At a masked ball at VFD Headquarters in the Mortman Mountains, Larry slips a message saying, "Olaf knows" into the deviled eggs and serves one to Monty Montgomery. Jacquelyn takes the note before he can read it, and greets Catherine, who tells her date Gustav to get her something to drink. Jacquelyn slips him the note, and Larry takes it from him. Josephine is talking to another man about their headquarters, takes the note, and flips it across the room into a drink. Lemony and Jacques are standing at the bar, and Jacques assures his brother that Beatrice can handle anything. Larry tells Lemony to finish his drink, and Lemony sees the message that Olaf knows. He runs outside just as Olaf finds Beatrice in a dragonfly costume on the balcony below and advances on her.
Olaf dries across the desert and says that his life is spinning out of control now that he's learned one of the Baudelaire parents are alive. He says that they're going to Caligari Carnival, and hopes that Madame Lulu can turn things around. The troupe suggest that Olaf get wine from the trunk, but Olaf figure that he can drink later. The Baudelaires are in the trunk, and figure that sooner or later their luck will run out.
The troupe arrives at the carnival and Olaf says that Lulu just needs to tell them where the Baudelaires are and if one of their parents are alive. The eye symbol is on a tent, and Olaf and the others go in. Lulu greets them, saying that she has been expecting them. Meanwhile, the Baudelaires climb out of the tr4unk and spot the Mortman Mountains in the distance. They see the VFD eye symbol and go over to the tent and overhear what Lulu tells Olaf.
Lulu says that she'll read their fortunes at a great rate, and Olaf asks her to tell him something that only a real fortune teller would know. She says that a series of unfortunate events brought him there, and the lights flicker. Lulu knows all about what Olaf has done, including the fact that he married a nobleman--Jacques--and says that all the flames that he's set aren't enough. Olaf tells her that she lives up to her reputation, and Lulu tells him that he needs to consult the crystal ball. She says that once a day the spirits will come to answer a heart's desire, and Olaf asks if one of the Baudelaire parents survived the fire. Lulu tells him that he'll have his answers in the morning, Olaf tells the troupe to break out the trunk wine.
The Hook-Handed Man goes back to the trunk and gets the wine. The Baudelaires figure that Lulu got her information from somewhere, and they can't wait until morning. Klaus points out that they don't like carnival freaks, and Violet has an idea and gets face paint and clothing from the trunk.
In their tent, Olaf drinks and talks about his mother, and a drunken Olaf talks about his shattered dreams. Esme sees a mysterious armoire, and Lulu tells her to stay away from it. Lulu hears something and goes outside, and the Baudelaires step out disguised as a pair of Siamese twins. They say that they're looking for work, and Olaf tells Lulu that he'll interview them for her carnival. Lulu reluctantly agrees and they go inside. Olaf interviews them and tells them to eat an ear of corn. The Baudelaires fumble the ear of corn as the troupe laugh, and Olaf tells Lulu to hire them. Sunny is posing as a wolf baby, and the baby snarls at Esme and devours the ear of corn. Lulu hires them and sends them to the House of Freaks.
At the House of Freaks, Hugo, Colette, and Kevin greet their new co-workers. Kevin complains about his curse of ambidexterity, Hugo is a hunchback, and Colette is a contortionist. The Baudelaires point out that they don't have to act like freaks, but they say that the old Madame Lulu offered to pay for them to go to community college but they're freaks. The Baudelaires feel bad about pretending to be freaks, but figure that they don't have a choice.
Esme takes the drunken Olaf away and he collapses. Meanwhile, Lulu--the disguised Olivia, calls VFD and asks what they know about a Baudelaire who survived the fire.
The next morning, Olaf sobers up. Esme finds Lulu suspicious. Olaf says that Lulu knows thing and they'll stay a few days and butter her up. He goes off to meet with Lulu, much to a jealous Esme's displeasure.
In Lulu's tend, Lulu lights incense and dims the lights. Olaf takes her hands and asks her to convince the spirits to answer his questions. Lulu wants a famous actor to appear at the carnival. Olaf agrees to appear, and Lulu summons the ghosts of Olaf's past. She says that one of the ghosts wears a dragonfly costume, and says that she has Olaf's answer.
The Hook-Handed Man visits the freaks' trailer and asks if they're ready to perform. He warns that the boss in a bad mood and leaves., The Baudelaires go with him and ask about the Baudelaires, and the Man tells them that Lulu said there's a survivor. Once he leaves, the Baudelaires figure that they have to sneak into Lulu's tend and figures out how she knows what she knows. Olaf, dressed as a ringmaster, arrives and asks if they're ready to perform.
Everyone takes their positions, and the Baudelaires figure that they should stay put in case their parents show up. Esme arrives with a noodle whip and says that Olaf has given her permission to whip them into shake. Olaf arrives and admits that it's a matinee. There's only three people in the audience, and Olaf welcomes him to the carnival. The Baudelaires prepare to go on next, and Esme whips them out. Olaf has them eat an ear of corn, and Lulu sadly watches.
The Baudelaires and the troupe go back to the dressing room, and Olaf complains that there was hardly anyone to see it. Lulu warns that they're in the Hinterlands, and tries to assure Olaf that the spirits will answer his question. Olaf says that he wants answers to his question and an audience worthy of his greatness, and sees a poster about a lion tamer act. He tells them to dig a pit while he goes to get a gift for Lulu, and takes Esme's pasta whip. The Baudelaires figure that it gives them an opportunity and watch as Esme grabs Lulu and tells her to come with her.
The orphans go into Lulu's tend and remove their disguise, and check the crystal ball. Violet puts on the makeshift ribbon from the hospital and works out that Lulu is using a carbon dioxide machine and a projector in the crystal ball. They find the projector and figure Lulu is a fraud, but Klaus insist there must be something miraculous there. Sunny turns on the projector, which shows scenes from the masked ball. The Baudelaires figure that it's all connected, and that Lulu knows something about their parents. They search the armoire and find a secret library and disguises. There are more films as well, and the Baudelaires play one. Gustav explains that the spyglass reveals hidden word in the subtitles of the VFD films, and Jacques says that "The world is quiet here" is the code phrase Volunteers use to identify themselves. Jacquelyn says that since the VFD lost their best lion tamer and her husband, the Volunteer Feline Detectives have escaped into the Hinterlands. Larry is on the tape there, and Jacques reviews all of Olaf's disguises. Lemony is on the film as well, and talks about the fire at the Baudelaire at the manor. The orphans realize that VFD stands for the Volunteer Fire Department.
Esme tells Lulu that she knows she's trying to steal Olaf away from her and knows who she really is. Lulu insists that she isn't, but Esme insists that she won't be thrown over for a carny and tells Lulu to stay away from her boyfriend.
Lemony says that the Baudelaires' lives are about to be changed by a surprising arrival.
As the Baudelaires cover their arrival, they knock over the crystal ball. It breaks and Lulu comes in. She removes her disguise, revealing that she's Olivia, and says that she's an old friend.
A pack of starving lions that have been roaming the Hinterland arrive.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 2, 2018