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The Miserable Mill: Part One Recap

After the Baudelaires sneak away on the lumbermill truck, Poe panics because they're gone. He figures that they have to act without delay... once he gets free samples at Crock O'Chowder.

The truck drives to the mill and Klaus studies the photo. The driver finally notices them, pulls over, and orders them off. The Baudelaires have no choice but to walk through the forest to the mill, Lucky Smells Lumbermill is surrounded by burned ruins and a large wall. Violet and Klaus try to work out how to get over the wall, and Sunny discovers that the gate is open. The children go in despite the warning against trespassers, and they see an eye-shaped building that looks like the one atop Olaf's manor. A man, Charles, comes up behind them and Violet claims that they're on a school trip. Charles warns that the mill isn't a safe place for children and explains that he runs it, and they show him the photo. He says that they'd better see his partner and says that the town outside--Paltryville—used to be a thriving community until everything burned down except for the mill and the eye building.

They enter the mill office and meet with Charles' partner, Sir. Sir wants to put them to work as trespassers, and Violet is glad to do it as long as they have her home. When Violet gives their last name, Sir says that he knows the name. As he starts to explain about their parents, he breaks into a fit of coughing. Sir then continues, saying that the parents are the ones who burned down Paltryville. He's happy to hear that they died in a fire, and tells the children to get to work.

Olaf hitches a ride with the truck driver, Vander and confirms that there were three children earlier. The Count remembers Paltryville and the woman who broke his heart. The truck driver drops him off near the mill.

That night in the mill's dormitory, the other workers are talking about the rumors about the Baudelaires. They say that they're not allowed to talk about what happened to Paltryville because it's too terrible, and because they don't know. Another man, Phil, comes in and tells the Baudelaires that they're lucky to be unsupervised orphans. Phil introduces himself and says that he's excited to be working with the children. He gives them a welcome packet and leaves. The children go over the material and find a map showing a library. There's also a discount coupon to the eye building: an optometrist office. Violet suggests that the eye is a coincidence, and figures that they have finally found a place where Olaf can't find them.

Olaf enters the mill and goes to the eye building. Dr. Georgina Orwell is inside, throwing darts at a phot of Olaf. He says that he's an old friend who deeply regrets his actions. Orwell calls back through the door, wondering if Olaf just wants something for himself, and Olaf laughs off the idea. The doctor opens the door and reminds Olaf that she took a solemn oath to never see him again, She refuses to let him ruin her long-term evil scheme, but Olaf tells her that they have another chance to destroy the Baudelaires. Orwell perks up when she hears the size of the fortune involved.

The children go to bed and Klaus wants to leave. Violet wants to clear their names and get some answers,

Mother and Father are out in the woods hiding, and Mother says that they can't keep hiding their secret lives from their children. They're stranded in the forest near their crashed plane, as men search for them.

The next day, three children wake up to their butler serving them breakfast in bed.

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny wake up when the foreman bangs metal pots over the sound system. Phil says that their last foreman was nicer but quit in the middle of the night, and it happens a lot at the mill. The workers go out and the children go to work as debarkers. They take a five-minute lunch break and get nothing but gum, and the others explain that they get paid in coupons. However, the workers refuse to leave, insisting that Lucky smells is their life.

The Baudelaires sneak into the library, but Sir and Charles find them. Sir insists that lunch breaks are for chewing gum, not sneaking off to libraries, and asks if the children are going to cause problems. Once Sir leaves, Violet tells Charles that he should be able to stand up to his partner. Charles warns that it's complicated, and quickly leaves.

Back at the mill, the children return to work. Klaus wonders if the new foreman is Olaf in disguise, and points out that he wears a mask so they never see his face. Violet doesn't believe it and figures that Klaus is trying to find a reason to leave. She assures her brother that they'll leave once they clear their parents' name. Klaus sees the foreman dozing in his booth and tries to check his left ankle for the eye tattoo. The foreman wakes up and Klaus claims that he was looking for a new debarker. He points with his entire gloved hand, and Klaus notices something wrong. The foreman knocks Klaus to the ground and steps on his glasses, and Phil points out that Klaus can't work if he can't see. He points out that they have a great optometrist, Orwell, and takes Klaus there.

Olaf and Orwell have coffee and Olaf says that he misses the two of them together scheming evil. He wants to run away to Europe and take over a country, but Orwell reminds him about the Baudelaires. Someone calls and says that Klaus is on his way.

Phil takes Klaus to the optometrist and assures the boy that doctors are their friends.

Mother and Father stop a refrigerator repairman driving on the road and say that they're in urgent need of a ride. He grabs a wrench and gets out, and Mother easily subdues him.

Violet goes with Sunny to the library and finds dozens of copies of a book about the history of the mill. They're all written by Sir, and Violet discovers that the chapter about the Paltryville fire has been heavily redacted. Violet finally finds one copy that isn't readacted, but before she can read it, Violet hears someone coming. She hides with sunny, and sir comes in and sees all the opened books. He rips the unredacted page out and pockets it, and goes to have omelets. Once he leaves, Sunny shows Violet a dictionary that she found. The dedication is written in the same handwriting as her father, Bertrand Baudelaire.

Charles tells Sir that he doesn't see why they have to lie to the children. Sir explains that he removed the page, and reminds Charles that to keep the mill open then they had to make a deal with Orwell to blame the Baudelaires. Sir tosses the page in the fire, and Violet watches from hiding as Sir says that the mill is all that he has. Once Sir leaves, Charles gets the page from the fireplace while Violet sneaks out with Sunny.

Orwell comes and collects Klaus from her waiting room, and puts her in a chair. She explains that an eye exam is standard procedure, He says that he doesn't feel good because everyone blames his parents for the fire, and Orwell says that she met the parents. She then clamps Klaus into the chair and begins hypnotizing him. Olaf comes in, disguised as Orwell's assistant "Shirley", and repeats Orwell's command.

At the dorm, Violet waits for Klaus. After lights out, Klaus comes in without his glasses. He smiles at Violet, calls her "Sir," and says that he's happy to be there. Violet tells him what she overheard, but Klaus ignores her and goes to bed. She takes off his shoes and goes to bed, and blames herself for staying when Klaus wanted to leave.

The next morning, the foreman wakes everyone up over the loudspeaker. He tells Klaus to bring Sunny, and by the time Violet gets up, everyone else has gone to work. Klaus, holding Sunny, tosses wood into the mulcher. Violet runs up and takes Sunny, and demands an explanation. Klaus ignores her and keeps tossing wood in.

Someone calls Sir and asks if the Baudelaires are there, and Sir denies everything.

Father puts down a phone and tells Mother that they'll finally be with their children and nothing is wrong. They then drive off toward the mill.

Violet tells Klaus that they can leave, but Klaus insists that Lucky Smells is their home. Her love breaks Klaus' hypnotic spell.

Mother and Father pull up to a fancy door and brave themselves to see their children.

The foreman tells the Baudelaires to go to the fancy door because they have visitors. Charles is waiting, and gives them a peach. He says that the children's visitors can't come in because then they'd be trespassers, but they're on the other side of the fancy door.

Mother and Father go to the fancy door and open it... and call to their children, Duncan, Quigley, and Isadora. Their children come over to great them.

The Baudelaire children watch as the door opens...

Lemony explains that he visited Paltryville years later after the mill closed. Orwell's building had originally been the headquarters of a secret organization. There he learned what happened to Klaus, and that the Baudelaires should have asked one important question: where is Olaf>

The disguised Olaf puts Klaus' new glasses on him,, reasserting the hypnotic spell.

Lemony says that whoever called Sir was of no help whatsoever.

Earlier, Poe calls Sir and is told that the Baudelaires aren't working there. The banker crosses the mill off of his list of places to call and continues down the list.

Written by Gadfly on Feb 5, 2017

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