Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Prisoner: Hammer into Anvil

I haven’t watched any of The Prisoner since around the time that I posted “The General,” as I was waiting for my blogs to catch up with my viewing. Now, as I watch credits for “Hammer into Anvil,” I have time to think about how excited I am to be watching again. The last month? was rough, but after the next five episodes, I’ll have to live years without being able to look forward to new episodes.

“Hammer into Anvil” is an all-offense episode, possibly the first one I’ve come across. Number Two fucks up in the first scene and draws the wrath of The Prisoner down upon him. The rest of the episode is a cross between Revenge of the Nerds and Azula’s final arc in Avatar: the Last Airbender. It’s a straight forward episode and you know where it’s going early without a lot of direction shifts, but it’s hella fun to watch, even when Number Two is firing guys like Control and Butler.

Butler and Control. Not from this episode, but it's hard to find a scene with them both. They don't hang out a lot; they're more "work friends" than actual friends.

Aside from The Prisoner himself, Control and Butler are the only two recurring characters in the series. To call them supporting cast is a dire understatement; they are Atlas-like figures supporting the themes of the series. Both of them are Keepers from the very first episode, the Butler as a personal assistant and tiny harbinger, and Control as a man who makes the Orwellian machine of The Village tick from behind the scenes. Thus far, they have been inviolate, as the concept of an ever-changing Number Two had been up until “It’s Your Funeral” (or possibly “Free for All”). I’m sure that they’ll be back next week, but being able to build that box and step out of it is still a cool thing to have set up, much like the deserted set pieces of The Village from the beginning scenes of “And Many Happy Returns.”

Is the serious analysis for this episode done? All of it? Good.

This episode has bird lasers. Not lasers on birds, but lasers for birds. Powerful enough for an albatross, but Hz-tuned for a sparrow. Hidden lasers. Guys, I don’t even know how to imagine the proposal, design, ordering, and deployment of those without a lot of dudes in ties going, “Wait…for birds?” Seriously, I could go on, but this episode has the only thing more intense than my incredibly sudden love for anti-avian light amplification armory:

Oh, my god, you guys. Kosho.

On a scale of Anbo-Jyutsu to Rollerball, Kosho is seven and half of whatever they were doing in Solarbabies. That’s almost Parrises Squares squared plus Pod Racing!

If I possessed any ambition at all as a writer, I’d be crafting a “7 Dumbest ‘Sports’ from Sci-Fi” article for Cracked right now.

It’s so hardcore, it’s played with helmets. It’s so hip, it’s played with trampolines. It’s so hot, it’s played with a pool. It’s so irrationally secure in its masculinity, it’s played with skirts. How do I know they’re skirts?

Because it allows a world where Doctor Doom plays Kosho. Man, now I’d love a picture of Doctor Doom playing Kosho, but I have no idea who he could play against. Who (besides the obvious) could hope to challenge Doom’s mastery of the futuriest of future martial arts?

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