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I regret to inform you, dear reader, that this recap of the A Series of Unfortunate Events episode “The Wide Window: Part Two,” has spoilers in the beginning, spoilers at the end, and very few moments of non-spoilage in between. Should you prefer to be surprised, it is suggested that you navigate–which in this case means “browse elsewhere”–away from this page, to something happier, like a Jessica Chobot video.

Continuing the pattern set by “The Reptile Room,” “The Wide Window: Part Two” features Neil Patrick Harris singing the final verse of the theme song in-character as Count Olaf’s latest alias, and hearing him sing as more-or-less-Sean-Connery makes me want Harris to star in a James Bond musical, like, immediately.

I don’t want Aunt Josephine to die–her grammar-obsessive ways warm my editorial heart–but I know she must. Let us enjoy her just a little longer. “It can’t be that you have nothing better to do…It can’t be that you are interested in watching them suffer,” said Lemony, to kick things off, but boy, does he overestimate the general public.

Poe remained as gleefully stupid as ever, yet surprisingly came up with one good idea: comparing the apparent suicide note to Josephine’s actual handwriting elsewhere. It matched…but it was full of grammar and spelling errors, which should have been a huge red flag, except that in this world, huge red flags and their attached flagpoles could be used to bludgeon grown-ups to death before they’d even notice their presence.

Sunny is such a smiley baby that I hope the DVD set has all the outtakes of her screaming. I cannot imagine how many takes were needed to have her sit up straight beside an actual house of cards.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

NETFLIX JOKE! “Imagination’s all well and good for children’s books or digital entertainment, but this is real life.”

Love Poe inadvertently equating disguises with grammatical errors as “dire accusations.” Especially when he’s prepared to sign over custody of the children to a fake sailor he has only just met over the phone, telling him he wanted to buy a knife as a surprise for some kids. Lemony’s subsequent description of how a venus flytrap plant works was, while pointless, an excellent bit of scene-chewing by Patrick Warburton.

Okay, seriously, Netflix, you need to be making “Anxious Clown” restaurant T-shirts, at the very least. And now we know that the proprietor, who has a connection to the Baudelaire parents and their secrets, is named Larry. [Everybody, on three: “IS THIS SOMETHING YOU CAN SHARE WITH THE REST OF US, AMAZING LARRY?”] His description of the Extra Fun Special Family Appetizer–“It’s a bunch of things fried up together and served with a sauce”–is pretty much my own default order at any chain restaurant. Captain Sham slowly repeating the appetizer name in his Connery voice might have just been the best thing ever today. Sham’s constant repetition of obvious lies that can be easily checked reminds me of some politicians, but I’ll leave it to you readers to decide which ones. Point is, he could probably run for office. Maybe he does later in the series; I haven’t read all the books, and they’re changing some things anyhow.

“Cheer-up Cheeshburgersh for everyone, LARRY!”–Harris is so on-point here it’s ridiculous. Literally.


“McCarthyesque accusations” is a weird reference. Not one kids will get, and adults will wonder how exactly McCarthyism would work in this world where transparently obvious disguises fool everyone except children. One imagines that any communists in this alt-universe America’s state department could go unnoticed simply by wearing Groucho Marx mustache glasses.

I was wondering why Captain Sham drinks fuzzy navels, and it just hit me. Naval/navel. Duh. Anyway, remember how I said that allergy to peppermints would be important? (Side note: must suck trying to buy toothpaste that has no mint in it.) Here it provided a handy excuse for the Baudelaires to make themselves sick and get sent home, all while Poe told a hilariously boring story about buying milk.

Another pasta puttanesca callback! The villains must have genuinely liked the orphans’ cooking.

The parents somehow managed to make a telephone call from a biplane, and are about to fly into an incoming hurricane. This is the first time we’ve seen them in the middle of an episode rather than just the end, so the subplot is definitely thickening. Meanwhile, the kids realized the grammar errors in the suicide note were a secret code pointing to Curdled Cave…just in time for part of the house to break off and do some tilting back and forth, Charlie Chaplin-type gags. A mysterious family photo was revealed, and then the house collapsed into the lake.

Lake Lachrymose, Curdled Cave, Fickle Ferry…Lavender Lighthouse? One of these things be not like the other. As the kids steal a boat to sail through the hurricane to the cave, I’m starting to notice that they wear color-coded outfits: always yellow, red, and blue. But it’s not consistent: Violet wore blue in the first two episodes and Klaus red, but they’ve switched now, and will stay switched for the rest of the season.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Aunt Josephine was alive and well in the cave, but her big plan was simply to live there forever. Which wasn’t going to work, as the cave was up for sale, and Josephine has a phobia of real-estate agents; a more effective deterrent than Violet’s speech about overcoming fear, which was essentially an unironic South Park “I learned something today” lesson.

So, the family photo found in the tilting house is from Lucky Smells Lumber Mill, and features Uncle Monty, Aunt Josephine, the parents, and yes, Lemony Snicket himself. And the mill itself is where the next story arc happens. But enough about that when there are some seriously fearsome leeches attacking. I would watch an entire movie of these critters attacking Lake Achrymose tourists, a la Slither.

NETFLIX JOKE AGAIN! “Let’s all close our eyes as if we’re watching some onscreen entertainment that’s too scary for people our age!”

The parents flying overhead were able to help set a signal fire using binocular lenses (ironically, something like this is probably how their house burned down), but clueless as to the identities of the people in the boat, and equally clueless that the ferry picking them up was not benevolent. Nonetheless, with the engine of the (kinda Wes Anderson-y deliberate-fake looking) biplane crapping out, they had their own problems, to be continued next week. The “rescue” boat was, of course, commandeered by Count Olaf who, after all this drama, simply pushed Josephine overboard. With the jig up, the Captain Sham voice was done.

I want a GIF of that final, defiant Alfre Woodard “You made a serious grammatical error!” Just to send to some fellow writers sometimes. And thank you, Lemony, for your articulate explanation of how adding the prefix “sch-” to anything makes it a dismissive form. Josephine may not have approved of that as grammar, but I can let it slide.

Wait, so all this time Sunny could have saved the day by chewing through his peg leg? Why did she wait? Poe was finally convinced, but rather than be placed with someone new, the kids hopped on the back of a truck to Lucky Smells Lumber Mill. We’re about to enter previously uncharted territory.

Can NPH top Captain Sham as a disguise? Will the parents finally show up in the last two episodes of the season to confront him? Now that the three books which were also adapted as a movie are done, how did the new version compare? Let us know your thoughts below!

Images: Netflix



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