Crows descend on the desert village of VFD.
After an indeterminably long car trip, Poe drives the Baudelaires to VFD.
Lemony explains that the Baudelaires' car trip will soon end in VFD. He suggests that the audience go somewhere else, and wish that they did if they don't.
Poe says that everyone in the village will raise the Baudelaires., and shows them a brochure of VFD. The orphans point out that Olaf follows them there, but Poe figures that Olaf won't find them out in the hinterlands. Meanwhile, Olaf, Esme, and the troupe follow Poe's car, and Olaf realizes that someone is following them. It's Jacques and Olivia in their taxi, and Olaf figures that it's Jacques. He takes a shortcut, and Jacques figures that he knows where Olaf is going.
Poe and the Baudelaires arrive at VFD and Poe has them wait at Foul Fountain while he goes into the town hall to finalize their inheritance. The Baudelaires figure that VFD is connected to CFD, and Poe returns and says that the Council of Elders will see them. The orphans figure that Elders will know about the organization and go inside to meet them.
Olaf and his people set up in the abandoned saloon, and Olaf tells Esme that the saloon used to be a fire station until it was shut down under mysterious circumstances. Poe comes in and everyone hides. Olaf quickly disguises himself as a saloon keeper and Poe asks for a sarsaparilla. Poe says that the Baudelaires are now the entire village's, and Olaf quickly declares last check. As Poe leaves, Esme chokes on the dust. Once he's gone, Olaf realizes that the Baudelaires are there and Esme points out that she's squatting in a dusty saloon with a bunch of actors... and figures that she's the luckiest women alive. The troupe bring in the red herring with the Quagmires, and Olaf figures that they need to hide the Quagmires somewhere more secure. Esme hands out costumes so that they can disguise themselves, and Olaf says that they'll need to blend in.
The Baudelaires enter the town hall, and the three Elders welcome them. They order them to be silent, and say that they know all about the Baudelaires' story and have made a new rule that no new villains will be allowed in VFD. The Council says that the Baudelaires will be doing the chores for the entire village, and Mrs. Morrow says that she doesn't want trouble in VFD. The Man in Plaid Parents asks where the Baudelaires will leave, and the council says that the orphans will live with their handyman Hector nervously gets up and then faints, and the Council takes that as his acceptance.
Esme comes in, posing as the new chief of police, and says that the old chief of police swallowed a box of thumb tacks. She explains that the agency has sent her, and promises that she will bring them protection and style. The Baudelaires recognize her but the Council forbids them to speak. Esme says that she will make sure the orphans are punished for breaking the rules, and the disguised troupe are in the balcony and lead everyone in a round of applause. Esme whispers to the Baudelaires that they are always watching, and the Baudelaires go to Hector's home.
At the saloon, Olaf is trying to find a word that rhymes with "orphans". Olivia and Jacques come in, and Jacques jumps over the bar. Olaf jumps over the bar and falls, and Olivia takes out a whip. The villain realizes that she's the school librarian, and distracts them with scat so he can run. Olivia trips him with a fire hose, and they handcuff Olaf and take him out.
Hector apologizes for fainting because the Council is so scary, and tells the Baudelaires that they can come to him with anything they need. They explain about Olaf, and Hector wants to start running. He explains that VFD stands for "Village of Fowl Devotees", and the Baudelaires say that there's a secret about VFD in VFD. Hector explains that the crows are migrating to Nevermore Tree in the backyard of his home, and the Baudelaires are duly impressed.
The Baudelaires tell Hector their story, and Hector offers to do anything for them that isn't scary. He explains that the Council didn't believe his mother and now he lives on the outskirts of town, and refuses to talk about it because it's too scary. Hector takes them inside past the high security, and reveals his self-sustaining hot-air mobile home. It's against the rules to use mechanical items, so Hector brought them all there and made the mobile home. Hector also has the books he collected since they're against the rules. He admits that behind doors he's very brave, and says that the Baudelaires can come with him and they'll escape all the rules.
Olaf sits in a cell and complains that he can't sleep, and Jacques points out that he's only been there for eight minutes. The Volunteer says that Olaf will eventually crack and tell them where the Quagmires are, and they'll turn him over to the chief of police when she comes back. Jacques insist that they will never be wiped out, but Olaf refuses to talk. Back with Olivia, Jacques says that once they hand Olaf off, they will search the town for the Quagmires. Olivia reads his tea leaves for his fortune, and tells Jacques that the day is coming when their enemies will be defeated, and reads the poem he was taught as a Volunteer.
Hook-Handed Man and Bald Man discuss how to search the town, and figure that they've given the Baudelaires enough to clean.
The next morning, the Baudelaires eat Hector's huevos rancheros for breakfast and wonder what to do next. Poetry falls from the sky and the orphans read them. Hector comes out and the Baudelaires figure there are more than crows in Nevermore Tree. They run to the tree and call out to the Quagmires, and the crows fly back to Fowl Fountain to reveal there's nothing in the tree. Klaus suggests that the Quagmires may have sent their messages by carrier pigeon, and figure that they need an excuse to search the town. Hector takes them into town to clean, and the Council says that someone TP'd their gas station and egged the church. They order the Baudelaires to clean everything, and the Baudelaires figure that they can search while they clean.
The Baudelaires do tedious chores and search for the Quagmires, and the Elders send them to the Firehouse Saloon where no one ever goes inside. The orphans go in and call up the firepole. They spot the red herring propped up against the wall and open it, but the Quagmires aren't inside. Duncan has scratched "DQ + VB" on the inside, so the Baudelaires realize that the Quagmires were there. The townspeople gather when they hear that Olaf has been captured, and Poe is there as well. Hector arrives and joins the Baudelaires, and they go to the Councils' special meeting.
Poe says that he just arrived in VFD and asks what happened. The Elders say that a handsome stranger arrived and arrested Olaf, and a disguised Olaf comes in and says that he's Detective Dupin. He explains that he captured "Olaf", and the Elders don't believe Klaus when he says that Olaf is Olaf. Esme brings in a handcuffed Jacques, and the Baudelaires point out that no one has met Olaf. Poe points out that the rules let him talk as a consulting banker, and points out that Olaf has an eyebrow. Olaf has glued a single eyebrow to Jacques' head, and Jacques has the eye tattoo on his ankle. Poe is satisfied, and Olaf says that they should punish Jacques. Meanwhile, Jacques introduces himself to the Baudelaires and starts to explain why he's there.
The Elders say that Jacques will be marched into the center of town and given a fine. Meanwhile, Jacques says that the Snickets and the Baudelaires have always been close, and he says that the tattoo is actually the letters VFD. Meanwhile, with some prodding from Esme, the Council decides to burn Jacques at the stake. The Baudelaires say that they will break Jacques out of jail.
Once the Baudelaires carry Hector home, he worries what will happen if the Elders discover his mobile home. She warns that they could be next, and Jacques points out that he hasn't tested his engine yet. Viola offers to fix it as long as he waits until they're ready to go. Hector agrees and Viola goes to work. Their new guardian has the tools that she needs, and Viola fixes the conductivity problem. The Baudelaires ask for all of Hector's tools and any blueprints of the jail, and he faints when he realizes what they're up to.
In the jail, Jacques tells Olaf that he still respects Olaf and they once put noble deeds on the books. Olaf doesn't believe him and says that he sounds like Beatrice, and scats at Jacques. Meanwhile, Esme has thrown Olivia in a cell and says that the former librarian is in a corset. Olivia says that she's putting her skills to use and tells Esme that she knows where to find missing and stolen things. If Esme lets them go, Olivia will give her the location of the sugar bowl.
Esme approaches Olaf and suggests that they dance in the sheriff's office. Olaf agrees to line dance and Esme plays along... but Olaf realizes that the cell keys are gone. He confirms that Jacques and Olivia are gone and Esme released them.
Olivia and Jacques run to the taxi, and Jacques tells Olivia to find their top field agent--Madame Lulu--and tell her everything. Meanwhile, he'll stay in VFD and protect the children. Olivia agrees and they kiss, and Jacques gives her a spyglass half. Olaf comes out and tells Jacques that his story is over, and runs into the saloon. Jacques goes in after him and Olaf says that he's had it with VFD. The Volunteer says that he knows what happened at the opera and he's over, and promises his former friend that they won't throw the book on him. Esme drops a heavy book on Jacques' head, stunning him, and Olaf grabs a crowbar and advances on Jacques.
The next morning, the Baudelaires take Viola's new device out of the barn and go to the jail. They use it to break through the wall into Jacques' cell, but the townspeople run up and yell that "Olaf" has been murdered. Olaf joins the Baudelaires and smiles in satisfaction.
Written by Gadfly on May 13, 2018