Monday, September 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'Lodge 49' - Dud and Ernie Meet Their Favorite Author While Connie Gets a Visitor from London in 'Zugzwang'

AMC's Lodge 49 - Episode 2.08 "Zugzwang"

L. Marvin Metz comes to the Lodge with Dud and Ernie. Liz gets a promotion. Scott goes for a walk.

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.

"Zugzwang" was written by Micah Cratty and directed by Maurice Marable

The hunt for the scrolls has dominated this season of Lodge 49. It's a mythical quest that has driven a ton of story through sheer suspicion of what could be possible if these characters were to discover the secrets they hold. However, it's huge that Blaise opens this episode by saying it's so destructive to go chasing after crazy endeavors. He lost his mind because he believed so fiercely in this quest. He lost his way because he embraced a certain quality of the lodge. Ernie and Dud both believe that he would be welcomed back if he truly wanted to be. However, Blaise believes that his journey takes him elsewhere. It leads him to an institution where he meets L. Marvin Metz. Now, it's a huge deal when Dud and Ernie finally get to meet their idol. They love his work - even though Dud notes that he is actually far behind in the novel series. It's crazy that he also happens to be in this place. He is a Lynx just like them though. They had their theories about him especially because of some clues in his novels. But now, they have that confirmation. It is significant to them. It also comes at a time when Dud decides to embrace a typical job working alongside Ernie. He joins him at the order desk at the plumbing parts store. That continues to present as the only stable job in this region. Even Janet notes that her conglomerate is just one big illusion made to look like it is bigger and more impressive than it actually is. In fact, she is being invested by the FBI with Dr. Kimbrough wearing a wire trying to get her to confess to something illegal. He is very bad at that task. He admits to it through no pressing whatsoever. But again, that highlights just how fragile life can be. Ernie has long believed that he needed stability in his life. He was hurt by his previous trip to Mexico. He was hurt by his hunt for Captain in the first season. His life may be boring right now. Plus, he is haunted by the idea of what could have been if things had turned out a little differently in the past. However, this is the life that he has. He is supportive of his friends during their times of need. He helps Dud get on the right path. For so long, he saw a sense of normalcy as what Dud needed the most. Dud may not know the product catalog at his new job but he does have some basic understanding of the items involved. He can learn. He can build a nice stable career out of this just like Ernie, Bob and Beautiful Jeff. However, the time spent with Lamar makes everyone realize just how insane the entire world can be. Life is fundamentally a series of choices. For Lamar, it's an adventure that frequently leads to him jumping out of windows and doors. That's insane and could easily prove fatal. He is still alive though. He has many admirers. He may have an even crazier theory about the scrolls. He thinks Merrill found out that the Earth was hollow and his perfect paradise is at the center of the planet. He believes that the imagery of the lodge supports this claim. Meanwhile, Clara returns with a newfound sense of frustration because no one seems to be working in tandem any more. It feels like all of life is lost and adrift. People are continually searching for a way forward. But no one has any answers because there really isn't any kind of common purpose. That drive has long been gone. And yet, everyone seems to find some purpose with the hunt for the scrolls. That's remarkable given just how divided the people have been across this season.

Ernie and Dud aren't the only ones headed to Mexico in pursuit of this treasure. They were the ones seen with Lamar in the teaser at the start of the season with the scrolls though. That ensures that this journey is bound to only grow more complicated and somewhat convoluted. That is the basic understanding of any novel written by Lamar. It could explain the fundamental storytelling of this show as well. But this series has so much heart and humanity as well. It articulates such a specific world of longing. These characters want to feel happy and confident with the choices they are making. Instead, Ernie embraces the idea that all of life is zugzwang. Every choice is a bad one. It will only worsen one's position in life. That can be freeing once it's accepted though. He feels inspired to go to Mexico with Dud without any worry that he'll lose his job. In fact, Bob is supportive of him because he sees the flame reignited within Ernie. That's what he has wanted for a long time. He is happy to see it once more. Dud is as well. As such, everyone is energized to allow him to do exactly what he wants in order to ensure this is who he remains for awhile. This is what they want for him. They see just how proud and strong he is. He is simply expressing it now through this crazy plan to head to Mexico to see just what El Confidente and Daphne have been up to. Lamar doesn't care about the plan to create Bitcoin. That could certainly solve some of the financial worries several characters have been facing for awhile. But this journey is so much more than Ernie regaining his fighting spirit. That's what propels many people to join him on this mission. It's hardly the only motivation to travel to Mexico in pursuit of the truth. Everyone is heading down there for adventure. Janet has never interacted with someone from the lodge before. But all it takes is hearing this long and crazy tale from Dud for her to see it as the answer to all of her financial troubles. As such, she is quickly able to persuade Liz into joining her. Liz has always been reluctant to go to Mexico with Dud and his lodge friends. She never saw the point of it. But now, Janet can offer the argument that it's her opportunity to achieve her dream of actually seeing the world. She deserves a chance to leave California. It's Janet playing into the dreams of others in the hopes of protecting herself in the process. It's easier than setting Liz up to take the fall for her. But it allows Janet to get out of the country when her problems continue to mount as well. That is significant too. Liz can't be blind to that. She knows the high levels of secrecy Janet utilizes to live her life. She doesn't have a traditional sense of the world or how to live in it. But she is also a manipulative monster who has destroyed lives. She deserves punishment for her crimes. That doesn't inherently make her awful in this world though. She is simply one part of a corrupt system that leads several more people down the wrong paths. Scott goes on a huge journey here. He wanders around the city in his Sovereign Protector robe. He never feels like a king though. Instead, he comes across as a homeless man desperately needing help and lashing out at the world. He doesn't end the journey with newfound purpose. Instead, someone has to hand it to him. That someone is Connie. He is still willing to do whatever she asks of him. She, in turn, has that connection with Clara who now views the scrolls as the salvation the lodge clearly needs right now. All of these people are putting all of their hopes and dreams in this pursuit. They do so for drastically different reasons but each of them are heartfelt and meaningful as well.