Monday, August 19, 2019

REVIEW: 'Lodge 49' - Dud and Ernie Want to Accept That Their Lives Are Actually Good in 'The Slide'

AMC's Lodge 49 - Episode 2.02 "The Slide"

Dud makes an enemy cleaning pools. Liz tries to hit bottom. A game of golf jeopardizes Ernie's career.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AMC's Lodge 49.

"The Slide" was written by Jim Gavin and directed by Jake Schreier

Life is good. That's the message Dud and Ernie hope to accept about their lives. They want to believe that they are turning corners in their worlds once more. Dud is hoping to restart his pool cleaning business while Ernie is committed to his job selling plumbing supplies. And yet, it's much more difficult than they were expecting. Ernie wants to believe that he has learned his lessons from the first season. He no longer sees the value in going after the big fishes. He was screwed over in his pursuit of the Captain. And then, his trip to Mexico with El Confidante apparently ended in disaster. Now, the audience still doesn't know what exactly went down in Mexico. El Confidante is still pursuing leads but needs Ernie's help. Ernie now has El Confidante's van. It's a horrifying sight when he first appears with it on the golf course. That's not the impression he wants to make when meeting this prospective client. Bob sees this round of golf as a way for Ernie to get his mojo back. He is the one who professes the "life is good" mantra. It may not entirely be good or healthy for a person to embrace that mentality all of the time though. The man who first coined it and left an impression on Bob actually led a horrible life where he died after four marriages and his children all being estranged from him. Ernie already feels so defeated. He doesn't feel like he has anything to show for his life. Instead, he gets emotional simply because he is mocked on the golf course. The show has never depicted him as this excellent golfer. It's just a hobby that he can reliably be found doing. It's a way for him to feel connected with the experience and the people he is playing with. It's a great way for him to feel active and loved. And now, it's the source of him feeling belittled and humiliated. He is right back to the exact same place he was at the start of his career. Everything is so familiar. And yet, he is much older. This isn't the life he wanted to be living. But it's the life he has in order to just barely make it by every month. He has such love and support from Dud. He cherishes that more than anything. But he also pushed him away at the start of the season. That wasn't an impulse that lasts though. In fact, they mend fences between episodes. Ernie is driving Dud around as he hopes to pick up new clients for his pool cleaning business. He has deep roots in this community and can hopefully rely on the people who always trusted him to clean their pools. They don't have to go with the new service in time. Pool Party may even represent the most pressing threat against the way of life for this economically struggling community. It's a business managed by a family that sees the value of gentrification and the entitlement that comes from letting their son, Booie, do whatever he wants. He doesn't even have to say anything for them to fight on his behalf. He physically assaults Dud and even tries to run him over. That's extreme and violent behavior. Those actions prove just how toxic this overall setup and mentality can truly be. Of course, the show also aspires for it to be a celebration when Liz runs the fancy car of her new boss into Booie's truck. She does so as a way to give a victory to the Dudley family. This is how they turn their lives around. It's not about accepting some corporate job and paying off one's debt. It's about being respected by the world around them. They have to feel passionate and excited about what they do. Liz can't just slide back into an old relationship despite the guy now being engaged to someone else. She deserves better. And yes, all of this does present as a huge victory. This new business is run out of town. Liz can pay for Burt's fees and get her father's watch and slide back as mementos of this glorious day. That's the fundamental energy that makes this show such a standout to watch. Sure, there is the mythology that comes from the lodge and whether or not to believe anything mystical that may be going on. But it's a show that highlights the power from a change in perspective. Dud may daydream now. But it also allows him to experience life in a way that feels timeless and free. He has the ability to enjoy the world around him and the life that he has lived so far. It may only be a fleeting moment. A moment that could be destroyed at any possible point in the future. But it remains freeing because it is so clarifying. He can continue to chase that in a way that may actually be healthy. It's encouraging to see people on the right path even though they don't know what the final outcome will be. Connie doesn't know what she's searching for in London. But she is able to enjoy a new friendship with Clara. Meanwhile, Scott and Jocelyn can bond over their past experiences with love and just how fleeting it may all actually be. The show highlights these friendships as so crucial because it shows that there are so many profound opportunities in life to be understood. Yes, the members of the lodge may be upset with Scott about having to pay their bar taps. And yet, they rely on this communal experience in order to feel uplifted and empowered about their lives. That freedom deserves to be celebrated. The show channels that energy perfectly even when things are looking precarious for Dud and Liz.