In the last chapter of The End, the final book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the islanders came face to face with Olaf in his ridiculous disguise and immediately saw straight through it. Unfortunately because they couldn’t decide whether or not Kit Snicket was in league with Olaf or if they should believe the Baudelaires, Ishmael decided to wash his hands of all of them, and so left them all on the coastal shelf. That’s the place that’s due to be entirely underwater soon.
The children try to figure out what they could do next, how they might survive or escape, when Olaf speaks up that he has a plan. He tells the Baudelaires that he’ll share his plan if they let him out, which the Baudelaires are none too keen to do. His plan involves threatening the colonists with the fungus hidden up his dress and stealing the outrigger. He also promises to tell the Baudelaires things they’d never learn without him. The children aren’t too sure about this proposition and take some time behind the stack of books to figure things out.
Thoughts as I read:
Today’s chapter has a large picture of an apple core. It’s practically life-size. It appears to be in water as well, so I’m wondering if this is linked to the whole Decision Day thing where people take a bite of an apple and spit it out onto the sand. That would make this the aftermath of Decision Day. Or perhaps someone just got peckish.
The Baudelaires are shocked at having been abandoned in this way with no one but a crazy villain and an unconscious woman in her third trimester. They start off making plans for living on the coastal shelf, until Klaus points out that soon they’ll be covered by the Decision Day tide. So the other option is to make a boat before the tide rises. Kit managed it but there’s some question of whether or not it will be possible for them to manage it, after all, Violet hasn’t got a hair ribbon to help her out.
They go on talking as though Olaf isn’t right by them in in a birdcage prison. Now they’ve turned their attention to Kit and wondering whether she’s okay. No one has actually been up on the book raft to speak to her or check anything other than the fact that there seems to be something wrong with her ankle. They try to come up with some sort of a plan but are rather stumped.
That is, until Olaf pipe up with the fact that he has a plan. All they have to do is let him out and he’ll share. As you can probably imagine, they’re not so happy about this proposal. He even goes on to point out all the problems facing them if they don’t let him share his plan. He continues pushing them as well:
“Everything eventually washes up on these shores, to be judged by that idiot in the robe. Do you think you’re the first Baudelaires to find yourselves here?”
But he won’t tell them any more until they’ve let him out. He’s totally honest with them as well, he is trying to trick them because that’s the way things work, but he will generously let them be his new ‘henchfolk’ when he ousts Ishmael from his position in Olaf-Land. I’m not so sure that would be preferable to their current situation. Olaf does speak the truth when he says that Ishmael is a treacherous person as well, to which Sunny replies ‘Fustianed’ which isn’t actually translated.
In order to prove his point, Olaf suggests that the children fish out the thing in the pool that fell out of Ishmael’s sleeve. The Incredibly Deadly Viper retrieves it for them and says ‘Takk’ to her friend. Remember that picture from the start of the chapter? That’s what Ishmael dropped. So Ishmael sneaks off to the arboretum to eat his fill of apples while everyone else has to eat boring raw seafood.
So that proves that Ishmael has been hiding things from the islanders, just like they’ve all been hiding things from him. Ishmael is obviously just about as bad as Olaf so there’s only going to be one way to beat him; consult someone who is equally treacherous.
But Olaf won’t tell the Baudelaires until they let him out, and they won’t let him out until he tells them the plan. They don’t let him out but he does let slip that he has a weapon to threaten the colonists with. It’s the Medusoid Mycelium which he has stashed in his big fake pregnant belly. Obviously the flaw in the plan is that if Olaf opens the diving helmet which the spores are contained in he’ll infect them all, including the Baudelaires. There’s not much point winning if you’re just going to die at the same time as your enemies. Sunny’s not planning on ever being exposed to the fungus again, saying ‘Yomhashoah’ which is translated as ‘Never again’.
Olaf’s plan also involves them pinching the outrigger that the colonists have been building, apparently to allow them to get away without being exposed to the poison. The children are still good guys though, kind of, and they hope that they will just be allowed to leave without any argument on Decision Day. Olaf doesn’t like the idea of asking to leave; that’s just not his style at all.
Olaf claims that he wasn’t just waiting for them to arrive into his clutches, he’s been doing bad things for years and knows things that they can’t imagine. Sunny says ‘Boswell’ meaning ‘Your life doesn’t interest me’ but Olaf just keeps going and you know that the children want to know more. Hell, I want to know more! What makes Olaf tick and how involved were the Baudelaire parents in bringing him to the point that he’s at now.
The children were raised to be curious and we’ve seen that through all of these books. They get themselves into situations which they could probably have gotten out of had they not had that curiosity to prompt them to find out but also the desire to get to the bottom of things (or fix things and solve problems that they and their friends had found themselves in). So they all head round the back of the stack of books, out of sight of Olaf, and try to come up with an alternative plan.
Considering what has happened to them over the course of the last few books, I have a horrible feeling they’re going to end up going along with Olaf’s plan.
We’ll find out on Thursday.