Monday, September 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Lodge 49' - Dud Imagines a Perfect Day at the Beach Surrounded by Family and Loved Ones in 'Conjunctio'

AMC's Lodge 49 - Episode 2.04 "Conjunctio"

Dud plans a trip to Mexico with El Confidente despite Ernie's attempts to steer him down a new path. Liz and Lenore's friendship grows. Scott makes big changes at Lodge 49, while Connie learns about the True Lodge.

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.

"Conjunctio" was written by Alina Mankin and directed by Michael Trim

Does there need to be a larger purpose to the lodge? Scott views it as a place of outreach and love for one's community. A place where people can feel a sense of belonging. That's the ideal that he holds onto. As such, the lodge members need to do whatever it takes in order to keep the hall looking good and renting the space out as frequently as possible. One doesn't have to believe in alchemy in order to believe in the power of the lodge. Scott's vision of the place should be just as valid as the crazy journey Dud tries to convince everyone to go on. Dud sees that as his purpose in life. It's really the only thing driving him forward after the shark attack. He still hasn't healed from that injury. But he also holds onto the fantasy of what life could have been. He has long seen his family as a happy and perfect unit. It was always the three of them taking on the world together. That wasn't Liz's experience. She always saw Dud and their father as a team while she was adrift on the sidelines. She is still adrift now as well. She is forming such a strong connection with Lenore simply because she can provide some more insights into her father's past. Liz doesn't want to blindly prop up the vision she has had of her father. She knows he was a complicated human being who made mistakes and caused pain. She had to deal with the brunt of that. She had to be the responsible one to pay off his debts. Dud is just like his father in that respect. He doesn't care that he is taking out loans and constantly refinancing them because of some new interest. He just sees it as working out for him eventually. Liz has never been able to feel that optimism. She may no longer be the high school student infamous for being out on an airport runway. But she is still looking for direction. She has that somewhat with Lenore. She is desperately holding onto this connection even though she knows fydration is a scam. She could see that clearly when Lenore first made her pitch. And yet, that wasn't the only thing of value Lenore could bring to Liz's life. And now, she offers a new sense of adventure. It's the simple idea of having purpose and understanding in this world. That's all that anyone may truly want. Even Clara doesn't know if she believes fully in the value of the scrolls and the dreams of their founder. But she does have the clarity that this job gives her a reason to get up in the morning. It creates surprising connections with people. That's what's so rewarding about life. There are many beautiful souls in this world. Reaching out and connecting with them can be so inspiring. Clara and Connie have found each other. Jocelyn saw a whole new perspective on the world and the lodge during his time in California. And now, both of those journeys are done. Connie returns to Long Beach even though her personal reflection on her life choices is still muddled. Meanwhile, Jocelyn is forced to leave because Scott feels he no longer has control. He was named Sovereign Protector. It's a responsibility he takes very seriously. And yet, no one looks to him as the leader who must be respected. Him trying to exert that may actually ruin these personal relationships. That too could be very destructive for the lodge. If there is no sense of community, then this place could disappear just as so many have throughout the world.

But again, Dud sees the hunt for the scrolls in Mexico as the only thing anyone should be focused on. He sees it as this important journey that will immediately turn a profit. The people on this journey are desperate for their theories on the scrolls to be proven true. El Confidente may have vivid dreams about the future. Or perhaps he is just creating that reality so that it occurs. If he paints his dreams and tells people they depict the future, then others will project those images onto their lives no matter how inconceivable. He may not be special. He may just be a simple man on this journey. But it also fulfills him in a way that is necessary. He needs this purpose and direction following his wife's death. Meanwhile, Ernie wants to be content just sitting at a desk filling orders at work. He sees that as his grand purpose. He doesn't have to go on this dangerous mission or be in charge of the lodge any more. In fact, his reluctance may actually be rewarded with Connie returning home to him. Sure, he's surprised by the blindfold that is covering her eyes. That's strange and unusual. And yet, those are the qualities of this world. It may help Connie in the long run. She may get the introspection she needs after not being able to see the world around her. Removing that sight can offer her some greater understanding. Meanwhile, Dud may put too much faith in what he can see. He views El Confidente as the one person who can deliver the scrolls to the lodge. In fact, it's a mission that may ultimately get them all rich. Daphne professes her ability to turn the secrets of the scrolls into actual cash using Bitcoin. It doesn't make sense to the individual players. It may all just be one giant distraction from what's actually going on in their lives. It's been so long since Daphne has talked about being an adjunct professor who still has crippling debt. That's her reality. She views this as the path to financial prosperity. But she would also just love to be in the classroom teaching again. That's her dream. El Confidente has a sincere heart-to-heart with Ernie where they are able to reflect on the lives that they have already lived. They may feel inspired to go on this mission because they've had the opportunities to explore life elsewhere. That's not something that Dud has experienced yet. And so, everyone seemingly pushes him away. He doesn't understand it. His sense of community and compassion is gone. He doesn't know why everyone has such a cynical view of the world. Blaise was once eager to go on the mission. But he is living at work and his shop is robbed here. His life is falling apart and he wants to blame it all on his impure intentions with the scrolls. Dud doesn't abide by the same belief system. He too is looking forward to the money that Daphne promises will come. It may not though. Sure, the audience knows that Dud and Ernie eventually get their hands on the scrolls. They will be forced onto this journey no matter how reluctantly. They will be on the same team once more - with Ernie even in the matador outfit El Confidente keeps envisioning. However, Dud is eager to pursue a new path as well with him immediately getting married to Beth. That is an unexpected turn. One that may also be used to deflect from any doubts and fears they have about rejection and isolation. That's sad and tragic. It may be problematic for both of them given what their lives are currently like. Will they get along in the magical way Dud believes love to be? Or will reality sink in at some point to prove it's much more complicated than the perfect day at the beach Dud always believes in?