Unfortunately ending

Final season of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” asks tough questions

Yvonne Pan, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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No one was more excited than I was when the third season of the Netflix adaptation of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” came out on Jan. 1 this year. Anyone who knows me knows “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket, pen name of Daniel Handler, is my favorite book series. I devoured his books as a child and if I could frame the book he signed for me at the Maltz Performing Arts Center last year, I would.

In the series, the child protagonists, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to live with a distant relative named Count Olaf after the death of their parents in a fire. Olaf soon tries to marry Violet in order to gain access to the Baudelaire fortune—and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

The Baudelaire children witness murders and corruption and suffer betrayal and tragedy in the thirteen books. No matter where they go, whether it’s preparatory school or a lumber mill, Olaf is always on their heels, plotting ways to steal their fortune.

While my peers were celebrating the new year, I tore through the seven-episode season in a single day. The third season begins where the second season ended, a cliff hanger, literally, as members of Olaf’s troupe cut the coupler connecting Violet and Klaus with Olaf’s car. As the pair tumble down a slippery slope, Olaf drives away with Sunny Baudelaire.

Sunny’s abrupt graduation from infancy is apparent in this season as she maintains her composure, despite being kept apart from her siblings. Her cooking skills shine as she scavenges for food in the barren Mortmain Mountains.

“The ends justify the means.” But do they really? Violet and Klaus have their own coming-of-age moment as they explore this cliche and slowly cast doubt on their parents’ motives before their deaths and the discovery of the Volunteer Fire Department (V.F.D.), the secret organization they had worked for.

The children were firmly convinced their parents were on the noble side of the schism that divided the V.F.D. after the sugar bowl of Esme Squalor, a brief guardian of the children, and Olaf’s girlfriend, was stolen. But through this season and the secrets that escape it, they slowly realize that no one is truly noble or wicked but a mix of both. They meet people who frighten even Olaf, their murderous captor, and steal glimpses at his troubled past.

The Baudelaires find photos of their parents with Olaf and slowly piece together what was and could have been. They learn it was one of their parents who had stolen the sugar bowl and caused the divide in their group.

Furthermore, during Olaf’s trial at Hotel Denouement, they are also faced with their misdeeds. Olaf recounts how the Baudelaire children also participated in deception, relying on their youth to gain trust from adults who blindly helped them. Do the ends really justify the means?

Season three’s unapologetic take on humanity reveals an important truth. Everyone has flaws and the people whom we love may not be the most noble after all.

You can watch all three seasons of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” on Netflix now.

4.5 out of 5