Who, or what is Number 1? SPOILERS

Forums British Sci Fi Series The Prisoner Who, or what is Number 1? SPOILERS

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  • #39500
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Okay, we’ve discussed this is many threads, but there’s no dedicated topic for it. I’ll get the bouncy ball rolling with these very lazy and crazy thoughts which I’m thinking out loud as I write on what is Number 1 and therefore, in the first case, what is the Village:

    If Number 1’s a loony, then that might make the Village an insane asylum.

    Or is there really any actual ONE Number 1?

    There are many 1984 references in The Prisoner. Perhaps Number 1 can be very well-likened to Big Brother (Big Brother is more of an idea than a person, and certainly the sense of mystery of One’s identity plays on this). As for “the personification” of Number 1, Number 1 isn’t given a face until Fall Out “I have looked into the eyes of the enemy and the enemy is me” and has been stated, that could well be an elaborate ruse to trick Number 6 (wouldn’t be the first time LOL). Then again, it could all just be monkey business. 😉

    Perhaps Number 1 is a computer (witness the supercomputers in The Prisoner like The General) housed in The Rocket, many indications of that — the mechanical eyes that hypnotise etc. The mechanical eyes might be likened in a way to the posters of Big Brother that seem to stare at you from every angle, and even the posters had an almost hypnotic quality and a sort of ability to communicate. It might also be just the mechanical apperatus at a very human Number 1’s disposal. The Rocket, labelled 1, is the real control centre of The Village, without it Village functions cease. Could the rocket itself be Number 1? 🙄

    Note: When The President contacts the rocket which No. 6 has set to lift off, he asks for “control” which is located where the Number 1 person was sitting, he never tries to communicate with Number 1 in particular. On the other hand, almost as soon as Number 6’s crazy double locks himself in the capsule (leaves the control room for the capsule) the mechanical eye on the face of the rocket closes, which indicates that a person controls the rocket, and therefore Number 1 is not a computer — redundant point I know since Number 6 is about to take control of it himself. A computer never locks Number 6 out of him launching the rocket, nor is there any Hal-esque gesture from inside the rocket to Number 6 — “Number 6, my mind is going, I can feel it, I can feel it. Stop 6, I’m afraid…” 🙂 Erm, not that I remember hearing anyone else saying it’s a computer per se…

    Or maybe, just maybe, Number 1 refers to unseen masters in government. Cobb in Arrival leaves the Village to meet his new masters, and I suspect that the No. 2s (say in A. B. & C.) on the red phone wasn’t really speaking to Number 1 (certainly if he was then he wasn’t speaking to a computer — they communicate with the mechanical eyes I mentioned).

    Anyway, Number 1 is Number 1 of the Village, and it makes sense that there would be one and Number 1 must surely also have his masters.

    Whoever Number 1 really is, or isn’t, it’s interesting that the identity has been withheld from even Number 2s. In Free For All Number 6 is told that if he wins the election he will have the chance to meet One, but In Fall Out, it’s clear that even ‘the late Number 2″ doesn’t know who, or what it is. “Whoever you are; whatever you are.”

    Boy this is a sloppy post, sleepless night… Please don’t be too hard on me for my silliness or lack of coherent thought processes. I could edit… but it’s not like I’m being graded on this. 😀 😀

    #68542
    Fatguy
    Participant

    Re Logan: A better question is whether you should really try to make sense of it all. Why do it? Did the author of the story intend you to make sense of it? Is your idea of “making sense” the same as the authors idea? Does it bother you if you can not rationalize unexplained behavior – if you can not deconstruct and “make sense”? I saw the series, enjoyed it and left it at that…..

    The ability to pass by unexplainable things in our lives is necessary for our mental well being. Look at how some fans nit pick over every detail….. Patrick clearly looked upon these people as nut cases when I saw his face at one of his interviews….. I am more charitable as I am also an obsessive, the fans are not loonies – just obsessive….. However, sooner or later you have to realize that rationalizing someone’s head (like The Prisoner series to a degree) is a futile ambition as we are not rational. I am probably more rational than most – and this fact only makes me hated all the more…..go figure…..

    Best thing for all of you fans reading this – is to step back – put this thread out of your mind, and go do something else….. By-the-way…..did I mention that I love all you guys? I do…..

    Maurice

    #68548
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    A better question is whether you should really try to make sense of it all. Why do it?

    Erm, for fun? 😛

    #68552
    Fatguy
    Participant

    A better question is whether you should really try to make sense of it all. Why do it?

    Erm, for fun? :P[/quote]

    Erm, for fun????? 🙄

    Point taken, but is The Prisoner really fun…..;or is The Prisoner simply “cheese” for those about to be mentally trapped in a solipsistic/egotistical lifestyle? Is viewing “The Prisoner” something you would do on a first date? Are you bubbly and bouncy after seeing an episode of The Prisoner?

    Is seeing that “Number One” is one’s self; an admittance to one’s mental illness (i.e. The Prisoner is his own tormentor – is he not…..); at the end of the series, was Number 6 driving to the mental hospital…..now that would be interesting…..

    Maurice

    #68554
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I think it’s lots of fun (and BTW, I don’t generally enjoy over-analysing shows, my initial post in this thread was just a bit of fun for my own benefit, to be taken with a pinch of salt).

    It’s the humour and even zaniness of The Prisoner that makes me like it so much, and there’s some great repartee. It really is quite a witty show, and, I do believe, lots of fun.

    It’s multi-layered so one can appreciate it on different levels, and one of the reasons, I believe, why it is a cult classic is because so much can be left to individual interpretation. Discussing it can be fun and interesting too.

    Best thing for all of you fans reading this – is to step back – put this thread out of your mind, and go do something else…..

    My response to those who may be reading this is: You are an individual, follow your bliss. If you would enjoy sharing your thoughts, go ahead, if not, that’s fine too. 😀

    #68557
    Fatguy
    Participant

    Ok, I guess I should have been more blunt about the question of this thread:

    Number 1 is Number 6; and this eventual realization (culminating in some “insanity” just after seeing himself) allows Number 6 to blast Number 1 out into space. He is now free of his tormentor (himself) and “reborn” as the truck smashed through the gate, and delivered him into the “real world” of sanity.

    As I said before: The Prisoner is his own tormentor = He is mentally ill!

    The whole series is surreal; action always takes place with Number 6’s interest in mind. The reason for his torment are never clear. He is “too valuable” to liquidate (as this would be suicide). Whether by design or not; the series morphs into a study of egotistical megalomania. Those who think Number 6 is a hero are in for a big disappointment (this is why some people wanted to physically beat PM up in the streets after the last episode). We never do see where The Prisoner drives to at the end — a relapse or cure? Does it really matter…..just a TV show. Does it matter to you…..why?

    Maurice

    #68565
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    As I said before: The Prisoner is his own tormentor = He is mentally ill!

    Or, as I said before in my initial post: “If Number 1’s a loony, then that might make the Village an insane asylum … As for “the personification” of Number 1, Number 1 isn’t given a face until Fall Out ‘I have looked into the eyes of the enemy and the enemy is me’…”

    I’ve also expressed similar thoughts to yours in other threads. I tend to look at No. 1 as No. 6’s dark side personified (id and ego — Jeckyl and Hyde). He is a Prisoner of his own device. An identity which he has difficulty coming to grips with, he can’t accept the reality, and when he blasts No. 1 off into space he is trying to free himself from himself. Or as I once humorously put it, Number 6 needed a vacation, but the vacation he needed was from himself.

    But then again, the monkey mask may indicate that it’s all monkey business.

    Anyway, there are different ways to interpret it, and I won’t say which way is best (I’d rather create my own interpretation than definitively know what the makers intended, if anything in particular ~ hermeneutics).

    We never do see where The Prisoner drives to at the end — a relapse or cure?

    I believe that he never truly escapes, given your choices I’d go with relapse. It starts the same way it begins, with him driving, indicating that events will be repated. In religious terms MicroMary has called it purgatory.

    Does it really matter…..just a TV show. Does it matter to you…..why?

    Why? Well why is the big question, isn’t it?

    To quote from The General:

    Number 2: What was the question?
    Prisoner: It’s insoluble, for man or machine.
    Number 2: What was it?
    Prisoner: W. H. Y. Question mark.
    Number 2: Why?
    Prisoner: Why?
    Number 2: … Why?

    On a related note: There was a great Prisoner comedy sketch called The Laughing Prisoner starring Stephen Fry where after No. 6 fed “WHY?” into the computer, the computer immediately responded “Why not?”

    So, I’ll ask you, why and why not?

    Ok, I guess I should have been more blunt about the question of this thread.

    Great! I’ll try to do the same to avoid getting overly sidetracked, or indeed, derailed. So the question of the thread is: “Who, or what do you think is Number 1, and indeed, WHY?” Yep, why is important; perhaps I should have been more blunt when phrasing the question. I know “questions are a burden to others, answers a prison for oneself,” so I’ll try to keep the questions to a minimum from now on. 😉

    #68561
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Warning somewhat Off-Topic: You have been temporarily diverted… 😉

    Okay, I’ll disregard for the moment what I said about going off-topic since I’ve always rather enjoyed digression and gentle diversion (sometimes it’s there that the most creativity is to be found). I always thought it okay as long as one tries to get back on topic by the end of the post (however lamely :P).

    And, also, following the principle of charity I should try to respond to as much of your content as possible (or at least the general gyst without taking you out of context) rather than just pursuing my own agenda. So (I think it’s not terrible uncharitable to respond rather generally to your questions)…

    Does it really matter…..just a TV show. Does it matter to you…..why?

    Like the show, discussing the show is primarily a form of entertainment and escapism to me, and yes, entertainment matters to me, because, like The Prisoner, I really feel the need to escape sometimes (keeps me half-sane ;)).

    Why does the Prisoner’s plight interest me? Simple, I identify with the character and concerns it raises. In fact, it goes beyond entertainment, I have gained valuable insight from the show.

    What do you think?

    Getting back to “Who is Number 1 in The Prisoner?” I’m also very keen on the literalist idea that in fact Six as One is just an elaborate ruse by the Village; and an even more elaborate ruse by the producers.

    #68574
    pet
    Participant

    Personally, as I think everything but the final drive is a subconscious argument, I think Number 1 is John Drake’s insecurities (after likely attending the funeral of a fellow Danger Man) trying to give him numberous reasons not to resign. After expelling that side of himself (though 1 escapes the rocket to return again some other day), he decides to go for it.

    I think it’s clear from the empty orbit that Number 1 meant to shoot Number 6 into space and take over, but it didn’t happen that way.

    83

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