A Series of Unfortunate Events, S1 Eps 5&6 – The Wide Window

The Wide Window is the third book in A Series of Unfortunate Events and its tale is covered in these two episodes. We are introduced to the overly paranoid Aunt Josephine (played superbly by Alfre Woodard), who takes in the three Baudelaires but is too nervous and afraid to be of any real help to them.

And as I mentioned in the last review, the diversity of the casting in A Series of Unfortunate Events is just so refreshing. Alfre Woodard is brilliant, of course, and it was intriguing to see her play a role of someone so afraid and hesitant when she usually plays stronger and more assertive characters like Mariah Dillard in another Netflix series, Luke Cage.

But the episodes add some depth to her character by constantly referencing her past as a fierce and formidable character before the death of her husband left her too afraid to act. She was even referred to as one of the strongest members of the VFD, and her final moments, though tragic, were a great way of showing how she got her nerve back, albeit too late.

And again there were more scenes of Count Olaf scheming behind the scenes as well as confronting members of the VFD. As mentioned before, this adaptation really allows for more exploration of that shady organization and has already given the children some inkling of their parents’ involvement in something greater than they could imagine. The three siblings have come to question some of their parents’ motives and when they aren’t trying to survive one peril or another, they are investigating the complicated web of secrets their parents left behind.

Count Olaf’s newest disguise as Captain Sham (wow, as if the clue wasn’t in the name), was appropriately ridiculous but still somehow effective. Again, Mr. Poe was useless until the last moment, and Aunt Josephine wasn’t much help either, except in teaching the children grammar lessons and secret codes.

Despite the darker and gloomier setting of Lake Lachrymose and the surrounding area, there were some moments of levity. Strangely enough, during the hurricane, when Aunt Josephine’s house was falling apart, the scene was staged in such a ridiculous, campy way complete with goofy music. Well, A Series of Unfortunate Events doesn’t shy away from the camp (Count Olaf) and it works to lighten the mood a bit in the midst of sad circumstances for children who deserve better.

In a bit of a departure from the books, the children board a truck heading towards the Lucky Smells Lumber Mill, hoping that their luck will change after the disastrous time at Lake Lachrymose. But this is A Series of Unfortunate Events, so we all know better.