This Isn’t About Escape, This Is About Survival

While Matt was visiting at the ha-hacienda last week, we sat down and watched The Prisoner episode 6, Checkmate.  He opted not to say anything for the moment, preferring to let me dig my own grave. As with all of my other Digressions, there are SPOILERS ahead.

We open with 2 seeming stronger than ever as 6 is getting weaker.  This is a plan to get 6 to accept his place in The Village by acknowledging his mortality and impending death (although it’s still not a plan to get him to reveal anything.)

Part of the confusion I had with this episode is that as time progresses, counterparts in the Other Side and the Village start wearing the same clothes.  This is by design, I’m sure, to demonstrate the two worlds  closing in on each other, but it did lead to some confusion. We learn that the entire Village and all of its inhabitants DO live in the mind of M2.  They are sent there for rehabilitation but ARE eventually allowed to rejoin the real world. This is  why 2 was blowing up Villagers with grenades in the first episode, and that’s how he makes his permanent return.

I pleased to see I was right in my reasoning why 1112 couldn’t make it to the Other Side, and it was fairly interesting that his birth was an experiment by 2 and M2 to see if someone could be born in the Village.  1112, fed up and confused by The Village (I can relate), kills M2 and himself in the Village, which causes the holes to start destroying everything.  313, who would never be able to return to The Other Side due to psychotic baby stabbing, volunteers to take M2’s place as the dreamer and holder of The Village.  In the end it was pleasant to see 2 and M2 get a happy ending back on The Other Side, free from the burden of governing.  Meanwhile, Michael sits down at Summakor and 6 takes 2’s place in The Village.  I can even imagine this happening over and over again, as 2’s search desperately for their own replacements.

Not everything was answered:  Does The Village still exist, or will our new 2 have to rebuild it?  Who was 2×6?  Why was everyone spying on each other?  This seemed to be more of a holdover from the original series than a necessity of the new one.

And none of addresses that the moral questions.  Was 2 wrong?  They were providing an environment for therapy to take place and releasing their “prisoners” at the end (the Villagers may have all been kidnapped, which makes it less of a gray issue).

All said, I really enjoyed the remake.  Despite the fact that I wound up confused for some time thinking this was another spy story, trying to recreate the spy elements from the original would have been setting themselves up for failure.  This version took the key elements from the original and made something entirely new and compelling.  And if this remake wasn’t your cup of tea, the original is still there for you without the burden of continuity.

* A special thanks to my Dad for being able to track down the “pigger counter” poster.

** A double special thanks to everyone who’s found these digressions interesting.  I didn’t actually think I’d post about every episode, but these Prisoner posts have been getting more hits than anything else I’ve written.