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The Prisoner

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Prisoner: Arrival The Prisoner
TV Episode
Written by Bill Gallagher
Directed by Nick Hurran
Original U.S. air date: November 15, 2009


A man mysteriously finds himself in a place the inhabitants refer to only as "the Village".


Read the summary of this episode at IMDB


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


6 (Michael)



832 (photo)







508 (mentioned only)

33 (mentioned only)

29 (mentioned only)


458 (mentioned only)


M2 (2's wife)

21-16 (147's wife)



Didja Know?


The 2009 version of The Prisoner is a reimagining of the classic 1967 TV series of the same name.


This episode gets its title from the first episode of the original series, "Arrival".


An 8-page promotional comic book featuring a few scenes from this episode was published by Marvel Comics and available only at San Diego Comic-Con 2009.




Didja Notice?


As the episode opens, a shot of a computer display is seen for only a split second. If you freeze-frame it, a date of August 15, 2006 can be seen in the upper right corner, which may suggest the date this episode opens (even though it was filmed and aired in 2009).

computer screen


The old man being chased through the desert when 6 wakes up there is wearing an outfit very similar to that worn by Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan) in episodes of the original 1967 series of The Prisoner. Occasional other Villagers are seen wearing a similar outfit throughout the series. The old man dies, but is later revealed to have been 93. He has a similar look to the character of Number 93 who confessed to disharmony in the original 1967 series of The Prisoner episode "A Change of Mind".
Number 6 93 Number 93
Number 6 93 from this episode Number 93 from "A Change of Mind" (screen shot from David Stimpson Blog - Prisonerologist)


Many (not all) of the flashback images seen as 6 treks through the desert towards the Village harken back the "resignation" scenes of Number 6 in the original 1967 series of The Prisoner, seen in its first episode (also called "Arrival") and in the opening credits of most of its episodes (a shot of tall office buildings; a scene of our unnamed hero driving into a parking garage; our hero passing through "Way Out" doors; our hero resigns from his job).


At 4:47 on the DVD, we see in 6's flashback him placing a passcard into a reader slot to drive into a Summakor parking garage. We will later learn that 6 worked for company called Summakor in the "real world". "Summakor" doesn't seem to be an actual word in itself, but may be a portmanteau of the Latin word summa ("highest") with the Hebrew word kor ("body") to form a new word meaning "highest body", which makes a certain amount of sense by the time we learn the final revelations of the mini-series; we might even interpret it as meaning "Number 1".


At 4:48 on the DVD, a computer screen flashback reads "NUMBER_1" at the top, as well as "SUBJECT: YAN MILES, D.O.B. 1971, BORN: LONDON, ENGLAND". Yan Miles was an editor on the series; he is also in the audio commentaries of the episodes on the DVD set. London is the capital city of England.


At 4:51 on the DVD, Michael's car is a 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. The New York license plate on 6's car in the flashback is AWQ-2538. This same license also appears later in the TV series Person of Interest, also starring Jim Caviezel!


Notice that the stylized "O" in the title card "THE PRISONER" has the number "6" hidden within it.

Prisoner title card


At 5:58, 6 gets a ride in the taxicab of 147. 147 tells him he only serves local destinations; the taxi driver in the "Arrival" episode of the original 1967 series of The Prisoner said the same thing.


The automobiles in the Village all have their steering wheels on the right, as in Great Britain.


147's daughter is 832.


6 befriends a waitress called 554 at the Solar Cafe after 93 tells him to deliver a message to her.


At 9:08 on the DVD, 898 tells 6 where to find 554.


At 11:25 on the DVD, notice that the building 6 is in appears to be called UOIOU. This could be pronounced as each individual letter, U-O-I-O-U, or "you owe I owe you"---in Village communal parlance, it might suggest, "You owe I, I owe you."



At 11:48 on the DVD, notice that 2 is tossing a grenade up and down in his hand as if it were a ball.


At 12:21 on the DVD, the blurred, "double exposure" image of 2 in 6's sight causes the illusion of a third eye in the middle of 2's forehead. The third eye is a term used to describe the intuition or clairvoyance of certain people who seem to know things about others without being told, or of knowing the future; in many traditions, it is said to be located in the middle of the forehead.


6's doctor in the hospital is 313.


When brought into 2's office to meet him, 6 pounds his fist on the desk, jostling a teacup and saucer, just as Number 6 did when he resigned from his job in the original series at the beginning of "Arrival".


At 16:41 on the DVD, notice that 6's sweater has a very small "6" sewn into the left breast.


Notice that the beer bottles in 6's refrigerator are Village Beer.


6 goes to the Village Store and asks for the biggest map they have. In the "Arrival" episode of the original 1967 series of The Prisoner, Number 6 did the same.


At 20:09 on the DVD, 147 is leaning against the taxicab of 508. 508's taxi is seen again briefly in "Harmony".


During 6's flashback at 21:50 on the DVD, notice that his diner number at the cafe is "2".


At 26:34 on the DVD, a Piaggio Vespa is seen in the background in the Village. (6 also briefly rides one in one in one of the deleted scenes on the DVD.)


Near 6's apartment are the apartments of 33 and 29.


The apartment of 93 is somewhat similar to that of Number 6 in the original 1967 series of The Prisoner, including a lava lamp seen at 27:31 on the DVD.


A bottle of wine seen at 27:45 on the DVD is called Village White.


2 suggests to 6 that perhaps 93 was seeking a portal that leads to Never Never Land. Never Never Land is a concept from the stories of Peter Pan created by J.M. Barrie in 1904, a land found in the minds of children, each child's vision different from the next.


The drawing that 6 finds in 93's apartment is of Big Ben.
Big Ben sketch Big Ben
Big Ben sketch Big Ben (photo from Wikipedia, by Diliff)


At the Clinic, notice that 147 and his wife are apparently scheduled to meet 2 at 2:00.


When 2 is presenting the medallion to 147, he asks him what he made of "Number 6"...not just "6".


The sketch 554 gives 6 of the image in her dreams is of the Statue of Liberty.


The boy with 2 is 11-12, revealed to be 2's son.


At 36:38 on the DVD, the gravestone of 458 is seen.


As they lay in the dirt looking up at the night sky, 313 corrects 6's guess of a hundred billion stars in the galaxy, saying it's actually 400 billion. This is roughly the correct number of stars in our Milky Way galaxy by modern estimates.


During his discussion with 313, 6 lists off the names of several historical personalities, all real, but they are unknown to the residents of the Village: Isaac Newton (physicist), Galileo (astronomer), Plato (philosopher), Socrates (philosopher), Karl Marx (sociologist), Groucho Marx (comedian), Darwin (naturalist), Kennedy (U.S. president), Bob Dylan (musician), David Beckham (professional soccer player). He also mentions Alexander Graham Bell as inventor of the telephone and Joseph Swan as inventor of the light bulb (pointing out it was not Thomas Edison as most people believe). This is all true. 313's life in the Village tells her that the light bulb was invented by 512.


At 39:59 on the DVD, we see in the flashback that 6 met Lucy on Madison Avenue in New York City. This is an actual street in New York City.


As 6 is about to enter the Solar Cafe at 42:51 on the DVD, he hears what seems to be an errant broadcast over the radio listened to by an old man playing solitaire at an outdoor table. The voice in the broadcast talks about gridlock on the GW and the Jersey after some kind of gas explosion in the heart of Brooklyn. Brooklyn is one of the major boroughs of New York City. "GW" and "Jersey" are references to the George Washington Bridge and the New Jersey Turnpike in the area.


As 6 lies stunned in the aftermath of the explosion at the Solar Cafe, notice that glimpses of 554 appear in his flashbacks.


Notice that the reflections of clouds can be seen in the glass of the two towers...yet there is not a cloud in the sky! This is said to be an intentional artistic choice in the audio commentary of the episode.


In this version of The Prisoner, Rover is much larger than in the original.


The very last, briefly glimpsed, image of the episode is a computer display reading "File.Sys.554 Closed", indicating that 554 has died.


The ending credits of the episode indicate that 6's real name is Michael, but it's not mentioned in the episode itself (his name is also mentioned in the audio commentary of this episode). Additionally, the woman being cared for by 2 (later revealed to be his wife) is called M2 in the credits.


Notes from the Audio Commentary by Trevor Hopkins (Producer) and Yan Miles (Editor)


Patrick McGoohan was offered the role of 93, but declined.


The series was shot in the desert of the African nation of Namibia, and the Village (with some additional structures built) was filmed in the actual town of Swakopmund, a resort town.


2's palace is actually a hotel in Swakopmund.

Unanswered Questions

What is the meaning of the cherry cake that 2 has 147 and his wife bring when he awards them their medals? He is seen eating it at the end of the episode. According to the audio commentary of the episode, it was merely a red herring!

Memorable Dialog

be seeing you.wav
the Village.wav
I am not 6.wav
there is only the Village.wav
if I open my mind.wav
Village life goes on.wav
perhaps another Village.wav
follow the towers.wav
I am not a number.wav
human beings can be so cruel.wav

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