The Miserable Mill Review

There are a lot of yellow doors in the world and they don’t always have friendly faces behind them.


Even people who haven’t read the books could be familiar with the first three stories, six episodes, by watching the 2004 movie, but The Miserable Mill, and the books beyond, have never been adapted before. With these two episodes the show manages to step out from the shadow of the movie and prove that it can shine on its own.

The Baudelaire children try to uncover the truth about their parent’s involvement in the destruction of the town surrounding the Lucky Smells Lumber Mill. While working there, Klaus’s glasses are broken and he is sent to Dr Georgina Orwell an optometrist and hypnotist who is working with Count Olaf in exchange for half of the Baudelaire fortune. Under her control, Klaus begins to cause an inordinate amount of accidents at the mill.


The receptionist Shirley, who was Olaf in disguise in case that wasn’t clear, was much more fun to watch than Stefano and Captain Sham and says more about the former relationship between Olaf and Dr Orwell than anyone really wanted to know. Orwell is played excellently by Catherine O’Hara who actually played the role of Justice Strauss in the movie.

From the moment the Quagmire triplets, originally from the fifth book, woke up to a delicious breakfast in bed the plot twist involving the identity of who Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders were really playing became obvious, but with that revelation came the disappointment that those characters, along with one of the triplets, would soon be dead.


Regardless of the confusion that came with believing those were actually the Baudelaire’s parents, the kickass husband and wife duo were one of the highlights of the show. It is unfortunate that they will not be part of the story moving forward, but this isn’t a series of fortunate events and with their deaths the show truly lived up to its name. Hopefully the addition of the two remaining triplets, Duncan and Isadora, will bring as much to the table as their parents.

The year, week, season or whatever ends with a song that makes it clear the end of the story will not be a happy one. The song, like the whole season, was fun and full of clever little details. So even if this is a long voyage to an unfortunate conclusion, it is definitely a journey worth taking. Bring on season two.


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