A Series of Unfortunate Events, 3 x 6, “The Penultimate Peril, Part 2”

As we begin the end of the end for the Baudelaires, we find Lemony Snicket… at the opera, with Esme, Kit and Olaf. They lampshade Lemony’s penchant to define words – hoping it’s a phase. But Kit and Olaf clearly are at this opera as a couple. And Olaf used to be friends with Jacques! A man with a suspiciously Olaf-like unibrow – Olaf’s real father – gives a speech about fire safety. Also, THAT’S what Beatrice looks like.

The Baudelaires, showing caution that they did not last episode, choose to not get into the car with a complete stranger. Lemony makes an honest effort but only sabotages himself in his efforts to convince the Baudelaires that they need to run. Meanwhile, Carmelita uses a slingshot and a rock that Violet’s occasionally played with at Briny Beach to kill the crow carrying the Sugar Bowl. The bowl drops down a chute somewhere on the Hotel Grounds.

Justice Strauss tries so hard to convince all the nitwits who have encountered the Baudelaires not to panic. Frank detains Olaf. For convenience’s sake (not much of a denouement), they decide to hold a trial in the lobby. Everyone wears blindfolds. Jerome and Esme face off, which ends up with Jerome just kind of snivelling. Everyone takes off their blindfolds. We can’t see the High Court judges because they are located too high to be sure, but fans of the books will recall that it’s simply the Man With A Beard But No Hair and the Woman With Hair But No Beard.

The Baudelaires testify in court, recapping the series. Actually, the blindfolds are kind of pointless. The sequences with the blindfolds take forever and the jokes fall pretty much flat. Klaus points out that removing and putting the blindfolds back doesn’t make any sense, but like much of the dialogue in this episode, everyone ignores it. The trial continues on, Olaf seemingly tears apart the orphans’ case, until his testimony breaks back to the flashback from the beginning.

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Kit and Olaf together? What now? Photo source: Netflix. Photo by Eike Schroter.

Beatrice and Esme argue about what should be done with the sugar bowl. “I prefer my drama without unmotivated musical numbers,” said the Tony Award-winning actor in the funniest joke of the episode. The flashback reveals that Count Olaf’s father was killed in the crossfire as Esme and Beatrice threw poisoned darts at each other. Back in the courtroom, everyone starts gagging from sausages that Camelita and Esme have served as snacks. Everyone thinks they’re delicious until Esme reveals that the sausages are made with crow… and that’s it. Nothing else wrong with them. Justice Strauss wants to keep the trial focused on the Baudelaires with a series of fourth-wall breaking references.  

The judges make the Baudelaires plead instead of Count Olaf, and then Olaf kidnaps Justice Strauss. The Baudelaires, after a nod to the book’s long section of ambiguous dialogue, follow Olaf and Justice Strauss down to the laundry room. Poor Justice Strauss blames herself for everything. Count Olaf, enraged to find that the sugar bowl isn’t in the laundry room, completes an oddly fulfilling arc where he decides that no one will keep down again, after he poisons the entire hotel.

Sunny makes the brazen suggestion to burn down the hotel. Olaf loves the idea, not realizing that Sunny’s fire will act as a diversion to save people from the Medusoid Mycellium that Olaf plans to unleash. No one seems to believe the Baudelaires – including Esme and Carmelita who probably die horribly because they run to the laundry room where the fire started. Justice Strauss makes one last desperate plea for the Baudelaires to come live with her, but the Baudelaires get the sail safely off the roof with another awesome drag chute.

Where has Kit been this whole time? She got attacked by the Great Unknown while driving the Queequeg. Meanwhile in another flashback, Lemony declares, for the viewers who haven’t figured it out yet, that he loves Beatrice. Since most characters will never see the Baudelaires again, we’re treated to another Olaf song/montage of Lemony’s evidence.

So, this episode had a lot of loose ends to tie up. Basically, everyone had to get through the trial, which could have been handled better, though I must admit that it was a low point in the books as well. Olaf comes full circle, after the emotional ride he went on last episode, back to the evil villain we all know and hate. Hopefully, the next episode, the final episode, will feature the Baudelaires closing their arcs as separate characters instead being treated as one person like they have been since Grim Grotto, Part 2. Next week, it all concludes with the thirteenth book, aptly titled, The End.

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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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