Slippery Slope: Part One
Slippery Slope: Part Two
Grim Grotto: Part One
Grim Grotto: Part Two
Penultimate Peril: Part One
Penultimate Peril: Part Two
After last season’s literal cliffhanger ending, the third season bursts back onto our screens with the promise of finishing this treacherous tale of our three beloved orphans once and for all. With big secrets finally revealed and an impressively crafted conclusion to the tale, A Series Of Unfortunate Events abandons the ambiguity of the books, instead delivering a satisfying finale worthy of remembrance.
As you may have remembered from before, we left the Baudelaires partway up a mountain. Count Olaf had kidnapped Sunny and cut the rope to the caravan trailer, leaving Clause and Violet to their doom. After surviving this ordeal, they set off in search of Sunny up the mountain whence they came. The first two-parter, Slippery Slope, sets the foundation for the series to come. There’s some big shake-ups in Count Olaf’s team and this changed dynamic spells a much more focused drive from them, determined to find the secret organisation whilst pursuing the Baudelaire fortune.
From here, the rest of the episodes slowly converge toward the Penultimate Peril, a two part episode that delivers some good character growth for a lot of the supporting cast while answering some big questions. It’s also an episode that does an excellent job emphasizing that feeling of closure felt over large portions of this season. Here, we see Count Olaf go on trial for his crimes with the crowd made up of familiar faces from seasons past, both friends and foe alike. It’s a lovely little touch and Olaf’s monologue during this segment is surprisingly reflective, toying with ideas of morality and the true nature of good and evil. It’s something that’s constantly questioned throughout the season too and for the most part, works extremely well across all seven episodes.
Remaining faithful to the structure of the series, the third season brings back the two part episodes before a climactic finale acting as a stand-alone ending. While the series still skips effortlessly between humour and drama, this third season is much darker than what we’ve seen before. A lot of this is thanks in part to the flashbacks we’re greeted with across the various episodes. It’s here where we learn more about the organisation, the fabled “Sugar bowl”, Count Olaf’s history and, of course, the Boudelaires’ parents. While not everything is resolved when the curtains finally close, there’s a real conscious effort here to give a decent conclusion and for the most part, it works extremely well.
When it comes to the characters themselves, the third season does a surprisingly good job evolving each in a meaningful way. Count Olaf continues down his devious path, defiantly ignoring rational and reason but finally gets a decent conclusion to his arc during the last episode. Sunny has a much more pivotal role this season too, proclaiming “I’m not a baby” early on to reinforce her added importance to the narrative. While Violet and Clause continue to be the front-runners here, the supporting cast members are given some really nice progression too.
In a way, I’m a bit sad that A Series Of Unfortunate Events has finally ended. This fleeting, unpleasant look at the misfortune of the Boudelaires has been a great example of what can happen when a book is adapted to series format faithfully. The show will certainly go down as one of the best offerings from Netflix’s catalogue, and the satisfying conclusion to this story should be enough to please fans of the book and series alike.