Everything Prisoner Episode Guide
Episode One: Arrival
Forward to Two: The Chimes of Big Ben
The Prisoner Episode Guide
(This guide uses the “official” episode order, which does not match the order in which the shows were aired.)
At the start:
The Prisoner is free, and about to resign his post.
During this episode:
Our hero resigns from a British espionage organization. He returns home, followed along the way by a Hearse, to prepare for a vacation, but is gassed through the keyhole by the driver of the Hearse. He wakes up in what appears to be his home, but it does not appear to be London outside the window...
After initial disorientation, the new Prisoner discovers that he is being kept in a place called The Village, the population of which tending to be benign in an idiotic way. Various things unsettle The Prisoner, such as the fact that the local shop only sells maps of The Village, and that they list no means of exit.
Upon returning to the twin of his apartment, outside of which there is a sign marked “6 Private”, he gets a phone call inviting him to a place called the Green Dome to meet someone called “Number Two”. Number Two offers breakfast, served by a diminutive Butler, and seems cordial, yet there is a hidden menace in his words, more in what he says than how he says them. At the meeting, he learns he is to be kept in order to discover the reasons for his resignation. He is not told whether he and The Village is on "our side" or "their side," and when The Prisoner proves defiant, Number Two offers to give him a helicopter tour of the Village to prove that escape is impossible. Upon returning from the helicopter landing pad, the Prisoner gets his first glimpse of Rover, the hellish guardian of The Village, a huge bouncing white ball which suffocates a rebel while the rest of the Village stands frozen around him.
The Prisoner is taken into the underground network of tunnels for debriefing, during which he is uncooperative, storming out of the room in fury. Number Two’s offhand remark to the debriefing official, handing him a file: “Never mind, you can get all that you need from this... I think we have a challenge.”
The Village attempts to learn information through a treacherous maid, who tries to pry loose info with tears. The Prisoner attempts to escape twice, the first time by running (he is caught by Rover and wakes up in the hospital). It is while convalescing that he meets Cobb, a familiar face from the world outside, who seems to be undergoing some form of therapy. Shortly after, it is reported that Cobb jumped from a window to his death.
After Cobb’s death, an angry Prisoner storms the Green Dome and demands to see Number Two. The previous resident is gone, and in his place is a new, less lenient Number Two. Prisoner’s demands to see Number One are met with “As far as you’re concerned, I am in charge.” Here it is revealed that everyone in the Village has a number, and The Prisoner’s is Six. The Prisoner storms out again, to heckling from the new Two. The Prisoner attempts to escape again, using information and a piece of equipment, a wristwatch-like device called an “electropass,” supplied by a woman at Cobb’s funeral. There is a close call with Rover, but The Prisoner manages to board an empty helicopter. It looks as if he is about to get away, but then in the control room under the Green Dome buttons are pressed and levers pulled, and the helicopter, operating on its own accord, returns to the landing pad, where Rover is waiting to herd Six away. Inside the control room, Two talks with Cobb, who we learn is returning to the outside world under new masters. Cobb’s final words to Number Two before he leaves: “You’ll find him a tough nut to crack. Auf Wiedersehen.”
At the end:
The Prisoner is, well, a prisoner of The Village, and carries the number Six. Both of his escape attempts have been foiled, and he has been betrayed by his friend and fellow agent Cobb.
It is revealed:
The date and time of The Prisoner’s birth are 4.31 a.m., March 19th, 1928.
The Village system of currency is “credit units.” When Village money changes hands during the series denomination is usually not specified. This may be the only episode where the words “credit units” are used.
Village institutions include (some of these are only referred to on the map the Prisoner peruses): a council, supposedly democratically elected, a restaurant, a newspaper, amateur theatre, a hospital, a graveyard, a local phone service, a taxi service offering rides by “Mini Mokes,” an old people’s home, an arts and crafts hall, a lighthouse, a “palace of fun,” a shop and some general stores, a citizen’s advice bureau and a labour exchange.
Village radios are remarkably resistant, continuing to play even after being smashed to bits. When a device needs repair, Some Village laborers bear an uncanny resemblance to each other. (Perhaps they are clones?)
Village helicopters are able to be controlled remotely. Later it is demonstrated that Village vehicles share the same trait.
Number One is mentioned once. His identity is one of the primary mysteries of the series.
Abridged cast information:
Number Six: Patrick McGoohan
The Woman: Virginia Maskell
(the first) Number Two: Guy Doleman
Cobb: Paul Eddington
(the new) Number Two: George Baker
The Butler: Angelo Muscat
The Supervisor: Peter Swanwick
Number Two: ”I think we have a challenge.”
New Number Two: ”Six of one, half a dozen of another!”
Cobb: ”You’ll find him a tough nut to crack.”
The Prisoner by Alain Carrazé and Hèléne Oswald, published in 1995 by Barnes and Noble Books
The Prisoner by Dave Rogers, published in 1993 by Barnes and Noble Books
The Official Prisoner Companion by Matthew White and Jaffer Ali, published in 1988 by Warner Books