I always thought that at the end after he’s been back to his flat he then leaves it and gets in his car. When he drives away what we’re seeing is the opening sequence, meaning that his escaping the village is what got him in there in the first place.
The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end, one big circle type thing.
The best way to understand the ending is: it’s what Patrick McGoohan pasted together at the last minute to fulfill his contractual agreement. If I remember right, he wrote the entire script of the last episode within a 48-hour period. There isn’t necessarily a whole lot of thought behind it.
But if we insist on looking for meaning here, certainly some people have offered an interpretation like yours. Or then again perhaps it means…
[li]He has escaped the Village, for now, but the threat remains that he’ll be imprisoned again.[/li][li]He’s escaped and returned to London, but really London (or the wider world in general) is just as much a prison as the one he left.[/li][li]He’s leaving London and finally going on that vacation he was planning before all the trouble started.[/li][/ul]
Who knows what’s really going on. Questions are a burden to others. Answers a prison for oneself.
Loved the fact that every episode told us who #1 really was. When The Prisoner (aka Number 6) asked, “Who is Number 1?” we all thought Number 2 said, “You are Number Six,” when he/she was really saying, “You are, Number Six.”
RE: the OP, the end with McGoohan driving away is not the exact same as the opening–different car, iirc.
I wonder if I asked my computer “Why?” would it explode…