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The Prisoner
Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Prisoner: A Change of Mind The Prisoner
"A Change of Mind"
TV episode
Written by Roger Parkes
Directed by Patrick McGoohan (as Joseph Serf)
Original air date: December 15, 1967


Number 2 attempts to convert Number 6 into a docile and compliant citizen of the Village.


Read the complete story summary at Wikipedia


Didja Know?


This episode touches allegorically on such topics as McCarthyism, government-sponsored "show trials", coerced confessions, induced self-criticism, and the medical practice of lobotomies performed on criminals or the maladjusted.


Didja Notice?


The men who harass Number 6 in the woods are Number 16 and Number 80. Two different Number 16s are seen in "Arrival" and "Free for All". A different Number 80 appeared in "The General" as the projectionist.


Number 80 is played by Michael Billington, best-known as Colonel Paul Foster in UFO.


Before hearing Number 6's case, the Committee passes judgment on Number 93. And a sobbing woman, Number 42, is waiting after that; in "Dance of the Dead", Number 42 was Number 6's old colleague, Roland Walter Dutton, and another Number 42 was a painter in "Checkmate".


At 5:36 on the Blu-ray, Number 106 is sitting next to Number 249. This 106 is a white man; in "The Schizoid Man", Number 106 was a black Haitian man. And a female Number 249 also appeared in "The Schizoid Man".


The head of the Committee is Number 18. Another Committee member is Number 236. 


David Stimpson points out on his Prisonerologist blog that the propaganda poster "Your Community Needs You!" seen in the Council Chamber is a play on the 1914 Lord Kitchener propaganda poster “Your Country Needs You!” seen in the United Kingdom during WWI. Lord Kitchener was the British British Secretary of State for War at that time.
Your Community Needs You! Your Country Needs You!


After the Committee meeting, Number 6 crosses paths with Number 61 and greets her.


As Number 6 walks down the path back to his apartment at 9:28 on the Blu-ray, the rear end of a car can be seen parked in the top right corner of the screen and another white car drives along behind and then is seen passing through the end of the path. These must have been tourists or employees in Portmeirion, for the Village uses only Mini-Mokes or small tractor-mobiles for mechanized transportation.


At 9:34 on the Blu-ray, we can see some of the print through the blank side of the Tally Ho that is on the newsstand spool. After the vendor unspools a copy and tears it off, it's obvious the rest of the spool is blank because no print is seen through it. This occurs again at 16:29.


The headlines of the Tally Ho broadsheet Number 6 picks up immediately after the Committee meeting are: "Committee Hearing Continues", "No. 93 Confesses Disharmony", and "No. 6 FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION", indicating the powers-that-be already knew what the results of the Committee meeting would be before it even ended. A close-up look at the text of the articles in the paper reveals it to be a mish-mash of partial sentences from other sources, just as previous glimpses of the paper have been (a typical shortcut of television and film production).


Number 6's "advisor" in facing the Committee, is Number 86.


At 12:19 on the Blu-ray, Number 2 is already back at the green dome watching Numbers 6 and 86 on a video monitor, even though he only left Number 6's apartment about 20 seconds ago!


At 12:28 on the Blu-ray, Number 262 makes a speech to his assembled poets.


The doctor who examines Number 6 appears to be Number 59.


The man who next goes into the examination room after Number 6 appears to be Number 60. A different Number 60 appears in "The Schizoid Man".


The man with the circular scar on his forehead sitting outside the examination room is Number 46.


The man Number 6 sees in the aversion therapy chamber after his medical examination is Number 62. A different(?) Number 62 appears in "Checkmate".


As Number 6 walks away from the newsstand reading the Tally Ho, it's obvious that two different papers are seen in reverse and forward shots. We can see the print through the blank side of the sheet and it is obviously the same paper he read earlier in the episode, with the "Committee Hearing Continues" article, etc. From the front view, the paper has only one headline: "Number 6 Declared Unmutual".


One of the members of the appeals subcommittee is Number 56. The Number 56 badge has appeared on a number of individuals throughout the series.


At 21:39 on the Blu-ray, it sounds like there is a knock on Number 6's door or something while he is listening to the latest Village announcement (about his own upcoming social conversion). Number 6 does step out the door seconds later, but there is no one there waiting for him.


Notice that the medical chart of the human head on Number 86's clipboard at 27:19 on the Blu-ray is the same as the large, poster-sized chart seen on the wall of the operating room earlier at 24:46.


According to the Prisoner episode guide at Tauspace, Number 86's description of the surgery Number 6 is about to undergo is a sendup of the BBC science series Tomorrow's World which ran from 1965-2003.


At 28:26 on the Blu-ray, the man in the aversion therapy chamber is Number 58. In "Free for All", Number 58 was a woman who was Number 6's maid/helper and becomes Number 2 at the end of that episode.


Number 2 seems to leave Number 6's apartment at 29:41 on the Blu-ray (the electronic opening/closing sound of the door is even heard). Yet, Number 2 is suddenly there again to speak to him after Number 86 leaves just a minute later. How did he get back in?


Number 6 dumps the spiked tea offered him by Number 86 in a flower vase to make her think he drank it. I guess he was lucky the Supervisor or someone else didn't happen to be watching on their spycam when he did that!


After attempting to question Number 6 in his apartment, Number 2 leaves and is again seemingly back at the green dome almost instantaneously to observe him on the video monitor!


Number 86 tells Number 2 she has given Number 6 a drug called Mytol; the subtitles of the Blu-ray capitalize the M, implying a brand name. This appears to be a fictitious drug.


The wristwatch Number 6 wears and uses to hypnotize Number 86 is a Tissot, a Swiss luxury watchmaker.


Under hypnosis, Number 86 seems to describe the "instant social conversion" procedure as something very similar to a lobotomy, the disconnection of portions of the frontal lobe of the brain.


In this episode, we see the penny-farthing bike in Number 2's office looks quite worn, as if it is a genuine antique.

antique pennyfarthing


When Number 2 makes the announcement over the Village P.A. system that all citizens who are not otherwise occupied should come to the square to hear Number 6's address, the crowd sitting at the lawn tables in front of the retirement home all get up and rush off to the square, except for one man at the farthest table who does not! Is he unmutual?


When Number 2 is seen running from the crowd from behind, it appears to be a much thinner stand-in for actor John Sharpe!


The episode ends with a shot of the Butler carrying his black-and-white umbrella opened above him. It has been said by some fans that his having an open umbrella at the end of an episode indicates that a turning point between Number 6 and the powers-that-be has just occurred.


Indications in the episode suggest that there is an actual "social conversion" operation that has been performed on Village malcontents in the past (such as Number 42). Presumably, the fake operation was conducted on Number 6 because they could not have him damaged by the actual thing, as he is so valuable to them, as has often been said by various Number 2s throughout the series (though why he is so valuable is never quite made clear).

Memorable Dialog

we will tell you what to say.wav
it is the duty of this Committee to deal with complaints.wav
a common complaint.wav
you are merely citizen Number 6.wav
public enemy Number 6.wav
instant social conversion.wav
Number 6 has been declared unmutual.wav
any unsocial incident involving Number 6.wav
incidents regarding unmutuals.wav
the butcher with the sharpest knife.wav

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