Previously: Uncle Monty was both dumber and smarter than we expected.
The Reptile Room: Part Two
Marines: Look away, look away!
Lemony says there is no word to describe waking up and knowing instantly that something is wrong. (Dani: Sure there is: “Monday”) (Annie: Truth.) This is what happens to the Baudelaires the morning after we last saw them (bad feeling, not Monday), as they wake up to the sun rising and not thanks to their Uncle Monty.
Klaus wakes up, an iguana hanging out on the bedside table next to his glasses. 100% do not recommend waking up anywhere near an iguana.
Klaus and Violet run downstairs to find Monty. The Reptile Room door is open, explaining the escaped creatures. Inside, they can see that Monty is in his chair, but he’s facing away and he isn’t responding to them. Klaus and Violet walk past the Lemony they can’t see as he tells us that we all know that our time is limited. We’ll all go to sleep one day, never to wake up. We see now, as do the children, that Monty is dead. His face is swollen under an apparent venomous bite.
One second after Klaus wonders how this happened, Olaf appears. He mocks and gloats and points out that obviously Monty was killed by a bite, which they should be able to see on his dead dead face. Violet cries silently in the background and it’s real sad. Another caretaker come and gone. Olaf tells the kids they are going to Peru. Violet says no way, but alas, Olaf has Sunny in a suitcase. As much as we’ve championed a break for Violet’s arms, I’mma have to go ahead and edit that and say that these kids need to carry Sunny around all the time always.
Dani: Somebody buy those kids a Baby Bjorn, pronto.
Annie: Seriously. At the very least, maybe one of those horrible child leashes?
Mari: Horrible, but needed.
Olaf carries his suitcase and his Sunny-case out to the car, the older Baudelaires chasing after him and insisting that he let her go immediately. Olaf reminds him that he’s got a big ass knife and scares them by puncturing one of the suitcases to make “breaking holes” for Sunny. Thankfully, he murders his own suitcase and mostly to intimidate the children, who of course quickly get in the car to prevent any harm coming to their baby sister. Also, they are in their pajamas and once again have to say goodbye to changes of clothes. I know that’s minimal in the grand scheme of things, but I’m just saying that the number of clothes owned by the Baudelaires directly correlates to their present happiness.
Olaf struggles with the gear shift in Monty’s manual car. He delivers his usual “ha ha ha!” while Violet gives her usual, “you can’t do this!” Klaus is surreptitiously checking up on Sunny. Olaf asks who exactly is going to stop his next evil plan, but he’s looking back at the children and not forward at the car coming right at him. The children scream. Olaf veers in time to avoid a head-on collision, but he does drive into a giant snake topiary…? That then crashes into his car and busts the windshield open. Olaf gets out, yelling about the crash. It’s Mr. Poe. (D: I’ve never been so happy to see that incompetent banker …)
Violet runs to Mr. Poe’s side while Klaus grabs Sunny from the suitcase. Olaf puts his glasses and Stephano accent back on and explains that he’s Monty’s new assistant. Klaus says Monty is dead and Olaf-Stephano says he was on his way to fetch a coroner with the children, who were too distraught to be left alone. The kids are like, “no! He was taking us to Peru!” and also “look! He’s count Olaf!” but both of those claims get ignored as they must be very confused after Monty’s death. (D: Never mind.)
They keep insisting that Stephano is Olaf and finally point out that Olaf had a tattoo on his ankle. Mr. Poe asks Stephano to show his ankle, which he does with quite the dramatic flare. But of course, the tattoo is gone.
Olaf-Stephano is like, “hokay time to go,” but in an actual bit of adulting (A: Finally!), Poe says that no one is going anywhere until the police have been called over the death of Monty.
Inside, Olaf calls one of his lackeys. Mr. Poe calls the police department, but they think it’s a prank call because honestly, Montgomery Montgomery?
Outside the Reptile Room, there is a bit of an argument about who will go in and examine the body. Violet suggests Mr. Poe stay with them while Olaf and the nurse go examine the body. Olaf threatens to slap Violet but this doesn’t register at all with the non-murdery adult present.
Now alone, Mr. Poe again apologizes to the children as Monty seemed like an appropriate guardian. The children feelingly say that he was more than appropriate. Much more. Violet begs Mr. Poe not to leave them with Stephano. Mr. Poe is like “OF COURSE NOT. Not without paperwork.” We adults do love our paperwork.
Dani: Just ask Christian Grey.
Annie: The 50 Shades trauma is forever.
Mari: Ew, I take my “we” back.
A scream comes from inside the Reptile Room. The children rush in and Mr. Poe follows. Turns out, Nurse Fake was just startled by a lizard because she didn’t know it was a literal reptile room. Anyway, Olaf says the autopsy is done because apparently everyone present thinks a nurse comes from the coroner’s office to conduct an autopsy on the desk of the deceased and this all happens in 2 minutes. Nurse Fake has determined that Monty died from a snake bite and even managed to “test his blood.” He was killed by the Incredibly Deadly Viper.
Violet and Klaus speak up right away and explain that’s impossible because the Incredibly Deadly Viper is a misnomer Monty picked to scare his friends at the herpetological society. Violet says they can prove the snake is harmless, but its cage is open and the snake is nowhere to be found. Mr. Poe thinks this proves that Monty must’ve left the cage open, leaving the snake free to attack. In his normal voice, Nurse Fake says that’s the problem with trying to tame exotic animals. Klaus asks what Nurse Fake’s name is again and he’s all Doctor, I mean, Nures Fake. Klaus says he can’t understand because of the mask and Nurse Fake rips it off, revealing that he is indeed the Quiet Lackey. Klaus is like A-HA! SEE! But his clever efforts are wasted on idiots.
Olaf-Stephano says the boat to Peru is departing soon, so they should be going. Violet reminds Mr. Poe that they couldn’t possibly be going without the proper paperwork. Mr. Poe agrees and starts to escort the children out, but Olaf-Stephano says they can’t leave with a deadly snake on the loose. That’s funny because LEAVE is the #01 thing that would be on my priority list if a deadly snake were in fact on the loose.
Dani: Right behind you.
Mari: Anyway, Olaf-Stephano says this is a quarantine. He says it very dramatically but nothing happens afterward. We cut to the coroner’s van where the rest of his troupe are playing a card game. Back in the mansion, Olaf-Stephano wiggles around his arm and we hear some static. He pronounces again that this is a quarantine and this time his troupe hears it. They more or less jump into action.
After a bit, they too enter the mansion in disguises. The Hook Handed Man has little plastic hands on and… oof. He’s playing the investigator. He orders around the troupe and the poor, long-suffering Baudelaires are like “HELLO. Olaf’s lackeys in costumes!” Mr. Poe says that’s ridiculous because adults never wear costumes unless they are at a charity ball or they are actors. Klaus deadpans that they ARE actors but that sails above Mr. Poe’s head like every other bit of sense in the world.
Annie: They do such a good job of building the frustration. I’m about ready to shake Mr. Poe, because he will not listen to these children who are all smarter than he is. He is the most useless. #TeamPushPoeOffaCliff
Mari: Also, someone needs to get lost down the Google/YouTube hole of Furries.
Dani: I bet Mr. Poe is a closet Furry, and that’s why he got all defensive and called the notion ridiculous. All that coughing he does is probably from inhaling loose bit of Furry costumes…
Mari: Head canon accepted.
Some of the lackeys start moving Monty’s body out of the house. The Hook Handed Man finds a can of peaches to eat. (For real.) When Klaus and Violet get really worked up over the peaches, Mr. Poe tells them to just go wait upstairs while the adults handle it. Klaus protests, but Violet tells him that they should go. The adults won’t take care of anything, but they will.
As they climb the stairs, they watch as adults in terrible costumes remove the body of their most recent guardian.
Lemony tells us that if we’ve ever been excluded from a conversation because of our age, one that would determine our fate, we know how the Baudelaires feel. We’ve talked a lot in comments about how this story, for all of its ridiculous adults, really does a good job of exaggerating certain childhood experiences– not being believed, being abused or neglected by adults meant to care for you, being condescended to, etc. This is another wonderful little bit of commentary. I do in fact remember being pushed out of rooms and the deep feeling of injustice that followed.
Dani: They almost do too good of a job with this… It’s hard to watch this show when it brings back all that impotent rage we experienced as kids.
Annie: Ayup. This show gives me all the feels. Ragey feels. Sad feels. Want to punch all the people feels.
Dani: So what you’re saying is this show is basically like watching the nightly news, yeah?
Mari: Oh, wow, we are still feeling impotent rage as adults that’s cool.
Upstairs, the Baudelaires pow-wow. They figure that if they can find the Incredibly Deadly Viper and prove how Monty really died, Mr. Poe will be forced to have Olaf arrested. They pause in their scheming to wonder if, had they found some evidence earlier, they could’ve saved Monty. They slip the guilt in there real casual.
Violet asks Klaus if he can find a way back into the Reptile Room. He says he might have a way.
Outside, Lemony says that he has to use the hackneyed phrase, “meanwhile back at the ranch.” He uses it to transition us back to the Reptile Room where the adults are having their adult conversation. It involves the Hook Handed Man saying he’ll use peaches to lure the snake back into the cage. (D: foolproof plan there, buddy.) (A: It’s a miracle these goons have survived in the Reptile Room thus far. #TeamSnakes) HHM is also trying to distract Mr. Poe while eating peaches in his face, allowing Olaf to slip out of the room.
Olaf pulls out his big ass knife in order to check on the orphans, like a murderer. They aren’t in the room, though. Klaus is hanging out of the window. We pan from his shaking arms and nervous face to the labyrinth behind him, complete with statue in the middle. Lemony defines labyrinth for us and says that from his higher vantage point, Klaus notices that it’s in the shape of an eye. Klaus finally lets go and jumps down into the bushes.
The adults are having more ridiculous conversations that really, really should raise some red flags, but don’t.
Inside the journal, Klaus finds a page about the incredibly deadly viper. It also contains the movie ticket from the movie the kids saw with Monty last episode. The message about danger and getting the kids to Peru is on the back. Klaus takes out his eyepiece as he looks up at a portrait of Monty holding an identical one. Klaus also remembers Monty using the eyepiece at the theater. He also remembers that the statue in the middle of the labyrinth is holding an eyepiece. In all this realization, he accidentally drops the eyepiece.
Everyone in the room wonders what that noise is, but they are soon distracted by another noise. They run out of the room to find something very distressing. The frame freezes, though, and Lemony tells us that before we know what they find, it’ll be useful to back this all up and head back upstairs.
This time we see that as Olaf enters with his knife, Violet and Sunny are hiding behind the door. After Olaf comes in and rounds the corner, the girls sneak out. As we watch Violet sneak downstairs, Lemony mentions again how much guilt the kids would harbor over these events across their lives. (A: Sad feels. It’s not your fault, kids!)
Outside, Violet sets Sunny down and ties her hair up. She has Sunny chew a keychain into a shape that she can use to pick the lock on Olaf’s luggage. Violet starts going through it, however, she’s distracted when she realizes that Sunny’s gone. Sunny followed after the Incredibly Deadly Viper, which finally made an appearance. (D: Baby Bjorn, Baby Bjorn, BABY EFFING BJORN.)
And now, Olaf has caught Violet. He tells her he thought she was a nice girl but nice girls don’t break into luggage or something. (A: RAGEY feels. Don’t tell me what ‘nice’ girls do, you murderery pedo-y jerk!) He also says that he was prepared to take all the Baudelaires with him to Peru, but he’ll settle for taking only one of them. IDK it sounded really child rapey to me.
Dani: Every scene where Olaf and Violet are one-on-one has this creepy/rapey vibe to it. Please make it stop.
Mari: Would that I could.
Thankfully, his threats are interrupted by the screeching we heard earlier. Violet uses the distraction to run the heck away from Olaf.
Inside, we see that Sunny is wrapped up in the incredibly deadly viper and having a grand ole time. Mr. Poe freaks the hell out. Seriously, it involves many exclamations and an instance of slapping himself. Klaus comes out of the Reptile Room and reads the entry from Monty’s journal that says that the viper wouldn’t hurt a fly and would make a great family pet. Mr. Poe realizes that it is being rather harmless.
Olaf enters and says that it doesn’t change anything because the Reptile Room is still full of deadly snakes. He starts rattling (heh) some off and Sunny gives a gibberish “a-ha!” because Olaf-Stephano earlier said that he didn’t know anything about snakes. Poe starts to ask for an explanation in between coughing fits. (D: aka Furry-hairball fits.)
In the Reptile Room, she empties out his suitcase. Mr. Poe tells her that nice girls shouldn’t know things like how to pick locks. (A: Grrrrrrrr.) Klaus slays:
Olaf sarcastically claps at the detective work. He admits that he killed Monty and his assistant Gustav. He asks what anyone is going to do about it. Mr. Poe announces that Olaf is going to jail and then a beat later finally cottons on to the fact that everyone else present is in cahoots with Olaf.
Olaf grabs the children and we cut away to Lemony who says that in any other show made for children, the police would arrive just in the nick of time and the children would get to enjoy pizza. That’s about as likely as Monty coming back to life. But even though Monty isn’t here, his reptiles are and they are pretty pissed. Especially a screeching iguana that is now just behind Olaf. It screeches and jumps on Olaf’s back. He lets the children go and runs away.
Outside, Olaf tells his troupe to take the van. He runs away on foot into the labyrinth. The children tell Mr. Poe to go after him, but he is firmly against that plan and instead runs back inside to call the police. The Baudelaires run into the labyrinth after Olaf.
Dani: I’m with Furry-Poe on this one. The kids have seen Olaf’s big-ass knife, right? What are they thinking???
Mari: Probably that if they don’t catch him, he’ll be back next episode.
We watch them run around for a bit. They do manage to corner Olaf, but he slips down into a hidden door before they are able to see him. Klaus is super bummed because Monty is gone, Olaf escaped and they have no answers about anything, including the secret message on the ticket stub. Klaus shows it to Violet and tries to explain how Monty could’ve used his eyepiece to receive the message. It’s then that he realizes that his eyepiece is missing. We flash back to Olaf manhandling the children and picking Klaus’s pocket.
Just then, the statue in front of them whirs down, and the labyrinth wall opens up. For that is not a statue at all, it’s Jacqueline painted like a statue and standing very still. For real, for real. They recognize her from the movie and as Mr. Poe’s assistant. They have lots of questions for her and she says there are answers, but she doesn’t actually give them any. (D: Well, of course not – they’re just children. Grr.) She does tell them to find their Aunt Josephine, “a fierce and formidable woman” who can keep them safe and tell them everything they need to know. Jacqueline tells them to let her handle Count Olaf.
Klaus tells her that Olaf stole his piece of eyepiece. Jacqueline promises to get it back and shows them the way out of the labyrinth.
At the house, Monty’s reptiles are being taken away by the herpetological society. Violet wants to say goodbye, but Mr. Poe says he would’ve thought they wouldn’t want to. Uh, great, they just told you they did.
Annie: Way to decide for the kids when they’re clearly old enough and capable of making their own decisions about such things.
Mari: Mr. Poe says it’s time to get them to their next guardian. Klaus and Violet know where they want to go and thankfully, it happens to be where Mr. Poe wants to take them: Aunt Josephine.
Jacqueline has shed her statue outfit and goes down into the secret labyrinth door after Olaf. In the sewers, Olaf has shed pieces of his costume, leaving a convenient trail for Jacqueline to follow.
The children are once again in Mr. Poe’s car. They ask him about his secretary and he knows very little: she’s an excellent typist, she’s prone to disappearing days at a time, and she came highly recommended… by their parents.
Jacqueline has followed Olaf to a dock. We see him climb aboard the ship in his long johns.
Later, Olaf is in his ship room. Jacqueline knocks on his door, pretending to have a telegram for “Mr. Count Olaf.” He goes off on a rant about Count being the honorific before he answers the door.
Dani: More grammar jokes – yay! I love how this irritated Olaf, and that Jacqueline knew it would.
Mari: Olaf and Jacqueline face off. She threatens him with jail, he threatens her with his knife. She has a bigger knife, he has a machete. She has a harpoon gun, he fakes her out with a “you have a spider on your shoulder.” I thought Jacqueline was good at her job. (D: She’s good at hiding a variety of large weapons in her skin-tight leather pantsuit. You can’t have everything.)
Annie: The bad news is Jacqueline is very bad at her job. Sad feels. She gave me hope. Yet another adult lets the Baudelaires down.
Marines: Lemony is in the empty mansion. He says that sometimes the world seems wrong, like a Reptile Room with no reptiles or a bookshelf with no books or a loved one’s house without the loved one. The Baudelaires didn’t get much time with their Uncle Monty, but for a short time they had a place that felt right. If they found that once, who is to say they couldn’t find it again? (D: ALL the feels.)
The phone in the Reptile Room rings. Lemony walks away from it and we cut to somewhere in Peru. Mom Baudelaire is in a phone booth, presumably trying to call Monty. In the middle of her call, the locals at this bar seem to get a little hostile. Dad Baudelaire tosses a pool cue to Mom, which she breaks across her knee. They square up and we cut to black.
Next time on A Series of Unfortunate Events: From Lousy Lane to Lachrymose Lake in S01 E05 – The Wide Window.