Welcome to my viewing diary for The Prisoner. Every Wednesday I will review another episode. This is my first watch-through of the 1967 British cult TV show so there will be NO spoilers for upcoming episodes. But I will be watching the series in this order so if you are watching along with me, keep that in mind.
Week by week, it's amusing to look back on where I thought future episodes might go. I certainly didn't expect "Many Happy Returns" to call the bluff of "The Chimes of Big Ben" or "A, B, and C" by all-out allowing Number Six to escape, allowing him to get all the way to London (!), and even to explain the Village to his superiors and launch an investigation into its whereabouts (!!). And this being a middle episode of The Prisoner (a category that I guess describes everything from 2 to 15), naturally that investigation leads right back to him being stranded on the island again - and we do at least learn this time that the Village is on an island. This is a great episode, maybe my favorite of the series so far. Not only is its narrative conceit bold - hilariously bold, even - it also has the courage to tell nearly half of its story without a single word of dialogue. It's sixteen minutes before we hear any speech at all. Twenty-two minutes in, Six speaks his first line of dialogue ("Where is this?"). Twenty-eight minutes through the episode (more than halfway) Six finally speaks to another person who understands him. As a result, we get pure visual storytelling for a substantial chunk of the episode; it's another feather in The Prisoner's cap as it finds new ways to expand on and play with its concept episode by episode.