Free for All (The Prisoner)
|"Free For All"|
|The Prisoner episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Patrick McGoohan|
|Written by||Patrick McGoohan|
|Cinematography by||Brendan J. Stafford|
|Original air date||20 October 1967|
"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.
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 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
- Labour Exchange manager: George Benson
- Reporter: Harold Berens
- Man in cave: John Cazabon
- Photographer: Dene Cooper
- Supervisor: Kenneth Benda
- Waitress: Holly Doone
- 1st Mechanic: Peter Brace
- 2nd Mechanic: Alf Joint
- The Announcer/Telephone Operator: Fenella Fielding (voice only)
- The photograph of Number 6 on his election poster is the same as that used for his former role as a spy that is seen being filed away at the beginning of each episode. It was also, at the time, actor Patrick McGoohan's official publicity picture.
- Number Two's election poster states "Vote No.2", while Number Six's states "Vote for No.6". Number Two's poster is an instruction for the citizens of The Village to vote; Number Six's states who they are to vote for.
- In Number Six's record it is stated that he has given up sugar for medical reasons. However, in "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, although this was an act of defiance as his file said he took no sugar. Additionally, in the pilot episode "Arrival", Number Six states he likes his tea with lemon.
- episode credits
- using pseudonym Paddy Fitz on the episode credits
- Kents Notes on The Prisoner Kent A. Meyer
- Fairclough, Robert (ed.). The Prisoner: The Original Scripts. vol. 1. foreword by Lewis Greifer. Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 978-1-903111-76-5. OCLC 61145235. – script of episode