Jan 27 2012 12:00pm

I Am Not a Number!: The Prisoner

Whenever a story pits an individual against an amorphous authority, it’s bound to be described as Orwellian or Kafkaesque. Seldom, however, does the intelligence of the work in question really merit these designations. The Prisoner is one of the few cases wherein the comparisons are definitely worthy. And for that matter, few shows since could fairly be considered “Prisoneresque.”

In my opinion—and I’m glad to say I’m not alone in this—The Prisoner is one of the finest TV shows of all time. It’s a very high water mark, to which elaborate recent creations such as Lost really don’t measure up (and the remake of The Prisoner I shall stick in a box with Highlander 2, the American version of Life on Mars and a few other Things That Should Not Be).

Refresher Course: Patrick McGoohan, following the massive success of Secret Agent/Danger Man, teamed up with writer, producer and director David Tomblin to create a show in which a prominent spy (possibly John Drake, his character on Danger Man, possibly not) resigns suddenly, is drugged, kidnapped and relocated to a bizarre and idyllic seaside resort called the Village. At the village, he is assigned a number (Six) as are all other citizens, and most episodes revolve around him trying to rebel or escape, while the chief administrator, Number Two, tries to break his will and get Six to give up the details about why he resigned. Named and/or recurrent characters are very few. Number Two changes in almost every episode, and subsequent Number Twos feel simultaneously familiar and foreign, individual in approach yet consistent with the others in intent and information. INFORMATION! INFORMATION! Pardon me. Residents of the Village live under constant surveillance. They are either prisoners or guards, but seldom is it clear which is which.

I love, love, love the dialogue on this show, especially the maddening vagueness and circular reasoning of the villagers. Conversations in the Village seem pleasant enough, but rarely give away anything definite.

An excellent example, here:

Cab Driver: Where to, sir? Ou desierez-vouz allez?

Six: Take me to the nearest town.

Cab Driver: Oh, we’re only the local service.

Six: Take me as far as you can. Why did you speak to me in French?

Cab Driver: French is international.

Six: I suppose it’s a waste of time asking the name of this place.

Cab Driver: As a matter of fact, I thought you might be Polish perhaps, or Czech.

Six: What would Poles or Czechs be doing here?

Cab Driver: It’s very cosmopolitan. You never know who you’ll meet next.

I should take a moment here to praise Patrick McGoohan himself, without whom The Prisoner would never have happened. Actor, director and (later two-time Emmy winning) screenwriter, McGoohan perfectly mixed charm, intelligence, defiance and more than a little manic energy into Six. He was offered, and turned down, the roles of James Bond and Simon Templar, and though he would have been excellent in either, I can’t say that Sean Connery or Roger Moore could have played Number Six. Connery was sexier and Moore was more suave, but neither could approach McGoohan in intensity.

The Village itself is either in Lithuania or Morocco or outside London or none of these places or all. The actual exterior shots are of Hotel Portmeirion in Wales. One of the coolest and most peculiar details of Village life is Rover, the massive, asphyxiating balloon used as a police force. Rover is in some ways like a Dalek; it’s terrifying because it’s so far removed from humanity. Rover reminds me of what Jean Sheppard in A Christmas Story refers to as “mysterious and inexorable official justice.”

There are, I think, a few basic story types in The Prisoner. One is a Village-centered social commentary. Well, the whole show was social commentary, but it figured more heavily in some episodes than in others. I’m talking about episodes such as “Checkmate,” “It’s Your Funeral” and “Free For All.” The second type is a little more surreal, focusing on some gadget or technique to alter Six’s consciousness and sense of self. This category would include “The Schizoid Man,” “The General” and “Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling.” The third type, especially present toward the end of the series, is all-out bugfuck crazy-sauce episodes.

The Best and the Worst: One of The Prisoner’s great strengths is its ability to balance situational absurdity and emotional authenticity. Feeling legit while looking impossible, in other words. The really out-there episodes risk falling off this balance. In the case of “Living In Harmony,” the imbalance results in one of the series’ most creative efforts. This episode, for the most part, recreates “Arrival,” the pilot, as a western. It transfers from one time to another beautifully, in the manner of The Seven Samurai into The Magnificent Seven. Contrast this to “The Girl Who Was Death,” arguably the series’ weakest episode. It’s fun, what with the Rube Goldberg Machine of Constant Peril setup, but feels more like the kitschy kookiness of an episode of Batman than The Prisoner.

All of which brings me to “Fall Out,” the series finale. I have heard that McGoohan wrote it 48 hours before shooting began. “Fall Out” combines the three types of stories I mentioned, adds a sort of cultish senate, and mixes in a fair amount of LSD. If you take it literally, wanting a rational explanation for what transpires, you will hate this episode. It will feel like a betrayal of the whole series, en par with the endings of Battlestar Galactica and Lost, but weirder than both, combined. It only works if you take it as an artistic restating of the themes of the show. Not that it is about espionage or physical prisons, but that this is a story juxtaposing the struggle for self-definition in the face of impersonal social orders and bureaucracy. It’s about identity, which seems so fragile, but is capable of surmounting incredible adversity, compared to hegemony, which seems monolithic and powerful but is in fact made of weak components.

The last few episodes are not coherent and plausible storytelling; they’re abstract. And that will please or infuriate the viewer depending on whether they like their stories to end without ambiguity, or if they prefer an armchair psychoanalytical approach. If you favor the latter, you might find the penultimate episode, “Once Upon a Time,” to be Freudian as a motherfucker (pardon the expression) and “Fall Out” feels as though Jacques Lacan co-wrote it. I think either reaction to the finale—love or hate—is reasonable. It’s tough not to feel a little cheated if you expect the riddles to be answered.

Speaking of riddles, who do you think Number Six really was? Why did he resign? Where was the Village? Prisoner fans pore over the clues and debate the details with ferocity sometimes equal to Sherlockians or Ripperologists. What are your thoughts?

Be seeing you.

Jason Henninger is not a number. He is a free man.

John Seven
1. John Seven
He was Number One, who - like a king pretending to be a peasant - pretends to be a villager in order to test the Village - specifically Number 2s, who continually fail at what he throws them.
John Seven
2. chordam7
One other brilliant piece of insanity is that The Prisoner was, I think, the summer replacement for the popular and highly-mainstream Jackie Gleason show. As a little kid, I turned on the TV, expected some comedy sketches and the June Taylor Dancers, and was plunged into a land of bug-nut crazy. That could explain a lot....
John Seven
3. a1ay
1: Ah, yes.
"Who is Number One?"
"You are, Number Six."
Michael Rhoden
4. MichaelRhoden
Can I please say how TERRIBLE the A&E remake of The Prisoner was. I really like Jim Caviezel, especially in Person of Interest. That mini-series was so boring though. And the idea of what The Village really was? Oh my gosh...really?
JS Bangs
5. jaspax
I loved the show, but I fall into that group that thinks the finale is tremendously disappointing. (For whatever reason, I didn't feel this way about either Lost or BSG.) The reason, I think, is that the final episode doesn't offer an answer to the questions of the show at all, even in a sideways, crazy-town sort of way. The finale of Lost, OTOH, did tell us what the island was for and what finally happened to the castaways, though it did it in a way that infuriated most viewers.

Instead, the finale of The Prisoner merely restates the questions, but weirder, and offers something that didn't satisfy me emotionally or intellectually.

Aside from that, though, the show is freaking brilliant.
Sky Thibedeau
6. SkylarkThibedeau
The whole series is a weird Dream John Drake is having. As number 6 he wants to be free of the agency and his part as a numbered cog in the wheels of the Intelligence Community but his ID with its sense of Loyalty and Duty to Queen and Country is Number One and is repressing his feelings of individuality, freedom, and distinct personality.

Remember, in 'Secret Agent' They were 'Giving Him a Number, and taking away His Name.'
James Enge
7. JamesEnge
Great column. But I have to disagree about "The Girl Who Was Death"--I'd say it's one of the best, if not the best episode in the series. More than any other episode, it tells you what the show is about--what any good adventure story is about, what they are for.

My candidate for the worst episode would be "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling". Not only is there minimal McGoohan, not only does the plot hinge on a mind-transfer dingus that was corny even then, but we get all sorts of backstory on the prisoner ("I am Zed-M 73!"). I always thought that was a terrible mistake and was glad that the rest of the series quietly ignored it.
Michael Burke
8. Ludon
@ #3 a1ay

I'm not sure that every Number 2 said it with that brief pause but I do remember it in the opening to some of the episodes.

This series taught me how to watch TV.

And I've found that the ending can be explained with a line borrowed from another movie "No matter where you go, there you are."
john mullen
9. johntheirishmongol
There was a series called Secret Agent, with Patrick McGoohan, and that is who number 6 is supposed to be. That was also a good show and Mac was always good to throw a tantrum. Number 6 was not Number 1, except temporarily, and just to mess with him a little bit more. It reveled in its wierdness and that is why we love it.
John Seven
10. KJ
If "The Prisoner" is going to be analysed with respect to Freudian principles, then I would suggest that the Id represents No. 6's seeking of pleasure (fast cars, fast women, thrill seeking and the destructive aspects of spycraft), the ego represents his rational self (matching wits with No. 2, trying to find escape and satisfy his id's need for freedom), and the super-ego represents the authority of the village and its hierarchy (No. 2, submission to goverment agencies and rules). I doubt that this is what Mr. McGoohan had in mind though.
Risha Jorgensen
11. RishaBree
For my money, “Once Upon a Time" is one of the best episodes of TV ever produced. Almost every second is an incredibly intense pas de deux by two brilliant actors.
John Seven
12. Victor Von Dave
Yes! One of the greatest shows of all time. I have to object to the comparison of 'Fall Out' with the endings of Battlestar or Lost.
Even if you aren't down with the ending of the Prisoner, it is clear McGoohan was trying to say *something*, while Lost and BSG were exercises in lazy, disingenuous writing whose endings demonstrated that they had nothing to say.
John Seven
13. a-j
I liked the observation I once read that when the US made a series about an individual fighting against an implacable state it made The Fugitive with a doctor travelling the country helping people, while the British made The Prisoner in which a spy is trapped in a small village filled with serious nosey parkers.
As to who Number 6 is and who Number 1 is, I think that's almost beside the point. As the Leo McKern Number 2 says in 'The Chimes of Big Ben' "That's why it doesn't matter who Number 1 is, it doesn't matter which side the Village is on." .
It doesn't matter.
iirc series co-creator George Markstein fell out with MacGoohan because he wanted a more conventional conclusion.
As to MacGoohan as James Bond, I believe he refused the role because he found the character to be morally repugnant, especially in his dealings with women. John Drake and Number 6 are nothing if not gentlemen.
Robert Evans
14. bobsandiego
@ 6SkylarkThibedeau (How funny this is post six I am responding to.) I would not use the Songs to bolster your argument. The Song, which I adore and have on my iPhone, was added to the American releas of the show when it was retitled 'Secret Agent', in the UK the show was known as 'Danger Man' and the main titles was instrumental, a harpsicord of all things. Drake never had a number in the show 'Danger Man' and he never played the womanizer. A couple of years ago my sweetie-wife and I worked our way through the entire series on DVD. What a fun trip, but I do not think Drake is 6.
I think the way to unpack the ending is Number 6 is a prisoner of society and all its indiviuality crushing rules and more, when he finally learns who is number 1, it is himself, because we are our society. We make the rules that crush use. We have met the enemey and he is us.
Andrew Love
15. AndyLove
About 25 years ago, when I was in college, some new friends nagged me into watching this show they were crazy about; they showed me the last two episodes of "The Prisoner." I was hooked, and thereafter, conversations with my friends often hinged on "Prisoner" references.

The best two episodes, in my mind, are "Hammer into Anvil" and "Checkmate" - one episode which is a clear victory for the Prisoner, and one which is a clear loss for him.
John Seven
16. Eugene R.
If I can form any coherent thoughts about the finale, they are likely to run along the lines of "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device" (No. 6 being "promoted" to No. 1, going back to his old apartment where the door swings closed automatically, Village-style, with The Butler in attendance, etc.) or some such.

If I push it around a bit harder, I get tempted to say that No. 1 was, in fact, Angelo Muscat (aka The Butler), for we all know that The Butler Did It.

Did even No. 6 know who done it? I am left perplexed over the fact that No. 2 in "Hammer in Anvil" (my personal favorite, too, Mr. Love, @15) is played by Patrick Cargill ... who showed up in the earlier episode "Many Happy Returns" as a colleague of No. 6 named "Thorpe", but they do not seem to recognize each other in their later duel.

Patrick McGoohan always liked to say that No. 6 was NOT John Drake. And then I saw "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" episode of "Danger Man" (aka "Secret Agent"), where John Drake has an automobile crash and subsequently gets involved in an adventure in a surreal casino that feature busts of Napoleon on plinths as corridor decor and where the staff all recognize Drake ... as someone else. The episode takes place all in Drake's unconscious mind (almost a dream, eh, SkylarkThibedeau, @6?). And it was an unused "Danger Man" script that turned into "The Girl Who Was Death", if The Official Prisoner Companion speak true.

And if we shall not speak of the television remake, perhaps we should touch upon Tom Disch's novel or the graphic novel Shattered Visage, both of which are sequels to the original television series.
John Seven
17. a-j
Eugene R@16
It has been suggested by many that the only reason MacGoohan always said that Number 6 was not John Drake was because someone else had the rights to the name of John Drake and he didn't want to be sued.
On the other hand, his civilian dress is that of Drake's and characters from Danger Man turn up in 'The Girl Who Was Death'.
Another Prisoner-esque Danger Man episode was the one where Drake 'defects' to the USSR and finds himself in a quintessential English village. Forget the title. 'Colony' perhaps.
John Seven
18. Howard Brazee
I've got the DVD set, which enabled me to see the opening, which was cut off in the USAmerican broadcast. But the video quality is terrible.
marian moore
19. mariesdaughter
I am going to be one of the few who did like the remake. Instead of a true "remake", it riffed off the ideas in the original. I can believe that it exists in a world where some organization is aware of the first Village and decided to cannabilize its ideas for its own use.
Andrew Love
20. AndyLove
You all might be interested in this article by Larry Niven about "The Prisoner" available with Larry's permission at
John Seven
21. Stewart T.
I remember watching The Prisoner as a kid and thinking that Patrick McGoohan had to be the coolest guy alive.
Interestingly, he pretty much reprised his John Drake persona (as "Mr. Jones") in Ice Station Zebra (1968). After that, even though he had a long career, it all seemed a bit inconsequential. (Notable exceptions being Silver Streak, Escape From Alcatraz and Braveheart.)
22. simonk1905
I am too young to have watched the original broadcasts but I did watch all the episodes when the BBC re ran them in the late eighties early nineties. I remember loving and loathing the ending. I loved the psychedelia of it all and loathed the lack of a neat ending. The 30 something me would probably have the complete opposite view.

I also have visited portmerion on a family holiday to Wales. Lovely place they make fine porcelain and finer black cherry ice cream. However I visitied it before I had seen the tv programme and so the impact was probably lost on the very young me.

Them bones them bones then dryyyyyy bones.
Sky Thibedeau
23. SkylarkThibedeau
@14 Bob. I didn't notice that my reply was number 6. Laughs. I can see where the theme of the Show could be that we are all prisoners of our human foibles and weaknesses. number Six is only being held back from the Life he wants by himself.

I have a friend who lives in the UK who has a print business who loves the show. The Business address is Number 6 on the road where it is located and he has an old fashioned bicycle similar to the one in the credits on his business cards.
John Seven
24. Moor Larkin
This show can be appreciated on so many levels, it's like a labyrinth. Oddly however (or perhaps not), when interviewed, Patrick McGoohan declared that he did not consider the show to be "Science Fiction", yet SF fans are some of it's keenest adherents. The way McGoohan crafted a "James Bond"-style ending with caverns and shoot-em-ups and yet still left people wondering, "What the fuck was that about?" is what makes the show so special, but that schizophrenia was present throughout really.... I mean what the hell was Rover? And how could it work anyway? ...... We just accept, because it is done with such belief.

The episode of Danger Man mentioned @17 was "Colony Three". It includes ideas that McGoohan clearly adapted in his later work on The Prisoner. I did a blog about it here, if anyone is interested:
Teresa Jusino
25. TeresaJusino
I love The Prisoner, though I haven't yet finished it. But from the first episode, I thought that it's a show that deserves to be remade, and CAN have a BSG-style reimagining. I probably won't watch the remade mini-series, because it's so universally panned...but what do you think about the possibilities of The Prisoner as a remade full series?
Teresa Jusino
26. TeresaJusino
I love The Prisoner, though I haven't yet finished it. But from the first episode, I thought that it's a show that deserves to be remade, and CAN have a BSG-style reimagining. I probably won't watch the remade mini-series, because it's so universally panned...but what do you think about the possibilities of The Prisoner as a remade full series?
John Seven
27. Roger Lord Zeck
Some observations/questions:
1-Bond is also a number to M, and it is as 007 that he is referred to in Korea
2- in the final episode, number 6 demasks number 1. One of the masks is the face of Number 6
3- isn't the feel more Jungian than Freudian?
John Seven
28. Matt D
Someone else mentioned the "Shattered Visage" graphic novel sequel to The Prisoner. It's over 20 years old now but is worth a look. It's probably not considered canon, but it was authorized and the authors came up with an interesting explanation for Fall Out that also allowed for their sequel's story to occur many years later. And while the story resolves more definitely than the original series, it still leaves plenty of satisfying ambiguity. And there are things pictured in the background: symbols from the Village, a book in a shop window by "Drake" (Danger Man's last name), a bicycle accident. Which are meaningful, and which are just games being played by the artist? Good stuff.

(I was less fond of the novel by Disch when I read it, a long time ago. I wondered why, if it was a sequel, was a large part of it so similar to the original? Kind of like "Superman Returns" in that regard.)
John Seven
29. minstrelwb
The best. The last two episodes did answer many ?? but didn't answer many more. The Girl Who Was Death was a light episode among extremely serious episodes, so worked on that level. It tied it in to John Drake, again. It foreshadowed the last two episodes. I loved that back in the 70s PBS ran it in reruns, complete with critical commentary. Back then, PBS rerunning a regular channel tv show meant something. Prisoner may have been the first one?
John Seven
30. smrdislavski
The episode The Schizoid Man for some reason not-so-subtly mentions synchronicity (guessing cards, coincidences that aren't coincidences). Still, Patrick McGoohan has apparently never read anything by Jung or Hesse (some episodes really remind me of Demian, The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) and Steppenwolf by Hesse). The song about bones in Fall Out can relate to causes and effects (masked people suddenly changing their behaviour during the song), to the ways you shape society and society shapes you (a policeman in front of the parliament who doesn't understand the message, free man vs. prisoner) and perhaps even mystical/religious contemplation about life, causality (how far will your activities be felt) and free will. The IIII... scene is, as I see it, is about egocentric individuals following the herd on one side and thinking individuals (separately leaving the truck, eccentric and independent but not egocentric) and how people are perceived considering their societal status (politicians are "charismatic" even when they speak rubbish or do bad things, e.g. send us to war). Number 6 behind the mask might represent both the dark side of a person (you are your own prisoner) and a thin line between society and an individual.
John Seven
31. PadawanDoug
I would say that "The Prisoner" is not only one of the best (hour-long drama) shows ever made, but THE BEST such show. I doubt it could be made today, certainly not by the American networks. I am surprised it was even shown here, though I suppose in the '60s they were a little more able to take chances than now.

To me "The Girl Who Was Death" is not only the worst episode, it should not even be counted as a Prisoner episode at all. As another commented, it was re-cycled from an unused "Danger Man" episode, and doesn't involve any of the tropes of the show -- the Village, surveillance, Number Two, etc. It is basically just a spy story, with a wraparound of 6 telling it as a bedtime story. I don't even watch it anymore.

Aside from the two-part conclusion, I have to agree with the earlier commenter that "Hammer Into Anvil" is one of the best, and probably my favorite, since it is the only time 6 wins over a Number Two. Has the last laugh, at least for that episode.

On the ending debate, I think my decision is the series as a whole cannot be taken as a realist depiction; it must be either surreal or psychological, depending on your interpretation. It seems obvious that 6 is Number One, to me, and since he is also a Monkey (from Fall Out), and Everyman, he must be seen as a metaphorical or perhaps mythological figure. He represents the quest of everyone in today's society to answer the problems presented by it: where do the needs of society end and individuals begin? What is the greater good, the individual's freedom or society's need for stability and perpetuation?

One question that was never answered by the show, Why did 6 resign? If the show is seen as a metaphor, the answer itself doesn't really matter. It is society's obssession with getting 6 to knuckle under and give up his privacy that is the issue, not the actual answer to that question.

I noticed something I've never seen before in my Prisoner musings, when people were mentioning Bond/007 (always found the Bond films quite boring btw, esp when compared to modern action/spy movies like "Bourne Identity"): 6 + 1 = 7! (Of course, mathematically this is wrong, since if 6 is Number One, then 6 = 1, and the previous makes no sense.) Perhaps not intended by McGoohan, but maybe an unconscious reference to Bond? 007 as the unaware version of 6?
John Seven
32. Eileen Fay
Jason, thank you so much for this terrific précis of my favorite dramatic TV series of all time. All of your comments are spot on, in my opinion, and I very much enjoyed reading this.

I agree completely about the impossibility of other series like Lost being as good as The Prisoner. It is rare to find a mind as complex and intriguing as that possessed by the late, great Mr. McGoohan. He and the other writers of the series gave us a wonderful, thought-provoking gift. Thank heavens he left us this remarkable series and was not wasted as a latter James Bond.

As to the ambiguity of the ending, although I like murder mysteries, say, tied up in a neat bow, The Prisoner is such a different ainmal from all other TV programs that I would never resent -- in fact, I relish -- the inconclusiveness at the end.

The setting in Portmeirion is so magical. I wished for many years after The Prisoner that I could live there. (Heck - I still do!)

When current-day (or recent) TV series make attempts to be politically/socially relevant or put a psychoanalytic filter on their material, I cannot help but compare them unfavorably with The Prisoner. There may be some minds out there in TV-land who are as astute and deep-thinking as Patrick McGoohan and his collaborators, but either they are not getting a chance to be seen/heard, or I have simply missed them.

Thanks again for this well-written tribute to a great experience.
John Seven
33. EarlT
The one thing that can be maddening about this series is that it phases back to the "real world" without a solid explanation for all of the surreal happenings (it was funny to see Leo McKern (3 time #2) back in full ministerial getup w/bowler & brolly). That is, in its way, what the series is all about, so many times there are juxtapositions in Life that have no real explanation, and often no meaning. We are left with as many questions as we started with, albeit different ones, usually.

That is just unacceptable in today's modern TV world where everyone HAS to live "happily ever after". I'm pretty sure this could never have been made today, it isn't commercial enough (only 17 episodes), and it hasn't been sufficiently "dumbed down" for the average semi-moron. As an intellectual exercise it is thoroughly enjoyable, even the flights of fancy (attributed in one episode to mind altering drugs! (how did that play in the '60s!)) were intelligent, if not alway intelligible.

While it seems very likely that #6 was John Drake, PM always maintained a semi-silent denial of it. As such it just adds to the questions.

It says something about the man that he always maintained a cordial relationship to the fans. I'm sure there were times when they were like a flood of cockroaches, yet he was always appreciative. How often today do stars spend enormous amounts of Work Credits to keep fans away?

I'd love to see an extension of this made, but it would have to be done as carefully as the first Star Trek Movie, you'd have the entire Six Of One group breathing down your neck, ready to burn at the stake the merest deviation from Orthodoxy (hmm! might make a good plot twist in, and of, itself).

While 80% of all the actors in the show are probably dead &/or in assisted living, I'd still like to find out who the Asian cab driver from "Arrival" was, talk about a femme fatale!!
John Seven
34. Changeling
I've come late to this discussion, but even though I'm new here, I'd like to throw in my two work units.

I got into the show in high school in the early '80s. Was fascinated with it right from the start. My daughter is 16, and I'm currently running the series for her in (almost) A&E's DVD order, and just finished COBB. I have a very long and personal interest in the series. It has done me a world of good.

I have a perfectly plausible and practical explanation for the ending, but it's depressing. #6 does NOT won at the end of OUAT. His mind finally snaps under the intense pressure. All of Fall Out is what is going on in his mind, whilst lying catatonically on a standard Village gurney somewhere. Fall Out is nothing more, and certainly nothing less, than The Prisoner's subconscious interpretation of all he has gone through, and how he sees it. There's a pragmatic ending. One could also still view it ss a victory. Those who ran The Village wanted to turn #6; they wanted him intact and working for them. He denied this to them. Even to the end, he never gave them what they wanted, even at the cost of his own sanity.

The only episode I skip is DNFMOMD. I don't buy that #6 was engaged, not for an instant. There are too many inferences that he has no emotional ties from the past all throughout the series; why the hell would a fiancee not be noted in Many Happy Returns? etc. etc. It just rings false to me; not that I think it's a bad story, it just doesn't match up as an authentic #6 for me.

Love the discussion. Great points. Which is why the show has endured for so long; there is so much in it.

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