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The Prisoner

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Prisoner: Departure The Prisoner
The Prisoner Book d
Story by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith
Illustrated by Dean Motter
Colored by David Hornung and Richmond Lewis


The final fate of the Village!


Read the summary of the mini-series at Wikipedia


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue


Thomas Drake

Meagan Drake

Director of Operations Ross

Martin Lake (deceased, mentioned only)

Colonel J


Katie Clark (mentioned only)

The Clarks (Katie's parents, mentioned only)



Miss Sherk (possibly the same secretary called Barb in "Confrontation")

Mrs. Butterworth

Alice Drake





Lee West

Number 2

The new Colonel 


Didja Know?


This study is of the fourth issue of the 4-issue mini-series titled simply The Prisoner published by DC Comics in1988-89, based on the 1967 TV series. The trade paperback compilation was titled The Prisoner: Shattered Visage.


The individual issues of the mini-series are labeled books a-d (rather than the typical numbering convention). This may be a nod to the episode titled "A. B. and C.".


The title of this concluding(?) chapter of The Prisoner, "Departure", is simply the opposite of the TV series' opening chapter, "Arrival".




Didja Notice?


On page 4, Director of Operations Ross comments that he believes several recent incidents to be linked, including the death of President Zia and the "Vincennes error". President Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan was killed along with a number of his top military officials and two American diplomats in a plane crash under mysterious circumstances in 1988. The "Vincennes error" is likely a reference to the U.S. Navy cruiser U.S.S. Vincennes, which (again in 1988) erroneously identified an Iranian civilian passenger jet as an Iranian Air Force F14 Tomcat fighter making an attack run against them and destroying it, killing all 290 passengers and crew on board.


Page 12 reveals that Mrs. Butterworth's first name is Georgina.


On page 13, it appears the back cover of The Village Idiot is a photo of Number 2 sitting in the spheroid chair behind the crescent desk in Number 2's office in the Village.


Mrs. Butterworth is apparently killed on page 15. 


On page 17, Ross seems to refer to the bell tower in the Village as Telford Tower. In the real world village of Portmeirion, where the Village exteriors were shot for the original TV series, there is a Telford's Tower, but it is not the bell tower (which is known simply as the Bell Tower or the Campanile).
Bell Tower Telford's Tower
Bell Tower in Portmeirion (from Ragged Robin's Nature Notes) Telford's Tower  in Portmeirion


The shot of Number 2 in a hat on page 17 is based on his appearance at the end of "Fall Out", but with a beard added (he had only a mustache in the episode).


On page 20, Lee uses the codename Chicken Little and the code phrase "The sky is falling," to indicate to his operations team that the Village is under siege. "Chicken Little" is a character in the folk tale of the same name, a baby chicken who believes the world is coming to an end when an acorn drops on his head, prompting him to run around yelling, "The sky is falling!"


On page 22, Thomas and Lee's team enter a tunnel under Number 2's office that is the same one lined with jukeboxes and which ends at a large metal door with a sign reading "Well Come" seen in "Fall Out". A Tomblin jukebox is seen in panel 4; this is a fictitious company, likely named for producer, writer, and director David Tomblin, a prominent member of the production of the TV series.


On pages 23-24, Number 2 quotes from several of Number 6's speeches from throughout the TV series.


Page 27 reveals that several nuclear missiles are hidden below the Village. The implication is that the missile/rocket that launched at the end of "Fall Out" was a nuclear missile also.


On page 28, as Lee is explaining to Thomas what lies below the Village, he remarks, "You've got to brush away all that rococo crap and expose the truth!" Much of the architectural design of the buildings of the Village would be considered rococo.


On page 29, Lee remarks that one of the Village missiles can deliver "one helluva pop!" "Pop" may be a reference to "Pop Goes the Weasel" (music from the song is heard in several episodes and the song was mentioned in "Confrontation"), Number 6 saying "Pop. Pop. Pop," over and over during the grueling psychological battle between he and Number 2 in "Once Upon a Time", and\or the word "POP" that fills the screen in white letters on a red background at the end of the original, unused, edit of "Arrival".


On page 30, Lee tells Thomas to "amscray". "Amscray" is Pig Latin for "scram". Pig Latin is a simplistic way of modifying English words to hide their meaning from those who aren't familiar with the modification rules.


On page 33, notice that Number 2 skips the number "six" in his countdown of the missile launch. In "Once Upon a Time", Number 6 himself also refused to say "six" when Number 2 was trying to get him to do so during their psychological duel.


On page 35, the Village is seemingly destroyed when the rumbling of the missile engines triggers the explosives on seismographic switches left in the scarecrows by Number 6.


In the bottom panel of page 35, notice that Alice's trimaran is seen out on the ocean as the Village goes up in flames, with the water wheel from the Village now rigged to the boat to aid in propulsion as a paddle wheel.


On page 36, one of Ross's agents lists several U.S. intelligence agencies: FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), NSC (National Security Council), NSA (National Security Agency).


On page 40, after having been forced to resign, Ross is gassed in his own home and taken away, by two men dressed as undertakers, inside a casket via a hearse, very similar to what happened to Number 6 in "Arrival".


On page 42, Alice says "Au revoir" to Number 6. This is French for "goodbye" or "until we meet again". She is essentially saying, "Be seeing you."


On the double-page spread of pages 44-45 is what appears to be an updated, modern version of Number 2's office, complete with a crescent electronic desk with spheroid chair and giant observation screens on the wall. We don't see who, if anyone, is sitting in the chair. The screens are observing locations in the London area, plus portions of the Village. But wasn't the Village destroyed? Possibly, the Village images are old video; but why would it be running now? Notice also that the display of the Stone Boat appears to have a figure on it; who is it?


The very last page of the story is a distance view of the skyline of the Palace of Westminster, home of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, just as the skyline of the Village was seen on the last pages of the three previous chapters of the mini-series, suggesting that this new office may be intended to spy on government instead of the government spying on the people as in the Village.

Unanswered Questions

Why does Lee West wear a shirt or sweater with the numeral "5" on it throughout the mini-series? Is he Number 5 in the Village hierarchy? In I Am Not a Number!, Number 2 makes mention of several Village residents, 3-13, but saying nothing of 5. In fact, no one is called Number 5 throughout The Prisoner series. Is there something special about Number 5?

What happened to Ross after his kidnapping? Has he been taken to some new kind of Village?

What are Number 6's secrets? At the end, he says to Alice only that he knows they are safe because "None of us would be here if they weren't."

Where does Number 6 go from here? Is he a free agent now as he seems to be? Was he an Archangel working for the Gods all along?

Is there any significance, other than name recognition to Patrick McGoohan's fans, to Thomas and his family having the name "Drake"? (In McGoohan's previous TV series, Danger Man, he played secret agent John Drake, whom many Prisoner fans think is the actual identity of Number 6; the novels Number Two and A Day in the Life also refer to Number 6 as John Drake.)

Who are the Archangels? Who are the Gods?

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