We're ahead of schedule, as I took a look at next episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events today with episode three of season one titled 'The Reptile Room, Part One'
THE TALE OF THE BAUDELAIRES
I thought this was a very even episode, establishing everything needed to show what could be a very positive ending for Violet, Klaus and Sunny, with solid performances all around from the cast
Covering the first half of the Lemony Snicket book of the same name that I never read, The Reptile Room part 1 sees the Baudelaires placed in the care of their Uncle Doctor Montgomery ‘Monty’ Montgomery, a herpetologist (he studies snakes… why did it have to be snakes), who was their parents intended guardian for them in case anything was to happen to them… and I can see why, he’s a fairly normal dude, very likeable and pleasant, who is quite happy to take care of his extended family. Since he’s well off financially he has no interests in the fortune they will inherit when Violet comes of age, and for all intents and purposes this could’ve been a nice happy ending for our heroes...
But then Count Olaf comes around, pretending to be a new assistant named Stephano sent to help Monty, even though he has not called for a replacement of his last assistant Gustav, who I believe was the same one killed at the end of The Bad Beginning after helping Mr. Poe’s assistant Jacquelyn get free from a team that Olaf’s theater troupe tied her too. While Monty can see that Olaf as disguise, he believes him to be a spy sent by rivals in the world of herpetology , he does actually act on it, wanting to keep an eye at him at first and then firing him after Olaf’s pale old twin ladies try to abduct him… unfortunately, the episode ends with Monty entering his reptile room and its implied he’s attacked and killed… well not implied, we are told that, but we don’t see by whom but its safe to assume it’s Olaf.
Beyond this the story of this episode a lot of filling in of the gaps are found, that Monty and the Baudelaires parents grew up together and Olaf was indeed around as well (taking a picture of them locked in a grand piano), and the hedges around Monty’s house form an eye pattern that matches Olaf’s ankle tatoo… and that he goes to the movies to search for secret messages in the subtitles using a special telescope that can decode them, telling him to take the kids and get them to Peru (where it turns out the Baudelaires parents are), Monty acts on this and it turns out whatever the connection is, there are those looking to keep the kids safe from harm.
Things about this episode I like, is well I like the character of Monty, he’s very much a kindre spirit to the Baudelaire Trio , actually finding a soft food that Sunny likes to eat (marshmellow), and that Klaus is being very cautious about the entire situation since his parents never told him or his sisters about Monty, his skepticism being something Monty can admire. The attention to detail to create Monty’s home and the Reptile room is perfect is just amazing… and at the movie Monty takes them took, Klaus notices that an actress looks familiar (looked like Jacquelyn Mr. Poe’s assistant)
As far as individual performances goes, I thought Aasif Mandvi was great as Monty, since this episode was all about establishing his character and getting it to connect with the audience, he had a lot to get over so that when the character is killed off, the viewers would go ‘man that really sucks, he’s such a cool dude!’