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The Prisoner
Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
The Prisoner: A. B. and C. The Prisoner
"A. B. and C."
TV episode
Written by Anthony Skene
Directed by Pat Jackson
Original air date: October 13, 1967

 

Number 2, under extreme pressure to break Number 6, begins to manipulate Number 6's dreams for information.

 

Read the complete story summary at Wikipedia

 

Notes from the Prisoner chronology

 

This episode would seem to take place after "The General", with Colin Gordon’s Number 2 returning, seemingly more timid and weak after his previous attempt to conquer Number 6's will. Notice in this episode he’s not referred to as the “new” Number 2 as he was in "The General" (and as the Number 2's in all previous episodes have been).

 

Didja Know?

 

This is the second appearance of Colin Gordon as Number 2. In a rare instance of a repeated Number 2 in the series, he also appeared as the character in "The General".

 

Actress Sheila Allen (Number 14) also appeared with Patrick McGoohan in an episode of Danger Man, "Don't Nail Him Yet".

 

Didja Notice?

 

Number 2 picks up a larger than usual phone in his office in this episode. Perhaps it is meant to suggest his feelings of the overwhelming task of bringing Number 6 to heel considering he recent failure in "The General".

Number 2's large phone

 

The current Number 2 drinks milk at the beginning of his mission against Number 6, just as he did in "The General".

 

    After speaking to his superior (Number 1?) on the phone about Number 6, Number 2 calls up Number 14, a female doctor who has a new procedure to try out on Number 6. In "Checkmate", a male Number 14 was seen as the chess champion of the Village. And Number 6 himself states in this very episode, "Last week, Number 14 was an old lady in a wheelchair."
   Seemingly the same Number 14 returns in the novels I Am Not a Number! and, possibly, The Prisoner's Dilemma.

 

When Number 14's device turns Number 6's unconscious thoughts into pictures, the images are of his resignation from the agency, as seen in "Arrival" and the opening titles of the series.

 

Number 14 states that Number 6 is not conventional and Number 2 responds, "I sometimes think he's not human."

 

When the film of Madame Engadine's last party is presented on the lab's television monitor, notice that a double exposure of the film over the TV is used...a misaligned outline of the TV and an unusual, enveloping coloration is seen.

 

The exterior shots of Madame Engadine's party in Paris appear to have been shot on the same set as the Professor's garden in the Village in "The General"!

 

Number 6 sips some wine at Madame Engadine's party, saying her wine is always excellent. In "Dance of the Dead", he tells Number 2 he rarely drinks. I guess Madame Engadine's parties are among those rare occasions!

 

The car in which A whisks Number 6 away appears to be a Citroën DS, a French automobile model.

 

When the car arrives at a fancy residence, A states, "Well, you're in my country now." It doesn't seem they could have driven far, so they should still be in France, suggesting that A works for France. But would a French agent be trying such dirty tricks to get a British agent to divulge information? Although the two countries have an occasionally contentious relationship, they are allies, so Number 6's treatment by A seems odd, even if it a dream.

 

Even though Number 6 is in a dream, with no apparent memory of ever having been in the Village, after dispatching A and his henchmen he says, "Be seeing you."

 

When Number 6 awakens in his bedroom after the A dream, a book is seen open on the end table next to his bed. Presumably, it is a book he was reading before going to sleep the night before. I wonder what kinds of books are permitted in the Village?

 

Number 6 doesn't seem to notice them, but there are dirty shoeprints on his carpet leading into his bedroom when he emerges after the night of the A dream.

 

The Tally Ho newspaper being read by Number 14 at 16:28 on the DVD has the headline "Is No. 2 Fit For Further Term?" Is this a reference to the current Number 2's failure to break Number 6 in "The General"? On his Prisoner blog, David Stimpson suggests it may be a reference to his health; after all, he is seen to have a compunction for drinking milk in both episodes, known to soothe an ulcer. Then again, it could just be a fairly typical "political" headline for a newspaper; after all, Number 1 or others of the powers-that-be above Number 2 could have had the headline placed to put further pressure on the man to succeed this time.

 

The maid who brings Number 6 his hot chocolate the second night appears to be Number 40. In "Dance of the Dead", Number 40 was a male scientist.

 

As Number 14 feeds lines to B inside the dream, we can see at 26:43 on the Blu-ray that 14 says, "I do", yet we don't hear her voice. B does say the words in the dream though. Maybe Number 14's voice was muted there because the producers decided it was better to let the dream character of B react as Number 6's mind would expect instead of just as a puppet.

 

During their conversation, B says to Number 6, "We all make mistakes. Sometimes we have to." Number 14 said these same words to him during their encounter on the lawn in the Village earlier. Number 6 then angrily asks her, "Who are you?!" These are indications that he is beginning to realize the party is not what it appears.

 

At 44:18 on the Blu-ray, Madame Engadine and Number 6 are seen driving away from the Arc de Triomphe, surrounded by scaffolding. The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris, France that stands 160 feet in height, 148 feet in width. It was surrounded by scaffolding as depicted here from 1965-66 for cleaning.

 

At 44:24 on the Blu-ray, Madame Engadine and Number 6 are seen driving past the offices of Publicis, an advertising and public relations company based in Paris. Seconds later, they pass Air France offices. 

 

I was not able to identify the make and model of Madame Engadine's car, license plate number BE-72618, but PopApostle reader Arno B. wrote in that it's a 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600. Thanks, Arno! (Also, be sure to check out Arno's Prisoner website, Nummer6-ThePrisoner, with many articles in English and German.)
Madame Engadine's car 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600
Madame Engadine's car 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 (photo from conceptcarz.com)

 

The exterior of Engadine's meeting place for the handover at 44:53 on the Blu-ray is the same set as the exterior recreation hall in the Village, simply redressed!

 

The tourist brochures found in Number 6's envelope suggest he was planning a holiday after his resignation to the following places: the scenic commune of Amalfi, Italy on the Bay of Salerno; the Palace Hotel in Caserta, Italy (the hotel itself fictitious as far as I can tell); Greece, possibly to visit ancient Byzantine sites; and Bretagne, possibly the commune Bretagne, Indre in France. 


Unanswered Questions

What was the fate that Number 2 so feared for failing with Number 6? Death? Banishment? Brainwashing/reprogramming? Simply an even more subordinate job? The Prisoner's Dilemma hints that at least some ex-Number 2s are placed in rooms in the Old People's Home with much of their memory erased.

Memorable Dialog

I know I'm not indispensible.wav
you're new here.wav
I don't spend all my time spying.wav
have you the feeling that you're being manipulated?.wav
you are not who you pretend to be.wav

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