Free for All (The Prisoner)

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"Free For All"
The Prisoner episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 4
Directed by Patrick McGoohan[1]
Written by Patrick McGoohan[2]
Cinematography by Brendan J. Stafford[1]
Production code 2
Original air date 20 October 1967
Guest actors

Number Two - Eric Portman
Number Fifty-Eight - Rachel Herbert[1]

Episode chronology
← Previous
"A. B. and C."
Next →
"The Schizoid Man"
List of The Prisoner episodes

"Free For All" is a television episode of the British science fiction-allegorical series, The Prisoner. It originally aired in the UK on ITV on 20 October 1967. This episode was filmed second, and was titled "Episode Two". It is usually broadcast fourth, but is located second in The Prisoner DVD Megaset.

The central theme of the episode is the hypocrisy and vacuity of the democratic election process.

Plot summary[edit]

Number 6 is persuaded to run for election to the post of Number 2 when it is suggested to him by the new incumbent that, should he win, he will finally meet Number 1. Number 58, a newly arrived young woman who speaks only an unidentified Slavic-sounding foreign language is assigned to Number 6 as his assistant. Both men campaign for the office, with Number 6 subversively offering freedom if he is elected. Number 6 participates ambivalently, but abruptly makes a break for freedom himself in the midst of the campaign by escaping in a motorboat. He is retrieved on the water by Rover while he robotically mouths campaign platitudes. Number 6 and Number 2 drink and commiserate in a cave where illegal liquor is distilled and Number 2 confesses that he detests The Village. ("To hell with the Village!") Number 6 is again repeatedly drugged[3] and coerced into accepting the campaign, and wins the election when virtually all the robotic "citizens" vote for him. As he and Number 58 go to the Dome to take command of the Village, she agitates him by playing with the buttons on the control panel before brutally slapping him and stunning him with bright lighting. As Number 6 becomes somewhat more lucid and attempts to broadcast to the Villagers that they are free to go, he is beaten by a group of mechanics in coveralls, and Number 58, now speaking perfect English, reveals herself as the real incoming Number 2, while the previous Number 2 prepares to head out. She asks her departing predecessor to give her regards to "the homeland".

Additional guest cast[edit]

Continuity[edit]

  • The photograph of Number 6 on his election poster is the same as that used for his former role as a spy and is seen being filed away at the beginning of each episode. It was also, at the time, actor Patrick McGoohan's official publicity picture.
  • In Number Six's record it is stated that he has given up sugar for medical reasons. However, in the The Chimes of Big Ben, Number Two does not know how many sugars Number Six takes in his tea. Six then takes three cubes in his tea.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k episode credits
  2. ^ using pseudonym Paddy Fitz on the episode credits
  3. ^ Kents Notes on The Prisoner Kent A. Meyer

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]