Second Union

Second Union

RECAP: A Series of Unfortunate Events – The Austere Academy

Well hello, hello hello. I’ve been waiting for you, my dear reader. After all this time you must have assumed my egregious writing style had sulked into the darkness once for all. Fortunately, much like the eternal Count Olaf, I have returned determined as ever to accomplish my goal of ridding the world of those meddlesome orphans and have their enormous fortune all to myself! Wait? Sorry. Dived in a bit too deep there. Anyway…

Returning for its eagerly anticipated second season, Netflix’s adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s immensely popular books of the same name come complete with Neil Patrick Harris as the insatiable Count Olaf, Patrick Warburton as the show’s impeccable narrator, Lemony Snicket, and Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes as two of the three unfortunate Baudelaire orphans tragically forced to endure the seemingly endless misery befalling them.

Malina Weissman, Kitana Turnbull, Louis Hynes, and Presley Smith in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)

In the first part of this new season, The Austere Academy picks up precisely where the last season ended (kind of). The Baudelaire’s are sat patiently while they await instruction on what will be their sixth residence in 10 episodes.

From the very beginning tongues are firmly returned to cheeks, with instances such as the orphans professing their unhappiness at having to wait for what seems to be months, so much so that Sunny, their youngest sister, has seemingly grown from a baby to a toddler, creates a welcome environment of subtle black comedy hinged together by performances of some the most talented young actors around today. Warburton’s monochromatic punctuation combined with Patrick Harris’ flamboyant delivery, Weissman and Hynes’ stoic resilience and K. Todd Freeman’s scene-stealing prowess as Mr. Poe concoct a potion of eye-opening wonder worthy of the plaudits it receives.

The comparative difference in style between these actors is what lofts A Series of Unfortunate Events above most other shows of its ilk. Within The Austere Academy, the services of Roger Bart and, would you believe it, Nathan Filion somehow elevate what was already enjoyable to a level otherwise unprepared for. Their portrayal of the wicked Vice-principal and brother to Lemony Snicket respectively is a testament to the ability Barry Sonnefeld’s vision and execution as both a Director and Executive Producer.

As far as plot development goes, The Austere Academy is an apt reintroduction to the kooky universe we already know. By presenting the same dour environment within the confines of the school allows such gloriously garish characters as Carmelita to parade across the screen without ever appearing unnecessary. Her fiery red hair, bold pink dress, and inescapable personality is the perfect foil for the Baudelaire’s and fellow orphans the Quagmires.

Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, Avi Lake, and Dylan Kingwell in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)

Overall, The Austere Academy is the perfect draw of the curtain for what promises to be another fascinating season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The establishment of the similarities between the Baudelaires and the Quagmires certainly intrigues, while the ever-present danger of the treacherous Count Olaf is both haunting and exciting in anticipation for whatever sensational costume the character will pull off next.

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