The Prisoner (UK)

Season 1 Episode 7

Many Happy Returns

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 12, 1967 on ITV

Episode Recap

Number Six wakes up one morning and discovers that he has no water, the music speakers are silent, and everyone in the Village has seemingly disappeared. Furniture is overturned and the buildings are locked up. Even the Green Dome is empty. Number Six drives a taxi to the edges of the Village but high mountains prove an impenetrable barrier to escape. He cuts down trees and combines them with oil barrels to create a makeshift raft. He takes a speaker and newspaper from a store, along with a camera, which he uses to take photos of the village. As he departs, a black cat breaks a plate on the patio above.

Number Six sails for 25 days. As he travels, he puts the camera film in a waterproof packet and stores it in his pocket, and logs his coordinates using a compass made from the speaker. Finally he passes out from exhaustion and exposure. He wakes up to find two men, Ernst and Gunther, taking his supplies. They dump him overboard and pull away in their boat, but Number Six boards their cruiser. Going through it, he finds a cache of smuggled weapons. Number Six sets a smoke fire in the kitchen and knocks out the two smugglers when they come to investigate. He ties them up and locks their cabin, then heads for the bridge and steers toward the nearby shore. He spots a signal light and heads for it, unaware that the two men have untied themselves and broken through the cabin wall into the next cabin. Escaping, they attack Number Six on the bridge and he's forced to abandon ship when one of them grabs a gun and shoots at him.

Number Six wakes up on the beach the next morning. After confirming he has the camera film and that it is undamaged, he walks across the fields and finds a gypsy man walking his dog. The man doesn't seem to understand English and nervously walks away. Number Six follows him to his camp where a woman offers him coffee. She directs him to the road and he follows it to a highway where English police are searching vehicles. Number Six secretly jumps into a truck and hides in the back until it gets to London. He jumps out and goes to his old home where a maid he's never seen opens the door. She informs him that the mistress isn't at home, then shuts the door in his face. As he waits outside, a woman pulls up driving his car. He goes to the door and asks who owns the car, and she seems bemused at his presence. She invites him inside and introduces herself as Mrs. Butterworth. As she goes to get the tea, he examines the study then explains when she returns that the next day is his birthday and he is back from "exile." Mrs. Butterworth talks of her late husband then has the refreshments brought in. Once he's eaten, he tries to prove the house was once his and she tells him he doesn't have to prove anything. He asks to see the lease but it's new and doesn't have his name on it. The agents put up the car for sale and she purchased it from them. He says he has matters to tend to and she offers him the car as a loan. As he leaves, she promises to make him a birthday cake if he returns the next day.

Number Six returns to the office where he tendered his resignation and demands to meet his former superiors. The Colonel and his assistant, Thorpe, see him and he shows them the photographs he took of the Village. Neither finds anything particularly amiss and note that he resigned and then disappeared... and now he's returned with a suspicious story. Number Six stands by his story and notes that he isn't sure which side runs the Village, but he plans to find out. The Colonel orders Thorpe to confirm what he can of Number Six's story. He does so and reports that everything checks out except that they can't locate the gunrunners. Thorne concedes Number Six's story is most likely true and moves on to the next step: determining where the Village is. Using his coordinate log and working with a Naval Commander, Number Six narrows the search area down to a location west of Morocco and southwest of Spain.

The Colonel authorises an aerial search and Number Six insists on going along. As he arrives at the airport with Thorpe and the Colonel, a milkman pulls up. Number Six dons a flight suit and goes to the jet to wait for the pilot to arrive. The pilot, wearing his helmet, comes out and boards the plane. They depart and sweep the indicated area, and Number Six spots the Village from the air. The (replaced) pilot says "Be seeing you" and triggers Number Six's ejection seat. The parachute deploys and he lands on the beach at the Village. The place is still empty of inhabitants. Number Six goes to his flat and as soon as he enters, the power and water come on. A woman enters with a birthday cake: Mrs. Butterworth, wearing a Number Two badge. She wishes him "many happy returns" and he looks outside to see that all of the inhabitants of the Village are back and going about their lives.