What The V.F.D. Is Really All About, According To The ‘Series Of Unfortunate Events’ Cast

Joseph Lederer/Netflix

Spoilers for A Series Of Unfortunate Events Season 2 follow. It took two seasons, but Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire finally know what V.F.D. stands for in Netflix's A Series Of Unfortunate Events. But the name "Volunteer Fire Department" doesn't really solve the question of what this secret organization actually does. At the New York premiere of A Series Of Unfortunate Events Season 2 on March 29 — just hours before the new season dropped on Netflix — the cast wasn't allowed to say much of anything about the secret society. But they may have let a detail or two slip.

When asked what the V.F.D. is, Malina Weissman, who plays the inventive Violet Baudelaire, looks to find another meaning to the evasive acronym. "Um, maybe like, 'Very Fishy ...' I can't think of a D word, but you know what? Something, something. Who knows?" Weissman says with a laugh. Her struggle to throw people comes from an apparent directive from the powers that be not to reveal what the V.F.D. actually did and why. That's further proven by the fact that Matty Cardarople, who plays the Henchperson of Indeterminate Gender, flat-out says, "I don't think I can tell you that" when questioned about the same topic.


After being led astray by things like Very Fancy Doilies and the Village Of Fowl Devotees, the Baudelaires discover that V.F.D. stands for Volunteer Fire Department in Madame Lulu's tent in the penultimate episode of Season 2. The newly-recruited Olivia Caliban (Sara Rue) explains that the V.F.D. was a noble organization that put out fires — literal and figurative — before a schism occurred, which resulted in people like Count Olaf wanting to start fires. But if you still don't fully grasp the purpose of the V.F.D., don't be too hard on yourself. It's obviously a secret organization for a reason.


Patrick Breen portrays a character who's helpful to the Baudelaires — Larry, Your Waiter. He confirms that the cast can't reveal the origins of the V.F.D., but elaborates on how the clever confusion surrounding the organization is the intention of the real author of the books (sorry, Lemony), Daniel Handler. "We're not allowed to say," Breen explains. "But it's everything. The cool thing about what Daniel does is he uses it as initials for everything — 'very furry dice,' you know. It could be anything."

Breen's character Larry is a member of the V.F.D. who pops up in both Seasons 1 and 2 as a waiter who attempts to help the Baudelaires. He's usually assisted by Mr. Poe's secretary Jacquelyn (Sara Canning) and both of their characters were more or less created for the TV series. "She was a secretary and I was a waiter [in the books] and then [the showrunners] just decided to have these slightly helpful people," Breen says. "And that's us. We're barely effective."


Despite their many efforts, Jacquelyn and Larry do not often succeed in helping the Baudelaires, as seen in "The Vile Village: Part 2." But these loyal V.F.D. members are still far better than the absurdly unhelpful Mr. Poe. Some fans have theorized that the man in charge of the Baudelaire fortune could be a member of the V.F.D. himself. To that, the actor who portrays the bumbling banker, K. Todd Freeman, simply says, "That's a great theory." But Larry, Your Waiter, has more concrete views on Mr. Poe.

The Baudelaires endure a lot throughout Season 2, like falling down elevator shafts and nearly being eaten by lions. But Breen says, "The worst is that they have to deal with Mr. Poe. That they're not believed by the one person who could actually lift them out of this situation. In my opinion, he's worse than Olaf. ... I mean, listen, Olaf kills people and so do the henchpeople, but Poe is so mindlessly horrible to the kids. In my opinion, he's the worst character on this show." So if you're searching for more V.F.D.-themed conspiracy theories, maybe Larry Your Waiter despises Mr. Poe so much because he left the V.F.D.


With these nuggets of knowledge, the latest season also brings up so many more questions about the secret organization that the Baudelaire parents belonged to — like, what's with the sugar bowl? So you'll have to wait until the third and final season of the series to gain a better understanding of what the members of the V.F.D. did before and after the schism. But even when the series is over, don't expect all of your V.F.D.-related questions to be answered. Some secrets stay secret.