Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the 1967 science fiction/ existential drama The Prisoner. For Part One, in which I examined the themes and concepts at play in the series click HERE
Episode Title: HAMMER INTO ANVIL … In the ongoing debate over the exact numbering of the 17 episodes of The Prisoner I place this one 4th from the last.
NOTE: The title of this episode does indeed come from the famous Goethe quote and refers to the intensely personal duel of wills between the Prisoner and this episode’s Number Two (Patrick Cargill).
Many readers have asked me to start SPOILING up-front if our hero or the Villagekeepers win the battle in the episode being reviewed. They said they’ve come to hate episodes where the malevolent Villagekeepers come out on top. That’s a great tribute to what effective villains they are and how the Prisoner has to overcome incredible odds for his scattered victories. Rest assured our protagonist unequivocally wins this round.
THE STORY: Amid a dramatically convenient thunderstorm this episode’s Number Two, the rotating series of executives who manage the prison-city called the Village, interrogates a female prisoner called Number Seventy-Three. Her wrists are still bandaged from her recent suicide attempt, an action she tried in order to escape captivity in the Village.
Number Two is sadistically enjoying his latest Head Game against the woman, who has been drugged to perceive him as a quasi-demonic figure. The villain seems close to breaking the woman to extract whatever information the Villagekeepers want from her. She begins screaming in terror. Continue reading