The Prisoner (UK)

Season 1 Episode 17

Fall Out

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 04, 1968 on ITV

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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  • Patrick McGoohan - prophet & genius.

    In 'Fallout', the coventions of the previous episodes are ditched. There is a reason for this, as Number Six has withstood every test put to him. His captors have one final trick - to revere him, seduce him, and take his strength as their own.

    To this end, the positively freakish elements of the episode can be taken as extended visual metaphors, but it only becomes clear what has happened at the end, when Alexis Kanner's character is dropped off on the dual carriageway, with the sign: 'London 27 miles'.

    "Who are you?"

    "That would be telling!"

    "What do you want?"

    "You won't get it!"

    "By hook, or by crook - we

    The Village is essentially the level of psychological manipulation the British Secret Services will use. The Judge represents the Criminal Justice System. And what is on trial in England, by 'Britain' - a bogus union forced on us by outside oppressors, as it was forced on the Scots. LeoMcKern is the essentially correct Establishment - but too weak to resist the Nazis. Alexis Kanner represents the youth of the day - the Beatles - and its earnest and brave striving for a better, more caring country - more open and tolerant.

    Patrick McGoohan is a fucking genius. That he passed before this could be unravelled is a great regret to me, but bloody man is amazing, and I really think he made the best, most unique English Television actor we've ever had. A lot of ITC stuff is like this though. I watched the whole of Assignment 1 of Sapphire and Steel the other night, for the first time in over 40 years. I didn't expect much, but it was brilliant. Inspired stuff - and television against which even today's American efforts - NCIS et al - might well feel very poor, very 'late'.
  • Reveals everything and nothing.

    An excellent example of Prisoner-esque writing and demonstrates just how well the writers understood the conventions of television.

    Number 6 meets his maker, and his maker meets him.

    This episode is a culmination of all the double meanings presented in grand fashion. Worth a good look for anyone studying communication and postmodernism.
  • The Prisoner concludes...


    Absolutely indecipherably silly from beginning to end. From that cowboy bloke singing Dem Bones to Number 6 and co dancing like lunatcis on the back of a truck going along a motorway, Fall Out is the silliest Prisoner episode ever, but it's also one of the most watchable. However, a big oppurtunity of Number 6's end speech is ruined by those stupid men repeating every one of his words. Very, very strange.
  • The series ended the only way it could had, really.

    Considered to be one of the most silly series-enders in history, Fall-Out blows up the village to the tune of "All you need is Love" and "Dem Bones". Although I'd had preferred a different musical score, "Fall Out" is a good demonstration of the fact that the Prisoner is meant to be understood figuratively not literally.

    Anyone that stills sees the Prisoner as a spy genre or action series will be in for a great surprise and disappointment. On the other hand, the episodes leading up to "Fall Out" and its precursor, "Once Upon a Time" attempt to slowly cozy the viewer up to the idea that the ending of this series will probably be symbolic in nature.

    The fact that Number 1 is McGoohan is probably meant to illustrate the simple idea that we create our own prisons. As members of a democracy, it is us, in the end, not our governments that are responsible for state atrocities and miscarriages of justice.

    The final scene where Number 1 is revealed is the only time in the series that McGoohan's eyes are not in shadow, making him not immediately recognizable as being the twin of Number 6. Of course a copy of 6 was also seen in "The Schizoid Man" which was probably not intended to be related in any way to this episode.

    Another great symbol is Number 6 et al escaping from the village in a prison cell.