THE UNMUTUAL PRISONER ARTICLE ARCHIVE
"IMPRESSIONS OF THE GENERAL", By Steve Yarde
'The General' is an extremely well written episode and is unusual, as The Prisoner does not try to escape, and the Village Authorities make no attempt to find out the reason for his resignation. Instead The Prisoner seems content to try and undermine the Village from within. Another episode with a similar theme is 'Hammer Into Anvil'.
Colin Gordon gives a memorable performance as Number 2. He also appears in the episode 'A, B and C'. In 'The General', however, Number 2 is much more confident. Some of the dialogue in this episode is especially witty. It was amusing when after having struck the effigy of The Professor's face, The Prisoner says to The Professor's wife: 'You should take greater care of him, ma'am; he's gone to pieces'.
In one scene, The Prisoner shows The Professor's wife a drawing of herself in a general's uniform. She isn't impressed by this. I did like it when The Prisoner taunted her, with his response of 'Creation out of destruction?' after she has torn his drawing. Number 12 seems to be genuine, unlike for example, Nadia, in 'The Chimes Of Big Ben'. The Prisoner does not trust Number 12, at first, but by the end of the episode appears to have changed his mind, even attempting to prevent his new ally from being exposed by The General.
The Prisoner is not totally succesful in this episode, as even though he outsmarts Number 2 and causes the destruction of The General, he is caught before being able to transmit The Professor's real lecture. It would have been interesting if it had been sent and to see the effect on The Village's inhabitants. Admittedly the appearance of The General itself is dated now, but that's only to be expected. I can appreciate the philosophical point that is being made, when The Prisoner asks the computer a question it cannot answer.
Overall, I quite like the episode, 'The General'. Colin Gordon makes a subtle Number 2, who is a worthy opponent for The Prisoner. This episode makes a person think about the dangers of creating a computer like The General and how it might be abused in the wrong hands.
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