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October 26, 2014

The Prisoner: Hammer Into Anvil

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Aug 16th 2006 4:28PM

Number 6 calls upon the new Number 2(S01E112 Angered over the suicide of a fellow prisoner (Number 73) resulting from relentless badgering from the new Number 2, Number 6 decides to pull out all the stops to avenge Number 73's death. What transpires is an elaborate game of cat and mouse whereby Number 6 gets Number 2 to question his own sanity.

At this point in the Prisoner story, it seems that Number 6 is not interested in escaping from the Village. That doesn't mean to say he's given up--but it appears that his motivation is more to frustrate and humiliate his captors.

In this instance, the new Number 2, who comes across as the most sadistic and evil one of them all, warns Number 6 that he (Number 2) is the hammer and that Number 6, as well as other prisoners, is the anvil. Basically, Number 2 is on a major power trip and he wants everyone to know it. However, Number 6 isn't intimidated in the least, and Number 2 orders that special surveillance be placed on Number 6.

We then see Number 6 engage in a number of activities that are confusing Number 2, including listening to a recording a number of times and timing it, writing cryptic notes and hiding them throughout the village, and causing Number 2 to suffer from a deep sense of paranoia.

In addition, Number 2 is suspicious of his entire staff. He believes they are questioning his authority, and he engages in behavior that would make the toughest office manager blush.

Number 2 accuses Number 6 of being a plant from high command to spy on and report on his activities, and Number 6 feeds into it to the point of Number 2 nearly going mad. Number 2 is so unnerved that he's having empty pieces of paper being analyzed by his surveillance unit and a pigeon shot down.

Number 6 is clearly enjoying himself as he watches Number 2 unravel. Eventually, Number 2 succumbs to the pressure, and Number 6 can chalk up another triumph against his captors. However, he still is a resident of the Village, and sooner or later, he'll have to either make one final push to escape or resign himself to being a villager for the rest of his life.

The next few episodes should tell a lot, but you didn't hear it from me.

Until next time

Be seeing you!

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gecko54

In this episode I found a mistake.

Number 6 releases a pigeon which is intercepted...correct! read on...

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This pigeon is intercepted by Number Two's forces, who decode the message and wait for the visual signal. The visual signal, in light-flash morse code, is a nursery rhyme that makes no sense.
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If the message was intercepted, how was the following message going to be relayed to the receiver, if they never received the 1st message which was to let them know a message was going to be transmitted to them and where to be to receive this message?!

Strange?

February 27 2007 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Craig

A great example of psychological warfare carried to its most intelligent and ultimate extreme. You can mess with Number Six, but mind yourself around those he choses to care about. My favorite episode, right next to "Many Happy Returns."

August 21 2006 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stephen

This is my favorite episode.

August 19 2006 at 5:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RAB

For me, this is one of the purest and most archetypal episodes of the series, the one that displays what the series is all about and uses the premise to its fullest. Even more so than the opening episode or the two Leo McKern episodes...which were also excellent, but this one cuts to the bone.

August 17 2006 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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