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"The Ersatz Elevator: Part One"
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Adapted from: The Ersatz Elevator
Main character(s): Violet, Klaus, Sunny
Baudelaire guardians: Jerome Squalor, Esmé Squalor
Main enemy: Count Olaf
Olaf's disguise: Gunther
Main setting: 667 Dark Avenue
Library: Squalor Library
Key crew
Writer: Daniel Handler
Director: Bo Welch
Producer: Neil Patrick Harris
Release details
Story number: 6a
Season/series: Season 2
Premiere network: Netflix
Release date: March 30, 2018
Format: 52 minutes
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A Series of Unfortunate Events
"The Austere Academy: Part Two" "The Ersatz Elevator: Part Two"
Memorable moment

"The Ersatz Elevator: Part One" is the eleventh episode of Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events. It covered the first half of The Ersatz Elevator.

Official synopsis

Violet, Klaus and Sunny get new guardians in a fashionable building, where stairs are in--and the elevator's out. Jacques Snicket trains a recruit.


For Beatrice –
     When we met, my life began.
     Soon afterward,
     yours ended.


Arthur Poe has taken the Baudelaire children to live with a new guardian: Jerome Squalor and Esmé Squalor at 667 Dark Avenue, a tall apartment building. The Squalors live on the top floor in the penthouse. The doorman explains to the Baudelaires how the apartment is trying to be fashionable and "in" instead of "out", and so the elevator cannot be used because elevators are out.

After climbing stairs for a long time, they meet their new guardians and see their ridiculously large penthouse. The Baudelaires find Count Olaf is already inside and he is pretending to be Gunther, a foreigner, while in hiding from a citywide manhunt. The Squalors do not believe the Baudelaires when they claim Gunther is Count Olaf. Violet Baudelaire searches their new penthouse apartment for Duncan Quagmire and Isadora Quagmire but has no such luck.

The Prufrock librarian, Olivia Caliban, visits Poe and tries to tell him about how the orphans are being taken advantage of. She has read the annotated copy of The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations. Poe, of course, doesn't listen, mainly because he is about to go on a helicopter search for the Quagmires. Jacquelyn has Jacques Snicket pick up Olivia and recruit her into their secret organization.

Esmé takes the Baudelaires to Café Salmonella to have a long lunch. Meanwhile, Jacques and Olivia search 667 Dark Avenue for the Quagmires. Olaf tries and succeeds in getting them to switch locations and head over to the Herring Houdini, his own makeshift restaurant where he plans on drugging the Squalors in order to kidnap the children.

The Baudelaires manage to escape lunch and head back to the penthouse to join the search. They arrive at the penthouse floor and check out the second elevator that Klaus became suspicious of. What they find instead of an elevator is just a long dark shaft.

Meanwhile, Larry the Waiter has convinced a reluctant Olaf to perform a song for them in order to buy Jacques and Olivia more time. Together, the Baudelaires build a makeshift hot air balloon and jump down into the shaft. At the bottom of the shaft, they find the Quagmires who have been locked up in a cage.



Guest starring



to be added


  • While Jerome is giving the Baudelaires a tour, he points to a certain room and says the Duchess of Winnipeg once stayed there, referring to a dear associate of Lemony Snicket and Beatrice Baudelaire and a VFD agent, known as 'R', in the ASOUE companion books.
  • In the informal dining room, Gunther mentions that a vase could shatter into a million pieces and hit your eye, a reference to Josephine Anwhistle.
  • Esmé asks what she's tasting while eating and the waiter replies "rutabaga" which may be a reference to the Rutabaga River.
  • Count Olaf's henchman of indeterminable gender is seen calling out "Donner, party of five" while everyone runs from Salmonella. This is a reference to the Donner Party, a real-life group of westbound pioneers in the US in the 1840s, who resulted to cannibalism upon being stranded by a snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
  • The Café Salmonella's name is a reference to the bacterial disease salmonella, which is often contracted from eating spoiled or undercooked meats, including fish.
  • Near the end, Violet looks into the empty elevator and remarks it's a shaft. Sunny replies, "I can dig it." This is a reference to Theme of Shaft.
  • While Jacques and Olivia are looking for Isadora and Duncan, they see a woman watching Bob Ross, an American painter.

Story notes

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Filming locations

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Production errors

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Deviations from the novel

  • In the book, the doorman is the Hook-Handed Man; his long sleeves cover up his hooks and his hat's brim covers most of his face. In the TV series, the doorman is someone else entirely.
  • In the book, the Baudelaires put on the pinstripe suits but change back into their normal clothes shortly thereafter. In the series, the Baudelaires keep the suits on for much of their time with the Squalors. Also, in the book, their suits are way oversized; in the series, they fit perfectly.
  • In the book, the Baudelaires are given a bit of free time until Gunther's arrival. In the TV series, right after entering the Squalors' apartment, they find him immediately behind curtains.
  • In the book, it's Sunny's idea to use breadcrumbs to know where they have searched, and they are searching for Gunther in order to make sure he is not hiding in the apartment. In the TV series, when Gunther is being given a tour, Violet uses white chalk, and she searches for the Quagmires, not Gunther.

Violet sliding down the banister.

  • In the TV series, Jerome does not teach the Baudelaires to slide down the bannister, possibly of Netflix guidelines.
  • In the book, there is no Herring Houdini restaurant.
  • Jerome is not given a sleeping drink in the book.
  • In the TV series, the Baudelaires use a parachute/hot air balloon device to descend the elevator shaft. In the book, Violet makes a rope out of cords, ties, and curtains.
  • There is no subplot of Olivia Caliban and Jacques, or any volunteers, trying to rescue the Quagmires in the book.


Home video releases

DVD releases

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Blu-ray releases

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External links