Some of the water bourne craft made use of by The Prisoner…
The Stone Boat is a landlocked Village fixture. There is no escape in this boat, except in one’s mind.
“She’s great in any weather. Sailed her many a time. Have a good trip” (The Admiral in Arrival).
Motor boat (Free For All): Its speed and manoeuvrability makes the small Village motor boat quite formidable. The balloon-popping, bubble-bursting potential of its pointy prow could possibly be effective weaponry against the Village sentries if used as a ram. However Rover’s “confusion field,” which disorients its prey, makes such an attack nearly impossible. They’d probably just bounce off anyway.
Limitations: only has a short range (unless lots of petrol is stowed), can be easily outrun by Village helicopters and Rovers, has no effective offensive weaponry other than its pointy prow, and no defensive capabilities such as a canopy to keep the seawater from spraying all over you … or Rover from bouncing on you.
“Escape” Sailboat (Chimes of Big Ben): Effective as both a conceptual art piece and for artful escape. The tapestry sail has Number 2’s face on it giving it an impressive visage: a floating masterpiece.
Notes: Using primitive tools, No. 6 craftily handcrafted the craft. A dismantled version was entered as an objet d’art in The Village’s Art Exhibition where it won first place. Using the “purse” from his winnings, No. 6 bought a tapestry, a portrait of Number 2, from a senior winner to use as a sail. once assembled, the artwork made an effective sailboat. This was the only piece at the arts and crafts show that was truly art and craft.
A Judge: “We’re not quite sure what it means.”
No.6: “It means what it is” (Number 6 describing his masterpiece entitled Escape).
Inflatable Rubber Dinghy (Checkmate): Its bright orange colour makes it easy to spot, however, Rover may be more likely not to attack this raft, what with it being a distant cousin and all (it managed to rendezvous with the MS Polotska).
“The weather forecast was very bad. You wouldn’t have stood a chance in that toy boat” (No. 2).
MS Polotska (Checkmate): A commercial ship that No. 6 boards; turns out to be under the control of The Village.
Wooden Raft (Many Happy Returns): Finding The Village inexplicably empty, The Prisoner cuts down some trees and makes a raft which he spends a long time on. “Mrs. Butterworth, you make good pancakes.”
Rocket (Fall Out): The ultimate Village ship, and the only space ship. Probably carries offensive weaponry (possibly nuclear technology). It also acts as the real control centre of the Village. Once deployed for orbit: Rover balls shrivel up; Village functions cease; and Village evacuation procedures must be implemented.
No.6: “I’d like to be the first man on the moon!” (Chimes of Big Ben).
While the ships, rafts, and boats may not be the most technologically impressive in all of sci-fi (as you can see from the other Prisoner technology articles, there’s heaps of impressive gadgets), they are integral to the plots and creatively employed – not just eye candy. From The Stone Boat (an actual architectural “folly” at Portmeiron, Wales which serves as the televisual Village) that symbolically illustrates that escape is “folly,” to the escapist art that No. 6 craftily constructs in a futile yet cunning plan to escape, to a “toy” dinghy, to an impressive and enormous rocket, The Prisoner knows no bounds, but freedom itself.
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This review is © 2003-2019 Greg ‘Logan’ M.
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