A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 3 x 5, The Grim Grotto, Part 2

Last week we left the Baudelaire orphans in a tight place – inside a submarine, where every bit of space counts but also in Count Olaf’s clutches and Sunny in a helmet is filled with the Medusoid Mycellium. Even worse, the submarine remains tightly clutched Olaf’s mechanical octopus. Olaf, meanwhile, also feels like he’s in a tight place with the family he accidentally created. Carmelita Spatts, gleefully played by Kitana Turnbull, bugs Olaf without completely ridiculous requests. His girlfriend, Esme, certainly doesn’t help matters. Don’t question why a mechanized submarine needs oar slaves like a late medieval galley.

The Baudelaires end up in the brig (“The pirate word for jail”). Hooky gets sent in to torture the orphans and, along with his friendship with Sunny, a surprising knowledge of the Medusoid Mycellium comes to light. Hooky helps lead the Baudelaire escape from the Carmelita.

Violet helps the snow scouts revolt with a surprisingly simple invention for her. It works, even though it’s not real impressive and solves two problems. It doesn’t simply leave the snow scouts’ fate ambiguous – a word which here means unfinished – as the books do, and it fulfills the quota that Violet must invent something. In the confusion, the Baudelaires make it back to the Queequeg.

Fiona helps the Baudelaires research an antidote to the Mycellium which says that they can use horseradish to dilute it. The Baudelaires skim through the submarine most of the jokes that the book has more time to make – such as an observation that everyone always has tarragon because it’s rarely used. They substitute it with wasabi.

Olaf detains Hooky by bonding with him over not impressing their parents. It also gives Olaf a chance to tell the fourth wall about the effect that the Medusoid Mycellium can have on the plot. Hooky leaves, telling Olaf that he will let the Queequeg loose from the grip of the Carmelita per Olaf’s orders.

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Photo credit: Eike Schroter/Netflix. Photo source: Netflix.

Back aboard the Q, the Baudelaires seal up the fungus in a diving helmet and give it as a present to Fiona, as if she didn’t already know where it was. Fiona insists on waiting rather than bolting from Olaf’s clutches right away. (Even though they haven’t disengaged yet? The ship is still stuck in the octopus’s tentacles.) Meanwhile, Hooky appears on the ship and Fiona gives him a hug and calls him by his real name, Fernald. Klaus tells the camera that Fiona must be volatile when he realizes that Fernald is her older brother, in another book callback lobbed half-heartedly at the audience. Coming from Klaus, it actually sounds hypocritical – a word which here means that one character who spends two seasons following his sisters around doing ridiculous stuff for them, really shouldn’t be surprised when other characters do the same thing.

The Baudelaires distrust Fernald, for obvious reasons, though Fernald alludes to horrible deeds done by VFD as well as by Count Olaf. Fernald informs the Baudelaires that Anwhistle Aquatics had been making weapons. Fernald points that no organization does completely good or evil things, and that, in his own way, Olaf has been a good friend to him. This philosophical debate gets interrupted by Olaf’s arrival. Olaf feels betrayed by Fernald, and almost kills him, revealing that he, too, felt some kind of friendship for the hook-handed man. However, Fernald is saved by Fiona’s “betrayal” when she gives Olaf the sealed helmet with the fungus. She gives the Baudelaires one final chance to escape, which they do, landing up on Briny Beach, back where they started.

This episode Fernald finally took an opportunity to defy Count Olaf in favor of his sister. He also paused to point out the deeper conflict that motivates Count Olaf. Fernald, who doesn’t return until a cameo scene in the finale, had all the highlights of this episode. However, where the book featured a more distraught Fiona, this episode made verbal references to her treachery and volatile nature, but Fiona’s actions seemed anything but. While it’s good to clear these character arcs since they won’t be back, the Baudelaires and Count Olaf’s misfortunes feel rather suspended. We shall return to the plight of the Baudelaires and Count Olaf with  the next book in series next week, The Penultimate Peril.

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Author: Aaron Heil

Follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronJamHeil or see all the different stuff he's into on Goodreads.

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