The Unfortunate Course

The Reptile Room

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The Reptile Room Plot

After being taken away from their horrible guardian Count Olaf, the three Baudelaire children are taken by Mr. Poe to their new guardian, Dr. Montgomery Montgomery, who lives on Lousy Lane, in an area that smells like horseradish. According to Mr. Poe, Dr. Montgomery is the Baudelaires’ “late father’s cousin’s wife’s brother”. Dr. Montgomery, or “Uncle Monty” as he prefers to be called, is a short, chubby man with a round red face. He invites the children in for coconut cream cake (or in Sunny’s case, a carrot). He is much of a more friendly man rather than Count Olaf and gives the children free rein in the house. Each of the children can have their own room. Monty tells the children that they will be going on an expedition to Peru, once his new assistant, Stephano, arrives. He says that his old assistant, Gustav, had suddenly and unexpectedly resigned.

A Series of Unfortunate Events - The Reptile Room - Stephano
The Reptile Room – Stephano

The children are fascinated by the many snakes in the Reptile Room, a giant hall in which Monty’s reptile collection is stored. They meet The Incredibly Deadly Viper, which Monty has only recently discovered. The snake’s name is a misnomer since it is harmless; Monty intends to use it to play a practical joke on the Herpetologist Society in revenge for them ridiculing his name, Montgomery Montgomery. The three children are each given jobs in the Reptile Room: Violet is given the job of inventing traps for new snakes found in Peru, Klaus is told to read books on snakes to help advise Uncle Monty and Sunny’s job is to bite ropes into usable pieces. She also befriends the Incredibly Deadly Viper. When Stephano arrives, the children realize that he is Count Olaf in disguise. They try to warn Monty, but Stephano foils these attempts. They are forced to have dinner with Stephano, who rubs his knife against Violet’s knee under the table.

Eventually, Monty does realize Stephano is not who he says he is, however, he believes Stephano to be a spy sent to steal the Incredibly Deadly Viper. Monty explains this all to the astonished orphans and tears Stephano’s ticket to Peru up, saying that Stephano will not be going on the trip with them. Stephano threatens the children privately later, hinting at a plot he has for them when they reach Peru. They tell him that Monty won’t let him go with them and Stephano becomes furious. Later that evening, everyone goes to see a movie called Zombies in the Snow(It is revealed that the movie had a message written in Sebald Code, and it warns Uncle Monty about Stephano being a foe and says that there is a certain survivor of a fire in a giant snowman where the film takes place. However, neither the Baudelaires nor Uncle Monty get this message, as they never learned Sebald Code. It is unknown if Stephano got the message, and chose to stay quiet). On the way home, Uncle Monty tries to talk to the children, but they don’t reply.

The Reptile Room - Uncle Monty murdered by Count Olaf
The Reptile Room – Uncle Monty murdered by Count Olaf

On the day they are to leave for Peru, they discover Monty’s dead body in the Reptile Room. He has two tiny puncture holes under his left eye, and Stephano claims that he has been bitten by a snake. Stephano still intends to take the children to Peru where he will more easily find a way to get his hands on their fortune. However, as they are leaving the estate, Stephano’s car crashes into that of Mr. Poe. They return to the house, where Poe and Stephano discuss what to do with the children. The Baudelaires try to prove that it was Stephano who killed Monty. During this time, Stephano calls in a doctor named Dr. O. Lucafont to do an autopsy on Monty where he claims that the Incredibly Deadly Viper killed him.

Meanwhile, the children realize that they’ll need evidence to expose Stephano’s scheme. Klaus and Sunny stage a diversion in which the Incredibly Deadly Viper pretends to attack Sunny to allow Violet time to find and open Stephano’s suitcase. Violet does so and finds a syringe and an empty glass vial labeled the venom of the Mamba du Mal, while Klaus reads up on a book about how the Mamba du Mal is poisonous and chokes its victims to death as well, and that if it truly killed Monty, he would have a “tenebrous hue”, not pale skin.

A Series of Unfortunate Events - The Reptile Room - Violet's evidence
The Reptile Room – Violet’s evidence

The Baudelaires show their evidence to Mr. Poe. Curious, Mr. Poe rubs away the powder on Stephano’s ankle to reveal the eye tattoo, proving to no one’s surprise but Mr. Poe’s that Stephano was Olaf. In addition, Sunny also removes Dr. Lucafont’s fake hands revealing that he is the Hook-Handed Man. Both Count Olaf and the Hook-handed Man get away.

Soon, the Baudelaires will be assigned to yet another guardian. They watch as Monty’s reptile collection is taken away by Bruce. They watch as the car containing the Incredibly Deadly Viper drives off into the night, and they hope to have a more fortunate guardian soon.

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The Reptile Room Crossword

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