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The Prisoner

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine (Part 3) The Prisoner
"The Uncertainty Machine" Part 3
The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine #3
Titan Comics
Writer: Peter Milligan
Original plot: David Leach
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover: Colin Lorimer
July 2018


Agent Breen suffers through a series of virtual realities.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue


Agent Breen (Number 6)

Number 2 (dies in this issue)

Agent Carey (Number 9)

Section (aka Number 23)

Dr. Sigmund Freud (in VR simulation only)


Number 4


zombie ward inmates

Number 1 (mentioned only) 


Didja Know?


The Titan Comics version of The Prisoner is a comic book mini-series reimagining of the classic 1967 TV series of the same name.


Didja Notice?


As the issue opens, we learn that Breen's escape and subsequent suicide at the end of "The Uncertainty Machine" Part 2 was all a trick inside a virtual reality simulation Number 2 had subjected him to. Breen had shot himself in the head at the end of "The Uncertainty Machine" Part 2 because he came to realize what was happening. Breen wakes up in a VR chair here and Number 2 asks him what gave it away to which Breen unselfishly responds that the star patterns hadn't changed at all with the hours and the cheese and pickle sandwich he ate had no taste. Gee, thanks, Breen, for letting Number 2 know what he needs to fix next time! I suppose he could be under the effect of drugs that make him tell the truth (though he still is able to withhold the information about Pandora that Number 2 really wants).


Breen soon finds himself in a VR simulation of Bergasse 19, Vienna for psychoanalysis. This was the address of Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the father of psychoanalysis, where he did most of his writing until forced to flee Austria to London in 1938 due to his Jewish ancestry in what had become the Nazi controlled nation. The site is now the home of the Sigmund Freud Museum. The virtual doctor Breen meets there is a simulation of Dr. Freud.


"Dr. Freud" tells Breen he is suffering from hysterical epilepsy caused by repressed childhood memories of loss and guilt coupled with a "morbid need to keep secrets". "Hysterical epilepsy" is generally considered another term for an "hysterical seizure" or "psychogenic non-epileptic seizure". The good doctor's analysis of Breen's "morbid need to keep secrets" is, of course, a dig at his refusal to give up the information about Pandora.


On page 11, Number 2 erroneously refers to the Village doctor as Number 4.


On page 14, Breen refers to the psych ward at the Village as a cuckoo's nest. This is a reference to the 1962 novel and 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, about a convicted felon who feigns insanity in order to serve out his sentence in a psychiatric hospital rather than in prison.


On pages 17-18, Rover absorbs the guard whom Breen has forced to swallow his tracker and seemingly dissolves the man down to his bones.



Breen follows Rover down into the sea and into its cavern ingress and finds a multitude of Rovers embedded in the ceiling, what he speculates is a birthing chamber for Rovers.


On page 20, a Village worker reports to another on a cell phone that the commedia dell'arte have food poisoning and they'll need a new Harlequin and Pierrot for the night's performance. Commedia dell'arte is Italian for "comedy of the profession", an improvisational theater form that originated in Italy in the 16th Century. Harlequin and Pierrot are characters that tended to appear in commedia dell'arte performances, Harlequin a light-hearted, nimble servant of the master and Pierrot a sad clown.


Agent Carey becomes the new Number 2 at the end of this issue.

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