Well, we’ve reached the end of the road for this series, one where a happy ending would seem a bit out-of-place given the frequent warnings that the tales being told are full of woe and lead to nothing good or happy.
And yet…we get a happy ending all the same, an arguably well-deserved one.
Yes, after all this time, three seasons worth as Sunny helpfully points out at one point, we come to, well, the end. And true, it may not answer every question out there (most notably the fate of all the reoccurring characters left inside the burning Hotel Denouement at the end of the previous two-parter), but we actually see some happy endings for the Quagmires, the Widdershenses, and even Olaf’s acting troop. We get the origin of the V.F.D, we learn what was inside the Sugar Bowl, what caused the schism, and why the V.F.D. was founded in the first place and by whom. Count Olaf finally pays for his crimes with his life, but not before both giving his ultimate motive (every parental figure he’s ever had abandoned him in some way, making him a metaphorical orphan many times over), and doing one good deed in saving a dying, pregnant Kit’s life.
And yes, the fungus comes into play, as does the Incredibly Deadly Viper, the speargun, and even Olaf’s boat. The Baudelaires learn more about their parents, and ultimately, having good parents, even if they leave you too soon, is the thing a person needs in this weird world of Unfortunate Events.
Heck, dour narrator Lemony Snicket even gets a happy ending when Kit’s daughter Beartice Baudelaire II tracks him down at the end of the episode (and she’s seen off and on from the very beginning of the episode) to tell him what happened to the Baudelaire orphans in the end, and to give him a smile, a story, and some family of his own. Does it solve his whole “being wanted by the police” thing? Not really. But it was still a happy ending all the same. I mean, this is a series aimed at kids. Giving them a dour ending where everyone dies miserably is probably not going to happen.
So, what can I say about A Series of Unfortunate Events as a whole? It was creative in its approach, a surreal version of reality where the show seemed to rarely hide the fact that many of the backgrounds were probably greenscreens. It was self-referential, full of meta-commentary on the nature of the medium producing it, and full of the sort of clever wordplay I generally like. True, many of the performances were generally of a rather flat and uniform delivery style, but that was a stylistic choice for the show itself, and I cannot disapprove of that. Only Neil Patrick Harris’ scenery-chewing Count Olaf really broke that mold on one side, with only the older Baudelaires Violet and Klaus showing much in the way of more genuine compassion for others, and Sunny doesn’t mostly because she’s too young. But this was a series that readily commented on how much Sunny grew between seasons, so I’m fine with that.
What does the end bring for the Baudelaires? They literally sail off and, we’re told by Beatrice II, continue having more adventures like the ones they’ve been having all along minus Count Olaf and disguises so thin even a child can (eventually) see through them. Will we ever see those? Probably not, but I’m fine with that. This was a genuinely fun and delightful series, highly appropriate for all ages, and one I’d gladly recommend to just about anyone. Plus, NPH sings. That guy has some good pipes on him. 9 out of 10 handy apples.
But now we need something else for Mondays, and something did come back, so given the behind-the-scenes turmoil, let’s see how much of a train wreck American Gods turned into.
I mean, we still have master swearword enthusiast Ian McShane, so that’s gotta be worth something at least.