"Arrival" is the title of the first episode of the British science fiction-allegorical series, The Prisoner. It originally aired in the UK on ITV on October 1, 1967 and was first broadcast in the United States on CBS in the summer of 1968.
The man — whose real name is never revealed — drives away, unaware that a hearse is following. Meanwhile, the camera shows the man's face on his ID card being stamped with a row of XXX. This card is sent away on a conveyor belt to a records room and is dropped into a filing cabinet drawer which is marked "RESIGNED".
The man arrives home and enters his flat; he starts quickly packing a suitcase, tossing a few travel brochures on top and slamming the case shut. Outside, a tall individual dressed as an undertaker, emerges from the hearse and approaches the man's front door.
The man does not notice the gas entering through the keyhole into his apartment until it is too late. His vision begins to swirl and he collapses onto a chesterfield.
He awakens sometime later, apparently still in his apartment. Groggily, he gets up and goes to the window. But instead of seeing the familiar London street, he sees an Italian-style courtyard surrounded by Roman-style columns and ancient looking buildings. He is now a prisoner of The Village.
With a few exceptions, each episode of The Prisoner begins with this opening sequence (although here it contains several shots that are not seen in any other episodes; see Notes).
Returning to the place where he awoke — inside it is a near-perfect replica of his London flat — he sees that the numeral 6 has now been attached to a sign outside. The phone rings when he enters and the newly christened No. 6 is invited to the Green Dome to visit with No. 2.
No. 2 turns out to be a kindly man, a bureaucrat who is apparently only interested in doing a double check as to No. 6's motives for resigning from an unidentified (but undeniably British) organization (presumably of the spying variety). "Co-operate and this can be a very nice place," he says. No. 6 learns that The Village has been spying on him for some time and has a complete dossier on him already — but No. 2 will not say which side runs The Village. During his visit with No. 2, No. 6 first meets the Butler (Angelo Muscat), who represents "the little man". He is a short servant who never speaks and who, as the series progresses, turns out to be just about the only constant in The Village besides No. 6 himself.
No. 2 takes No. 6 on a tour, and describes The Village as a place where former agents come to either retire or be debriefed. There is no escape, and to illustrate this, No. 2 activates Rover, a roaring, balloon-like "creature", or machine, that envelopes a rebellious Villager, leaving nothing behind.
After this unsettling tour, No. 6 makes his first escape attempt on foot, but is soon captured by Rover who, fortunately, does not kill No. 6 this time.
No. 6 awakes in The Hospital where he finds Cobb, a former colleague, who has also been incarcerated. Cobb is not very useful as a source of information and, moments before No. 6 returns from a brief interrogation, jumps out the window to his death.
No. 6 leaves the hospital and is forced to wear a Villager's costume as his old clothes have supposedly been burnt. The first thing he removes is the identity badge (with an image of a Penny-farthing bicycle — the Village's insignia) identifying him as No. 6. Except on rare occasions, No. 6 will never wear such a badge again.
No. 6 storms up to the Green Dome to confront No. 2, only to discover that it is now a different man. No. 2 can be and is replaced from time to time, for reasons not explained. This No. 2 is a colder individual, less friendly towards No. 6.
Later, No. 6 observes the funeral service for Cobb and sees a beautiful young woman following behind the funeral procession. He confronts her and learns that she was Cobb's lover. At a later rendezvous she reveals that she and Cobb were working on an escape plan and she promises to help No. 6 escape. The Prisoner is suspicious when he sees her visiting with No. 2. But she claims her intentions are honourable and she gives No. 6 an electropass, a modified wristwatch designed to stave off Rover and allow access to the Village's helicopter. The girl refuses to accompany No. 6.
The Prisoner makes his way to the helicopter pad and uses the electropass to keep Rover at bay as he boards the vehicle. He takes off, but unknown to him he is being observed by No. 2. A technician takes control of the helicopter via remote control and soon No. 6 is back in the Village.
The girl's true motives are left a mystery (she is never seen again), but before No. 2 can deal with No. 6, he first has to dismiss his latest successful "conversion" — Cobb. As Cobb leaves, he tells No. 2 he "mustn't keep my new masters waiting" and warns that No. 6 "will be a tough nut to crack". The last words No. 2 and Cobb exchange are "Au revoir" and "Auf wiedersehen", idioms of farewell in French and German which literally refer to vision, as "Be seeing you" does. It is also left ambiguous if Cobb's use of German indicates his (new?) loyalties.
The episode ends with a defeated No. 6 leaving the helicopter pad, as the Butler passes a sign that says "Residents Only."