Netflix's adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events returns in March for Season 2 and although it hews pretty closely to the books, a twist in Season 1 left us wondering if the Baudelaire parents were still alive. Ultimately, it turned out to be a red herring, and it was confirmed that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny's parents died in a house fire, just like in the books. Since the circumstances of their deaths remain a mystery, viewers may still be wondering: did Count Olaf kill the Baudelaires' parents on ASOUE? Although he seems like the most plausible culprit, there are some complicating factors. Warning: book spoilers ahead!
In the 13-book series, we don't ever learn who really killed the Baudelaire parents. When the children asked Olaf if he was behind the house fire — a reasonable conclusion based on his history of arson and constant angling for the Baudelaire fortune — he simply responded by saying, "Is that what you think?" Count Olaf never confirms or denies his involvement in their parents' deaths, and in the final book of the series, he himself dies. It's always left ambiguous as to whether or not he was truly responsible. But the Netflix series may opt to shake up the details for the adaptation.
Daniel Handler, the author behind the books, serves as a writer on the series, which helps ensure the Netflix adaptation remains true to the source material. But given the bait and switch storyline about the Baudelaire parents surviving their ordeal (the parents in question actually turn out to belong to the Quagmire triplets), straying from the original books doesn't seem to be off-limits.
The Netflix series is structured in eight-episode seasons with each book unfolding over the course of two episodes. The first four books were covered in Season 1, Season 2 will presumably cover the next five (though it will span over 10 episodes), and the last four books will likely make up the third and final season. That means Season 2 begins with the events of The Austere Academy and takes us through The Carnivorous Carnival. In these books, the world of the mystery at the heart of the series expands as the Baudelaires make a key pair of new friends, Duncan and Isadora Quagmire. Like the Baudelaires, the Quagmires' parents have also died in a fire — a blaze we see play out at the end of Season 1, taking the lives of the two people we're led to believe are the Baudelaire parents.
Duncan and Isadora, who bear an uncanny resemblance to Violet and Klaus, are also left an enormous fortune in the form of their parents' sapphire collection, and happen to be sent to Prufrock Prep where Violet and Klaus are. Their third sibling, Quigley Quagmire, died in the fire along with their parents.
The friendship struck up between the four children is one of the rare bright spots in the otherwise dark and menacing tale, which of course means that Count Olaf is nearby and ready to torch it. He disguises himself as the school gym teacher and ends up kidnapping the Quagmires, leaving Violent and Klaus friendless once more. But they have more clues than ever about the V.F.D., the mysterious organization both their parents and the Quagmires were involved in.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether the series will give us a definitive answer on who killed the Baudelaires and why. In the books, empathy for Olaf is the lesson in the end, but it's possible the Netflix adaptation will offer us a more satisfying conclusion to the mystery.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.