By Joanna McCoy (@jojohugstrees)
The Wide Window: Part One
The episode opens with the Lachrymose News giving an update on the story of the Baudelaire orphans as well as a few nice people who were poisoned. Lemony Snicket has his usual opening and we are brought up to speed of the Baudelaire tragedy.
Since their Aunt Josephine, played by the talented Alfre Woodard, does not want to meet the at the docks, they are given some cash by Mr. Poe for a taxi and head to Aunt Josephine’s house. In the meantime, Count Olaf and his troupe of actors are paddling their way into Lake Lachrymose to ruin the Baudelaire children’s chance at happiness and get their hands on their fortune.
The Baudelaire’s are greeted to the sign, “Please Go Away,” as well as Aunt Josephine, who seems a little neurotic and haunted by the past. The brave, daring, and brilliant Aunt they pictured has been holed up in her house far away from everyone.
What’s haunting her?
She and her husband, Ike, the only man she knew who could whistle with a mouthful of crackers used to be friends with the Baudelaire parents. They would go on adventures together and it seemed like the four of them had a wonderful time together. However, one day when Josephine told Ike to wait an hour before going into Lake Lachrymose, he only waited 45 minutes and was brought to his fate by the Lachrymose leeches, who are unlike any other leaches due to their six rows of sharp teeth and one very sharp nose with an excellent sense of smell. The typically peaceful leeches will turn sadistic when they uncover the scent of food on a human.
The Baudelaire’s are hoping to gather clues to all the crazy that has been happening to them as of lately from their Aunt Josephine. When she takes them to what they hoped would be at least a clue, she points them to her library of grammar books. Since the death of her husband, Ike, she has devoted herself to the study of grammar. The Baudelaire children try to coax her into telling them some of the secrets they so wish to learn about while eating a cold bowl of cucumber soup, but find that she won’t budge.
Back in town, Count Olaf and a baker have a bit of a scuffle outside the store. It seems as if though the baker knows Count Olaf from the past and is looking out for the Baudelaire children. He slips though when he gives away who the Baudelaire children are staying with, their Aunt Josephine.
At Aunt Josephine’s, after the children have sent her into town to get them some food, they do some digging around to uncover the secrets on their own. They unlock the safe, whose three-letter code is IKE, and find a box of crackers, a very high-pitched Beethoven’s music sheet, photos of Aunt Josephine’s past adventurous life, and the Complete History of Organizations. Their discovery is cut short at the arrival of Aunt Josephine and a familiar faced, one-legged Captain Sham, who turns out to be none other than Count Olaf. They met at the market while she was getting limes.
The Baudelaire’s, concerned for their aunt, try to go after her and Captain Sham head out the door, but don’t make it past the doorsteps. Count Olaf’s henchmen greet them on Aunt Josephine’s driveway, telling them that they will be keeping a sharp eye on them. With no way of escaping out the front, they opt for another way.
After giving a glimpse of the awful date that Aunt Josephine is on, the Baudelaire parents are shown planning a flight and decoding a message that says, “You can’t lock up the barn after the horses are gone.” The expression means that sometimes even the best of plans will occur to you too late. It seems the parents will be successful in their escape after all.
At Aunt Josephine’s, things prove to be a different story. As the children are plotting their escape, they hear a window crash and go to the library to investigate it. It appears that Aunt Josephine has leapt from the window to her fate. But has she? According to Lemony Snicket, it appears that Aunt Josephine is still very much alive and hasn’t met her end. Not yet anyways.
The Wide Window: Part 2
The children, troubled by their aunt’s demise attempt to put the pieces together of that night and figure out what happened to her. They know that Count Olaf (Captain Sham) had something to do with it, but don’t exactly know the extent of his involvement.
They summon the help of Mr. Poe, but he fails to be helpful. As they try to prove it to Mr. Poe, he writes them off and takes them to the Anxious Clown Café where they will be dining with Captain Sham, their new guardian. Their waiter Larry takes the order, who we know to be the familiar face of the baker, and also as a member of the secret society the Baudelaire’s are a part of. The waiter attempts to make an effort to communicate with the Baudelaire orphans via their food, but it fails on the count that Count Olaf’s acting troupe is hanging out in the kitchen, threatening him. His last ditch effort proves to be useful though when he asks the children if they have any allergies. All of them are allergic to peppermint, and take peppermint candies to summon their allergies and be excused from the table. Can we also just take a moment to appreciate the comedic timing of Mr. Poe’s coughs? They seem to be getting better and better with each episode.
After ingesting the peppermints, the children break out in red rashes and use it as a way to be excused from the restaurant. Back at the house, they discover from her message that Aunt Josephine isn’t dead at all, but is hiding out at Curdled Cave. Thanks to the carefully crafted letter that Aunt Josephine left behind, Klaus was able to decipher the message that it held. To get to Curdle Cave, they steal a boat and sail it through the hurricane on Lake Lachrymose. At Curdle Cave, they find Aunt Josephine waiting for them. She tells them the story of how she wrote the letter, faked her own death, and made her way to Curdle Cave. She’s set on staying in the cave forever until Klaus tells her that it’s for sale which means it will be bringing along the one thing that Aunt Josephine fears the most, real estate agents. At this news, she decides to join the children and leave the cave.
Everything seems to be going well on their voyage back, but their luck is cut short when it is revealed that Aunt Josephine ate less than an hour before they got onto the sailboat. Eating less than an hour before going onto the lake means one thing, the lachrymose leaches. The leaches make their way to the boat and just as it looks like it will sink, the orphans raise a signal due to the help of their unknowing parents, and flag down a ship. Excited with their fortune, they board the ship only to discover that it is Count Olaf and his henchmen.
Aunt Josephine and Count Olaf have an interesting exchange of words where it is discovered that long ago they were once good friends. It is also revealed that it is Count Olaf’s fault why Aunt Josephine’s beloved Ike died. We know that Ike loved his shredded beef tamales, but guess who fed them to him on the day of his death? Count Olaf.
Dismayed at this information, Aunt Josephine finally steps up to the plate and gets ready to be fierce and formidable. Unfortunately, her courage is cut short as Count Olaf pushes her into the lake and leaves her fate to the Lachrymose leaches. The children watch in horror and count yet another life lost to Count Olaf. As they head back to the docks, Mr. Poe greets him, and gets them ready to leave with Count Olaf (Captain Sham). However, the children have other plans. Sunny immediately starts to chew away at Count Olaf’s wooden peg leg, revealing his foot and his eye tattoo on his left ankle. Mr. Poe, finally convinced, fail to capture Count Olaf yet again, and the children make their way this time onto the back of a Lucky Smells Lumber Mill pick up truck. The episode ends with Mr. Poe searching for both the Baudelaire’s and Count Olaf.