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September 2, 2015

The Prisoner: Schizoid Man

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Jul 19th 2006 10:20AM

(S01E08) This time around we get to see what lengths the powers-that-be at The Village will go through to get Number 6 to tell them why he resigned. After engaging in a mind-reading exercise with an attractive fellow resident, Number 6 is removed from his quarters while asleep. We then see him wake up with a moustache and darker hair--or, at least we think that's Number 6. It appears that the new Number 2 is leading a plot whereby an exact replica of Number 6 (Number 12) has been surgically altered to look like our hero Number 6. Got that so far?

In addition, Number 12 has been programmed/taught to speak, think, and act exactly like Number 6, while at the same time, doing his best to confuse Number 6 so that he will end up questioning himself. Number 2 believes that Number 6 will eventually crack, and then will subsequently tell all about his resignation.

After a series of scenes where Numbers 6 and 12 confront each other and do their best to reveal who is the true Number 6, the "real" Number 6 begins to figure things out and true to his secret agent nature, turns the tables on Number 12 and (especially) Number 2. Eventually, Number 6 is poised to make his escape from The Village, but as we have learned by watching so far, things don't turn out the way we expect them to.

What I particularly liked about this episode is the attention to detail. Every little nuance is covered, including the bruise to Number 6's fingernail to the date that appears in a picture (February 10). In addition, although we've seen many instances where an exact double of a main character shows up and engages in a confrontation with the "real" character, you're able to look past that and really get into what is going on and see how Number 6 fights to maintain his own identity and not crack under the pressure.

This episode's Number 2 is fairly straightforward in his pursuit of breaking Number 6. It appears that Number 1 or whomever is in charge is trying to utilize different personalities in order to get Number 6 to talk. So far, so-so. Let's not forget this episode features a terrific ending, even though you pretty much know how things will turn out.

Until next time

Be seeing you!

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Nice one, Toby!

My one problem with this episode is the ESP girl. She adds nothing to the plot that couldn't have been accomplished in some other way, her presence in the Village simply doesn't suit the premise of the show, and the whole idea of the Prisoner having a friend in the Village stopping by for coffee and Zener cards is just wrong. Clearly the script was written before the show was under way, and the staff didn't fully understand yet what kind of show they were doing.

Still, great acting from McGoohan, and what a hoot to see the young Anton Rodgers (best known to US-based Britcom viewers as the elderly lawyer in "May to December") as Number Two!

July 19 2006 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

What I liked best about this episode is that by looking at the type of man Number Six is (his mannerisms, his attitudes) by watching them from the "outside" along with the real Number Six, we can see his faults as a human being.

I'd have to say that after "Chimes Of Big Ben", "Schizoid Man" is my favorite episode of this series.

It's also a pet theory of mine that Number Twelve continues his life outside of The Village. (They have the technology to ensure that.) And he goes back to his life as a double agent named Nelson Brenner in the 'Columbo' episode "Identity Crisis".

Can't prove it, but it's all in fun....

July 19 2006 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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