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October 9, 2015

The Prisoner: Living in Harmony

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Aug 23rd 2006 11:09AM

Number 6 does his best Gary Cooper imitation(S01E14) If you can believe it, this particular episode is perhaps the strangest of the entire series. It arguably is one of the most famous as well, because it is so different from the rest.

When watching it, you might be interested to know that CBS did not air it originally back in the late sixties, apparently due to some anti-war sentiment expressed by the episode. Whether this is actually true or not is open to debate, but just the same, it makes for interesting viewing.

Again, as in the previous episode, the opening is quite different. It starts with music you would associate with a western, and the next thing you see is Number 6 dressed in clothes right out of the Old West. He stands in front of an authority figure and is seen turning in his badge. As he makes his way out of town, a posse catches up to him, beats him senselessly, and then is dragged into a small town called "Harmony."

As Number 6 wanders into the local saloon, he's asked to join in a card game with the mayor of the town, known as the Judge, who is being guarded by the Kid, who never speaks a word. He also encounters the bar girl Katherine, whose brother is later taken away, apparently to be lynched for some offense. Soon after Number 6 begins to involve himself in what has taken place, the Judge orders him taken into protective custody before he gets lynched.

While in jail, Katherine helps him escape by distracting the Kid, who lusts after her. Number 6 gets away, but is quickly captured and brought back into town. (Sound familiar?) However, instead of facing the charge of escape, Number 6 is surprised to see that Katherine is put on trial for aiding and abetting his escape. However, the Judge offers him a job as sheriff of Harmony and will let Katherine go as part of the deal. Number 6 accepts, but he's clearly not happy about it and announces that he will not carry a gun.

However, the Judge is none too happy about this and thinks of a way to get Number 6 to carry a gun and be more under his control. He then arranges for the Kid to kidnap Katherine, but the Kid's lust turns into violence and he ends up strangling her. Number 6 finds her body and buries her, and then goes back into the saloon to confront those responsible. There's a shootout and the Kid dies. Later, Number 6 is shot by the Judge. Or so we think.

The next thing we see is Number 6 lying on the saloon's floor in his Prisoner clothes. He then discovers that all of the people he encountered in Harmony are all paper cutouts. Was it all a dream? As he wanders about, he learns that Harmony is just another part of the Village, and that the Judge is the new Number 2 and that Katherine and the Kid were in on the whole ruse created by more mind-controlling drugs. However, Katherine seems very upset over the entire episode, and follows Number 6 back to the saloon. The Kid goes too, and again strangles her, this time for real. Number 6 gets there too late to save her, and just as Number 2 arrives, the Kid jumps off the balcony of the saloon to his death.

Again, Number 6's captors have resorted to extreme measures in order to extract information from him, but once more they fail miserably. What exactly is it that they want from him? If Number 6 says that he resigned because he got tired of the job, will that be enough? It has become quite apparent that the powers-that-be at the Village don't even know what they want.

Until next time

Be seeing you!

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This episode was my favorite......up until the end. How many people suffer from an interrupted strangulation, then talk, THEN die? Also, how realistic was it for "The Kid" to fall ABOUT 10 FEET to his death? Come on.

June 12 2007 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's a good point about the Village not seeming to know what it wants-- in fact, Number Six had already explained why he resigned before he was abducted (Number Two refers to it in the first episode)! And he explains it again, in a piecemeal fashion, over the course of the series: His conscience had been bothering him for a long time because of the things he had learned while doing his job and it finally came to a head. He resigned for his own peace of mind, and when he was abducted he was packing for a vacation, not preparing to defect. Maybe if they had kept a single Number Two on the case, he or she could have put all the pieces together!

December 27 2006 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a great episode. And, looking back, an important one because of the Kid.

August 23 2006 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon B. Knutson

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your "retro-reviews" of the Prisoner!

They definitely help me get my Number 6 fix while waiting for BBC America to run some more eps (or for me to buy the DVD set).



August 23 2006 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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