|The Prisoner arrives. The Prisoner is tortured and tries to escape. The Prisoner escapes. End of season, end of story.|
Well, no. But as a mini-series, it's not a more complicated then that.
Most episodes break down into one of three overlapping categories:
Escape: Number Six tries to escape the Village.
Torture: The Village authorities try to break Number Six and force him to explain why he resigned.
Insurrection: Number Six amuses himself by trying to undermine the Village authorities.
The only real exceptions to these are "Arrival," where much of the time is spent establishing the rules of the games, and "Fall Out," where Patrick McGoohan presents his diatribe on freedom and rebellion.
Throughout the season, McGoohan explores the issues of the 60s: modern art, politics, Skinner behaviorism, computers, learning vs. indoctrination, reaction to authority, youth vs. the elderly, McCarthyism, authorities suffering from paranoid caused by their own institutions, pacifism, and theater of the mind. The series ends with a tour de force of the forms of rebellion.
Along the way there are more straightforward action/spy pieces like "Chimes," "A, B, and C," "Many Happy Returns," and "Do Not Forsake Me." "Dance of the Dead" has the trappings of the genre, but it aspires toward surrealism.
The most noticeable issue is the difference between the first thirteen episodes filmed, and the remaining four without Script Editor George Markstein. In those episodes, McGoohan moves outside of the confines of the Village to do a body swap and travels to Switzerland, a Western, a Bond-style spy movie, and the finale set in an underground cavern out of a Bond movie. Whether they could have maintained the series another year with the expanded format, or the show was destined to end for one season and was right to do so, is one of those much-debated points.