"The Prisoner" Hammer Into Anvil (TV Episode 1967) Poster

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AaronCapenBanner9 June 2015
Number six(Patrick McGoohan) becomes enraged when he witnesses the suicide of a young woman that the new number two(played by Patrick Cargill) has provoked by his relentless and unmerciful questioning. "Six" informs him that he will stop at nothing to enact retribution against him, a challenge which an initially defiant number two gladly accepts, but six's plan is a most clever one, using this two's arrogance and ultimate paranoia against him, driving away the village supervisor(Peter Swanwick) and ever-present butler(Angelo Muscat) and leaving him to answer to number one... Brilliantly effective episode is immensely satisfying and ironic, with our hero triumphant like never before(though still a prisoner). One of the best.
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Best Psychological Episode
Hitchcoc20 February 2015
Those Number Two's come and go with great frequency. It is an interesting part of the fabric of this series. In this one, the cold hearted leader of the village deliberately drives a poor woman to suicide without a second of compassion. Number Six vows he will get his revenge. Other than an occasional fistfight, Number Six engages in little violence. He knows there are a lot of factors he must puzzle out if he is to get back to his former life. What he chooses to do is to play mind games with Number Two. He plays on his paranoia by doing seemingly incongruous things and letting the mind go crazy. He buys several copies of the same record, he goes to a beached ship and leaves a set of blank papers, he puts a note in Spanish in the personals in the Newspaper. Meanwhile, the overly zealous Number Two is beside himself, trying to figure out what he is doing. He begins to fire the people closest to him, most of whom don't have a clue what is going on. Number Fourteen, his closest ally, is puzzled as well. He would act with violence but his boss is afraid this would show his failure. Excellent acting as the usually controlled and cold Village overseer shrivels before us. Nicely done, mature piece of writing.
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Patrick Vs. Patrick!
ShadeGrenade27 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The late Roger Woddis was known to me for years mainly as the chap who wrote witty poems for 'The Radio Times'. It came as a shock, therefore, to find out in 1983 ( when 'The Prisoner' was first repeated on Channel 4 ) that he had written an episode of this complex psycho-drama, directed by the great Pat Jackson. 'Hammer Into Anvil' begins with No.6 ( Patrick McGoohan, of course ) witnessing the suicide of a young woman - 'No.73' ( Hilary Dwyer ). Enraged, he begins a campaign of revenge against the individual responsible, the current 'No.2' ( Patrick Cargill ). Unlike previous incumbents in the post, this one takes relish in physically intimidating No.6, describing himself as a 'hammer'. No.6, using tricks and ploys which would not look out of place in 'Mission: Impossible', cons his adversary into thinking he is really 'D6', planted by The Village to keep tabs on No.2. As the war of nerves continues, so then No.2's paranoia increases and he even turns on his own staff, such as the loyal 'No.14' ( Basil Hoskins ) and The Butler ( Angelo Muscat ). The scene is set for the final showdown at The Green Dome...

It is a terrific episode, neatly reversing the show's premise, and with a fine performance from Cargill ( known mainly for comedy roles ) as the 'Queeg'-like No.2. So effective is 6's campaign - including the placing of a cuckoo clock outside No.2's house, which the latter thinks must be a bomb - that you almost feel sorry for him. Even the cuckoo clock chimes appear to mock 2's sanity!

This marks the first appearance of the bizarre 'Kosho' game ( in which 6 and an opponent jump about on trampolines over a pool of water! ), but fortunately, it gets less air-time here than in 'Its Your Funeral'. Alongside Cargill is another familiar face from the world of sitcom - Victor Maddern, cast as the 'Bandleader'. We get to see quite a bit of new Village technology, such as the 'Beam', a device that emerges from a flag-pole and shoots down a pigeon! McGoohan is also on good form; had he not been 'No.6' he would have made a great 'No.2'!

It is a pity that the recent remake of 'The Prisoner' had nothing to offer of this calibre. After two promising episodes, it shrivelled away to nothing, rather like 'Rover' at the end of 'Fall Out'.
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xfranco_uk17 March 2017
Excellent episode! I love at the beginning when Number 2 says he will "break" Number 6, Number 6 on his way out of the control room just utters a very ominous "Yes". From that moment on, we know we are in for some fun and games and boy, do we get them! One of my very favourite episodes.
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Turning the Tables
Samuel-Shovel9 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
In "Hammer Into Anvil" after Number Two mentally tortures a woman into commiting suicide, Number Six plots a plan to get revenge on this sadistic Number Two. By doing nonsensical things and making up fake codes and implicating Number Two's underlyings, Number Six convinces Number Two that there is a plot from HQ to usurp him in his role. Number Two eventually makes this man go mad and forced him to resign in disgrace and isolated from those he trusts.

This has probably been my 2nd favorite episode of the series thus far (behind "Many Happy Returns"). I don't think it is coincidental that both of these episodes stray from an episodes typical formula of Number Two trying to escape. This episode doesn't even contain an escape attempt. Instead, the tables have turned and the psychological head games are coming from Number Six in Number Two's direction. His use of codes and misdirection soon causes severe paranoia to overtake Number Two.

This Number Two is interesting. He's definitely the most sadistic, emotional of any we've seen so far. He cracks fairly easily. His facade of being a spiteful torturer to the lady we briefly meet in the beginning is just to mask all the insecurities laying dormant underneath. It's not hard for Number Two to pull these to the surface and just annihilate this man. Everything for this episode really works: the plan, the execution, the direction. It's all just really solid.
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Cue the McGoohan intensity
Mr-Fusion13 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"You shouldn't have interfered, Number Six. You'll pay for this."

. . .

"No. You will."

'Hammer Into Anvil" is proof positive that Number Six is not one to be messed with. Enraged over the apparent suicide of Number Seventy- Three, Six wages a war of nerves on this week's Number Two, sowing seeds of doubt and mistrust, methodically driving him mad. It's thoroughly entertaining in how Number Two is owned at every turn; and with his self-satisfied air, you can't help but want to see him taken down a peg or three. And all the while, Six is fully displaying what made him a good secret agent to begin with. This is pure standoff, mano a mano. You get the sense that the gloves are off and our hero is out for revenge. There's resounding defeat at the end of this tunnel and seeing the switch inside Number Six flip is dramatic perfection.

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