It’s a curious thing, the death of a loved one. It’s like climbing the stairs to your room in the dark, thinking that there’s one more stair than there is, then your foot falls in the air, and there is a sickening feeling of surprise.—Aunt Josephine
In the series’s fifth and sixth episodes, the Baudelaires attempt to find a qualified adult to take care of them for the third time. Following their uncle Monty’s death, the siblings are sent off to their aunt Josephine, who lives close to a lake.
The Baudelaires are told that their aunt is quite formidable, which they question upon meeting her. Aunt Josephine is shown to be extremely paranoid, who has a worst-case scenario for everything. She’s also obsessed with grammar, something that she has devoted her life to following the death of her husband.
Over dinner, Klaus and Violet try to ask questions regarding their parents, the society, and the artifact that Klaus found in their burned-down home—a spyglass. However, Aunt Josephine refuses to talk about anything of the subject.
After convincing their aunt to leave the house to buy food in preparation for the storm, the children look for answers in her house. They manage to open Aunt Josephine’s safe and discover that she was once fierce and fearful, but her bravery lapsed upon the death of her husband.
Once she returned to the house, Aunt Josephine seems to have had a change of heart and started sharing about the time she spent with the siblings’ parents. She also opens up about a man she met in town who has come home with her and who wants to go on a date with her. The man, who calls himself Captain Sham, is obviously Count Olaf in disguise.
Despite insistence from the children, Aunt Josephine takes up Captain Sham’s offer and goes out with him to the town. The children try to go to the town to stop Aunt Josephine but are stopped by Count Olaf’s theater group goons. As the children try to think of an escape plan, they hear a window shatter, and find that their Aunt was gone, and had left a note stating that Captain Sham was their new guardian.
After they find the note, they inform Mr. Poe, who starts preparing for them to be transferred to the care of Captain Sham. But Klaus notices something in the letter, rather, several things. There were several grammatical errors, and being the grammarian that Aunt Josephine was, Klaus was dubious whether she really wrote the letter. In the morning, they try to convince Poe that Olaf caused all this, but Poe refuses. Instead, he takes them to a restaurant, where Poe is to meet with Captain Sham to settle the matter.
In the restaurant, the waiter, Larry (who is secretly a member of their parents’ organization), helps the children get out of the meeting by triggering their allergic reaction to peppermint. Back home, the siblings study the letter even more and discover that it carried a secret message, “Curdled Cave.” Suddenly, the house was struck by lightning, and the house starts to collapse into the lake. The contents of the safe are blown by the wind, and Klaus sees a photo of Aunt Josephine; her late husband, Ike; and the Baudelaires’ parents against a lumber mill. Rain pours, and the house collapses completely; the hurricane has arrived before the siblings manage to leave for the ferry to reach the cave.
The siblings steal a boat and sail across the lake in the middle of the hurricane, and by some miracle, they make it to the caves and find Aunt Josephine. Violet tries to convince her to face her fear, but Klaus goes another route and convinces Aunt Josephine to leave the cave by using her fear of real estate agents against her.
While sailing back, they encounter the infamous leeches of the lake, who prey on Aunt Josephine. The children and Aunt Josephine are “rescued” by Count Olaf, who later throws Aunt Josephine overboard. By the time they’re at the dock, the Baudelaires manage to sneak away to find the lumber mill in the photo.
Count Olaf is on the loose, the Baudelaire parents are on the run, and the children are on their own. Perhaps we’ll find out if they’ll all finally settle? Find out soon when we tell you all about the next episodes in the series, “The Miserable Mill, Parts 1 and 2.”
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