Revisiting The Prisoner, part 7: Wherein McGoohan finds that you can’t go home again

In anticipation of the re-imagined The Prisoner, coming to AMC November 15th, and in celebration of the new blu-ray release, I’m re-watching all 17 classic episodes. Join me, won’t you?

“Many Happy Returns”

McGoohan wakes up in a Village that is completely deserted, and so he quickly makes plans to escape, constructing a raft and setting off for sea. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, it’s not, of course… McGoohan’s escape boat is captured and looted by another boat’s captain and crewmate while he sleeps, and the obligatory fight scene between the three men soon follows.

When McGoohan finally makes it back to civilization, he ends up within walking distance of his old home, which he finds is now under new ownership… by a woman who also now owns his old car (which he built “with his own hands”). Her name is Mrs. Butterworth, and she is not who she seems to be – she also makes a GREAT syrup.

I won’t detail any more of the plot, cause I particularly like how this one ends up… but, needless to say, our hero does not truly escape in the end. Duh, there’s still ten more episodes to go…

One of my favorite parts of this episode is that the first act (and most of the second) is without any dialogue and the tale is all told visually, with fantastic acting work by McGoohan and some great cinematography and editing. On the new bluray set that was just released this episode is especially beautiful – a real feast for the eyes.

A great episode, start to finish. And the next one is one of the “7 episodes that matter” – that is, according to a Mr. Patrick McGoohan…

Here’s Prisoner-in-a-minute: