May 23, 2024

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A Series Of Unfortunate Events “The Penultimate Peril Part One”

Season Three, Episode Five.

Huh.  Lemony Snicket wasn’t just a narrator.

Yes, on the way to the Hotel Denouement, we see a young Lemony Snicket, someone who was on the run as he himself was wanted for as-yet unspecified crimes.  And as Kit brings the Baudelaires to the Hotel, the Last Safe Place, where the remaining members of the V.F.D. were all summoned by someone known only as “J.S.”  Who is J.S.?  Well, it isn’t Jacques Snicket.  He’s dead.

Count Olaf also got an invitation.  And if you were hoping to see how Fiona and Fernald were going to rescue the Snow Scouts…well, that happens off-screen as Olaf, Esme, and Carmelita were standing on the beach the Baudelaires left the last time, so Fiona and Fernald just swipe the sub with the orphan scouts on it.

So, here’s the deal:  the Baudelaires need to go undercover in the Hotel and figure out who J.S. is.  There’s a problem.  The managers are a pair of identical twins, Frank and Ernest Denouement.  Frank is a friend.  Ernest is evil.  Who’s who?  I don’t know.  They’re played by the same actor in the same clothes, and if you ask one if he’s Frank or Ernest, he says, “Yes.”

Man, that sucks.

Oh, and there’s a third brother.  Dewey.  He’s Kit’s boyfriend and the father of her child.  They’re planning on leaving the V.F.D. and going off on their own when this whole case is settled.

So, once inside the Hotel, each of the Baudelaires goes off somewhere to see who J.S. is.  Violet finds Esme and Carmelita, but she has her face hidden by towels, so they don’t see her.  They mention a J.S.

Klaus finds Babs from the Hostile Hospital and Jerome Squalor.  Oh, and Count Olaf posing as Jacques Snicket.  Babs and Jerome were both invited by J.S.  And Olaf just missed Klaus.

Sunny finds…the useless Mr. Poe.  His missing secretary was also a J.S.  He decides to hire Sunny as a new secretary for some reason.  And then Olaf shows up, but he can’t take Sunny in front of Poe in the hotel restaurant, where yes, Larry is the waiter.

Larry dies this episode when Olaf and Ernest dump him into a cook pot from the looks of things.

Well, the Baudelaires never quite figure out which brother is which, but they did discover Dewey, who revealed the Hotel’s secret.

It’s built over the V.F.D.’s library.  Or, more accurately, the Hotel’s reflecting pool is, thus protecting it from fire.  There’s some talk about the Sugar Bowl, and the Schism.  But what is the Schism?  I still don’t know.  Olaf at one point actually loses his temper and yells at Esme over her obsession with the Sugar Bowl, and even telling Carmelita to shut up.  That was when I started to wonder if Olaf really was the hero of the series.

Of course, he was threatening Dewey with a harpoon gun.  And when the Baudelaires try to get him to give it up because he really doesn’t want to kill Dewey…the gun drops, it goes off, and Mr. Poe saw it.  So, yeah, probably more murder charges against the Baudelaires.


J.S. shows up.  It’s Justice Straus, who offers to give the orphans a home after she does what she really set out to do:  take down Olaf.  That’s why she invited so many of the surviving characters, and why she was actually gathering evidence of Olaf’s wrongdoing.

And so was Mr. Poe.

I still think he’s useless.

Anyway, the episode ends with the crows flying in with the sugar bowl, the discovery of Dewey’s body, and Lemony Snicket finally showing up to offer his own help.  Maybe.

He’s an adult, and no matter how self-aware the story gets at this point, with Kit even suggesting adults are kinda useless in this world, well, adults are kinda useless in this world.