Because the new Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events is an insanely faithful adaptation of the original Lemony Snicket book series, finding references to the books themselves is fairly easy if you know what to look for. From the mentions of the mysterious Beatrice to teasing the plots of the next few books for Season 2, to the quicker introduction to the spy network known as “V.F.D.”; each episode is much denser than it might appear. Naturally, a nearly perfect adaptation to The Reptile Room is going to contain a slew of references to the book of the same name. But what about more obscure references? Below are six obscure references not only to future books in A Series of Unfortunate Events that the Netflix show has yet to adapt, but also other Lemony Snicket books which are slyly referenced in a way even the most hardcore fan probably missed.
The very first episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events shows Lemony Snicket moving around a network of underground tunnels. This mostly references the secret organization known as V.F.D. For readers of the Unfortunate Events books there are a tons of Easter Eggs here, many of which have been spotted already by eagle-eyed fans. The most obvious is the variety of names hanging out on signs behind Lemony Snicket, which references characters in future episodes (like Montgomery and the Quagmires) but also characters from books who haven’t appeared yet in the series. The name “Spats” for example references Carmelita Spats, a young child who becomes another nemesis of the Baudelaires after they meet her in the Austere Academy. Carmelita is later adopted by Count Olaf and Esme Squalor.
Baudelaire Mansion Fire
The tunnels also recall a scene from the book The Ersatz Elevator in which the Baudelaires navigate a series of underground passageways only to emerge in the ruins of their own home. In the show we see Snicket himself use a trapdoor which seems to lead directly into the Baudelaire mansion too.
Kit Snicket’s Tunnels from All the Wrong Questions
The design of the tunnels actually recalls a different set of Lemony Snicket books all together. Published from 2012-2015, the four book series All the Wrong Questions chronicles Lemony Snicket’s life as a young man well before he meets the Baudelaires’ mother and before the V.F.D. schism occurs. Throughout all four books, Snicket is concerned about meeting up with his sister, who is waiting for him inside secret tunnels. The illustrations by the artist known as “Seth,” from the All the Wrong Questions books depict the tunnels exactly as they are depicted in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
More All the Wrong Questions
Outside of the tunnels, the newer, less-discussed Lemony Snicket book series called All the Wrong Questions is referenced a few more times in the new Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events. In a sense this mirrors the epilogues of the All The Wrong Questions books. In each of the four books of the series, Lemony Snicket converses with a character who the Baudelaires will meet in the “future.” Now, characters in that future are unwittingly referencing those books which took place in “the past.”
“When Did You See Her Last?
Count Olaf says this in the second episode. This is a reference to the title of the second book in the All the Wrong Questions series which is titled When Did You See Her Last? The missing person in that book is a chemist named Chloe Knight, famous for developing invisible ink.
“That’s the Wrong Question”
In the fourth episode, Violet tells Klaus, “That’s the wrong question.” This is a reference to the entirety of All the Wrong Questions, in which Lemony Snicket frequently chastises himself for asking the wrong questions.
“Do the Scary Thing First”
In the fifth episode Violet says, “Do the scary thing first.” This is a line which is repeated often in All The Wrong Questions. Lemony Snicket frequently uses this philosophy as a way to motivate himself — and his friends — to get through various troubles. Because Lemony Snicket knew the Baudelaire parents before the events of A Series of Unfortunate, it’s likely they picked up this phrase from him and then repeated it to their children. This means Violet is quoting Lemony Snicket even though she doesn’t know it.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is streaming on Netflix now.