October 28, 2007

Sunday In the Village: The Girl Who Was Death

This episode, is....well, kind of an anomaly. It was intended to serve as a "distraction", a light-hearted foray before the more intense "Once Upon a Time" and "Fall Out." It's the first Prisoner episode that contains a semblance of humor - the first twenty minutes have a great, almost surrealistic quality. (It's also the first overtly "spy-ish" episode, even so far as to paraphrasing an episode title from its sister series The Avengers at a key moment.) Towards the end, it even takes on some slightly Pythonesque touches, from Number 6 dressing like Sherlock Holmes to the villain's Napoleon motif. At both ends, the episode contains some great, sly humor.

Unfortunately, the middle of the episode is disjointed and rather rushed. Since this had been (according to rumor) originally a two-part Danger Man episode, it has a rushed feel. (I am not suggesting that this would work as a two-parter; mostly that there could have been better choices made in how edited material was handled. As it stands, at this point in the series' production, there was a mad dash towards the end. The fact that several key components - as well as one actor - were included in "Fall Out" says more about the 11th hour nature of ending the series than a deliberate setting-up of later plot elements).

Still, there are two things about this episode (framed as a children's bedtime story) that give it some importance (as well as providing some context). First, the plot of a woman who considers Number 6 her "opposite number"...well, remember last week's scenario? This - framed through Number 6's experience, of course - may explain a lot about his feelings towards women. Having someone simultaneously "love" you - and want to kill you - might have been one of the key issues that led Number 6 to resign.

Secondly, we see that there are children in the Village, which has both chilling and hopeful connotations. Chilling, because they may be the result of parents who chose to stay in the Village, who gave up their innermost secrets - in short, these children are paying for the sins of their fathers and mothers. Truly, they are innocents in the Village's plans.

However, there's something hopeful in Number 6 being their caretaker...perhaps he is, between episodes, encouraging them not to be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered...and that their lives are their own.

Coming soon: Degree Absolute. Number 6 on trial. Twenty years later.

Be seeing you.

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