The Prisoner: last episode question

I know, the psychedelic babble that is “Fallout” defies easy answers, but I was hoping this might be fairly straightforward: when the rocket launch incinerates the Rover, it is to the tune of "“I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)” sung by Carmen Miranda. Is this an allusion to anything?

Probably not. Like much of the episode, it’s going for the incongruous.

I have a friend who was a big fan of Danger Man/secret Agent, but who had never seen The Prisoner until I gave him copies of the tapes. He formulated the idea that the entire series takes place in the mind of John Drake. He’d been ordered to do something that conflicted with his personal ethos and he coped by going mad, with the result being the internal adventures that make up the series The Prisoner. It explains the ludicrous extravagance and expense of The Village, and how “They” know so much about him, and how such things as “Rover” can exist, and reconciles the inconsistencies (such as the location of The Village, which seems to be in at least three distinct places in the course of the series). His gaining gradual control shows him coming to terms with his conflict (some people maintain that the “traditional” order of the shows isn’t really correct, and a proper ordering would show The Prisoner being more and more in control, but even in the as-broadcast order, this is roughly true), until the last two episodes, where he faces off one-on-one with the Leo McKern #2, goes on trial, and finally “escapes” in such a ridiculously easy fashion and finds that #1 is…himself (like the heroes in many pieces of fiction who confront their accuser to find that it’s them).
Admittedly, it’s never stated that The Prisoner is Drake (although at least one Prisoner novelization takes this for granted), but it all does hang together. Especially if you like a consistent and comprehensible story line. I suspect that, were McGoohan alive, he would say that it was certainly a way to look at it, but he wouldn’t acknowledge that it was “the truth”. For McGoohan, The Prisoner was a series that explored Freedom and Personal Responsibility and the way people behave under restrictions, and that it didn’t bother him if things were fantastic or inconsistent or even incomprehensible, and that by trying to make it all somehow rational we are missing the point.

As for the OP’s question, I have to admit that, although I’ve watched this a num,ber of times, I don’t recall those details. Nothing symbolic or significant comes to mind, except perhaps the exultation of finally seeing that damned balloon destroyed being manifest in that music.

It’s easier to just pretend that the final episode doesn’t exist.
Be seeing you.

CalMeacham, your post gave me a rather chilling idea: in the opening credits we see a man dressed in traditional British undertaker garb approaching the door, and then gas coming into the room. Maybe it wasn’t knockout gas- maybe it was poison gas! Maybe “resigned” is a euphemism for terminated; the agency Drake worked for didn’t allow people to quit. Maybe the entire Village is a purgatory in the afterlife.

I think Cal Meacham is pretty much on point but this is also correct - it was never intended to be coherent, with every little thing being intensely symbolic. I remember reading that the brief scene in the room with the coathangers the script called for about six songs to be playing simultaneously but the result was so cacophanous that they just used one of the six, which happened to be “All You Need Is Love”.

Some of the stuff is deliberately symbolic but a lot of it is thrown in for an aggregate chaotic effect. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Just enjoy.

Or he’s been Owlcreeked. But both of those would be disappointing explanations.

(Incidentally, once he stops mucking about with The Avengers I’d love to see Joss Whedon’s take on a proper sequel to the original series (and NOT another stupid reboot/remake). If anyone could tease something coherent out of that, he could.)

I watched the entire Danger Man series, and Drake got screwed over time and time again by his bosses. It makes the question of why he resigned even more absurd, since he had tons of reasons to, obvious ones.
I’m not sure I buy him going mad, though it is pretty clear that Number 6 is Number 1. We know they have ways of messing with his mind, which can explain the inconsistencies in the location of the village. And he might have cracked in the penultimate episode. But he did escape, and I think that the final episode does not have the prison bars blocking his escaping face, unlike the others.

The Prisoner Companion makes it clear that if McGoohan ever acknowledged that Number 6 was Drake he’s have to pay royalties to the creator of Danger Man. But he clearly is. Drake even has some of the mannerisms of Number 6.

When I first watched the series, I thought that it might have been a suicide metaphor. He hadn’t just quit his job…but had out-and-out quit life.

Today, I don’t think so…

I was also convinced, watching it the first time, that the Butler was actually Number One.

No…that doesn’t work either…

I’m afraid BMalion has the best idea: quietly ignore the last episode, or merely enjoy it for the random kaleidoscope of ideas it is, but don’t try to make sense of it.

The fact that Kenneth Griffith, as The President, had to write much of his own dialogue is only one indication of how much of a balls-up the production was. I think McGoohan had no idea how to close the story, and just punted.

That said…those few primal seconds, when he tears away the mask… Haunting. Brilliant. The height of abstract surrealism. If there is any meaning in the entire series, that is it.

We imprison ourselves.

“La Ita Tzon-a.”

And he bears a striking resemblance to him, too. :smiley:

“Weird for the sake of weird.”

  • Moe Szyslak

I watched the whole series over a single weekend years ago. Afterward I went out shopping, and the lady working the register at a candy shop said this to me as I was leaving. Freaked me the fuck out.

“Shut up! That’s why!”

Patrick McGoohan interview. He didn’t want to shoot 17 episodes, planned originally for only seven.

And he seems to get offended when the interviewer asks him to explain what the heck the show was about. He comes off as a kind of a troll, really.

If you’ve ever seen the last few episodes of Danger Man, you’ll know why Drake resigned. They are in color, feature Drake fighting a secret organization of evil, armed with all the kinds of gadgets never used in the b&w episodes. It was trying to do James Bond really, really badly.
IIRC from the Prisoner book, McGoohan quit.
The Village was paradise compared to those shows.

I don’t think so (either). I think it just fit in with the way you see Rover “jiggling” right before it disappears for good.

Then again, questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.

ftw :smiley:

This is one of those subjects on which even the Perfect Master couldn’t come to a definite conclusion, so why should we mere mortals think we can?

(I saw the series during its initial run, and about halfway through I gave up trying to make sense of it all and just went along for the ride.)