The final season of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ is a bittersweet goodbye to childlike tendencies and loose ends

It’s overwhelming to unpack everything about A Series of Unfortunate Events. There’s just so much about it, from vocabulary words to moral relativism, that it’s hard to cover ground. Add the fact that A Series of Unfortunate Events, despite the books ending 13 years ago, left us with more questions than answers, and you wouldn’t really know where to start.

But let it be known: it holds a special place in my life, and its Netflix adaptation — all three seasons of it — has given me more reason to love it even more.

The books occupy a whole shelf in my room. They’re prized possessions, and with each hardbound copy comes a specific memory – one’s a library book that was never returned, two were bought in Europe. The series served as a barometer for my reading comprehension — with each book using more difficult words as you go along — and for my understanding of the world: it’s as secretive and unforgiving as much as it is hopeful.

Season 3 picks up exactly where Season 2 ended: a cliffhanger. Violet (Malina Weissman) and Klaus Baudelaire (Louis Hynes) find their caravan careening down a cliff, leaving their baby sister Sunny in the clutches of Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) and his henchmen. It’s in these macabre proceedings — and there’s a lot after that runaway caravan — that the Baudelaires get to show their intellect. But unlike in previous seasons, they struggle to come to terms with the world’s gray areas: that even the most wicked/noble of people have done noble/wicked things.

The final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events is essentially a truth pill covered in obscure literary references and cheeky sociopolitical takes, and that’s what makes it a satisfying watch.

Along with the Baudelaires, you’re forced to examine your own thoughts about people and their morality and whether the end justifies the means. In this whimsical world that Netflix has recreated, it’s easy to fall into the trappings of a children’s narratives — good versus bad — but they show it like how it is in the real world. As one character said, “People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”

This season finds itself deviating from the plots laid down by the books, and for good measure: they’re determined to give answers to all the questions, even ones from a decade ago. What you’ll get is a beautifully crafted goodbye to a series that feels like growing up. And in a world as unfortunate as the one we’re in, you can’t ask for anything more.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.


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