With all the joy of a big glass of parsley soda, A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 2 comes to an end in typically dour fashion. The finale of Netflix's best show about child endangerment, based on the popular books by Lemony Snicket (who, under real name Daniel Handler writes the teleplay) is at once a wrap-up of ten intriguing episodes of television and a cliffhanger that leaves many questions unanswered ahead of the already promised Season 3.
Across Season 2, the unlucky Baudelaire orphans - Violet, Klaus and Sunny - have only seen their misfortunes grow. They'd already gone through a string of well-meaning yet oblivious guardians who each fell afoul of the treacherous Count Olaf and his attempts to steal their fortune, but this year those guardians were more neglectful (the Vice-Principal of Prufrock Preparatory School who handed them to an in-disguise Olaf) or all-out evil (Esme Squalor, who is very "in" except for her love for the Count). Eventually, they were framed for Olaf's fake murder (it was really Jacques Snicket), a move that saw the villain free to cause unhinged panic and meant the orphans were now fugitives, running through hospitals and carnivals in extreme disguises while the villain walked free (to a degree - he can't say no to theatrics).
Ditching the classic guardian structure mid-way through the season (as happened in the books) gave A Series of Unfortunate Events a reenergizing shot, and led to an ending with a lot more dangling than last year's (taking nothing away from Season 1's unnerving parent twist). Let's break it down.
This Page: What Happens At The End Of Season 2?
What Happens At The End Of Season 2?
Season 2 came to a lion-baiting head in The Carnivorous Carnival, where the Baudelaires - disguised as circus freaks - began to finally get some answers care of fortune teller Madam Lulu (really V.F.D. agent Olivia Caliban in disguise): about their parent's deaths, the mysterious organisation that connects them and their prior guardians, and where fate is taking them. Discovering that V.F.D. Headquarters is based in the nearby mountains, they vow to travel there and uncover the full truth.
Things take a turn when Olaf's Hinterland lions come into the picture, eating Caliban and causing his troupe to leave, bringing along the circus freaks along as new recruits - including the Baudelaires. He forces Klaus and Violet to burn down Lulu's tent - and with it all the secrets to V.F.D. - then drives off towards the headquarters with Sunny in the car and her siblings towed behind. However, along the way he reveals he knows who the Baudelaires are and cuts the rope, sending Klaus and Violet off to the doom.
The Baudelaires Becoming Count Olaf
Since the death of Jacques Snicket, the tables have been completely turned, a phrase here that means Count Olaf is essentially free - he's no longer accused of his crimes, although isn't allowed to audition for any theater productions - while the Baudelaires are now the criminals (albeit assumed) and have to put on disguises. This is built up across the season as the Baudelaires go from trying to convince adults to help them (something that is seemingly impossible in this reality outside of volunteers) to taking matters into their own hands, tricking and conniving ways to usurp Olaf and those around them.
It comes to a head with the fire: in lighting Caliban's tent they're not just destroying potential knowledge of V.F.D., they're taking a step towards becoming the one-eyebrowed arsonist. Sure, Olaf gives them a helping hand, but there is undeniable culpability. They may not have killed Jacques Snicket, yet they've committed acts of guilty people and started fires (it cannot be understated how important this is in the Snicketverse); for all good intentions, they are starting to act like villains.
Of course, they're our heroes, and those intentions are still good ones, but as they go from teenagers into adults, the pressure of deciding who they are going to become - a helpful volunteer, a devious villain, or a simpering - is becoming more prominent. And a harder line to walk.