"A Bad BeginningPart One"
|Adapted from:||The Bad Beginning|
|Main character(s):||Violet, Klaus, Sunny|
|Baudelaire guardian:||Count Olaf|
|Featuring:||Mr. Poe, Justice Strauss|
|Main enemy:||Count Olaf|
|Main setting:||Count Olaf's house|
|Library:||Justice Strauss' library (law)|
|Producer:||Neil Patrick Harris|
|Release date:||January 13, 2017|
|A Series of Unfortunate Events|
|none||"A Bad Beginning: Part Two"|
|Behind the scenes video|
- To Beatrice –
- darling, dearest, dead.
Standing in a dimly lit underground tunnel, Lemony Snicket lights a match and informs us, the viewers, that there is no happy ending ahead. "In this story, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning, and very few happy things in the middle." He advises us all to watch something more pleasant instead.
The ground trembles above him, as a rickety trolley passes along on its track. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire see a fire engine rushing by, but don't think too much of it. They get off at Briny Beach on a gray and cloudy morning: the perfect weather for such an outing, even though there is a fun festival.
At the beach, Violet skips rocks and decides to invent a rock retrieval device. The device is successful, and she briefly celebrates with Klaus.
Hearing a sudden noise, Sunny turns her head to see a mysterious figure in the distance. Violet recognizes the shadowy creature as Mr. Poe, from the bank. After a long silence, the Baudelaire children try to make conversation. "I have some bad news for you children," he finally starts, "Your parents have perished in a terrible fire." Violet then drops the rock she used, which is important later.
Visiting the Baudelaire Mansion, ravished by the fire, the Baudelaires find it's nearly all gone. As Mr. Poe starts to say, "You have nothing—". "We have nothing," realizes Klaus. He finds a spyglass in a cabinet drawer. Part of it falls apart in his hand. As Mr. Poe explains about the Baudelaire Fortune and their future guardianship, Klaus finds that the eye-shaped end of the spyglass opens. Mr. Poe beckons for them to leave, and the Baudelaire orphans wistfully follow. He explains in the car that until he finds the children a new guardian, they'll stay with his family.
The Baudelaires have dinner at Mr. Poe's house, where everything is boiled, with his wife, Eleanora Poe, and two children, Edgar and Albert. Eleanora presents the latest issue of The Daily Punctilio, whose front page headline is on the Baudelaire Fire. Later, as the Baudelaires lay together on a single bed in Edgar and Albert's room, Mrs. Poe prods them: "You must feel terrible, and you must miss your parents very much." She gets Klaus to repeat it, for the following morning's headline. "We Feel Terrible, and We Miss Our Parents Very Much". It's daylight, and Mr. Poe takes the children to their "closest living relative" and their new guardian, the mysterious Count Olaf, who is employed as an actor.
Upon arriving at his address, they encounter Justice Strauss, a kind-hearted and child-loving judge, who has a garden full of flowers and a library full of books. But sadly the children discover that Justice Strauss is not in any way connected to Count Olaf, whose home looms ominously across the street.
Mr. Poe rings the doorbell, and as they wait, mentions that Count Olaf said specifically that he was "very eager to get his hands on you". Olaf lets them in, and immediately the children notice the tattoo of an eye on their new guardian's ankle.
They enter Count Olaf's house and see dirt and grime in every inch and corner. Count Olaf says he could fix it up with some of the children's wealth, but Mr. Poe corrects him: the Baudelaire Fortune will not be inherited until Violet comes of age. Olaf soon pushes Mr. Poe out of the house.He presents the orphans with a list of chores, and gives them a tour of their horrid new "home". At the end of it, he shows them to their room. Out of all the numerous rooms in his mansion, Count Olaf has given them the most cramped quarters, and only one bed, with complementary rocks on the side.
Violet notes that first impressions are often very wrong. "Very true. For example, your first impression of me may be that I am a terrible person. But, in time Baudelaires, I hope you'll come to realize... you haven't the faintest idea."
While Olaf has them cleaning the bathroom with toothbrushes, Justice Strauss rings on doorbell, and talks to Count Olaf. She's made the Baudelaires lamb, but Olaf convinces her that they're violent and ungrateful spoiled monsters. He chomps on the lamb himself in front of the children, and dismisses Justice Strauss, saying the children don't want to see her, as the lamb was too salty.
Meeting the orphans upstairs, he finds they completed his list and adds that they have to prepare dinner for his theater troupe, who are coming tonight. Violet has the idea to check Justice Strauss' library for cookbooks.
They decide on pasta puttanesca and go with Justice Strauss to pick up the ingredients they need. When they arrive back to Olaf's house, he and his troupe put on a musical performance entitled "The Count". It's the count, it's the count, it's the count. It's the count, it's the count, it's the count.
As the troupe drinks "Merlote" in the dining room, the Baudelaire children prepare dinner in the kitchen. They prepare the sauce, Violet fixes the pasta maker to make fresh pasta, and Sunny shreds the parsley with her teeth.
As Count Olaf gives a soliloquy to his troupe about acting, the children serve dinner, which everyone but Olaf agrees is delicious. When Olaf finds out what they are serving, he demands to know why they were not given roast beef, as he had supposedly requested. He holds Sunny high up in the air, and slaps Klaus across the face, leaving a large bruise on his cheek.
As they lay in bed that night, the Baudelaires consider that this hostile environment may not, after all, be "better than nothing", as their father had once said. Meanwhile, Justice Strauss reads up on Adoption Law & You.
Walking through the tunnels, Lemony Snicket discusses his dedication to researching and documenting the lives of the Baudelaire children, no matter what dangers it puts him in. "Trouble and strife can cover this world like the dark of night, or like smoke from a suspicious fire. And when that happens... all good, true and decent people know that it's time to volunteer."
Somewhere, in a cell, a mother and father are worried about their children. "What's that thing Einstein said?"
- Count Olaf - Neil Patrick Harris
- Lemony Snicket - Patrick Warburton
- Violet Baudelaire - Malina Weissman
- Klaus Baudelaire - Louis Hynes
- Arthur Poe - K. Todd Freeman
- Sunny Baudelaire - Presley Smith
- Father - Will Arnett
- Mother - Cobie Smulders
- Justice Strauss - Joan Cusack
- Hook-Handed Man - Usman Ally
- Henchperson of Indeterminate Gender - Matty Cardarople
- Eleanora Poe - Cleo King
- Bald Man - John DeSantis
- White-Faced Woman #1 - Jacqueline Robbins
- White-Faced Woman #2 - Joyce Robbins
- Albert Poe - Jack Forrester
- Edgar Poe - Kaniel Jacob-Cross
- Trolleyman - Darcey Johnson
- Voice of "Sunny" - Tara Strong
| Executive Producers Cindy Holland, Brian Wright, Ted Biaselli|
Daniel Handler and Barry Sonnenfeld
with John Weber and Frank Siracusa
|Co-executive producer(s) Rose Lam and Emily Fox|
|Not every person who worked on this episode was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as streamed on Netflix, and does not relay information from IMDb or other sources.|
- The trolleyman asks the children if they're going to the Festive Fun Fair, with all the jolly rides and games and snacks. In the background, you can see it faintly.
- Before the fire, the Baudelaires lived in an enormous mansion at the heart of a dirty and busy city.
- Violet, Klaus and Sunny are at Briny Beach when they receive the terrible news that their parents are dead.
- A Fresh Sea Food shack sits along the beach.
- According to signs around the premises, both swimming and fishing are prohibited at Briny Beach, due to the polluted waters.
- According to Klaus, there was a village in the Pacific Islands, suspended on ropes above an active volcano. They owned very little in case it erupts.
- There is, near Justice Strauss' house, a local open-air market and gin distillery. The children visit with her to get the food they need for dinner.
- Sunny asks for a rock that's not sandstone, and bites the one she's given into a smooth projectile to throw into the sea.
- Justice Strauss has bought new file cards for her private library.
- She forgot, however, to purchase a new bread knife.
- Count Olaf provides the children with only one bed. After letting this slip to Justice Strauss, he claims that the plural of "bed" is "bed".
- He also makes them clean the bathroom with their own toothbrushes. Afterwards, Klaus says he never wants to use a toothbrush again.
- In a flashback, Violet has made a grandfather clock from the Baudelaire library into a grandfather clock toaster. While it toasts the bread, though, the minute hand falls behind five minutes.
- Violet has built a rock retrieval device out of a picnic basket, which successfully brings back to her the rock she threw into the sea.
- Justice Strauss' food processor broke, so she bought a new toolkit, but she claims to have no inventive or mechanical skill whatsoever.
- Olaf says that the stove is like a servant. You have to whack it sometimes to get it to work.
- Count Olaf's kitchen has a broken pasta machine, which Violet fixes. This particular pasta maker reminds Violet of the one Thomas Jefferson made.
- At the beach, Klaus reads out loud from Oceans: Currents and Tides.
- In a flashback, Klaus reads to Violet a passage by Marcel Proust, which he doesn't understand: "Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the power of the mind." When Violet suggests it may be the translation, he thinks maybe it makes more sense in the original French.
- The Daily Punctilio reports, "Baudelaire Mansion Destroyed".
- Justice Strauss' library is mostly law books, but has everything from Italian cuisine to the world's most threatening fungus, a probable reference to the Medusoid Mycelium.
- Justice Strauss also has The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations.
- She also reads Adoption Law & You.
- Violet asks Klaus to quote James Brown: "I got something that makes me want to shout; I've got something that tells me what it's all about." They both continue, "I'm super bad!". This is a reference to Brown's song "Super Bad".
- Later on, Violet asks Klaus the same question, only for Count Olaf to cut in and say "I feel good." This is a reference to the James Brown song of the same name.
- Count Olaf and his troupe perform "It's The Count".
- The Bald Man interrupts Count Olaf's soliloquy at the dinner table.
- At the beach, Violet asks Klaus to quote Albert Einstein: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."
- An associate of Lemony Snicket, Brillat-Savarin, an 18th century philosopher and gourmand, once famously said, "To invite people to dine with us is to make ourselves responsible for their well-being as long as they are under our roofs."
- Count Olaf's pasta maker reminds Violet of the one Thomas Jefferson made.
Foods and beverages
- Edgar and Albert Poe debate about whether their meal is a raven or a crow, which is a reference to a famous Edgar Allen Poe poem,The Raven.
- Mrs. Poe reveals that it is in fact boiled chicken. She also served boiled potatoes and blanched string beans, which Klaus explains means boiled.
- Justice Strauss was planning on cutting up a baguette and doing something with the cut-up bread and white bean hummus.
- Justice Strauss prepared a lamb with homemade mint jelly and brings it over to Count Olaf's house to gift it to the Baudelaires. Olaf eats it instead and tells Strauss the children said it was too salty.
- The children decide to make pasta puttanesca. Klaus wonders what this means in Italian. The dish includes pasta, sautéd garlics and onions, as well as olives, capers, anchovies, diced parsley and tomatoes.
- Count Olaf's troupe drink wine, specifically "a box of the Merlote", as the children prepare the dinner.
- Once, the Baudelaire's father accidentally burnt quesadillas, and said, "Better than nothing."
- Sunny reveals that they made chocolate pudding for dessert, and the Hook-Handed Man and Bald Man understand her.
- Justice Strauss drinks an (possibly) aqueous martini in her library.
- Snicket mentions that at the time of the Baudelaire Fire, neither the official fire department nor the Volunteer Fire Department, arrived in time to stop it.
- Justice Strauss belongs to the High Court. One difficult case she's about to work on involves an illegal use of someone's credit card, and a poisonous plant.
- According to Lemony Snicket, one of the Poe brothers followed his father into the world of banking, while the other lives in a cave and talks to sheep.
- When Snicket describes the story as "dreadful, melancholy and calamitous", he describes calamitous as "dreadful and melancholy".
- Snicket defines rickety as "unsteady" or "likely to collapse at any moment."
- The trolleyman says "festive means fun".
- Describing Sunny, Snicket says infant is a word which here means "a person of the age at which one mostly speaks in a series of unintelligible shrieks".
- As Mr. Poe explains, "perished means killed".
- As Klaus tells Albert, blanched means boiled.
- According to Mr. Poe, hasty means "quickly, because I'm due at the bank soon".
- Klaus defines mitzvah as a "commandment", but Justice Strauss claims it means "blessing".
- Olaf says that there is only in acting a certain something which the French call escargot, which means snails.
- While titled The Bad Beginning: Part One on the Netflix website, the actual title card has it A Bad Beginning: Part One.
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Deviations from the novel
- Rather than examining the creatures at Briny Beach, Klaus helps Violet with her invention.
- While in the novel, Violet never gets the chance to complete her invention, due to the arrival of Mr. Poe, in the adaptation her device successfully retrieves the rock before his arrival.
- Mr. Poe tells the Baudelaires he works at Mulctuary Money Management in this version, while in this book they don't know which bank he works at, and spend a lengthy amount of time later on trying to find him in the banking district.
- Eleanora Poe, the editor of The Daily Punctilio, is here Mr. Poe's wife, rather than his sister. (The characters of Polly and Eleanora Poe are thus merged in one.)
- While in the book, Mrs. Poe buys the Baudelaires ugly and itchy clothing during their stay at the Poe residence, here the children continue to wear the clothes they were already wearing.
- Rather than making Sunny a small cot out of the window curtains, and taking turns on the floor and on the one bed provided, all three Baudelaires sleep together on their one cramped bed.
- During the dinner scene, in the book, when Olaf slaps Klaus, the theatre troupe laughs, and some of them even applaud Olaf. In the TV series, they're shocked and silently leave the room.
- Instead of a bland introduction to the theatre troupe, they have an entire song together with Count Olaf.
- When Klaus meets Count Olaf in the morning after he spent the night reading, Klaus says, "I know what you are up to', to which Count Olaf replies, "Me? I'm just having my morning coffee, although I can't seem to the sugar bowl." This is a reference to the infamous Sugar Bowl, an item that he and Esmé Squalor have been struggling to get their hands on for quite some time.
- The article in The Daily Punctilio about the Baudelaire children is written by Geraldine Julienne. (PROSE: The Vile Village, The Hostile Hospital, The Carnivorous Carnival, The Penultimate Peril)
- Some of the names in the VFD tunnel include "Quagmire", (PROSE: The Austere Academy, TV: "The Miserable Mill: Part Two", "The Austere Academy: Part One", et al.) "Snicket", (PROSE: The Bad Beginning, et al.) "Julienne", (PROSE: The Vile Village, et al.) "Remora", (PROSE: The Austere Academy, TV: "The Austere Academy: Part One", et al.) the "Cathedral of the Alleged Virgin" and "Spats", (PROSE: The Austere Academy, TV: "The Austere Academy: Part One", et al.) as well as "Montgomery", (PROSE: The Reptile Room, TV: "The Reptile Room: Part One"/"Part Two") "Anwhistle", (PROSE: The Wide Window, TV: "The Wide Window: Part One"/"Part Two") "Justice Strauss", (PROSE: The Bad Beginning, TV: "The Bad Beginning: Part One"/"Part Two") "Fernald", (PROSE: The Grim Grotto) "Widdershins" (PROSE: The Grim Grotto) and "Hal". (PROSE: The Hostile Hospital, TV: "The Hostile Hospital: Part One"/"Part Two")
Home video releases
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