Revisiting The Prisoner, part 10: Where Hammer meets Anvil
In celebration of AMC’s re-imagined The Prisoner and of the recent blu-ray release, I’m re-watching all 17 classic episodes. Join me, won’t you?
“Hammer Into Anvil”
Another great episode, with (not surprisingly) a New Number Two, who starts the episode by forcing a female prisoner into suicide (he was going to read her sections from the Twilight novels to make to conform, apparently). McGoohan does not take kindly to this and decides he is going to take his revenge upon this new harsh Number Two.
The way he does it is brilliant – he decides to play on Number Two’s paranoia, by pretending to be a double-agent who is investigating the management of the Village. Knowing he is being watched, he listens to multiple copies of the same record to get a “secret message”, he leaves messages and calls other Villagers… he even buys a coo-coo clock which Number Two thinks is a bomb.
In the end, McGoohan confronts Number Two and makes him resign his post – a “failure of command.” It is an absolute victory by McGoohan against his warders, and a very entertaining episode. It is also one of the few victories we see him have in The Village…