‘The Girl Who Was Death’ is an unusual bit of television by any standards, even the superlatively weird ones of ‘The Prisoner’. Completely adrift of any continuity, hallucinatory and disjointed, set outside the Village and mostly played for laughs, the episode is, nonetheless, bloody good telly, and one of the most genuinely entertaining of the series.
Originally written as a ‘Danger Man’ episode, ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ is a wild fantasy that parodies the idea of the super capable agent up against equally deadly foes, but also provides some excellently thought out sequences that would grace any serious espionage drama.
It’s all very psychedelic (in the British sense of slightly frightening whimsy, rather than the American sense of losing your mind and going to a different dimension), and has a joyously ramshackle feel to it, a sort of thrown together quality no doubt caused by McGoohan’s absence for some of the filming (he was away making ‘Ice Station Zebra’, Howard Hughes’ favourite film), and the requirement to use stand ins and back projection to make up for it.
This is an episode of great ‘bits’, and Justine Lord, as the slinky white clad assassin, is a memorable and deadly addition to the ever changing cast. In the end analysis, ‘The Girl Who was Death’ isn’t exactly a ‘Prisoner’ episode, but it’s isn’t exactly anything else, and that’s what makes it so great.