bed, totally dazed. The doctor advances towards him, wheeling a large electrical generator connected to a long metal pole held by his assistant. The Prisoner bats the end of the pole away with his right hand and receives an electric shock.

Doctor: Left-handed, Number 12...

They pull the pole back and repeat the process.

Later still, with the Prisoner now asleep again, a new calendar is put by his bedside with the date wound back to the 10th.

Finally, the Prisoner wakes up. He sits up and rubs his eyes, and thereby discovers that he now has a moustache. He sits there in shock for a good ten seconds, then checks the date on his calendar to see how long he's been asleep. The calendar says it's "WEDNESDAY 10 FEBRUARY". He gets out of bed and notices his surroundings. This is not his bedroom, nor his cottage. He staggers about in confusion for a moment, then sees a mirror and examines himself in it. His hair is now black rather than brown, and differently parted; his pyjamas are also a different colour. He touches his face and tugs at his moustache in disbelief. Bewildered, he rushes to the wardrobe and finds his familiar jacket there... with a Number 12 badge on it.

At that moment, the phone starts beeping. Cautiously he walks over to it and picks the receiver up with his left hand.

Number 2's Voice: Good morning, Number 12. I hope you slept well after your flight. I'll expect you for breakfast in fifteen minutes.

Number 2 says nothing else, so the Prisoner hangs up.

A few minutes later, the new-look Prisoner steps out of his new home (which has a sign outside saying "12, Private"). A man in a turban and Village costume walks past.

Man: Good morning, Number 12.

Prisoner: Be seeing you...

He stares after him for a few seconds, then sets off towards his breakfast appointment. On the way he meets a woman, Number 36, pushing a wheelchair containing a man wearing a welding mask with a cap on top.

Number 36: Morning, Number 12! Nice to see you again!

Prisoner: Yes, why do you call me Number 12?

Number 36: Well, that's what you were called when I last saw you.

She continues on her way. The Prisoner arrives at the door to the Green Dome, Number 2's residence. He reaches for the bell, but the door opens automatically. Inside, the little butler bows to him in the hallway and opens the double doors for him. The Prisoner steps through the sliding doors beyond into the circular office, where a smiling Number 2 comes forward to shake his hand warmly.

Number 2: Ah, my dear chap! Delighted to see you, ha ha ha! You're looking fine, you really are! I don't mind telling you we had to pull every string we could to get you seconded back to us. Now, breakfast!

He has guided the Prisoner towards a trolley of covered dishes, next to a table with a covered plate already on it.

Number 2: À la carte? Table d'hôte?

Prisoner: Well...

The Prisoner starts examining the contents of the dishes on the trolley.

Number 2: Yes, they screamed as if I were taking their pensions away!

Prisoner: Did they?

He has found a dish of flapjacks and eagerly helps himself to three. He then walks over to the table and lifts the cover off the plate that's there. It's a plate of flapjacks. Number 2 chuckles.

Number 2: Did you think I'd forgotten we used to call you "Flapjack Charlie"?

The Prisoner just grunts.

Number 2: Even in those days it was obvious you were going to make a top field man. Here am I, stuck in admin. You always did enjoy your food, even before a job from the black file.

The Prisoner puts the cover back on the flapjacks and walks away from them.

Prisoner: Sorry I didn't shave. Couldn't find a razor.

Number 2: Oh, my dear chap, I'm so sorry---

Prisoner: Must have been mislaid. Strange apartment.

Number 2: And after all that flying.

Prisoner: Yes.

Number 2: You must feel a bit disorientated.

Prisoner: ... What's it all about?

Number 2: Our prize prisoner, the one we call Number 6. Toughest case I've ever handled. I could crack him of course, but I can't use the normal techniques. He's too valuable. "Mustn't damage him permanently," say our masters. That's why I need you.

Prisoner: Why do you need me?

Number 2: You bring two great gifts to bear. Firstly, your ability as an agent.

Prisoner: Oh yes. Secondly?

He starts to pace round the room.

Number 2: You have a unique physical advantage.

Prisoner: Physical advantage of GROWING A MOUSTACHE OVERNIGHT?

This makes Number 2 laugh.

Number 2: No, not quite. You took longer that time in Bucharest.

Prisoner: Bucharest?

Number 2: You remember how Susan hated you without it? She told me she wouldn't kiss you until you grew it again.

Prisoner: Oh yes, good for Susan!

He nibbles something from the breakfast table.

Number 2: You know, you really do bear a remarkable resemblance, remarkable. Your job, Number 12, will be to impersonate him. Take his sense of reality away.

The Prisoner picks up the Tally Ho and checks the date. It's "Feb 10th".

Number 2: Once he begins to doubt his own identity, he'll crack. What do you think of the idea?

Prisoner: I think it has fascinating possibilities, but you'll have an awful job convincing me that I am not your Number 6.

For a moment Number 2 looks confused, then he beams.

Number 2: Ah, ha ha! Excellent, Number 12, of course! Always the professional! Started living the part already, eh? Oh, that reminds me. Allow me.

He attaches a Number 6 badge to the Prisoner's lapel.

Number 2: You're now officially Number 6.

The Prisoner immediately removes it.

Prisoner: I shan't need this to remind me that I am... your Number 6.

Number 2 picks up a file.

Number 2: You'll find all his background details in here. Study them.

He tosses the file to the Prisoner, who catches it with his left hand.

Number 2: Er, you want to watch that, Number 12: Number 6 is right-handed... Yes, we'll just have to make a very few changes. Oh, don't worry, I'll get a couple of my girls to work you over a little. But they're very pretty.

This is in fact what we see next. They shave the Prisoner's moustache off and restore his hair to its normal colour and style. Number 2 walks in just as they are showing the Prisoner his "new" appearance in a mirror.

Number 2: You'd hardly know yourself, would you, Number 12?

Shortly afterwards, Number 2 takes the Prisoner to cottage 6.

Number 2: This is Number 6's. Familiarise yourself with it. I want you to look as much at home here as he does.

Prisoner: That shouldn't be too difficult.

Number 2: Hm-hm! The idea is that when he comes back, in a few minutes as a matter of fact, you will be in position.

Prisoner: It's not the same.

Number 2: The same?

Prisoner: You've changed things, little things.

He flicks through a sheaf of papers lying on top of the bureau.

Prisoner: This rubbish -- it's not mine.

He picks up an ornament.

Prisoner: This should be gilt, not silver.

Number 2: I shouldn't try that line with him, if I were you. Number 6 has got a very strong sense of territory. You won't shake him on his possessions.

Prisoner: No, you won't.

Number 2: Oh, erm, once we get started, even I won't be able to tell you apart. You'll need a password to identify yourself. The password is "Gemini". Well...

He glances at his watch.

Number 2: Yes, he should be here in a minute. I think it's more effective if you meet him alone.

He turns to go, but pauses briefly.

Number 2: Oh, er, good luck!

He goes out, leaving the Prisoner still checking the contents of his home. A few seconds later, the door opens and someone else comes in, whistling, hands in pockets. He is the spitting image of the Prisoner, except he's wearing a light-coloured jacket with a Number 6 badge on the lapel. He also seems a bit more casual and self-satisfied than the Prisoner we know. We will refer to this person as "the Double". He stops whistling as soon as he sees the Prisoner.

Double: ... What the devil? ... Oh, very good! Very very good indeed! One of Number 2's little ideas, I suppose? Where did they get you, a people's copying service, or are you one of those double agents we hear so much about these days?

Prisoner: Seeing as you've gone to so much trouble, the least I can do is offer you a drink.

Double: Scotch!

The Prisoner goes to the cabinet where he keeps his drinks, but it's empty. The Double has gone to a different cabinet, and starts pouring himself a glass.

Double: I take it I'm supposed to go all fuzzy round the edges and run off into the distance, screaming "Who am I?"

Prisoner: Probably. I've no idea. Would you like some ice?

Double: Thank you!

Prisoner: I think it spoils it, myself.

Double: Yes, I always keep it in that thermos bucket over there.

He comes over to the Prisoner and starts serving himself some ice from the adjacent bucket.

Double: You know, I never realised I had a freckle on the right-hand side of my nose. When they come to film my life story, you've got the part! Cigar?

He approaches and nods at the cigar case on top of the cabinet. The Prisoner opens it, takes out a cigar and puts in his mouth with his left hand.

Double: Oh, you'll... have to learn to smoke it right-handed first.

He takes a lighter from his jacket pocket and lights it.

Prisoner: And you, how to light a cigar.

He lights the cigar with a match, left-handed, and starts to smoke. It makes him cough.

Double: And you, how to smoke my brand without having a heart attack. There's some black Russian cigarettes in the box there on the table: I never touch them myself.

Prisoner: It's not going to work, you know!

Double: It certainly isn't. Why don't you run away and play somewhere else.

Prisoner: I have a very strong sense of identity.

Double: You -- oh yes, of course, I'm sorry, I was forgetting, you're supposed to be me! You are the goodie Number 6, and I am the baddie who is supposed to be proving you wrong, is that it?

Prisoner: That's right, except there's no "supposed" about it.

Double: I'll tell you what. Erm, why don't we settle this like gentlemen?

Prisoner: Hm! You're claiming to be a gentleman too?

Double: Oh very good, very good indeed, that line is worthy of me. We're both claiming to be Number 6, are we not?

Prisoner: I am Number 6, you are doing the claiming.

Double: Well, let's prove which one is correct.

Prisoner: How?

Double: Oh, many ways... pistol-shooting, for instance: erm, what was Number 6's average?

Prisoner: Ninety per cent.

Double: Correct. Shall we go?

Prisoner: Where?

Double: The Recreation Room.

We move to the Recreation Room, a gymnasium where the two Number 6's are checking their pistols. The Prisoner holds his pistol in his left hand, the Double holds his in his right.

Double: I don't wish to take unfair advantage: check synchronisation... one...two... three...

In perfect synch, two person-shaped targets pop up on the bright screen in front of them.

Double: Good. Electronic, you see: no bullets. Can't kill any one with them. Number 2 takes no chances. Three-second intervals, what?

Prisoner: Whatever you say.

Double: I'm sorry, old boy. Erm, Number 6 is a right-handed shot.

Reluctantly, the Prisoner transfers the gun to his left hand.

Prisoner: Good. Ready to go now! Three-second intervals! Now, one, two, three!

Two low targets pop up and the men fire. Then the standing targets appear again, followed by a succession of further targets. The Prisoner manages to land his shot somewhere on each target, but the Double's aim unerringly hits the targets' hearts.

Number 2 and the Supervisor are watching from the Control Room.

Number 2: It's uncanny. Number 12 has caught the man's whole style.

Supervisor: In Haiti, we'd say he has stolen his soul.

The shooting match comes to an end, and the target screen goes dark.

Double: Well, I certainly shoot more like me than you do.

Prisoner: What does all that prove?

Double: That you should have put in more shooting practice before you took on this job. How's your fencing?

Prisoner: You should know, you've studied my file.

Double: Turning the tables -- very neat.

They have approached a rack of fencing equipment.

Double: "These foils have all a length?"

Prisoner: "Ay, my good lord."

Double: Hamlet, Act Five.

Prisoner: Scene Two.

Double: You have done your homework, haven't you?

They each put on a fencing mask.

Number 2: No, you've done yours... even the Shakespeare bit.

The Supervisor laughs with Number 2, as the fencing begins. Both men fight right-handed. The Double quickly forces the Prisoner back towards the wall.

Double: Ah yes, good agricultural stuff, but it'd hardly have got you my place on the Olympic TEAM!... No swordsman, no shot either... If ever...

He knocks the foil clean out of the Prisoner's hand and holds his swordpoint against his opponent's throat.

Double: If ever you do challenge me to a duel, your safest best would be battle-axes in a very dark cellar.

He lets the Prisoner go.

A few minutes later, the men emerge onto the steps in front of the Recreation Hall.

Double: Er, you... you still claim to be Number 6?

Prisoner: This is beginning to get on my nerves a little bit. I suppose you're an Olympic boxer as well, are you?

Double: Oh, you should know: it's in my record. Perhaps you'd like to find out.

He suddenly lunges at the Prisoner, who defends himself weakly against the barrage.

Double: Oh, now, now, come, make up your mind: are you orthodox or southpaw?

He punches the Prisoner in the stomach, winding him. He falls down the steps to the ground in pain. The Double becomes smug and triumphant.

Double: I'm surprised at Number 2. His agents just aren't what they were.

At that moment, there is a loud roar and the huge white ball comes billowing towards them.

Double: Oh dear, looks as though we're in trouble with the headmaster!

The ball forces them in a particular direction.

Double: Must be confusing for it, not knowing which one of us to bite... This way.

The ball accompanies them right up to the Green Dome. The door opens automatically and they step inside. The Double is suddenly grabbed by two thugs and manhandled violently into the circular office; meanwhile Number 2 emerges to shake the Prisoner's hand.

Number 2: Number 6! Come along in! Heard you were having a spot of bother.

The Prisoner is confused, but shakes Number 2's hand and smiles.

In Number 2's office, the Double is being interrogated. He is made to stand staring at a bright light against a dark curtain behind Number 2's spherical chair. Some other piece of interrogation apparatus emits a pulsating electronic cacophony.

Number 2: Who are you?

Double: Switch that idiot thing off. I'm getting cramp.

Number 2: Who are you?

Double: You know who I am. I am Number SIX!

Number 2: Where did you come from?

Double: You know that too.

Number 2: How did you get here?

Double: You know that better than I do. I was unconscious at the time, if you REMEMBER!

A deeper note enters the cacophony.

Number 2: What was your purpose in coming here?

Double: I had none. I'LL GO AWAY AGAIN IF YOU LIKE!

Number 2 holds up two fingers as a signal to the people manning the equipment. The noise changes again.

Number 2: How did your people know that Number 6 was here?

Double: What people?!

Number 2: How did they know enough about him to produce you?

Double: I do not UNDERSTAND!

Number 2 signals again. The cacophony becomes high-pitched.

Number 2: What were you doing in the Recreation Room?

Prisoner: Teaching that synthetic twin of mine how to shoot and FENCE!

Another signal from Number 2: the cacophony reduces to a intense pulsating beep. The light falling on the Double is reduced to a small circle concentrated on his forehead. He grits his teeth.

Number 2: For the last time, what do your people want with Number 6?

Double: I am Number 6. I... am... Number 6! Number 6! SIX! SIX! SIX! SIX!

As he says this, the cacophony increases again, becoming higher and shriller until he loses consciousness and collapses onto the floor. The platform on which Number 2 has been standing descends, bringing him face to face with the Prisoner.

Prisoner: Hm! Your... boy is dedicated to his work.

Number 2: I told you he was a tough nut, Number 12.

Prisoner: Number 6, er... 6.

Number 2: Oh you're quite right, of course, that was careless of me. He might have heard.

The thugs pull the Double to his feet. He is still muttering "6... 6". Number 2 beckons and the thugs bring him close.

Number 2: Do you still insist you're Number 6?

Double: ... Yes.

Number 2: Your mind can lie, but your body can't. You'll see.

The thugs drag him away.

Number 2: By the time we've finished with him, he won't know whether he's Number 6 or the cube root of infinity. Now, this should be rather interesting. We have a complete set of Number 6's fingerprints.

Prisoner: Yes, I know my own fingerprints.

Number 2 looks at him humouringly.

Number 2: Let's start with the thumb, shall we?

He flicks a switch on his desk, and the Prisoner's thumbprint appears on the screen on the wall.

Prisoner: That's mine.

Number 2: Never off duty, are you?

He flicks another switch, and a small circular table with an illuminated centre rises from the floor. The thugs bring the Double back in. Number 2 addresses him.

Number 2: And I suppose you know your fingerprints too.

Double: Yes.

He looks at the screen.

Double: That's mine.

Number 2: So that if I say that on the contrary it belongs to Number 6, one of us is lying.

Double: Not at all. As I am Number 6, we'd both be telling the truth.

Number 2: Let's find out, shall we?

He pushes his own thumb against the illuminated tabletop. A second thumbprint appears to the right of the one from Number 6's records. It's clearly different.

Number 2: There, that's my thumb.

He pushes a switch on his desk and removes his thumbprint from the screen.

Number 2: Now it's your turn. Right thumb only, I think.

The thugs have marched the Double up to the table. He records his thumbprint: it's not Number 6's. On a smaller screen nearby, the Prisoner records his own thumbprint: it's an exact match.

Number 2: Simple. Foolproof.

Double: Too simple and foolproof.

Number 2: Oh?

Double: Very ingenious and scientific. The trouble with science is that it can be perverted.

Prisoner: I'm inclined to agree, Number 2.

Number 2: You agree?

Prisoner: I'm inclined to believe in human instinct.

Number 2: How do you mean?

Prisoner: Well, I mean that... if I were in his shoes, I'd rather be convinced by a human being than by a piece of machinery.

Number 2: Do you have something in mind?

Prisoner: Certainly... May I?

Number 2: Mm.

He picks up a phone from Number 2's desk.

Prisoner: Number 24.

He waits to be connected.

Prisoner: Alison?

Alison: Yes?

Prisoner: I'm at, er, Number 2's residence. Could you come over right away?

Alison: I was just going to wash my hair.

Prisoner: Er, don't worry about that, won't take a minute. And, er, Alison? Bring the cards with you.

He puts the phone down.

Number 2: What do you hope to achieve?

Prisoner: To prove that I am Number 6... and he is the fake. That's what you wanted, isn't it? That's what it's all about?

Number 2: Yes.

But Number 2 looks worried. Alison arrives at the Green Dome. The front door opens as she touches the bell pull, and the butler bows and shows her through to the circular office. She steps back in astonishment at the sight of the two identical men.

Alison: Good heavens, it can't be!

Prisoner: Mother Nature has been up to her tricks again.

Alison: It's weird... I mean, which one of you...

Prisoner: I am the original. He is the economy pack.

The Prisoner turns and points at the Double. Alison's voice is reduced to a whisper.

Alison: It's impossible!

Prisoner: On the contrary.

Alison: But I... I still don't understand which of you is...

Prisoner: That is what you are here to settle. Number 2 says it's not possible.

Alison: Oh I see, that's why you wanted me to bring the cards.

Prisoner: That's right.

Number 2: I don't follow.

Alison: Number 6 and I have a mental link.

Prisoner: Yes, now let's see which one of us you have a mental link with. I think a run of five should be sufficient.

He has positioned Alison near the door, and stands just in front of Number 2's desk himself. Number 2 looks increasingly worried. The Prisoner picks up the first card. It's a square.

Prisoner: Right... Now!

Alison: Square.

Smugly, he puts the card down and takes the next, which is a star.

Prisoner: Now!

Alison: ... Circle.

Number 2 sighs in the background. The Prisoner is also disappointed, but takes the next card: a square.

Prisoner: Now!

Alison: Cross.

Prisoner: OK now, just... just relax. It's exactly the same as it was in my cottage. I'm... looking at the next card now. Are you ready?

Alison: Cross.

The Double looks on contentedly as he takes the fourth card: a circle. The Prisoner glances at Number 2, whose face is despondent.

Prisoner: Now?

Alison: Three wavy lines.

The final card bears three wavy lines.

Prisoner: Now.

Alison: Square.

The Prisoner looks very concerned, while the Double is now intensely casual. He approaches the desk and picks up the cards.

Double: A run of five, you say?... Good.

He holds up the first card: three wavy lines.

Double: Now...

Alison: Three wavy lines.

The Prisoner looks nervously at Number 2 and fidgets with his chin. The Double's next three cards are a cross, a star and a circle.

Double: Now?

Alison: ... A cross.

Double: ... Now.

Alison: Star.

Double: ... Now!

Alison: A circle.

He picks up the final card. We don't see what it is.

Double: Now.

Alison: Square.

She approaches the Double, smiling.

Alison: You don't have to tell me, I just know that's five out of five. He's the one, he's Number 6.

Double: I could have identified myself much earlier, but it would hardly have been fair.

He reaches into his top pocket and pulls out the photograph that Alison took of the Prisoner holding up a fan of cards, and hands it to her.

Alison: Isn't it awful? I took it last night. He's all arms and neck.

She holds the photo out, and the Prisoner grabs it.

Alison: Actually, there was a much simpler way to identify Number 6. He has a mole on his left wrist.

Double: Oh yes, of course.

He rolls back his sleeve to show the mole.

Number 2: So's this one, my dear.

The Prisoner pulls back his sleeve. There is no mole to be seen. Both Number 2 and the Prisoner seem surprised.

Alison: There, see?

Double: Well, if you gentlemen have finished for today, if you don't mind I'll see the young lady at home.

They go to the doors, which slide open for them. The Double turns briefly at the top.

Double: Be seeing you.

They leave. Number 2 turns to the Prisoner.

Number 2: What in heaven's name made you do a stupid thing like that? Surely you must realise that Number 6 and that girl have got a genuine rapport? Someone's going to have to pay dearly for this.

He pushes a switch on his desk. The screen lights up, showing the doctor working in his office.

Number 2: Number 118! Why was their no mole on Number 12's left wrist?

The doctor gets up from his desk and walks meekly towards the camera, saying nothing.

Number 2: I said, why was there no mole? Don't you realise you've jeopardised the whole operation? Report to me first thing in the morning. First thing!

That night, the Prisoner lies in a tormented sleep, fully dressed, in the bed where he woke up with a moustache. His left hand jerks about as though he is reliving the memory of the electric shock conditioning he was given. His dreams are filled with gibbering laughter and distorted images from the nightmare he is living: Number 2 saying "My dear chap", Alison stating "There was a much simpler way to identify Number 6. He has a mole on his left wrist", Number 2 asking "Who are you?", and Alison claiming "He's the one, he's Number 6." In the Control Room, Number 2 and the Double watch his throes.

Number 2: He's cracking, Number 12, won't be long now...

The Prisoner wakes up in the middle of the night and sits on the edge of his bed, his left hand fidgeting on his knee. Noticing this, his attention is drawn to the bruise on his fingernail: it's in the middle of the nail. He takes out the photograph that he'd earlier grabbed from Alison, but the image of the nail there is too small to be distinct. He wanders round the house, clicking his fingers, looking for a magnifying glass. Eventually he finds one in a drawer of the dressing table. It reveals that the bruise was right at the base of his nail when the photograph was taken... "yesterday". Also, the calendar in the photo gives the date as "10 FEB", as does the actual calendar in the room.

He stares at himself in the mirror, and recalls how he looked with the moustache. This gradually releases memories of the conditioning he experienced. We see the doctor again with his metal pole.

Doctor: The left hand, Number 12.

The bearded Prisoner in his bed bats it away with his right hand and receives an electric shock.

Doctor: Your left hand.

This time he bats it safely with his left hand, which is in some kind of insulating glove.

Doctor: It's always left, that's right. Now catch!

He tosses a small metal device to the Prisoner, who catches it right-handed and gets another shock. But he transfers it to his left hand and throws it back. Next we see him hooked up to some kind of brainwashing machine. He chants the new thoughts as they are fed into his mind.

Prisoner: I am Number 12... I am left-handed... I am Number 12... I do not smoke cigars... I do not smoke white cigarettes... I smoke black cigarettes... Black cigarettes I smoke... Flapjacks are my favourite dish... Flapjacks... favourite dish...

Next we see him sitting up in bed with a tray of bacon and eggs. He salts them, and is about to eat, but then stops, sniffs the food and rejects it. A nurse takes the tray away and replaces it with a plate of seafood, which he rejects with disgust. The next tray contains flapjacks: after a slight hesitation, he tucks in eagerly. Finally we see his beard being shaved off and his hair being restyled.

Back in the cottage that he now knows isn't his, the Prisoner carefully takes a white cigarette from a case. He breaks it open and examines its contents, then crumples it with his left hand and throws it down. He wanders into the living room and opens another case, from which he takes a cigar. He breaks this open too, and finds a mysterious filament inside: evidence of doctoring. Slowly he moves to the sofa and sits down next to a light that's flickering on and off inside its shade. He takes a cigarette from a third box, and then notices that he's been doing all of this with his left hand. The doctor's voice echoes in his head: "Don't forget, Number 12, you're now left-handed. You're now left-handed."

He throws the cigarette away with his left hand, then he picks up the dodgy light and places it on the coffee table. He grabs a metal pipe by the fireplace in his right hand, and then reaches out to the lamp's metal base, giving himself a substantial electric shock that hurls him to the floor. As he gets to his feet, he knocks a small box off a table... and catches it with his right hand. He tosses it and catches it several times, then returns it to the table, all with his new dominant hand. He strides to the door and steps outside. The white ball roars past, ignoring him.

In Number 2's office, the butler is giving Number 2 a massage.

Number 2: Enough.

He stands up and puts his jacket back on.

Number 2: Let's see how Number 6 is getting on, shall we?

He touches a switch on his desk, and the empty interior of cottage 12 appears on the screen.

Number 2: Number 6?... Control Room, Number 6 is gone. Find him!

Number 6 is creeping through the Village, heading for cottage 6. Two thugs suddenly step out from the shadows to challenge him.

Prisoner: The atmosphere here is very different here from what it was... elsewhere.

Thug: What's the password?

Prisoner: "Gemini".

Thug: That's not the password!

The thugs attack him, but he has recovered enough of his former fighting skills to dispatch them both. He continues on his way, but his path is blocked by the huge white ball. He spies a canopied vehicle on the other side of a hedge, runs to it, starts its engine, but then jumps out and hides in a bush. The ball follows the car through the moonlight.

Number 2 receives a call from the Control Room.

Number 2: Yes?

Supervisor: Control Room here. Negative search result so far: no trace of him yet, sir.

Number 2: Send out a general alarm. Orange alert.

The Double is peacefully asleep on the bed in cottage 6, his light-coloured jacket now removed. The Prsioner enters with scarcely a sound, and creeps towards the bedroom. But the Double has a pistol trained on him.

Double: I'm a very light sleeper: it's in my file.

He indicates the gun.

Double: Five-yard range, nerve gas. One squirt -- you're paralysed; two squirts -- you're dead.

Prisoner: Couldn't sleep. Came here because... ... who am I?

Double: You know who you are. You're Number 12.

Prisoner: Yes, yes -- I am Number 12. But sometimes in my dreams I'm... I'm somebody else.

Double: Who?

Prisoner: I don't know. Sometimes in my dreams I resign my job.

Double: Why did you resign your job, in your dream?

Prisoner: Sometimes I'm here in my dreams, and then I come back. I want to know: who am I, why am I here?

Number 2: I think we'll call Number 2. He might be able to help.

He reaches for the telephone and the Prisoner punches him. They fight, hurling themselves round the cottage. The Prisoner manages to push the Double backwards over the kitchen table, picks him up and pins him against the wall.

Prisoner: The PASSWORD!

Double: I don't know what... don't know what you're talking about.

Prisoner: WHAT IS IT?

Double: What password?

Prisoner: WHAT IS IT?

Double: "Schizoid"... "Schizoid Man".

Prisoner: "Schizoid Man"... What's your name?

Double: Curtis.

Prisoner: Give me your left wrist.

He peels off the mole and sticks it on his own wrist.

Double: You won't get far.

Prisoner: Won't I? We'll see about that.

The Double punches him and dashes for the door. But the white ball is waiting there for them both. The Prisoner gives the password first.

Prisoner: Schizoid Man.

Double: Schizoid Man... Schizoid Man... Schizoid Man!

He backs away from it up a flight of steps, but it squashes him against the wall and suffocates him. The Prisoner goes back inside and picks up the phone.

Prisoner: Get me Number 2... Curtis here.

Number 2: Password?

Prisoner: Schizoid Man. Number 6 is dead.

Number 2: WHAT?!

Prisoner: Rover got him.

Number 2 slams down the phone.

Number 2: Control Room! Deactivate Rover immediately, pending further instruction.

In the bedroom, the Prisoner swaps his own dark jacket for the light-coloured one with the Number 6 badge that he finds in the wardrobe. He then goes to the Green Dome, where Number 2 is looking upset.

Number 2: We're still trying to discover why Rover killed Number 6.

Prisoner: There's going to be hell to pay.

Number 2: Mm. You're to return immediately to report your failure.

Prisoner: My failure? You wanted him broken: I've broken him. I wasn't to know he'd go berserk.

Number 2: Nor was I.

Prisoner: You've studied him: you should have known. It was your idea.

Number 2: That's a strange thing to say. You know it wasn't.

The Prisoner walks about.

Prisoner: Well, you certainly didn't resist.

Number 2: Bearing in mind its origin, no I didn't. Nor did you.

Prisoner: Recriminations aren't going to help. It's a disgrace for us both. When do I leave?

Number 2: Half an hour. Oh they, er, they want you to talk to the girl Alison before you go.

Prisoner: What for?

Number 2: They think she might have some insight into Number 6's motivations.

Prisoner: Oh... all right.

He turns and leaves. Number 2 stares after him for a moment as a suspicion forms in his mind, but he shakes his head and dismisses it.

Alison has just picked up a book called The Mind Reader when there is a knock at the door.

Alison: Come in!

The Prisoner comes in, still wearing Curtis's light-coloured jacket.

Prisoner: Just leaving. I thought we ought to have a little chat.

Alison: Oh?

Prisoner: Well, you're supposed to have had a certain rapport with Number 6. My masters will want to know if you had any insight into his mind.

Alison: ... Insight?

Prisoner: Yes, I... I don't believe in such things myself, but, erm, you were supposed to be able to read each other's minds.

Alison: It doesn't work like that.

Prisoner: Ah... how does it work?

He moves forward so that she is behind him. She takes a cigarette from a box.

Alison: In, er, spasms: little things, sudden coincidences which aren't really coincidences.

The Prisoner has taken the lighter from his jacket pocket. Now he swings back to her and lights her cigarette. They stare at each other for a couple of seconds.

Prisoner: Bad habit of mine, playing with lighters. Hm! I'll probably start a fire one day. Well, you've nothing to tell me. I'll be on my way. Be seeing you.

In his cottage, the Prisoner changes into Curtis's civilian suit and notices a photograph signed "from your loving wife Susan" in the wallet. Number 2 enters.

Number 2: Are you ready?

Prisoner: Yes, just coming.

He picks up his case and they step outside and into a taxi.

Number 2: Oh, by the way, have you thought any more about that proposition I put to you when you arrived?

Prisoner: Sorry, I've had no time.

Number 2: But you must have some views?

Prisoner: I'm afraid not.

Number 2: Look, old chap, we've been through many scrapes before, but we've never fallen out over them. The General's not going to behead you!

Prisoner: We won't know until I've reported to the General, will we?

Number 2: Report to the General? That's a new one!

Prisoner: Well, I don't mean report to him personally. For Pete's sake, you know what I mean!

Number 2: You are edgy! Never known you quite so strung up.

Prisoner: You mean I'm not as I was.

Number 2: Yes... I remember Susan saying only a month ago that you're generally quite unflappable.

Prisoner: Really?

Number 2: You have changed.

Prisoner: We all change. The job... changes us.

Number 2: Yes.

The taxi has brought them to the Recreation Hall, in front of which is a helicopter. The Prisoner picks up his case and walks towards it.

Number 2: It's a quick flip in the helicopter to the landing stage; you'll pick up a jet from there. Now excuse me.

Alison is waiting for the Prisoner by the helicopter.

Alison: I'm ashamed of what I did to Number 6 yesterday.

Prisoner: Why are you telling me?

Alison: Everyone has to tell someone.

Prisoner: It was your job.

Alison: It was a betrayal.

Prisoner: Isn't everything we do here a betrayal?

Alison: It's not often one gets a second chance.

Prisoner: There are no second chances.

Alison: There are sometimes, for the lucky ones. If I had a second chance, I want you to know that I wouldn't do it again.

She stares at him knowingly, then walks off. Number 2 approaches and holds the helicopter door open for the Prisoner. The pilot gets in on the other side.

Number 2: Well, bon voyage!

Prisoner: Thank you.

Number 2: Oh, one last thing. You forgot security regulations... Must be obeyed... The blindfold, old chap.

Prisoner: Oh, yes, yes, of course!

Number 2: You, er, you won't forget to give Susan my regards, will you?

Prisoner: I won't. Goodbye.

Number 2: Goodbye.

Number 2 closes the door as the Prisoner puts his blindfold on. The helicopter takes off and flies high over the Village. A few minutes later, it touches down. The door opens and the Prisoner is helped out. His blindfold is removed and he finds himself... exactly where he was, facing Number 2.

Number 2: Susan... died a year ago, Number 6.

Prison bars slam shut on the Prisoner's face.

Next episode: The General

Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner

Guest Stars:
Jane Merrow as Alison
Anton Rodgers as Number 2

Angelo Muscat as the Butler
Earl Cameron as the Supervisor
Gay Cameron as Number 36
David Nettheim as the Doctor
Pat Keen as the Nurse
Gerry Crampton as the First Guardian
Dinney Powell as the Second Guardian

Episode written by Terence Feely and directed by Pat Jackson

Executive Producer: Patrick McGoohan

Production Manager: Bernard Williams

Director of Photography: Brendan J. Stafford B.S.C.

Art Director: Jack Shampan
Camera Operator: Jack Lowin
Editor: Geoffrey Foot G.B.F.E

Theme by Ron Grainer
Musical Director Albert Elms

Assistant Director: Gino Marotta
Sound Editor: Stanley Smith
Sound Recordist: John Bramall
Music Editor: Eric Mival
Casting Director: Rose Tobias-Shaw

Continuity: Doris Martin
Set Dresser: Kenneth Bridgeman
Make-Up: Eddie Knight
Hairdressing: Pat McDermot
Wardrobe: Masada Wilmot

Made on Location
and at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Borehamwood, England

An ITC Production
Incorporated Television Company Limited MCMLXVII
by Everyman Films Limited

"I am not a number, I am a free man!"