I guess this episode isn't the personal favourite of most Prisoner fans, however i found it to be quite entertaining. The whole body/mind swapping trick has been used in several shows and the method that it's done in this episode is nothing fancy. I did like Nigel Stock who played the alter Number six. We also get to learn more about Number Six's personal life like he was supposed to get married (which would explain why he so cold to all the females in the village). We also get to see some more of the people that Number Six worked with prior to been taken captive. A clever change of pace episode, that has a cool ending!
I have to say that this is by a VERY long way, the worst episode of "The Prisoner". It suffers greatly from the fact that Patrick McGoohan is absent for almost the entire episode. The fact that he was the one and only cast member made his absence all the more notable. I missed his brilliant sense of humour, hilarious one-liners (like "Oh, I'll just go to pieces" in "The Girl Who Was Death" and the aura of coolness he gaves off every time he's on-screen.
I usually love body swapping episodes in any series but the main attraction of them for me was seeing what the bad guy is doing in the good guy's body because it gives the actor a chance to flex his acting muscles, not what the good guy is doing in the bad guy's. All the Colonel does in Number Six's body is lie semi-conscious on a bed wearing stupid looking goggles!
I thought Nigel Stock was a poor substitute for McGoohan as well. He was a good actor but I never really bought that this was the same stubborn and extremely intelligent and resourceful man that I'd watched in the last twelve episodes stuck in another man's body. In fact, the only time he seemed to be acting or even talking like himself was at the very end when his mind was put back into his own body.
One other thing that bothered me was that Seltzman believed that he was who he claimed to be after just comparing two samples of his handwriting, one written while in his own body and the other written while he was in the Colonel's. It could easily just have been forged. A man capable of inventing a machine capable of swapping two peoples' bodies should have realised that. The final twist, however, was brilliant and I did not see that coming at all.
All in all, the low point of "The Prisoner" but every series has to have one fairly poor episode.
Nearing the end of the series, it seems that the writers of The Prisoner were trying desperately to grasp satisfactory ideas and just get them done. This episode proves a fine example of such. More often than not they managed to do this and get it right. Unfortunately, the writers fall flat on their face in their attempt to produce one of the bizarrest and comparatively worst of the entire series.
Looking at the plot line, the episode doesn't relaly seem that bad. However, as the story unravels, the poorly-formed plot twists and generic, non-sensical writing, intertwined with a string of random events which happen to way too quickly turn the episode into someting that is almost painful to watch. What is rather confusing is that this inferior episode is followed by two of the series' best, "Harmony" and "The Girl Who was Death."
Every series has to have a bad episode. This is an odd, temporary, turn into mediocrity for this otherwise compelling series, which fortunately is brought back to life with the next episode, "Harmony."
Apparently McGoohan was away filming 'Ice station zebra' and it shows! Easily the poorest episode of an otherwise brilliant is like a bad episode of 'Danger Man' and is not at all in keeping with the spirit of 'The Prisoner' It is tedious and lack lustre and McGoohan is hardly in this episode ,except lying on a table looking pained,probably thinking about this episode! I have often had goose pimples watching the series again,even after all this time,not so with this it returns to form in the next two episodes.
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