I regret to inform you, dear reader, that this recap of the A Series of Unfortunate Eventsepisode “The Reptile Room: 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.
The theme song changed yet again for the fourth episode, this time with Neil Patrick Harris singing the plot-centric verse in-character as Stephano, Ah, Stephano. Annoying yet funny.
Damn. This episode opened on Uncle Monty’s dead body, which means no more Aasif Mandvi ham-a-palooza. He will be missed, but naturally nobody gets to upstage Count Olaf. Olaf-as-Stephano was prompted to actually quote Shakespeare, and point out that the obvious cause of death was surely snakebite. Yeah, right.
Olaf was ready to take them all to Peru, as had been previously planned by Uncle Monty, and packed baby Sunny in a bag as insurance.
Poe finally did something useful, driving in and crashing into Stephano’s car, sending a hedge cobra down into the villain’s car. Stephano’s “Ohhh, my spleen!” had echoes of Beavis’ “Ow! My liver! My liver!” Poe, as usual, couldn’t take the childrens’ word for anything, not recognizing Count Olaf because he shaved his unibrow and covered up his ankle tattoo. Still, he wouldn’t let anyone leave before the police could arrive to investigate Uncle Monty’s murder; sadly, he did not recognize Olaf’s henchmen fronting as cops and medical personnel.
First to the door was Olaf’s “henchperson of indetermined gender” (a.k.a. a dude in a woman’s wig; perhaps not the most sensitive interpretation) claiming to be “Nurse Lucafont”—a near-anagram for “Count Olaf” (awkwardly, because in the book it was specifically “O. Lucafont.” so now it’s actually an unfortunate anagram for bad-c-word Olaf). And s/he and the Count exposed their façade by claiming Monty had been killed by the Incredibly Deadly Viper (revealed last episode to be an utterly harmless beast with a scary name). Not that Poe got any more of a clue, because he is, as ever, incredibly dumb, has the worst theories, and K. Todd Freeman really sells the stupidity. Why do I suspect author Daniel Handler has had some bad experiences with bureaucracy?
“These are adults. Adults don’t wear costumes unless it’s for a charity ball! Or they happen to be employed as actors.” Poe has never been to Comic-Con, but we’d have guessed that.
“The adults will take care of it from here.” Daniel Handler and Barry Sonnenfeld‘s reaction to that kind of statement is precisely why these books resonate with kids. And why the show does, too.
Later in the episode, D’awww: baby Sunny bonded with the snakes over their shared love of biting! Gotta love her subtitled dialogue; as the last episode said, all the best movies have subtitles. Not sure it was that overtly self-aware as a comment, but it works. Meanwhile, the hook-handed man tries to eat canned peaches using rubber hands. Again, it feels slightly wrong to laugh at what is technically an amputee character, but Usman Ally’s physical comedy chops deserve a thumbs-up at least. Just as Matty Cardarople’s indeterminately gendered character has a great Napoleon Dynamite deadpan, laudable despite the trans-tone-deafness (if that’s a phrase).
“I’m totally a nurse!” “Well, it does say so on your pin.” Ah, Poe, you’ll believe any name tag.
I’m not sure how exactly Olaf thinks taking the children to Peru will make him any closer to being the legal recipient of their fortune, but perhaps he just assumes Uncle Monty had something good waiting there. Nor am I sure why all the henchpeople and Poe stand so close together in the huge reptile room; it’s here, I suspect, that Sonnenfeld might have placed the characters more carefully and specifically than Mark Palansky, who has made a bit of a cluster-cuss.
If anyone in this world actually had a gun, the threat from Count Olaf would last about 30 seconds. (This is why kids are the main characters.) Sunny can chew a key to fit any lock, which is a useful skill to have and in doing so, revealed the secret venom injector Olaf used to fake the snakebite on Uncle Monty. (I want one.)
And seriously: Sunny and the CG snake are so cute together.
“The Virginian Wolf snake can bludgeon you to death with a typewriter!” – nice reference there, for all the literary parents watching. And followed by Olaf responding to a suggestion to kill Poe by saying, “He is coughing a lot. Let’s see if he dies of natural causes.” In most movies, of course, a cough is always the symptom of a fatal illness.
And Poe finally realized that tattoos can be covered with makeup. Deserving that slow clap Olaf gave him. I can’t help but feel the final reptile attack on their master’s killer could have been more impressive, but the screeching iguana’s Jurassic Park strike was cool, I guess.
Okay, I did not expect the statue in the middle of the hedge maze to come to life and be revealed as Jacqueline. I guess we assume she held that pose for a couple days?
“I know you kids have a lot of questions, but because we want to run three seasons and keep the mystery box going, I’m totally going to punt on answering any of them, and pretend you’ll get some next episode. Please just trust me, even though literally every adult so far in this series has proven untrustworthy either in motive or perception.” Not an exact quote, but might as well be. Thanks, Jacqueline?
So it seems there are underground tunnels everywhere, all emblazoned with the eye logo, and Count Olaf knows them just as well as Jacqueline, who tracked him down to a cabin on an ocean liner. And I see they’ve played knifey-spooney before! Olaf dived out the window to escape an ass-kicking, but Jacqueline did manage to retrieve the spyglass lens he stole from Klaus earlier.
But the episode’s not done before we check in with the parents again, whom we know are in Peru because the bar they’re in contains a llama and panflute musicians purchased at the local Cliches R Us prop store. They’re trying to call Monty, and failing because duh, he’s dead. But as we fade to black, the dad asks who knows where they can charter a plane.
Up next: Captain Sham! But first, did you like the snakey corner of the Snicket-verse? Sneak a comment below to tell us!