The Prisoner: It's Your Funeral

"I won't go for it. Whatever it is."

This one wasn't quite a successful as it could have been. I was left wondering what the point was.

The blond, soon-to-be Number Two apparently wanted to assassinate the elder and current Number Two, and why would he do that when he was about to succeed to the office, anyway? So he used the Watchmaker, a "jammer", to carry it out because he knew no one would pay attention to a jammer's plot. (The "jammer" stuff was interesting.) And then he used the Watchmaker's daughter to convince Six that a plot existed so that Blond Two would have film of Six warning him of the plot. I think. This whole thing might have been too convoluted for me.

Appreciation Day was sort of confusing, too. Very Communist, very "dear leader," but a retirement and a changing of the guard for a position that seems to have a new occupant every other day doesn't make a ton of sense. I guess that makes it typical Village, though. The film clip of the previous two Number Twos (four in a single episode!) made me wonder how many Number Twos there actually were during the course of the series. (17.)

Forget the Twos. The best part of the episode was the "prognosis surveillance" of a day in the life of Number Six. He certainly doesn't sit at home and brood. Brisk walks, acrobatics, boxing, coffee, chess. But my favorite was the "Kosho". It was like a joust on two trampolines with the loser ending up in the tank of water between them. With red robes and helmets, yet. It was weird, dangerous-looking, and strangely delightful.

I was wondering if such a sport actually existed. It doesn't. Patrick McGoohan made it up. Who makes up a sport? Really? He's awesome.

Ben P Duck Number Five says...

Number Five: I have to get to my fizzball game.
Number Two: We have observed you but, frankly, we don't get it.
Number Five: It's a sport that combines the tragedy of soccer with the thrills of NASCAR and the ball handling of Cricket, all played inside a giant rubber ball on homemade gymnastics apparatus.
Number Two: I don't see how we will even determine a winner to such foolishness.
Number Five: That's okay. It's as corrupt as boxing and horseracing combined, so we already know the winners.

This is a great episode for a lot of reasons, but the most striking thing was Kosho. A word on future sports and martial arts generally: why are these games always so cool and yet so incredibly nerdy at the same time? They range from the truly horrendously nerdy, Star Trek's Ambo-jyjutsu, for example, where you dress up in motocross outfits and blindfolds and fight with sticks equipped with beepers. Seriously, they beep. To the re-visioned Battlestar's "Triad", which when played in Cylon-occupied New Caprica, was indistinguishable from any type of street ball in its gritty normality. That is, if you can forget Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict playing in their disco outfits in the original. Rollerball is often seen as the toughest of the future sports, but I rewatched it recently and it's still James Caan on roller skates. You want a real tough guy martial future sport (let's make that an acronym: TGMFS): I would direct you to Jugging. I won't repeat things I have written elsewhere, but the point of the game is to put a dog's skull on a stake. Yet, it's still kind of nerd-fu.

I loved Kosho, and judging from the extended scenes we have in this episode, it's pretty clear that the producers were pretty fond of it as well. I should add that it would also be a ton of fun to play, imagine wrestling on trampolines until you get thrown in the pool, that's just fun. But on the whole, I think you should take your lead from Parrises squares (yet another future sport from Star Trek). Talk up your sport, but never actually show it being played because it will just disappoint. If you don't believe me, just look at the only available picture of P Square's players.



It's hard to think of sports in the same way once you've seen Worf in a leotard. Of course, the greatest future sport as everyone knows is Blernsball, but that is a subject for another day.

Back to Billie for bits and pieces:

-- Blond Two was right that Six has a certain measure of natural chivalry toward women, even in his current situation. We probably wouldn't like him if he didn't.

-- Number 100 wore a pink jacket. You don't often see bad guys wearing pink. There were a couple in previous episodes who worked for the newspaper, weren't there?

-- When Six got his watch fixed, the Watchmaker punched Six's ticket. And Six bought candy for an elderly woman who couldn't have any. Rationing.

-- It just occurred to me that black ball chair rising from the ground looked like a photographic negative of Rover. The Kosho battle featured ball-like helmets in black and white, too.

-- As mentioned earlier, this episode featured four Number Twos: the blond with the red brocade jacket and Get Smart spy glasses, the elder Two whose assassination Six apparently prevented, and film clips to two other Twos. Confused? Me, two.

Quotes:

Monique: "Assassination."
Six: "Are you trying to organize or prevent one?"

Monique: "So much caution in a man like you. It seems so wrong."
Six: "Many times bitten, forever shy. But they are not shy. They love to listen."
That line was almost like poetry.

Elder Two: "They'll find me eventually."
Six: "Fly now, pay later."

Two out of four Number Twos,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

2 comments:

tricksterson said...

I once invented a sport that combined roller derby, cricket and darts but i forget the details.

Mark said...

The Companion agrees that chivalry helps make Number Six more human and attractive.

As for the point, this is what they think:
- This is a serious episode, with little humor. Its message is subtle and complex, and it is confounded by a plot line that is often confusing and difficult to follow. The ideas are noble, however: Number Six, always able to cut to the heart of the matter, understands that The Villagers are going to be blamed and punished for an assassination that is being plotted by the authorities themselves. The only way to prevent the unjust punishment is to prevent the violent act. Although Number Six succeeds in his mission, there is something of a letdown in the fact that the assassination is not successful -- after all, it is an act against authority, and we've been set up during the program for an explosion that never occurs. But this episode concerns what is ultimately good for us, not what stimulates us at the present. It's a cerebral victory.
- In many ways, this episode attacks the effectiveness of violent protest, which is especially interesting in light of its being a product of the late 1960s.
watchmaker: Maybe it is what they need to wake them up. To shake them out of their lethargy. To make them angry enough to fight.
Number Six: That's assuming they survive the punishment.