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The Bad Beginning: Part One

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The Bad Beginning: Part One
MrPoeArrival
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)
Key crew
Writer: Daniel Handler
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Producer: Neil Patrick Harris
Release details
Story number: 1a
Season/series: Season 1
Premiere network: Netflix
Release date: January 13, 2017
Format: 50 minutes
Production code: 1.1
Navigation
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A Series of Unfortunate Events
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Memorable moment
"It's The Count" - Neil Patrick Harris Musical Number (Choreography by Paul Becker)01:38

"It's The Count" - Neil Patrick Harris Musical Number (Choreography by Paul Becker)

Behind the scenes video
"It's The Count" Neil Patrick Harris Rehearsal Footage Comparison01:41

"It's The Count" Neil Patrick Harris Rehearsal Footage Comparison

The Bad Beginning: Part One was the first episode of Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events. It covered the first half of The Bad Beginning, and the start of the Baudelaires' misfortunes.

This episode also introduced the Quagmire parents, Mr. and Mrs. Quagmire, though at the time of The Bad Beginning, they are implied to be the Baudelaire parents instead.

Official synopsis

The dreadful history of the Baudelaire children begins with a deadpan narrator, a terrible fire and the ominous arrival of a distant relative.

Dedication

To Beatrice –
darling, dearest, dead.

Plot

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.

At the beach, Violet skips rocks, and decides to invent a rock retrieval device. The device is successful, and she briefly celebrates with Klaus.

Baudelaire mansion in flames

The Baudelaire Mansion goes up in flames.

Hearing a sudden noise, Sunny turns her head to see a mysterious figure in the distance. Violet recognises 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."

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.

Now the Baudelaire orphans

The Baudelaire children, now the Baudelaire orphans, look back as they're driven away from the home they grew up in.

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.

Orphans in car

The miserable orphans are brought to their next destination.

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." He gets Klaus to repeat it, for the following morning's headline.

Poe residence

The Poe residence

"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.

Justice Strauss meets the Baudelaires

Justice Strauss meets the Baudelaires.

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.

First glimpse of Olaf's house

Count Olaf's house

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."

Cleaning the bathroom

Cleaning the grimy bathroom

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 violet 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.

Count Olaf dinner

The Baudelaires serve dinner to Count Olaf's troupe.

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.

Sunny in the air

Olaf holds Sunny up in the air.

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."

What's that thing Einstein said

"What's that thing Einstein said?"

Somewhere, in a cell, a mother and father are worried about their children. "What's that thing Einstein said?"

Cast

Starring

Guest starring

Co-starring

Crew

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                                                
Teleplay by
Daniel Handler
Produced by
Neil Patrick Harris
Directed by
Barry Sonnenfeld
Director of Photography
Bernard Couture
Production Designer
Bo Welch

Casting by
Ronna Kress
Original score by
James Newton-Howard


Costume Designer
Angus Strathie
Edited by
Stuart Bass, ACE
Based on the book series by Lemony Snicket


  Main title theme music by Nick Urata  • Lyrics by Daniel Handler  • Performed by Neil Patrick Harris 
Original songs: Music by Nick Urata • Lyrics by Daniel Handler 

Main title designed by Stuart Bass, ACE & TWINART 

General production staff

Personal assistants

Script department

Camera and lighting department

2nd unit camera and lighting

Art department

Costume department

Make-up, prosthetics and hair

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

CVD VFX

Encore Vancouver &
Method Studios Vancouver

LUX Visual Effects Inc.

Previsualization by NeoReel Inc.

SPIN VFX

VFX by Zoic Studios

Sound

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.


References

Events

Locations

  • 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.

Objects

  • 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.

Technology

Literature

Music

  • She also 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".
  • Count Olaf and his troupe perform "The Count".

Theatre

Culture

  • At the beach, Violet asks Klaus to quote 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

Organizations

Businesses

People

  • 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.

Defined words

  • 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.

Story notes

  • While titled The Bad Beginning: Part One on the Netflix website, the actual title card has it A Bad Beginning: Part One.

Filming locations

to be added

Production errors

to be added

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 Mrs. Poe and Eleanora 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 had on, that fateful day at Briny Beach.
  • 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.

Continuity

Home video releases

DVD releases

to be added

Blu-ray releases

to be added

External links

Template:ASOUETV

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