The Prisoner (1967–1968): Season 1, Episode 8 - Checkmate - full transcript

After waking up from an artificial sleep, Number 6 discovers a game of "live chess" on the Village green in which the "chessmen" are Villagers and the players sit in elevated chairs and call out the moves with megaphones. Recruited by one player as the Queen's pawn, he only reluctantly obeys his "master's" orders. After the match, Number 6 enacts a new escape plan that requires the complicity of a specific type of individual. He chooses one of the rooks from the chess game, a man known for his rebellious nature.


(Six) Where am I?

(Two) In the village.

(Six) What do you want?

(Two) Information.

(Six) Whose side are you on?

(Two) That would be telling.

(Two) We want information...

(Two) Information...

(Two) Information.

(Six) You won't get it.

(Two) By hook or by crook...
...we will.

(Six) Who are you?

(Two) The new Number Two.

(Six) Who is Number One?

(Two) You are Number Six.

(Six) I am not a number.
I am a free man!

(Number Two laughs)


Sir! Do you play chess, sir?


Come and join us.

I'm the Queen.
Come and be my pawn.


- Who's he?
- I'll answer as we play.

(Through megaphone)
Pawn to King's four.

- Well?
- He's the champion.

Pawn to King's four.

- Who WAS he?
- It's hard to say.

Knight to Queen's Bishop three.

I've heard rumours.

- Such as?
- He's an ex-count.

Knight to Knight's Bishop three.

- From?
- Who knows?

His ancestors played
chess using their retainers.

They were beheaded
as they were taken.

- Charming.
- Don't worry. It's not allowed here.

(Player) Knight
to King's Bishop three.

- Who is Number One?
- It doesn't do to ask questions.

(Player) Bishop to Bishop's four.

It seems all right to me.

- Don't let it fool you.
- We'll keep him under surveillance.

Why were you brought here?

That was a good move.

- I know a better one.
- Oh?

- Away from this place.
- That's impossible.

For chessmen. Not for me.

- They said there wasn't a hope.
- I don't believe them. Surprised?

(Player) Pawn to Queen's four.

- Pawn to Queen's four!
- Maybe I could help.

- Pawn to Queen's four!
- How?

- How?

Pawn to Queen's four!

(Echoes) Queen's four! Queen's four!

Pawn to Queen's four!


You're safe, protected by the Queen.

(Player) Bishop to Queen's three.

Told you so!

- Number Six looks very placid.
- He's just a pawn -

one false move and he's gone.

- Not while the Queen protects him.
- She'll take no risks to help him.

You know where I'll be.

- Looks as if I'm in trouble.
- Then why do you play?

Why not?
I enjoy a game of chess.

Queen to King's three.

(Moves shouted quickly)


- Check!
- White Rook moved without orders.

Bring him in for treatment.

Control room to hospital -
report to chessboard.

(PA) Call the substitute.
Call the substitute...

The substitute, the substitute...
Call the substitute.

Remove Rook to hospital.

(PA) Remove Rook to hospital.


Remove Rook to hospital.

What's all that about?

It's not allowed.
The cult of the individual.

- What happens to him?
- They'll get a specialist to treat him.

Rook to Bishop five.

Bishop to Bishop's four.

(2nd Player)
Bishop to Knight four.

Queen to King's three.


- Sir, you play a fine game.
- Yes...

- Shall we walk?
- Why not? Lead on.

Why do you use people?

It satisfies the desire for power -

- It's the only opportunity here.
- Depends which side you're on.

- I'm on my side.
- Aren't we all?

You must be new.
Most of us join the enemy.

Have you?

- Let's talk about the game.
- Why do both sides look alike?

- How do I know black from white?
- Well?

By their disposition. You soon know
who's for you or against you.

- I don't follow you.
- It's psychology, as in life -

you judge by attitudes.

- People don't need uniforms.
- Why complicate it?

To keep your mind alert.

What use is that here?

Let's walk.

Why do you keep your mind alert?

Now? Hmm... from habit.
Just to defy them.

- Too old. Too old.
- For what?

- Escape.
- You had a plan?

- Everybody does, but they all fail.
- Why?

It's like the game. You have to
distinguish between black and white.

- You're following me.
- Oh!

- When do you plan to escape?
- How do you know I was going to?

- Everybody plans to. I'll help.
- Help who?

I like you. If it's a good plan,
I'll escape with you.

- I've helped people's plans.
- But you're still here.

- None of them succeeded.
- Coincidence(!)

I can tell you what not to try.

- How do I know I can trust you?
- That's a risk you have to take.

Not me.

Hello! Enjoy your chess yesterday?

- Don't tell me you care.
- Yes, we want you to be happy.

Then give me
a one-way ticket home.

Won't you ever give up?

- What do you think?
- You're wrong - we have ways...

- I can imagine.
- Done under medical supervision.

Like the man you took yesterday?

The Rook? He'll be fine.
It's just rehabilitation.

What do you want me to do,
envy him?

I like your sense of humour. Get in.

- Why?
- I'm going to the hospital.

I thought you'd like to see the Rook.


- Is he ready?
- He'll wake in about a minute.


- Have you worked for me before?
- No.

- Don't speak to the patient.
- Of course.

You'll find this very interesting.
The treatment's based on Pavlov's experiments.

With dogs?

- Or was it rats?
- Dogs.

He's been dehydrated.

When he wakes,
he'll have an insatiable thirst.

Stage one.

- Water...
- (PA) Stay where you are.

- Water, please, water...
- Wait!

Please, water...

Leave it!

Don't tell me - it hurts you
more than it hurts him.

In society, one must conform.


Water! Water! Water!

You'll get water when you obey.
Go to the blue dispenser.

Do as you're told!
Do not worry.

The blue dispenser.


- You must be proud of yourself(!)
- We're proud of him. It's been hard.

Now he'll be co-operative.

He's been a lot of trouble.

Your troubles
are only just beginning.

- Is he in for treatment?
- (Number Two) Not yet.

I should like to know
his breaking point.

You could make that your life's work.

- What have I done?
- Why did you run?

- I don't know!
- A sign of resistance.

- No!
- The will to escape.

No! I didn't think!

- It was instinctive?
- Y... yes. No! Oh, anything you say.

- Your thoughts interest me.
- What do you mean?

Come with me.


Why should you hide?

How long have you been here?

A month... A year...
Don't you know?

- Do you still hope?
- Hope? To die. Nothing else.

- Death is an escape?
- One day I'll die and beat you all!

- Why were you brought here?
- You don't need to ask.

I'm asking.

I invented a new defence system.

- Go on.
- But I've confessed it all before.

- Try again.
- It would have ensured peace.

- Treason?
- Perhaps.

They let the plans get stolen anyway.

You think that's funny?

Yes. All this to safeguard secrets,

then some fool gets his bag swiped.

- You had nothing to do with it?
- I'd die happy if I had.

I didn't mean that.
Leave me alone!

You still have an independent mind.
There are very few of us left.

You're wrong!

- Us?
- I'm a prisoner, too.

Oh, I've been caught that way before.

- It's a fact.
- Then why the inquisition?

- To make sure you're what I need.
- For what?

We'll talk again.



Sir, Number Six is getting
friendly with the Rook.

Switch me into vision.

By my manner,
you assumed I was a guardian.

- That's true.
- I knew you were a prisoner.


He should have moved
the King's Knight.

But Bishop takes Knight.

Queen takes Bishop - checkmate.

Seems all right.

You want a watch kept?


No. Just a minute.

- Doctor?
- Yes, Number Two?

Are you confident about
the rehabilitation treatment?

On the Rook?
He's now properly integrated.

- You heard that?
- Yes.

The Rook will teach Number Six
there's no point in rebelling.

Guardians pose as prisoners,
but none would be intimidated by me.

- They know you're a prisoner?
- Only other prisoners would obey me.

So you've found a way to identify.

One has to know who one can rely on.

- What is the plan?
- First things first.

Let's find our reliable men.

- I'd like a word with you.
- You'll have to wait.

All right, forget it.


What do you think?

- Something wrong, sir?
- Did you paint this?

Yes. If it's not satisfactory...

- Yes?
- I'll do it again.

No, I'm satisfied. Are you?

- Yes.
- Carry on, 42. We'll be in touch.

Very good, sir.

- Yes, gentlemen?
- We'd like to inspect your books.

- Never been done before!
- There's always a first time.

Well, er, I think you'll find
everything in order.


That looks rather suspicious.

- Can't you get me audio?
- The mic's kaput.

Electric's on its way.

- Do you think he fixed it?
- I'd take bets on it.

They're planning something.
Let's have him in for tests.

- Cat.
- Dog.

- Rain.
- Shine.

- Desk.
- Work.

- Hope.
- Anchor.

- Anchor?
- The Hope and Anchor - it's a pub.

- Tree.
- Leaf.

- Home.
- Away.

- Love.
- Game.

- Game?
- Tennis.

- Table.
- Chair.

- Ship.
- Shape.

- Red.
- Sails.

- Free.
- For all.

Yes, that's enough.


but nothing significant so far.

And the other tests?

I conducted them.
Very interesting.

- You have a summary?
- Yes...

- Er, positive signs of abnormality.
- Abnormality?

A disregard for personal safety
and a negative reaction to pain.

He couldn't fake that.

It would require
superhuman willpower.

- What's this?
- A new experiment.

It could be invaluable to you.

(Number Two)
What exactly is the experiment?

A development on dolphin research.

For submarine detection, they
planted transistors in their brains.

We haven't got as far with humans,
but this may prove effective for us.

Thank you.

You see the gentleman on the screen?
Isn't he handsome?

You love him passionately.

You'd do anything for him -

even betray him to save him
from his own folly.

Oh, thank you. Ah, the transistor.

It will record all her emotions
for Control.

She'll dote on him,
follow him like a dog.

He loves you, too -
he has sent you this locket.

Wear it always, next to your heart.

Very ingenious - hypnosis.

When he's out of sight,
she mopes,

when she sees him,
her pulse races.

If she thinks she'll lose him -
an escape bid -

her overwhelming emotions
will send an alarm to Control.


We're picking up her impulses.

When she sees him,
the pulses will increase.

(Pulses quicken)

It's working!
She must be seeing him.

Pulse rate's 71 ... 2... 3...
4... 5... 6... 7...

- Pushing 80 and rising!
- Excellent! Thank you.

Later, we'll programme her
into the alarm system.


You wanted these reports
on Number Six.

Thank you.

- Mmm... As I thought.
- What?

Aggressive tendencies.

My advice would be a leucotomy
to knock out part of the brain.

No, he's too valuable - we can help
him without such drastic treatment.



(Phone bleeps)

- What is it?
- Control.

Number Six has stolen a buggy.
The woman's gone after him.

Tenacious, isn't she?

Do you want us to stop him?

No I want a proper test.
No action unless it's a yellow alert.



I don't like it.
She lost him!

Maybe we can see him
on the monitors.

Attention, Electrics Department -
camera 34 kaput. Service immediately.

- She hasn't found him.
- You're in too much of a hurry.

Don't worry - she will...

- Where now?
- The crossroads.

The Electrics truck should be there.


Get that stuff hidden!


- Going my way?
- Of course!

You have a lot of explaining to do.

What did I tell you?
She's found him.

(Pulses quicken)
She's with him!

Love? You're crazy!

- About you.
- You don't even know me!

- I know how I feel.
- Who put you onto this?

How can you doubt me?

A slight drizzle
won't wash away my doubt.

- I only want to be near you!
- Everybody's too near in this place.

- Will they ever release us?
- Let me know - I'll be gone.

- We could be happy together!
- Really...?

(Orchestral music)



Hurry up, before it gets cold!


Nothing like a cup of hot chocolate.


- Had a hard day?
- Oh, no worse, no better.

Anything you'd like to tell me?

Yes. How did you get in here?

By the door.
It's so wonderful to be with you!

- Yes(!)
- It's a warm feeling.

On a cold night. Nice chocolate.

You like it? Like some more?

No, but it was a kind thought.

You're kind - to let me be here.

(PA) Curfew time, ten minutes.
Ten minutes to curfew. Sleep well!

If only you cared, I'd be happy.

I do care - who put you up to this?

- Please?
- Who put you up to it?


Then get out. GET OUT!

- I only want to help you!
- Everybody wants to help me.


- What's the matter?
- Nothing's the matter.

- Stop crying.
- Sorry to bother you.

You're not bothering me.

- I'm not bothering you?
- No.

- Do you like me?
- Yes, I do.

You're so good to me!
Thank you!

That's all right. That's all right.
Fine. That's OK.

- More chocolate?
- Er, no.

- May I see you again?
- Yes, I'm here all the time.

Thank you... ever so much!


And how are you today?

Better, thanks.

All symptoms of that
frustration disappeared?

- Completely.
- Splendid!

- Keep taking those pills.
- I will.

If you get another attack of egotism
go back to the hospital.

- I don't like to bother people...
- No bother. Enjoy yourself.

Thank you.

- Touché.
- Where did you get it?

- One of the taxis.
- You take risks.

Let me worry. How's it going?

- We need more transistors.
- Right. I'll fix it.

Coming for a swim?

Er, no, but don't let me stop you.

Come and sit with me.

If you insist.

You know, if I didn't know better,
I'd think you didn't love me.

- I don't.
- How can you say that?

- It's true.
- It's not.

If you don't, why did you
give me this locket?

Lady, you have the wrong man.

But I've got the right photograph.

Let me see it.
I'll just look at it.

Where did you get this?

- You gave it to me, remember?
- Oh, yes.

I'll get you a better photo.
May I keep it?

Enjoy your swim. Be seeing you.

It's a reaction transmitter.

Not voices?

She's been an automatic
alarm system.

- Are the pieces any use?
- They're all I need.

- When can you be ready?
- Tonight.

Tomorrow, we'll be free.

Yes, what is it?

Look, your latest gadget's
packed up.

There must be a fault in the machine.

Or maybe he's discovered it.
Let's find them.

Ha, there she is.

The locket's gone!

- Could have come off in the water.
- Where's Number Six?

I wouldn't like to have been you
if we'd lost him.

- Anything else you need?
- No.

I'll go and warn the others.

(Tonight, Rook to
Queen's pawn six.)

That's it.

Mayday. Mayday.

Mayday. Any station receiving,
come in, please. Mayday.

- Sure it's the right frequency?
- I'm certain.

This is a Mayday call. Any station
receiving, come in, please.

This is Polotska calling Mayday.
Your signals are very weak.

Polotska calling Mayday.
Come in, Mayday.

Mayday to Polotska, this is
TransOcean flight D for Delta 250.

Starboard engine in flames, port
engine oil pressure dropping. Over.

Polotska to Mayday,
report your position, please. Over.

Mayday to Polotska,
our position is...

(Rustles paper) ..minutes
longitude...degrees latitude. Over.

Polotska to Mayday.
Say again, please.

Mayday to Polotska...

(Radio static)

(Phone bleeps)

What is it?

Picking up a Mayday signal, sir.


Didn't say.
MS Polotska is answering.

Well, leave it to them.

Right, switch on.


Shove off. Wait till you see the ship
come or see my signal.

Good luck.


There it is.

Very close.

Let's try a radar search.


That's twelve miles. Try six.

No hope of finding them unless
the aircraft is still floating.

- Can you get a signal off a dinghy?
- Doubtful.

- Could be more than one.
- Only one distress signal.

Might be saving batteries.
Search in closer.

We'll get readings from The Village.

- What's that?
- The mountains to the north.

Better check the Tower radio.

Control calling the Tower. Over.

- You're late.
- Everybody here?

Is it going to plan?

There's a boat coming to our rescue.

Splendid! But we're on land.

They think we're an aircraft at sea.
Rook is sending a distress signal.

- The guardians'll pick it up.
- We'll stop them until the boat's here.


They've found our signal -
have to knock out that searchlight.

(Phone bleeps)

I said I was not to be disturbed.

Emergency - the searchlight crew
have been attacked.

I'll be right over. (Cries out)

Isn't it late to come visiting?

We wanted to thank you
for having us. Watch him.


Your signal, I take it.

I'm afraid you're a little late.

Very enterprising.
Why are you wasting time here?

No waste. Tie him up.

How very primitive. I'm disappointed.

I hoped for something
more original...

Originality is your department.

You'll discover good old-fashioned
brute force can be very effective.

(Bleeping stops) - It's stopped!
- The ship's come for us!

Wait! It's too soon.

There could be trouble. I...

Stay undercover. I'll check.

(Ship's Whistle)

Ahoy, there!
Are you flight D for Delta 250?

Yes. Who are you?

MS Polotska.

- You all right?
- Fine.

- What about the passengers and crew?
- I'll talk to your skipper.


You've had a lucky escape.

You don't know how lucky.

I'm afraid the Polotska's our ship.

You wouldn't have stood a chance
in that toy boat.

What happened?

There's been a misunderstanding.

- You - you're one of them.
- I'm not, you are.

- What?
- As I said, a misunderstanding.

- You tried to trap me.
- I did what?!

The mistake was yours.
You mustn't malign Number Six.

You mean he really is a prisoner?

So he released you.

You only have yourself to blame.

How do you make that out?

You avoided selecting guardians
by their arrogance. But...

- But what?
- Rook applied to you your own tests.

Your authority convinced him
you were one of us.

And he convinced the others.
What's happened to them?

They'll be back tomorrow.
On the chessboard, as pawns.