Life is a conundrum of esoterica.—Uncle Monty
One of the consistent things about the series is the constant warnings from both the writer Lemony Snicket and Count Olaf (through the opening credits) for the audience to stop watching. Despite these warnings, however, the story continues.
The third and fourth episodes of the Netflix series are an adaptation of the series’s second novel, The Reptile Room. The episode continues from the event where the Baudelaire orphans are taken away from Count Olaf after being maltreated.
The episode starts with the Baudelaires being taken to their uncle, a herpetologist named Dr. Montgomery “Monty” Montgomery.
Monty is shown to be really nice to the children. He greets them at the door and offers them cake. He also displays knowledge of the children and their parents. At first, Klaus is hesitant to trust him, but Violet is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He then shows them the Reptile Room, a vast observatory attached to the house that acts as Monty’s laboratory. He shows them several creatures, ending with his latest discovery, the “Incredibly Deadly Viper.” After an incident, he explains that the creature’s misnomer is a way for him to get back at the scientists who constantly make fun of him.
After this, Monty leaves the children alone in his library. There, Klaus discovers that Monty’s hedge maze is the same shape as the tattoo on Olaf’s ankle. This causes him to further speculate that Monty is working alongside Olaf to claim the family fortune.
While the children are alone, Count Olaf comes to the house under the guise of “Stephano,” successor to Monty’s old assistant. Monty is also quick to see Olaf in the disguise but plays along to catch him in the end. Olaf attempts to kidnap the children, but later on, Monty receives an encrypted message, telling him to take the orphans to Peru. Monty fires Stephano under the grounds that he is a “spy” sent to steal his research.
Afterward, Monty happily tells the kids that they are leaving for Peru the next day. Come morning, the children see Olaf next to Monty’s dead body. Olaf threatens to kill Sunny unless all three of them accompany him to Peru.
Just as they are about to leave, Mr. Poe arrives with the “police,” who are actually Olaf’s theater group in disguise. At this point, Mr. Poe remains oblivious to everything and lets them carry out the “investigation.” The police determine that the Viper killed Montgomery because of the two puncture wounds found, but the children are determined to prove the snake’s innocence.
The children successfully unmask Stephano as Olaf by rummaging through his suitcase. They find a bottle of snake venom that is missing from Monty’s cabinet. Violet is also able to piece together spare parts they find in the suitcase, building a double barrel that Olaf used to imitate the puncture marks of a snake.
However, Olaf successfully escapes again by entering Monty’s labyrinth. In there, they meet Mr. Poe’s secretary, who is determined to help them catch Olaf. She tells them that they shouldn’t continue to Peru as it is “compromised.” She then instructs them to find their aunt Josephine who will keep them safe while Olaf is at large.
We’re getting near the end of the first season. Any ideas who their Aunt Josephine truly is? Why does Mr. Poe’s secretary moonlight as a spy? What does the tattoo on Uncle Olaf’s ankle have to do with the device Klaus found in the rubble of their home? Will the Baudelaires ever find a normal home? Stay tuned to find out!
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