Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Prisoner: Dance Of The Dead

'Dance of the Dead' is a strange ‘Prisoner’ episode, a vague amalgam of various themes executed in a fair to middling way, neither a notable success nor a flop. It has good bits, and weird bits (the radio broadcast; the trial), and a great new Number Two (played by frail but feisty veteran actress Mary Morris), but it doesn’t hang together particularly well and, as such, is nowhere as memorable as other episodes.

When I tried to recall the plot of this one, for instance, I came up with three basic elements: something about a trial, Number Two in a Peter Pan costume and Roland Walter Dutton. I don’t know why I should remember an incidental character’s full name other than everyone keeps saying it all the time. It’s even written down at one point. Brains are funny things, aren’t they? Well, when they’re on your side, that is. There’s nothing funny about your brain turning against you, believe me.

When I re-watched the episode, I was additionally struck by the attempt to present more composed, ‘artistic’ shots, by how very cool Ms. Morris is, and, on a Ms. Morris coolness related note, the final scene in which Number Six says to Number Two ‘I’ll never give in’. The not particularly bothered Number Two smiles and says ‘then how very uncomfortable for you, old chap’. A killer line, and a very perceptive analysis of the situation. Just for a second, I’ll bet Six felt like a right chump.

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