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The Prisoner (AMC), Part 4

Waiting for Six-Thirty-Seven, or Whatever
by Gregg Pearlman
January 7, 2010


Bill Gallagher’s rendition of The Prisoner shows clearly that one could take any storyline, however fascinating or mundane, fantastic or moronic, and set it against the backdrop of The Village and all the trimmings:

  1. After years of loneliness and Village-perpetrated oppression and crappy gin, Nineteen-Eighty-Four suddenly rebels. He buys a diary and writes things in it about how awful The Village is. He meets a woman, Two-Thousand-Four-Million, and they have an affair. They are caught and captured by Village Security. Nineteen-Eighty-Four is tortured so much that he betrays his lover. Two, his torturer, refuses to stop working on Nineteen-Eighty-Four until he learns to love The Village, at which time Two will probably have him killed.

  2. Five is brought to The Village because the ludicrous items he made up for his “news” website turn out to be true, and Two wants to find out how he knows. Five meets Six, who has invented the bottomless peanut bag and who has, as part of his escape plan, spent years building a raft out of toilet paper rolls, toothpicks, and plastic forks, with a sail made of scabs and dynamite. Five steals this, pushing Six out of the way, and Six complains that this is the third time that has happened.

  3. Nineteen-Ninety-One discovers that he has amazing powers and abilities, and he is brought to the school in The Village to learn how to hone them. Hanging over his head throughout is the dreaded He Who Must Not Be Numbered, who had attempted to kill Nineteen-Ninety-One as a baby—that is, the baby was Nineteen-Ninety-One, not the bad guy—and who wants to finish the job en route to a position of supreme power.

  4. Seven-Sixty-Two visits the general store to buy flaxseed oil, arthritis cream for his knees, and some pine tar. Later his blood is drawn during an unwelcome physical, and the machine that analyzes it prints out an order for his death. Nobody likes Seven-Sixty-Two anyway, and they’ll always like Seven-Fifty-Five better, though never as much as Seven-Fourteen.

  5. On November thirteenth, Twenty-Three-Twenty-Five was asked to remove himself from his place of residence; that request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right. With nowhere else to turn, he appeared at the home of his friend Twenty-Seven-Twenty-Nine. Several years earlier, Twenty-Seven-Twenty-Nine’s wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share a Village dwelling without driving each other crazy?

  6. Young and lovely Eighty-Two drinks too much at a party. Six, plying her further with liquor, persuades her to remove her top and dance around like a ninny, and he films this display for a series of popular Village-brand DVDs. Eighty-Two, upon seeing the result, seeks punishment for Six for getting her drunk and taking advantage of her in this way. However, Two, ever the wise arbiter, rules that nobody forced her to get herself hammered in the first place.

  7. Housewife Fifty-Fifty-Nine and her friend get a job packing products on an assembly line at The Village Scrumptious Candy Factory. Unfortunately, the conveyor belt moves too fast for them to keep up with all the candy coming out, and they’re forced to stuff individual pieces of candy wildly into their mouths. Later, Fifty-Fifty-Nine attempts to persuade her husband, band leader Ninety-Ninety-Eight, to let her perform onstage with him and celebrity guest Four. Ninety-Ninety-Eight refuses, but Fifty-Fifty-Nine sneaks in anyway and draws attention to herself in a manner detrimental to the stage show.

  8. Six enters The Village Pet Shop, angrily demanding to return or exchange a parrot he had just purchased, on the grounds that it is dead—and indeed was dead when he bought it. Shopkeeper Forty-Three-Nineteen offers repeated excuses, even denying that the bird (Eleventeen) is actually dead. The situation is never really resolved.

  9. Foolish young lovers Thirty-Seven and Nine-Trillion-Three date in secret, fully aware of their families’ mutual animosity. Nine-Trillion-Three fakes suicide, falling into a deep sleep. Thirty-Seven, believing his love to be dead, kills himself. Nine-Trillion-Three wakes, sees that Thirty-Seven is dead, and kills herself.

  10. Ten-Forty, a pizza deliverer, knocks on the front door of the home of Forty-Eight-Twenty-Four-Thirty-Eight, who answers wearing only a towel. She explains that she has no money, and she asks Ten-Forty if there’s any other way she can pay for the pizza. He enters through the front door, and a neighbor, Sixty-Nine-Sixty-Nine, enters through the back door. Several minutes later, Ten-Forty leaves, little pizza-delivery hat askew, and thanks Forty-Eight-Twenty-Four-Thirty-Eight for the lavish tip.

  11. One bright day in the middle of the night, Two and Six get up to fight. Back to back they face each other, draw their swords, and shoot each other. Thirty-One-Eighty-One hears the noise, comes and shoots those numbered boys. If you do not believe this lie is true, ask Twenty-Twelve: he sees it too.

  12. Six quits his job watching people. He wakes up in a sandy place, wondering how he got there. He learns that he’s in The Village. Two, the leader of The Village, attempts to bring Six “into the fold,” but Six resists. Six finds romance with Three-Thirteen and Four-Fifteen, but he more or less loses both. Two’s wife, meanwhile, has been dreaming up the whole thing. Two wants out, and so does his wife, so Three-Thirteen takes up the role of “dreamer” and Six agrees to run The Village.

  13. Twelve is Enough, in which a heretofore unnumbered writer thinks up several silly scenarios set in The Village and practices his alliteration, although not avidly.
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