Penultimate Peril: Part 1
- Episode aired Jan 1, 2019
Various parties converge at the Hotel Denouement, where the mysterious "J.S." has called the V.F.D. together -- and things aren't always what they seem.Various parties converge at the Hotel Denouement, where the mysterious "J.S." has called the V.F.D. together -- and things aren't always what they seem.Various parties converge at the Hotel Denouement, where the mysterious "J.S." has called the V.F.D. together -- and things aren't always what they seem.
Season 3 was again from personal opinion the weakest season, starting off shakily with "The Slippery Slope" while faring better with "The Grim Grotto" and seeing the series back on form. This penultimate adaptation and the last of the two parter ones (the last episode "The End" was done as a single episode, which was the right decision) is by far the best adaptation of the third season, the best of the thirteen adaptations since "The Carnivorous Carnival" and one lof the best of the whole of 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'.
Both parts of "The Penultimate Peril" is the first, and only, adaptation of 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' to not have anything wrong with it. Heck even Mr Poe, the worst character of the series from the start and never really stopped being annoying, inept and increasingly pointless, was slightly tolerable here, which is a good sign.
Part 1 looks wonderful as was the case with the whole of 'A Series of Unfortunate Events', known for its very detailed, atmospheric and varied settings that suited the books' and series' tone to a tee. Hotel Denouement is really beautifully realised in detail and atmosphere, with so much to see without getting overwhelming. The clever costumes and stylish photography shine too, as does the opening credits sequence. The music fits perfectly, whether quirky or haunting.
When it comes to the writing, "The Penultimate Peril: Part 1" is one of the best written. Not just because it is emotionally investable in many ways, it is also bold enough, and Part 2 even more so, in the way the other episodes in the series did not in poking fun at justice failures (rather than just making the adult characters look easily fooled all the time), how hotels are run (in a wonderfully absurdist fashion) and the nature of the legal system (without causing offense). The storytelling is very funny, tense and with remarkably emotional moments too, again more in Part 2 but evident too in Part 1. Reminding one of past events and providing crucial flashbacks in answering questions long in desperate need of being resolved also set it apart.
All the character relationships are well done, with the dynamic between Count Olaf, Esme and Carmelita (every bit as spiteful as she was in "The Austere Academy") being delightfully weird. There are a lot of characters, though not feeling like too many like the first part of "The Carnivorous Carnival". Some of the appearances are short, but nobody is also sidelined. Do feel that the Baudelaires have grown as character and became increasingly resourceful. Similarly all the performances are pitch perfect, everybody looks like they were having fun and the threat is more sinister than it was in the previous Season 3 episodes. Some of Patrick Warburton's best acting of the series can be seen throughout the adaptation.
In conclusion, wonderful first part to one of the high-points (perhaps even the best) of the series, followed by an even better second part. 10/10
- Dec 9, 2020