13 Mysterious Moments You May Have Missed In 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'
Fortunately, we are here to help!
Warning: Spoilers ahead for "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books and Netflix show.
The book series, 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' is a sharp, wonderfully written world of witty, wondrous wordplay and whimsical literary references, making the books a rather pleasant read, despite the unpleasant subject matter.
The series, in turn, is no different.
'A Series of Unfortunate Events' appeared on our small screens for the first time on Netflix, making it's daring second debut on January, Friday the 13th, and we've been hooked ever since. As it turns out, Daniel Handler, the actual author of the book series also wrote the show, and so all the frightful frustrations and mischievous mysteries that we grew to care about and love in the books, found a magical place in the series as well.
The first season, which adapts the first four novels of the series follows the three Baudelaire Orphans (Violet, Claus and Sunny) as they're passed around from guardian to guardian while desperately trying to escape the clutches of the evil Count Olaf who is chasing the Baudelaire Fortune. The show includes numerous references to characters, places, and secret organizations we won't see until much later in the series.
1. The Opening sequence Is Always Changing
Both the lyrics and the images of each opening sequence change.They often allude to future plot events. For example, in the opening sequence of the third episode, a movie poster for Zombies in the Snow is seen. The children see this film at the movie theater later in the episode. However, this image isn't seen in previous episodes.
2. The Secret VFD Organization
'V.F.D.' stands for 'Volunteer Fire Department.' It's a secret organization that puts out fires, literal and metaphorical, throughout the world that the Baudelaire parents, and many other characters in the show, were a part of.
The organization also has standardized secret codes used throughout the series, many of which are also referred to with V.F.D.-initialed phrases, like "Valley of Four Drafts" and "Veiled Facial Disguises."
Right before Gustav is killed, he says, "the world is quiet here," which is the motto of the VFD, and when Uncle Monty takes the Baudelaire orphans to the movies, the attendant gives him the "verified film discount."
Later on, When Aunt Josephine shops in the market, a woman is selling "very fresh dill."
3. Mr. Poe's Sons
Mr. Poe's sons are named Edgar and Albert. They're a reference to... you guessed it, author Edgar Allan Poe. We first see them arguing over whether something is a "crow" or a "raven." "The Raven" is Poe's most famous poem, and crows become an important bird in "The Vile Village," one of the later books in the series.
4. The Sugar Bowl
The Sugar Bowl, or the Vessel For Disaccharides, is a MacGuffin device sought by members of V.F.D. It doesn't have a clear purpose, but it seems to have held different things at different times in V.F.D.'s history. At the time of the series, it apparently contained something really powerful or dangerous.
Later in the series, the Baudelaires get caught up in the chase after it, even though they don't know why it's important.
5. Raymond Ditmars
There is a teepee shown inside of the Reptile Room that has the name Raymond Ditmars written on it, the name of Monty's iguana. Raymond Ditmars was a famous 19th century herpetologist.
6. The Harpoon Gun
By the end of the fourth episode, Count Olaf's escape on the SS Prospero is foiled when Jacquelyn arrives and threatens him with a harpoon gun. In the book series, Count Olaf and a harpoon gun meet again, for their ultimate showdown.
7. The Fishmonger
Look familiar...? That's right, the actor playing the local fishmonger is none other than the author of the Baudelaire misfortune and the screenwriter of the adaptation, Daniel Handler.
8. The Anxious Clown
As the children order at The Anxious Clown, their waiter says, "I didn't realize this was a sad occasion," which is a code phrase of the VFD. 😲😲😲
Wasabi, like horseradish, is a cure for Medusoid Mycelium, which is the deadly fungus that comes up later in the series. In "The End," the final book in "A Series of Unfortunate Events," there's an apple tree that's crossbred with horseradish — likely just like the ones on Lousy Lane — that fend off the effects of the fungus.
"Beatrice" is a name that shows up over and over again throughout the series. It's the name of the Baudelaire orphans' mother, as well as a former love interest for Snicket and Count Olaf.
In the Daily Punctilio story, "Veronica" is quoted as calling Beatrice her mother, an early hint about the reveal to come in a later season. The Punctilio often gets the Baudelaires' names wrong, so we can safely assume it's Violet being quoted here.
While Lemony Snicket is watching the same zombie film uncle Monty saw with the Baudelaire orphans (created by Gustav Sebald), he also mentions Nero, an untalented violinist. Nero just so happens to also be the vice principal of the Prufrock Preparatory School — the future home of the Baudelaire children.
12. Esmé Squalor
Near the end of the final episode, we see an elaborately hatted woman shoot a laser into the Quagmire mansion, starting a fire. It's probably Esmé Squalor, who we formally meet in "The Ersatz Elevator," the sixth novel in the series. She's obsessed with high fashion, and later takes in the Baudelaire orphans because orphans are "in."
Netflix itself is hinted at throughout the series as well. For instance, Count Olaf mentions the benefits of commercial-free television. You will also find that towards the end of the eighth episode, when Mr. Poe is explaining that the children will be attending boarding school, he says, "It's the end of the season, er, semester, so you're going to have to work very hard to catch up." See what he did there? There's no fooling us! There are a few more fun references to the streaming site, but we'll leave those for you to discover!