By Joanna McCoy (@jojohugstrees)
The Reptile Room: Part One
After another warning from Lemony Snicket, the story opens with the Baudelaire children riding in the car with Mr. Poe, who informs them that they will be going to live with Dr. Montgomery, their actual closest living relative, who they were supposed to have been placed with in the first place. Count Olaf is still at large, and by the looks of it, won’t be caught for a very long time. Driving up Lousy Lane, the children arrive at the house with Mr. Poe to meet Dr. Montgomery Montgomery. That’s right, his first and last name are both Montgomery.
Dr. Montgomery greets the children with three slices of coconut cream cake, quite different from Count Olaf’s cold and distant greeting, and takes them inside his reptilian home. Klaus makes it a point to tell Dr. Montgomery that their fortune cannot be accessed until Violet is of age, to which Dr. Montgomery (Monty) assures them that he’s not interested in their fortune and that after what they’ve been through, it’s quite understandable that they should be so cautious. After Mr. Poe leaves, the children are informed that Monty knew their parents because he grew up with them, showing them a picture of a piano as proof. It looks a bit misleading, as there is no one in the picture, but it turns out that the parents are in fact in the picture with Monty, they’re just in the piano. But who took the photo? We find that out later.
Dr. Monty is a Herpetologist, meaning he studies snakes. He circles the globe to study things that can circle the globe. We find that his assistant Gustav is no longer with him, and he’s in the market for a new assistant, as his previous one left him an unexpected letter of resignation. He leads the children to the wonders of a particularly secure door, which has behind it, the reptile room. There they get to meet such creatures as winged lizards and the incredibly deadly viper, who turns out to be excellent with babies.
The Baudelaire’s seem to be adapting to Dr. Monty’s house pretty well and while Violet trusts him, Klaus thinks that something isn’t quite right. His uncomfortable feeling is confirmed when Stefano, Dr. Montgomery Montomery’s new assistant arrives at the door. His big spectacles and beard don’t hide the fact that he’s Count Olaf, which the children call him out on at the doorstep. They attempt to shut the door on him, but are stopped when he pulls out a giant knife and traps them in the reptile room. One important fact is revealed, Count Olaf is the one who took the picture of the Baudelaire parents and Monty when they were trapped in the piano. But what is Count Olaf doing hanging out with the Baudelaire parents? Hopefully that will be revealed later as well.
Stefano (Count Olaf) greets Monty on the driveway and introduces himself as Monty’s new assistant. While Count Olaf thinks he has Monty fooled, Monty is onto him and develops a plan with the children outside under a canoe. Not the best place to develop a plan, but Dr. Monty is anything but conventional. The plan: dinner and a movie, while keeping a close eye on Stefano. Dinner proves to be slightly uncomfortable and the movie not much different. While viewing the movie, which includes the members Gustav and Jaclyn, the Baudelaire’s protectors, the subtitles include hidden messages for Dr. Montgomery to view using the special telescope that Klaus found at his parent’s home. The message reads: “Hello Montgomery. Danger! Take the children on the SS Prospero to Peru! At the snack counter, we see two of Count Olaf’s troupe members, the twins. They are there to stop Montgomery and allow Olaf to escape with the children.
Dr. Montgomery has an alternative plan and in cahoots with the ticket master prints up four tickets to Peru. However, before Montgomery can meet the children, the twin troupe members in the back of the theater stop him. The Baudelaire parents using their series of created devices, escape from the prison cell and make a run for it. However, their escape isn’t as easy as they had hoped for it to be and find themselves on the cliff of a waterfall in Peru.
Monty escapes the twin henchmen and meets up with the children in the parking lot and confronts Stefano on his identity, a spy trying to steal information from Dr. Monty’s research. Monty tells him to leave, but as Monty walks away from Count Olaf, we see that Count Olaf has another trick up his sleeve and doesn’t look too defeated. Monty tells the children of Peru on their drive back and it looks like the plan will fall perfectly into place. However, back at the house, after hot chocolate and marshmallows, their plan doesn’t look like it will be happening anytime soon. The children are tucked into bed and prepared for their big day, but while they are asleep, Monty heads downstairs and notices that the reptile room’s door is strangely ajar. While in the reptile room, he looks at something startling and shields himself from his unfortunate fate.
The Reptile Room: Part Two
The Baudelaires wake up to a chameleon the following morning and not Dr. Monty as discussed the previous night. Klaus and Violet go down stairs into the reptile room to find Dr. Monty dead in his desk chair. They aren’t given much time to grieve because at the opening of the door is Count Olaf, still in disguise as Stefano. However, with Dr. Monty now gone, Count Olaf uses this moment to reveal his true self. With his bags packed, Sunny in one of them, he forces the children to get into Uncle Monty’s car and go to Peru with them. But, their trip is cut short by Mr. Poe’s car. The Baudelaires tell Mr. Poe that they don’t want to go to Peru with Stefano because he is Count Olaf. Unfortunately, given Count Olaf’s disguise, and Mr. Poe’s gullibility, he cannot see that Stefano is actually Count Olaf. He thinks it best to wait for the police to arrive and check out Dr. Monty before the children go to Peru as originally planned.
The coroner arrives to examine the body, but the children are already suspicious. The nurse looks like one of Count Olaf’s henchmen in disguise. The group is split up with Count Olaf and the coroner looking at the body and the children with Mr. Poe. Mid conversation, they are startled by a scream from the reptile room and arrive to find the coroner and Stefano putting a sheet over the body. They tell the children that Dr. Monty has been killed by snakebite because of the marks in his face and the fact that he had venom in his veins from the deadliest snake in the world, the incredibly deadly viper. The children tell everyone that the viper is not in fact deadly at all, but is really friendly and that the name is a misnomer. But, unfortunately, the grown ups are the only ones Mr. Poe really listens to and he ignores the children’s statements.
Mid conversation with the coroner and Count Olaf, who is still in disguise as Stefano, Klaus tricks the coroner into taking off his mouth covering, revealing one of this henchmen from the acting troupe. The children tell Mr. Poe, who doesn’t believe it and thinks that Count Olaf is miles away from them when in fact, he’s only inches. As they make their way for the door, they are stopped by Count Olaf, who says that they’re quarantined because there’s a snake on the loose. He radios his henchmen, who are sitting playing cards in the van just outside the home. When they arrive in the home, the children recognize them at once as Count Olaf’s henchmen. However, Mr. Poe cannot tell who they are because they are in disguise, even the handless henchman has prosthetic hands. Count Olaf once again fools Mr. Poe.
The children are told to exit the conversation and head upstairs, watching the henchmen leave with Dr. Monty’s body. They come up with their own plan once upstairs. Part of it involves Klaus going into the reptile room to gather the incredibly dangerous viper. While in the reptile room, Count Olaf’s henchmen are putting together the crime, or as we know it, distracting Mr. Poe from Count Olaf’s motives. While in the reptile room, Klaus comes to the realization that the same telescope that he got from his parent’s house is the same one that Dr. Monty has in a picture on his room and recognizes it as the same one he was using at the theater. He also notices that the woman in the hedges outside has an exact one as well. As he comes to this realization, he drops the telescope and just as the henchmen draw closer to him in the reptile room, they are distracted from what sounds like a baby’s cry outside. They go outside the room to investigate it, leaving Klaus behind.
In a series of flashbacks, we are taken back to Klaus hanging from the ledge on the outside of the children’s room. Sunny and Violet are against the wall of the door to the room, aware that Count Olaf will be arriving soon. Klaus drops from the ledge and Sunny and Violet stay put as Count Olaf enters the room. While he’s looking for them with a ghastly huge knife, Violet and Sunny escape the room and make their way outside to Dr. Monty’s car. There, Violet looks through Count Olaf’s suitcase, but she is cut short when Count Olaf interrupts her. Their discussion is cut short by a baby’s scream in the house, allowing Violet to escape from Count Olaf and return back into the house.
In the house, the investigation is put to a halt at the sight in the entrance of the home. Sunny and the incredibly deadly viper are playing. Klaus steps forward from the reptile room, reading this information from Dr. Monty’s book on snakes. Violet steps into the entry way revealing a suitcase of Count Olaf’s to prove that Dr. Monty wasn’t bitten by a snake, but was murdered by Count Olaf. In the suitcase, she pulls out a vial of venom that they identify as being from Dr. Monty’s cabinet. Mr. Poe checks the cabinet where Dr. Monty kept all of his deadly venoms from snakes to find that one of the vials is in fact missing, a vial from the Mama Du Mal snake, one of the deadliest snakes known for it’s venom. Now that the venom is found out, Violet reveals how Count Olaf made it look like the snake bit Dr. Monty. Count Olaf used a double barrel syringe to inject the venom into Dr. Monty to make it look like a bite mark. Mr. Poe believes the children, and asks Stefano for his left ankle, using the handkerchief he’s been coughing into all day. He rubs the makeup off of the tattoo, revealing it for all to see. Count Olaf reveals who he truly is, and also reveals that he is the one who killed Gustav, who died at the end of the second episode, The Bad Beginning: Part 2. Mr. Poe, who has finally caught up with everyone else, asks the police officers in the room to arrest Count Olaf, but suddenly realizes that they will not, because like the children told him earlier, they work for Count Olaf. They think they will make their great escape when suddenly, the reptile room, knowing that their master has been taken from them, turns on Count Olaf and his henchmen. The henchmen leave the reptile room, exiting in the coroner’s van, while Count Olaf makes his way into the labyrinth of hedges. The children follow behind him while Mr. Poe leaves to make a phone call.
In the hedge labyrinth, the children try to catch Count Olaf, but he once again escapes through a door in the floor. The children don’t see the door and when they almost give up, that is when the hedges come to life, so to speak, the golden statue that we see in the beginning of the episode, reveals itself to be Jaclyn, Mr. Poe’s assistant, and the actress from the zombie movie who delivered the message to Dr. Monty in the theater. The children ask her about Peru, but that trip has been compromised. The children have a few questions that will hopefully be revealed later on in the series, or as Jaclyn tells them, at their aunt’s house. They are to go to their Aunt Josephine’s house. Jaclyn leaves via the same door Count Olaf escaped through, and the children return to Mr. Poe, who is watching the house as the reptiles are being taken away by the herpetological society, who will place them in loving homes. All but one reptile has been taken, which we find is the incredibly deadly viper, who is last seen slithering through the labyrinth by Sunny.
Jaclyn escapes through the underground labyrinth, and traces Count Olaf’s Stefano disguise through the tunnels, which leads her to a ship at the docks. She follows Count Olaf onto the ship, and gives him a surprise greeting at his door. The children find out from Mr. Poe that their parents recommended Jaclyn to him. Back on the ship, Jaclyn and Count Olaf have a brief fight which Count Olaf escapes via the ships window. He splashes into the water, leaving Jaclyn his jacket and Klaus’s spyglass.
Somewhere in Peru, Mrs. Baudelaire is making a phone call to Dr. Monty’s home, but no one is picking up. The parents have escaped from where they were being held and look to be successfully making their way back to their children. However, it looks like there might be an old fashioned bar fight at the end of the episode when the bar overhears Mrs. Baudelaire’s call and all of its guests stop what they are doing and focus in on the parents. Mr. Baudelaire gives his wife a pool stick, which she breaks in half using her knee, handing him the other piece. The two look like they are ready to brawl, and the episode ends with Mr. Baudelaire asking the bar’s patrons if anyone knows where they can charter a plan