Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Whole Damn Thing--THE PRISONER--Episode 12

Episode 12--"A Change of Mind"

"Reject this false world of No. 2 . . .REJECT IT--NOW!!"

As I said last time, the Village's mail goal is to crush everyone into the same shape and render people less individual human beings and just one in a series of identical units being stamped out on an assembly line, metaphorically speaking. No episode demonstrates this quite as blatantly as "A Change of Mind."

Antisocial persons in the Village now live under threat of being considered "disharmonious," their behavior not in keeping with the desires of the community, who would like everyone to get along and play nice, but not necessarily for their sake. It's just another means of control, only this time it's the actual Villager's doing the dirty work. Naturally it's all in the name of the disharmonious person's "own good," of course, and so one is subjected to various group therapies and judgments in the name of bringing one around.

Disharmonious types who continue to play the rebel get branded "unmutual," which basically means they completely ostracize you and, should that fail, you get dragged off to the Hospital for Total Social Conversion, which in the best tradition of Village Mad Science means you immediately become a more social person . . .mostly because they blast the aggressive centres of your brain out with a funky laser beam, lobotomizing you in all but fact.

No. 6, being the grumpy antisocial asshole that he is, naturally gets embroiled in all this. He's saved from the lobotomy bit by the edict that he musn't be damaged, and so an attempt is made to simulate the effects of the Total Social Conversion (not to be confused with the Total Perspective Vortex, of course) Naturally, this doesn't work on No. 6 for very long, but the sight of him turning the tables is rather satisfying this time out, and so I won't spoil it.

This is actually a pretty effective episode, all told, because apart from a few things (like the rubbish laser beam thingy) it feels all too . . .real, somehow. Some of the techniques used to "treat" those poor souls who may not want to be hyper-socialised are taken from real life, if amped up slightly to become even more obviously sinister than they would appear otherwise. Never mind the fact that the whole "making people behave by the means of extreme peer pressure" probably feels eerily familiar to anyone who survived high school . . .

Anyways, it's a great episode and you should totally watch it, unlike the next episode. In fact, I seriously considered skipping it since, it's pretty awful and inessential, even moreso than "It's Your Funeral." Join us for an episode so enervating that even No. 6 could bother to show up for it.

Next Episode--"Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling."

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