Monday, September 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'Lodge 49' - Ernie Shares a Tragic Story from His Past with Dud While Blaise Collapses from Exhaustion in 'Exile'

AMC's Lodge 49 - Episode 2.07 "Exile"

Dud resumes his apprenticeship with Blaise. Ernie sees someone from his past. Ernie hits bottom. Liz goes to the mat for her employees.

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.

"Exile" was written by Valerie Armstrong and directed by Maurice Marable

The best way to cope with life is to find people one can be vulnerable with. That's the underlying message of Lodge 49. The lodge works for Dud. He has found purpose and camaraderie with the people there. Liz doesn't understand it at all. And yet, she is grateful Dud has someone like Ernie looking over him. He deserves someone who cares about him. It's so vital because that's all humanity really needs. It may be a lifelong search for that kind of emotional support though. It can be very agonizing. It can cost people so dearly as well. Blaise doesn't feel understood. He is obsessed with alchemy. He was the only person at the lodge who was like that. It wasn't a fundamental aspect of joining this group. The squires don't have to take their pledge to it all that seriously. Blaise does though. He has a different perspective on the world. It's heartbreaking to hear him talk about his traumatic upbringing that created insomnia from a young age. As a teenager, he was made to feel all alone. He was drifting in life for decades. He found a place to belong at the lodge. But now, that place no longer provides comfort to him. In fairness, Scott is trying to change the lodge so that it can remain in business. The financial woes of the place are significant. It needs to bounce back in order to fuel these connections moving forward. These people have a responsibility to reach out to whomever may walk through those doors. It has provided refuge and stability for so many over the years. Dud was lost but was found by the lodge. Ernie and Blaise share their stories as well. And now, Scott may be trying to turn it into a sports bar just because it's an aesthetic that has worked for so many institutions over the years. It may ruin the heart and soul of the lodge though. It's him simply reacting to the tragedy of Connie releasing him from his pledge to always care for her. She too has a new perspective on life. She is no longer living in fear of death. Sure, it's unfortunate that she is the latest person to visit Ross at Temp Joy looking for new employment. But that also appears to be the fate for everyone in this world. The current economy doesn't seem to be working for anyone. The young and bold vision that tried to reinvent Connie's old newspaper also failed. Her old boss is in the exact same position as her. Meanwhile, Higher Steaks has stopped paying its employees even though they are largely living paycheck to paycheck. That can be so crippling. This is a community struggling to stay afloat. The only way that it can be bearable is understanding that one has friends in life who truly accept what you're going through and will fight to make it better. The Higher Steaks employees have that in Liz. She is willing to punch Janet in the face for forcing them to work for no pay. Sure, it may come at a great cost to her as well - taking out a loan from Burt and possibly having a broken finger. But it's also connecting with another human being in a way that reveals what truly matters in life. Janet doesn't present as authentic. She doesn't share that personal touch with anyone. It's all about the profits and the idea of being a formidable disruptor in this world. That can ring so false and hallow. Liz is frustrated. But she goes deeper into that world as well. Janet can provide her with so much. It may not bring much clarity though. That's what everyone seeks. The potential to be understood is so envious. People spend their whole lifetimes chasing it.

It can be hard to open up to people though. Blaise does share his insomnia with Dud. And yet, Dud is incapable of giving his friend the precise help that he needs. He allows Blaise to spiral out of control until he has a laughing attack in the middle of the grocery store. That is terrifying. Ernie's house may not be a safe place for Blaise to heal. It's not where he ultimately decides to finish this journey. It's just a pit stop along the way. Of course, it also teases that Blaise will remain committed to his current path because he finds a fellow lynx in the institution he checks himself into. That's a fun return from Paul Giamatti, who clearly has a blast being an onscreen part of the show he produces. His presence will be important for the hunt for the scrolls down in Mexico. However, Dud is willing to give all of that up just for the opportunity of never being lonely again. He gets yelled at by Ernie for encouraging madness and destruction. Ernie may have overreacted. He has been trying to protect Dud. And yet, Dud and Blaise have been banished from the lodge. They are no longer welcomed by Scott. They are chaotic and disruptive. That can be a positive energy from time to time. But it may not be all that comforting. That's what they need more than anything though. Dud wants to make life better for Ernie. His friend is struggling just as much as he is. He is feeling the weight of his financial burden. He is desperate enough to sell his car. But he is also mourning over the past and what could have been in his life. It's more than him simply yearning for a past love too. He and Trish actually had a life together. They had a daughter. His story could have been completely different than it is now. And yet, Amaya was born early and died in the hospital. That was the tragic event that set Ernie on his current path. He chose not to fight for this relationship. Trish managed to cope by building a new future for herself. She still mourns over the past. But she has people in her life who can help her through the hard times. Ernie wonders if he has that as well. He has never told anyone at the lodge what he has lost in this world. Instead, everyone is grateful for him because he helps others find purpose and direction after their own losses. Dud was in a bad headspace after his father's death. He never wanted to give up hope that things could go back to the way that they were. He is still breaking into the old shop hoping that things will magically be the same as before. That's impossible though. His dad isn't just going to walk through those doors again. That was a crucial part of Dud's identity though. And now, he doesn't know who he is. Because he doesn't know that, he doesn't feel worthy of achieving anything else he may want from life. Yes, that is a depressing mindset. Ernie is there to support him though. Dud extends the favor. These two make each other stronger with the compassion they showcase. That is so powerful to watch. Life is full of hardships. Some relationships simply don't work. Life changes in a matter of seconds. It all depends on the bonds we form to see how life will continue moving forward. Ernie could be upset with Dud for cancelling his sports bet after it's clear he would have won big. Instead, he chooses to be vulnerable and free. That is powerful and shows that this bond won't be so easy to break even though things are tough for all of them right now.