Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events”: The Wide Window (Review)

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Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf playing Jim Carrey as Sean Connery

It’s another day, another unfortunate episode in the life of the Baudelaires… only this time (sooner than expected), the formula’s breaking up a bit. There’s a subtle, but crucial difference between the book and Netflix endings for The Wide Window. The show, at least in the first two episodes, portrays the orphans as more proactive and uncompromising (though they should probably learn to keep their mouths shut when talking to Count Olaf). I’m interested in where the plot goes next season, because it’s in that point in the books where the Baudelaires break away from the adults’ cycle of stupidity. Wide Window (the book) ends with a “here we go again” sense of pace; I don’t imagine the next episode will be like that.

 

More so than the other episodes, Part 3 feels like filler. There are more Vapid, Foolish Detectives acting behind the scenes, more clues taken from the Baudelaires as soon as they find them, more Olaf schemes with very few differences from the last one. Where this episodes stands out is the setting. Not only is this off-season beach town equal parts gloomy, ironic, bitter, and gross, but the trio have to undergo a hurricane, a collapsing house, an escape plan involving eating food that causes hives, and overacting. I’m not sure if the books emphasized this point, but the Netflix series encourages hope for the next guardian, only to snatch that hope right as you run up to it. This is the kind of series Lucy would read to Charlie Brown.

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Wouldn’t you rather read a comic strip about a happy little elf?

Not much to say about this fourth of the season, except that everyone blurts out their lines and I like how Aunt Josephine receives more development in personality than just being neurotic. I hope the show runners realize that this book series (or the first half, at least) can be more than an ironclad equation.

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2 thoughts on “Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events”: The Wide Window (Review)

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