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April 16, 2014

The Prisoner: The Girl Who Was Death

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Aug 31st 2006 1:10PM

What's in Number 6's mind?(S01E15) Do you ever get the feeling that when each episode of The Prisoner was being conceptualized and filmed that Patrick McGoohan knew he was playing with the audience's minds?

Seriously, after each episode, I think about what I've just seen, but then I have to replay nearly the entire story in my mind to make sure I understood what I just saw. But then later on, I'm still not quite entirely sure I got it all.

We start off by seeing a picture book being flipped to a page that comes to life as a typically idyllic English countryside scene where a game of cricket is being played. Everything seems to be in order, but then a mysterious girl in the crowd is eyed by the scorekeeper and after the ball is switched near the bushes, the pitcher hurls the ball and after the hitter makes contact, the ball explodes and he dies. It turns out the victim was Colonel Hawke-Englishe, a notable guy of some sort.

Later we see Number 6 in his regular street clothes and he appears to be doing his regular job as a spy and his assignment is to find the colonel's killer, a scientist by the name of Schnipps. After all we've seen so far in this series, the impression here is that Number 6 is again under the influence of some powerful drugs administered by his captors in order to determine (yet again) why he resigned.

The crux of the story is that the girl we saw earlier, who calls herself "Death", is aligned with this Schnipps fellow and sets a series of traps for Number 6 designed to kill him as he pursues her. The traps, including ones set at a pub (I simply love how Number 6 got out of being poisoned!), a carnival, and a deserted street, are all slight twists on those you've seen in the Batman (starring Adam West) series or any James Bond movie.

Suffice to say, Number 6 escapes from these predicaments and ends up trailing "The Girl Who Was Death" to a lighthouse where we learn the girl, who goes by the name of Sonia, is the daughter of this Schnipps character. We later learn that Schnipps suffers from a "Napoleonic complex". (Watch the episode to understand my drift.)

Schnipps has a plan to set off a rocket to destroy London, and Number 6 is keen on stopping him from doing so. I don't want to go much further so as not to spoil the ending of the story, but as I said earlier, after watching this episode, you end up having to replay it in your mind to make sure you actually understood what you just saw.

Two more episodes to go, and they promise to be quite illuminating, to say the least.

Until next time

Be seeing you!

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Bart Stewart

I guess I just want to thank all involved for this nice review of the Prisoner mini-series (as I think it would be called today.) For the young people out there, if there is any way you can rent or just acquire this series on DVD, I would say go for it. This show was so fascinating, intelligent, and surreal, it practically never belonged on television at all. I rank it in the top three television shows of all time, with The Avengers and the Twilight Zone. Let's have a review of the Avengers here on TV Squad! Emma Peel rules!

November 30 2006 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

"Do you ever get the feeling that when each episode of The Prisoner was being conceptualized and filmed that Patrick McGoohan knew he was playing with the audience's minds?"

Heh. I'll say. Wait until you see the series finale. I saw it 35 years ago and I'm still trying to figure it out.

August 31 2006 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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