If you’re like me and I know I am, you may have felt that the first season of a show like A Series Of Unfortunate Events needed more of series star Neil Patrick Harris singing. The episode ends with that very event. Of course, the rest of the main cast also sing different parts. Well, I’m not sure about Klaus. Violet certainly does. Sunny can whistle. But yeah, Olaf, Violet, Lemony Snicket, and Mr. Poe all sing a song basically reminding the audience that this story will not have a happy ending, so stop hoping for one.
But say, apparently Lemony Snicket is a wanted fugitive. Does it have something to do with the fact the love of his life is dead? Maybe. We’ll just have to wait and see. You know, provided Netflix renews the show (they did). Snicket does provide some insight into what seeing things in black and white means, and goes on to say what a terrible newspaper Mr. Poe’s wife runs, and of course she’s the one out looking for the Baudelaires because her husband’s job is on the line. Why is a banker doing this again?
But in the meantime, how do Violet, Sunny, and Klaus escape the mill, Count Olaf in drag, and the evil optometrist Georgina Orwell? Well, here’s the thing. Klaus has been hypnotized, and he does bring a very dangerous machine down on the leg of the most optimistic man in the mill, crushing it (but he’s fine because of his perennial optimism if nothing else). Something brings Klaus out of it, and that’s what leads the Baudelaires to team up. Violet and Klaus tend to work well together, and Sunny contributes where she can if something involving chewing comes up.
Looking around Orwell’s place shows poor Charles being put under to do awful things to the Baudelaires so Sir will agree to let “Shirley St. Ives,” or as we know her “Surely Count Olaf,” to adopt the kids. And while the orphans are working together, Orwell and Olaf are driving each other nuts and tearing their partnership apart at the exact same time. Klaus, while free from the hypnosis, knows hypnosis needs a trigger word and release word. And yes, Sir has been having his workers hypnotized so they will never leave the mill, work for gum and coupons, and generally be more or less happy to do something hard for nothing.
Times are desperate, so Violet needs to act while Klaus is under and about to saw Charles in half with a big buzzsaw. Quick thinking gets Violet to realize “fire” is the release word for Charles, but not Klaus. The bad guys bicker some more, and she manages to get on a loud speaker to wake up the other mill workers. “Fire” was their release word too. And those people are rather angry.
What was Klaus’ release word? “Inordinant”. Most kids wouldn’t know that word, but most kids aren’t the bookworms the Baudelaires are. And while Orwell is holding Sunny hostage, she accidentally steps into a blast furnace and dies, letting Sunny fly safely into Violet’s arms. Olaf gets away, swearing off future partnerships, Sir runs for his life from angry workers, Charles lets the Baudelaires know their parents had put out the fire in town, not started it, and while we get more hints that Olaf and Orwell had something to do with whatever secret society Ma and Pa Baudelaire were running, that’s all we get. Mr. Poe’s job is saved, and he’s taking the children to a boarding school. They have some classmates of note: two of the Quagmires. Their mansion also mysteriously burned down, and both the Baudelaires and the Quagmires have the same spyglass.
And…cue the song.
A Series of Unfortunate Events turned out to be rather fun. It was rough writing about since so much of the pleasure came from word play, but it was fun. Season One deserves a good eight and a half out of ten streaming TV service references.
But it’s that time again: to announce a new show to cover. I’m working far ahead, so while my one or two readers (hi, Jimmy!) may not notice a missed beat, I’m taking a short break until the next thing starts. What will it be? Why, the TV version of a Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods.
We’re getting a divine Ian McShane. What could possibly go wrong?