Even though this series foretells a gloomy and unsatisfying ending to this show (and they’re kind of right), it’s amazing how Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events wraps up Season 1 with a return to form, highlighting all that was good about the pilot while also addressing some of the complaints I raised before. How considerate of them to forecast a fat twenty-something blogger’s objections regarding a kids’ TV Show, I suppose. I’ll keep up the “parents are still alive WTF?” rant from the first review post I made, but let’s be clear and vague both: I underestimated this series, and I was wrong in my previous appraisal concerning that subplot.
The Miserable Mill recounts the episode where the Baudelaires work at a lumber factory and strive to escape from, in addition to the usual suspects, a sinister hypnotist with an allusion instead of a name. Serendipitously timely allusion too, if bestseller lists are to be believed. The fourth book of the series acted as a middle chapter, and this season finale can’t escape that fact save for some foreshadowing that also wraps up the season’s subplots. Of the books, The Miserable Mill was overall inconsequential and remains one of my least-loved in the series… hence why I love this episode. There’s so much good in this plot that I forgot about! Phil, the optimist in the midst of a woeful environment, charms without grating and without being any less dumb than the other adults. Count Olaf and his henchmen know when to stay in the shadows and when to bring out the hilarious antics that sometimes wore thin in previous episodes. I didn’t mention this element before, but the shots where Violet ties her hair with a ribbon are fantastic— the blocking, camera angles, and music all turn an idiosyncratic motion into a moment akin to Bruce Wayne putting on the Batsuit. Like I said, this episode isn’t much of an ending to anything… though as a series’ continuation, it’s inspiring in a way the season’s final scene would deny.
So, as a whole? Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events starts great, and then spins its wheels a bit for Part 2 and Part 3 before ending on a high note. The show takes some liberties with the books, as expected, but those changes help bolster a faithful undertaking. Show the series to your kids, and you might find yourself watching too… though you really should look away.
For no relevant reason, I shall close with a song.