A Series of Unfortunate Events season 3, episode 5 recap: The Penultimate Peril: Part One


A Series of Unfortunate Events heads to the Last Safe Place as their story starts to come full circle.

A Series of Unfortunate Events is nearing its end and it appears that the story is truly coming full circle. In fact, in this particular episode, Lemony Snicket meets the Baudelaires for the very first time. It’s a bit strange to see this moment take place as it is him that will follow their lives for years to come.

After escaping the clutches of Count Olaf once again, the Baudelaires head to Hotel Denouement, aka The Last Safe Place. If you recall, they left Briny Beach with Kit who is now speeding to get away from a car that has been following them. When she finally gets rid of the car, she gives the Baudelaires a quick debrief on what is going on.

She needs them to volunteer to spy at the hotel and disguise themselves as bellhops. Because they are children, she feels no one ever pays attention to what they’re doing. Someone has been impersonating her brother Jacques, who has died. Whoever is doing this has plans to get VFD all in one location.

Credit: Netflix

The Baudelaires happily volunteer to take on the task because how could anyone say no to Kit Snicket? And as they made their way to the hotel, Count Olaf learns that Fiona and Fernald escaped the submarine. And while Hooky may have defected, Olaf needs to get to the Last Safe Place–no matter what.

Upon arriving at the hotel, Kit tells the Baudelaires about the managers in charge of the hotel. They are two brothers, Frank and Ernest–one is friendly, one is evil. They have to make sure they connect with the friendly one because if the evil one finds out, the entire plan will go down the drain.

Kit isn’t sticking around for the day as she has a mission of her own but promises she’ll return at night. The viewers are in for a surprise when one of the managers shows up and embraces her. It turns out that she is with one of them and he is the father of her baby. As she walks away, she tells this one to give her regards to Frank. But wait, isn’t Frank the friendly one?

When Kit gets back in her cab, she finds her brother, Lemony sitting in the backseat waiting for her. There is more to take away from this reunion, but I’ll get to that in a bit. As expected, Count Olaf, Carmelita, and Esme show up at the hotel disguised as a family on vacation. The Baudelaires spot them from a distance, but no one recognizes them in uniform.

Credit: Netflix

But when they finally meet one of the managers, they’re puzzled as to which one he is. The confusion continues when they meet the other one who starts talking about how the hotel is organized. It’s designed like a library and based on its numerical classification system. A Series of Unfortunate Events really knows how to take things to a perplexing level, doesn’t it?

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are all designed tasks and head to different floors to take care of them. Violet heads to the roof where Carmelita, Esme, and Principal Nero are all sunbathing. Violet overhears a conversation between Esme and Nero where Esme is trying to find out who J.S. is. In fact, she is planning a cocktail party and is hoping to get to the bottom of this strange mystery.

Meanwhile, Carmelita demands that Violet bring her a lactose-free vegan ice cream cone–and a harpoon gun. Being a strange request, Violet heads off to ask one of the managers if she is actually supposed to. And it appears so because not only does he say it’s their job to give the customer what they want, but he actually pulls one out from the closet.

Klaus visits one of the hotel guests who is an elderly woman having a panic attack. She wants to go to the steam room but isn’t sure how this hotel is designed. Upon arriving at the steam room, she’s relieved to find her boyfriend, aka Jerome Squalor. They both claim to have met at a group where individuals talked about being terrorized by Esme.

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But guess what? They’re not actually together and it’s just a ruse in order to help the Baudelaires. And the mystery thickens. Later, one of the managers hands Klaus fly paper but he wants to trap birds.

The only reason this makes any sense is that we saw a flock of birds in the episode before when Quigley handed over the sugar bowl.

And finally, Sunny goes to a room where Mr. Poe is staying. He doesn’t seem to recognize Sunny at all and asks for her to be his secretary. They both head to lunch where Larry the waiter is there, and soon after, Count Olaf does as well.

Mr. Poe has in his possession an entire book filled with Count Olaf’s crimes, and he hopes to take him down once and for all. Oblivious as always, Mr. Poe reveals this information to Count Olaf who is pretending to be Jacques Snicket.

Sunny manages to walk away without Olaf noticing and is taken away by the good manager to help him with a certain device that locks the laundry room door. Slowly, all the random parts of this episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events start to come together.

The flypaper is to capture the birds with the sugar bowl, and they’re hoping it falls into the laundry room which the friendly manager has Sunny lock up. But it also explains why Carmelita wanted the harpoon gun. They want to intercept the sugar bowl by shooting down the birds.

Amidst this, Justice Strauss shows up at the hotel and immediately recognizes the kids. She’s disappointed in herself for letting them down in the past and has spent her time since then hoping to make it up to them. She wants to bring Count Olaf to justice and it is her who gathered all the research and combined it into a book. Strauss’ hope is that they take down Olaf and then the Baudelaires can come live with her. Wouldn’t that be a pleasant ending to A Series of Unfortunate Events?

As the hours go by, Kit still doesn’t return to the hotel but is out with Lemony. She wants her brother to come back and help them and while she takes care of something, she has him return to the hotel. Something unexpected happens here because it’s the first time Lemony meets the Baudelaire orphans. Yes, the same man who will spend his life obsessing over them–we witness the moment he met them.

The Baudelaires discover a secret about the Denouement brothers–they’re not twins, they’re triplets. The third brother is named Dewey and it is him that is with Kit. He takes them through the tunnels of the hotel and reveals that they have gathered all kinds of research over the years. It’s an expansive library with all the information they could ever need.

Dewey wants the Baudelaires to take over for him after he and Kit leave to have their child. But the kids have already promised to leave with Justice Strauss, so this presents a slight predicament. And while dilemmas are a constant presence in A Series of Unfortunate Events, this episode presented a huge one.

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As Dewey and the children are talking about the library, Olaf shows up attempting to take them down. He tries to shoot Dewey with the harpoon gun but Klaus and Violet convince him not to. The annoying Mr. Poe comes out right at that moment and startled by his voice, Violet and Klaus drop the gun.

Unfortunately, an arrow is accidentally shot and goes directly into Dewey’s chest. R.I.P. Poor Kit, just when she thought better days were coming. There’s not much time to process anything as Lemony pulls up to the hotel and introduces himself to the kids for the very first time.