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The Penultimate Peril: Part One Recap

Kit drives her taxi to the Hotel Denouement, and tells the Baudelaires that she's trying to shake the villains following them in another car. She says that the table are about to turn and then turns off, losing their pursuer. Kit directs them to the picnic basket on the floor of the taxi, and shows them the telegram instructing all VFD agents to go to the Hotel. It's signed by Jacques, who is dead, and Kit figures that someone is impersonating him to gather all of the VFD agents there. Kit has the Baudelaires take out concierge uniforms and asks them to infiltrate the Hotel and meet with her inside agent. They agree. The pursuers spot the taxi and close in, and Kit drives through a hedge. They arrive at the Last Safe Place: the Hotel.

At Briny Beach, Olaf calls and tells the Man and Woman about his plans. They hang up on him, and Olaf tells Esme that he wants to go back to the Carmelita and torture Fernand. Carmelita comes up with a note from Fernand: it says "Sorry Boss", and Olaf, Esme, and Carmelita watch as the Carmelita disappears. Olaf says that he doesn't care because he got everything he needed from him. They take a sailboat to the Hotel.

Kit spies on the Hotel and the Baudelaires change in their uniforms and admit that they like Kit. When they join Kit, they find her spying on Frank Denouement, one of the managers. His evil twin brother Ernest shows up and Kit says that they can't trust him because the schism has turned many siblings against each other. Kit warns that if the wrong brother finds out what they're up to, they could all be in danger. She says that she has her own mission but will be back that night, and if the Hotel isn't safe then they'll alert the other agents. Kit says that Klaus and Violet remind her of their parents, and explains that the schism began at the opera one night. She tells them to be careful and they go inside.

Frank sneaks up on Kit, and she tells him about their plan and how, once they have the sugar bowl, they can end it all. Once it's over, they can go to a tropical island. They kiss and Kit drives off in the taxi. Lemony is in the back, and asks Kit for a ride.

Lemony narrates that if he could go back in time, he'd tell his younger self to stay at the Hotel rather than drive away with Kit.

Once the Baudelaires go inside, a not-so-disguised Olaf comes in with Esme and Carmelita, posing as a family on vacation. Olaf tells the Baudelaires to find the manager and have him bring a bottle of wine to his room. He then tells Esme that one of the managers is on their side, and that they'll talk more in their room. Carmelita wants to go to the pool, and they take the elevator up to the room. One of the Denouements comes over and welcomes them to the hotel, and refuses to identify which twin brother that he is. He explains that their job is to keep the guests happy, and uses the word "volunteer". The bellboy comes over and says that same luggage has arrived by taxi but the guest won't be there until Thursday. The co-manager leaves to deal with it, and the other brother comes over, doesn't give his first name, and says that there are guests checking in and talks about wicked people. Once the brother leaves, the other brother comes up and says that the Hotel is organized like a library. The rooftop bathing salon ring and there's no number, and the brother calls them by name and says that they'll have to split up to deal with three guests.

The Baudelaires split up to go to the individual rooms. Sunny goes to the third, Klaus to the sixth, and Violet to the rooftop salon. Olaf goes past Violet and gets into the elevator, and Carmelita is in the Carmelita sailboat in the pool. Esme and Nero are sunbathing nearby, and Carmelita takes towels over to them. The older woman tells Violet to give Carmelita whatever she desires, and says that they're there on top-secret business. Nero explains that he's the president of the Esme Squalor Fan Club and wants to hear more about her mission. She says that it's a big surprise, and Violet says that she's also a member of the fan club. The vice principal asks if it has anything to do with the spyglass he saw Esme using earlier, and Esme starts to explain about her cocktail party until she sees Violet watching. Esme then claims that she's birdwatching, and asks Nero who "JS" is. Carmelita interrupts him to complain that Violet isn't getting her lactose-free ice cream. When Violet calls her by name, Esme wonders how Violet knows it. Violet says that it's on Carmelita's boat, and Carmelita demands a harpoon gun as Violet leaves.

Violet returns to the lobby and tells one of the Denouement brothers that she doesn't think Carmelita should have a harpoon gun. The brother says that it would be suspicious not to give it to her, and gives Violet a harpoon gun. He asks if he can trust her, and Violet says that he can if she can trust him. The lobby clock tolls and Violet goes back to the pool with the harpoon gun.

On the sixth floor, Klaus knocks on the door and finds Babs there. She says that she has an emergency: she's supposed to meet her boyfriend in the sauna but she doesn't know where it is. Klaus says that it's on the second floor and takes her there. Her boyfriend, Jerome Squalor, is there and Babs explains that they met at a support group for people terrorized by Esme. They laugh and insist that it's not a cover story. Klaus goes outside and closes the door, and then listens as Jerome explains that they have to pretend to be a happy couple so that they can help the Baudelaires. They agree that letting the Baudelaires go was the biggest mistake of their lives, and his boyfriend is busy at his lumber mill and couldn't make it. Babs' girlfriend is in prison after robbing a bank.

Klaus comes back in and says that he has a telegram from JS, but he can't give it to them until they give him the full name. Jerome thinks that JS is a woman, Babs thinks that JS is a sea captain. A disguised Olaf comes in and Klaus slips away as Olaf sits down between Jerome and Babs, and claims that the red strain on his tux is blood.

Outside, a Denouement brother asks Klaus to put up some bird fly paper to catch birds. He says that what seems strange often isn't. The lobby clock tolls, and Klaus goes to the room to put up the piece of bird paper.

On the third floor, Sunny knocks at the door. It's Poe, who says that he has an important meeting but his secretaries moved to Winnipeg and then disappear. Sunny tells him that she has secretarial experience, and they go to the restaurant. Larry Your-Waiter serves them, and Poe asks for a glass of milk and secretly signals Sunny. Olaf arrives, posing as Jacques Snicket, and claims that he loves children. He secretly puts a knife to Sunny's leg and says that he's not going to let her out of his sight. Poe gives him all the information on the Baudelaire case, including the information that could incriminate Olaf. He says that he found everything and forms a complete history of injustice by a villain, his girlfriend, and ineffectual authority figures. Olaf promises that he will keep the file safe, and Poe says that it's just the index and the actual file is coming that night with another guest who also requested the information and also has the initials "JS".

Larry returns with the milk, sees Olaf, and quickly leaves. Olaf asks who the "JS" is. Sunny sneaks into the kitchen where Larry is talking to Frank. Frank says that the information is coming by crow, and they talk about sugar and mushrooms. Sunny knocks over some forks, and Olaf notices that Sunny is gone. Meanwhile, Frank tells Sunny to put a lock on the door of the laundry room and Sunny goes with him.

Olaf goes to the kitchen, while Frank tells Sunny that they'll take the service elevator. Meanwhile, Olaf comes into the kitchen and advances on Larry with a knife. He threatens to toss Larry in a pot of curry. Ernest comes in and ropes Larry, and Olaf and Ernest drop him into the pot of curry, splattering some of it on Olaf's tux.

Frank tells Sunny that it's important to keep the laundry room secure. The lobby clock tolls, and together they put on the lock.

Lemony says that everything the Baudelaires knew about the Hotel was wrong.

Five hours later, Violet and Klaus met and try to work out why all the people there think JS is different people. They wonder why everyone is watching the sky, and Sunny says "elephant".

Lemony explains that in a poem, six blind men touched an elephant, felt different parts, and each thought it was a different animal. If they share their perceptions, they could realize that it's all part of a larger plan.

Klaus and Violet put everything together, and realize that Quigley is sending the sugar bowl by courier crow. Carmelita plans to shoot the crow down, and Frank had Klaus hang the bird paper to catch it. There's a laundry vent under the window, and they realize that if the crow is shot down then the bowl would fall into the locked laundry room. Justice Strauss arrives and her luggage has "JS" on it. The Baudelaires greet her and they hug. Strauss says that she cares about them deeply, and she decided to set things right by going looking for them. Everywhere she went, the Baudelaires were already gone.

Strauss found the Incomplete History of Secret Organizations, and realized that she had to gather VFD with all the witnesses against Olaf so that the high court can put Olaf on trial. The various other people helped Strauss find the Baudelaires, and she sent her research to the bank for safekeeping. The file is titled The Complete History of Injustice, or Odious Lusting After Fortunes. They invited Olaf there as well, and after Thursday Olaf will be behind bars. Strauss offers to let them live at her home if they can forgive her. They accept, and Strauss says that the story is finally over. The clock tolls, and Strauss says that they should get some sleep and goes to her room.

Kit parks the taxi and talks to Lemony, surprised that he's still alive. He says that he's been on the lam, and came back to make sure that Jacques is dead. Kit apologizes and Lemony says that he's missed so much, and everything that happened at the opera is his fault. His sister asks him to come to the Hotel and rejoin VFD, and figures that she has four children. Kit explains that the three children at the Hotel are the Baudelaires. As he takes that in, a signal flare goes off and they both see a self-sustaining hot-air mobile home floating in the air with a flock of eagles. Kit goes to the Queequeg to rescue them, and asks if Lemony has a valid taxi driver's license.

At the Hotel, the Baudelaires wait in the lobby. They still don't know why the sugar bowl is important or which brothers met with them. Violet points out that they were each with a Denouement brother at the same time. The hotel system is set up like a library system and Mysteries are under 135, but there is no Room 135. Violet puts on her ribbon and realizes that it's not a room. They go into the elevator and press 1, 3, and 5 simultaneously. The elevator goes to a sub-basement and they find a room with a library card catalog. A Denouement brother comes in, and the Baudelaires realize that the Denouement brothers are triplet. The third brother introduces himself as Dewey, and explains that his existence and his work is a secret. He opens a secret panel and reveals a passage beyond.

As they walk through the tunnels, Dewey explains that they get reports from every Volunteer, who pass their journal entries through the system to the library: the Last Safe Place. They emerge outside the Hotel and go to the fountain... and the library under the pond. Dewey explains that he and Kit are leaving VFD on Thursday to raise their child, and the Last Safe Place will need new libraries. He wants to have the Baudelaires manage the library, once Olaf is behind bars. Dewey tells them that they're not children anymore and wonders if a safe life with Strauss is enough for them.

Klaus tells Dewey that before they accept or refuse, they need to know what's in the sugar bowl. Olaf steps out and says that the Baudelaires are in his clutches. He tells Ernest to hand over the orphans, and Dewey says that he's not Ernest and the Hotel is filled with Volunteers. Esme and Carmelita arrive, Carmelita holding the harpoon gun, and Esme explains that they're going to serve mushrooms at her cocktail party. Violet realizes that Olaf and Esme plan to poison VFD, but Dewey figures that they won't unleash the Mycelium without the sugar bowl. Esme tells him that they'll shoot down the crow and get the sugar bowl, and says that Beatrice stole the sugar bowl from her.

Olaf tells Carmelita to shoot Dewey, and she refuses until Olaf teaches her to spit. He refuses, yanking the harpoon gun away from her, and Carmelita walks over to Esme. Olaf tells them that he's tired of a girlfriend who undermines him, and the Baudelaires say that if it wasn't for Esme then they'd be dead and Olaf has the sugar bowl. Esme complains that Olaf and his constant losing is the outtest thing of all. Olaf fires her and breaks up with her, and Esme is shocked because no one has broken up with her before. Furious, she walks off with Carmelita.

Olaf aims the harpoon gun at the Baudelaires and says that he just needs the Baudelaire fortune and the three phrases to open the VFD lock. Dewey tells him that the lock is a decoy, but Olaf doesn't believe him and gives him until the count of ten. The Baudelaires get in the way and advance on Olaf, and Klaus says that he can choose not to pull the trigger. Olaf says that it's all he knows what to do, but gives them the harpoon.

Poe comes out and the Baudelaires drop the harpoon gun. It fires, hitting and killing Dewey. Dewey whispers Kit's name and falls into the pond, floating above the vast VFD lobby. Olaf runs off, and Poe goes to get the manager. The crows fly overhead and the Snicket taxi pulls up. Lemony gets out and introduces himself to the Baudelaires.

Written by Gadfly on Feb 9, 2019

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