TV Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events S2 (Spoilers!)

On March 30, 2018, the second season of Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” dropped all of its ten episodes on Netflix. Many fans of both the books and the series had been eagerly waiting for the second season due to the success of the first season and because we could not wait to see what they would do with it this season, especially as it would be covering the fifth book, “The Austere Academy”, all the way to the ninth book of the series, “The Carnivorous Carnival”. Even though the tone was a little bit uneven, it was punctuated by some great performances, and a latter half that was thrilling and exciting, even though we know that the worst is yet to come for the Baudelaire orphans.

This season saw the return of all of the series regulars, including Sara Canning as the mysterious Jacquelyn and Patrick Breen’s Larry Your – Waiter. This season’s cast also included Nathan Fillion’s pitch perfect Jacques Snicket, Dylan Kingwell as Duncan Quagmire, Avi Lake as Isadora Quagmire, Kitana Turnbull as Carmelita Spats, and Sara Rue as Olivia Caliban among others.

The Baudelaires
Klaus (Louis Hynes), Violet (Malina Weissman) & Sunny (Paisley Smith) Baudelaire Image Source: Netflix
Duncan and Isadora
The Quagmires- Duncan (Dylan Kingwell) and Isadora (Avi Lake) Image Source: Netflix

As mentioned earlier, this season covered books five to nine, allowing each book to have two episodes apiece to be able to cover everything that needs to be covered in the book, and then some. Just like the first season, they made some interesting creative changes when it came to some of the characters and how involved they are in these events, and they also gave the audience more background information about the secret organization called V.F.D., and why the Baudelaire’s fates seem to be tied to it, earlier than when they did in the books. However, I think that this set up was necessary as the third season, which will cover books ten to thirteen (“The Slippery Slope”, “The Grim Grotto”, “The Penultimate Peril”, and “The End”) are really heavy with V.F.D. mythology. I also felt that the second season did a good job in making things worse for the Baudelaire’s while also allowing them to be more proactive, especially when it came to making decisions in crucial and important moments.

In terms of story pacing, it definitely picked up more towards the latter half of the season, but it still kept me fully engaged the entire the time.  I’m glad though, that they really upped the ante, an expression here that means that the show made its villains more menacing and scarier, in the last four episodes of the season, as it upped the stakes in a very big way. It also reminded us that Count Olaf (Neil Patrick-Harris) is really a force to be reckoned with, and the same goes for our new villain, Esme Squalor (Lucy Punch).

The casting here, especially on the parts of Olivia Caliban, Jacques Snicket, Esme Squalor, and Carmelita Spats were just spot on.

All in all, the second season of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” was a great follow up to the first season, punctuated by some great performances, and that seamlessly set up things for the third season.

If you want to see what I thought of each episode, you can see them on this app for Movie & TV show reactions called Stardust. I put my quick reactions to each episode of this season there, and you can find me @kitinmiranda.

Now, before you move on, you know the drill! Beyond this point, there will be spoilers, so take heed, and just like the show’s theme song says, look away now!

warning-spoilers-final

Just like the first season of the show, they made some deliberate creative changes that made sense given the fact that they only have three seasons to tell the entire story of the Baudelaires, instead of in thirteen books.

Olivia and Jacques
Olivia Caliban (Sara Rue) & Jacques Snicket (Nathan Fillion) Image Source: Netflix

I like the fact that Jacques Snicket was given a more prominent role in the series, and that Olivia Caliban, who is Madame Lulu in “The Carnivorous Carnival”, was Prufrock Preps librarian and a new V.F.D. recruit. In this way, the audience was able to learn more about V.F.D.; the existence of the Sugar Bowl; and how the Baudelaire’s parents, the Snickets and their previous guardians are all connected together. Thanks to this, things were set up in such a way that these things don’t need to be covered again in the third season, as the upcoming season needs to concentrate on building things up to a wonderful finale, and as it will be more mythology heavy.  I also liked the fact that they really leaned in heavily on the fact that Olaf used to be a good man, before the schism in the V.F.D. happened.

If you look closely, you will find a lot of awesome Easter Eggs, from names of previous and upcoming guardians, to the actual “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books themselves!

Esme and Olaf
Esme Squalor (Lucy Punch) and Count Olaf (Neil Patrick-Harris) Image Source: Netflix

Acting wise, I have to give special mention to Punch’s Esme, Fillion’s Jacques Snicket, and Rue’s Olivia Caliban. I felt that Punch and Patrick-Harris were given more to work with in the last four episodes, as they really upped the ante in reminding us how terrifying they are as villains. I also felt that at some points, Hynes felt like he was eating his words, but he shines the most in “The Hostile Hospital: Part Two” after he is separated from Violet. Weissman and Hynes, however, give great performances in both parts of “The Carnivorous Carnival”, as they not only portrayed their characters, but pretended to be a two headed person with a Southern accent.

Klaus and Sunny as Dr Faustus
Klaus and Sunny as Dr. Faustus Image Source: Netflix
Violet and Klaus as the two headed person
Klaus and Violet as the two headed person, Elliot and Beverly Image Source: Netflix

I am sad to see Jacques Snicket and Olivia Caliban go, but Jacquelyn and Larry Your-Waiter are still there as our resident V.F.D. agents, and I’m pretty sure the Quagmire parents will pop up in the third season, although maybe that might be in “The Penultimate Peril” episodes.

Now, let’s talk about the mysterious woman in the end with Jacques’ taxi and who is in possession of the much coveted Sugar Bowl. Many might think that this is Beatrice Baudelaire, but I am pretty sure that she is Kit Snicket, Jacques and Lemony’s younger sister. I think that this woman is Kit because Kit is featured quite prominently in the last few books of the series.

I am quite excited about the third season, as I am very much curious to see how they will wrap up the Baudelaire’s story, especially with the ending that we were given in the books.

So, all in all, the second season of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” was a fun watch, while setting up things for a pretty mythology heavy third season, which I am quite excited for, and which I hope will hit the ground running. Despite its uneven tone, it picks up in the latter half of the season, and has some great performances that you won’t forget  soon.

Have you seen the second season of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”? Did you like or not like it? What are looking forward to seeing in the third season? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Image Source: Official A Series of Unfortunate Events Facebook Page, Netflix

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