The Baudelaire children are without a doubt the smartest siblings on the planet.
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 1 Episode 1 and Lemony A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 1 Episode 2 essentially covered the events of The Bad Beginning, which was the first book in the wildly popular book series.
There was just something about these kids that held my attention throughout the two episodes. The acting from Malina Weissman (Violet), Louis Hynes (Klaus) and Presley Smith (Sunny) was just breathtaking.
All three turned in riveting performances as the children lost their parents in a house fire. The story is one that definitely tugs at the heart strings.
Being sent to live with someone who is trying to steal your fortune sounds like something ripped straight from a daytime soap opera. But the execution on this series really goes above and beyond to immerse viewers.
Mother: I'm worried about the children.
Father: Me, too. They're in danger, I know it.
Mother: We need to get to them.
Father: We need to get out of here first.
Mother: What's that thing Einstein said?
The addition of the sub-plot about the parents was AMAZING. Who would have thought that there was even a glimmer of hope that these kids would still have parents?
Cool kids really need cool parents, and that's where Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders come into play. Who knew the series would be staging a How I Met Your Mother reunion?
Generally, fans can be very picky about the source material being messed with, but something about the parents being kidnapped and trying to work their way to their children really ups the tension for the TV iteration.
It was clear straight off the bat that there was a larger conspiracy at play and that conspiracy is going to be hanging over us all season long as we try to piece together the little nuggets we are given on an episodic basis.
Where the movie went wrong, the first two episodes got it right. These stories needed to be told over a longer arc to flourish and that's why the first book split into two episodes worked really well.
There was a lot more time for the world to be created, and for viewers to understand the severity of the Baudelaire childrens' situation.
These kids are not going to be able to stop moving from guardian-to-guardian for long. If Count Olaf was willing to murder one of them in order to get married to the eldest, there's absolutely no way the three kids are going to get out of their mess unscathed.
A great trait with all three of the children is that they can tell when someone is lying to them and they are not afraid to call the person out on it.
This rung true in every scene that included Olaf. Olaf was definitely not very well educated. He hated that fact that the children could problem solve their way out of anything.
Count Olaf: You're a little old for a girl scout.
Justice Strauss: I'm Justice Strauss.
Count Olaf: I don't know you.
Justice Strauss: I'm your neighbor. I live across the street.
Justice Strauss wanted to take the children in... that was very clear. Deep down, she was bored with her life and was looking for some fulfillment.
That explained why she was so warm and welcoming to the Baudelaire orphans. Considering the way her storyline ended with the whole secret organizations book, it's obvious we will be seeing more from her at some point.
Count Olaf: They don't want to see you.
Justice Strauss: Are you sure? What did they say?
Count Olaf: The lamb was too salty.
Justice Strauss: Oh, okay.
Jacquelyn was one of the most intriguing characters. Initially appearing as Mr. Poe's assistant, it seemed as though she was going to have a quick death in order for one of Count Olaf's henchmen to take on the role.
Fortunately, Gustav was the one to die. I can't be the only one who thought that Gustav was going turn on Jacquelyn in the tunnel. Something just seemed very odd about the way he was acting.
Jacquelyn will prove integral for the children to find out the truth about their parents, and I hope she becomes a regular. She was great!
Another great thing about the series was the dialog. Seriously, this show will probably go down as one of the most quotable series out there.
"The Bad Beginning" was a perfect opener to a series that is already up there as Netflix's best. There's no chance of the series falling off the rails with this level of talent.
Other tidbits from the episodes:
- Eleanor Poe was a vile opportunist. All she wanted was for Mr. Poe to get his promotion and to milk the predicament the kids were in to sell more copies of her newspaper.
- Mr. Poe is hardly competent, either. He would not shut up about being the number one banker. These kids had just lost their parents, and he did not give a damn about them. All he cared about was throwing the kids to whichever person would take them.
- Sunny playing poker with Fernald Widdershins was freaking hilarious. A baby bet him at poker and managed to kidnap him. What the heck?
- Violet revealing the marriage was invalid was great. The reaction on Olaf's face was amazing.
What did you think of the first two episodes?
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.