Lodge 49 (S01E02) “Moments of Truth in Service”

We all have coping mechanisms for when life gets rough. For some it is chasing an elusive goal, for others it is compulsive cleaning for Dud it is Lodge 49.

“Afternoons are hard when you’re not doing what you used to do. You start to feel a little weird.” – Dud

Dud’s Downward Spiral

As Dud says, “I’m embarrassed that it’s come to this.” Standing in court, he faces the music for harassing the family that bought his childhood home in a foreclosure sale. He is just doing what he can to cope with his situation.

The episode opened with his story. We see how idyllic his life was hanging out with his Dad and sister. Surfing in the morning and cleaning pools during the day seem like simple tasks and non-ambitious ones at that but Dud is happy.

When he goes to Nicaragua and is trekking toward the beach, a wily serpent crosses his path and bites him leaving him screaming in pain. What a perfect segue into the courtroom dilemma because he is in pain, emotionally and spiritually.

Turning to the family, Dud tells them that he is sorry, he is on a good path and will probably secure a temporary job. All he cares about is that their son is as happy growing up in the home as he was.

The couple decides to drop their complaint much to the judge’s delight because it’s lunch time! However, Dud doesn’t seem to get what just happened because he suggests that maybe he could come over and grill burgers at their house.

Of course, they are incredulous and get into a back and forth with Dud that results in him being maced in the face. Later in a hysterically funny scene, we see him getting interviewed in the temp office. He is sitting wide-eyed looking like a bloodied raccoon.

Naturally, we can expect that Dud will not be called anytime soon.

Ernie Pays His Debt

That $2,000 that Dud gave Ernie for Lodge dues has just saved him from a potentially slippery situation with his bookie. It was particularly amusing to see that his collector drove up on a scooter. For those interested in trivia, the book that Ernie is listening to in his car in this scene is read by executive producer, Paul Giamatti and is somewhat of a running gag throughout the show.

Trying to relax after finally paying off his debt, Ernie is hitting the links sans Larry Loomis (Sovereign Protector of Lodge 49) who is in the hospital after another heart episode. In a hysterically funny moment, the golf course manager assumes that Larry is dying and tells Ernie, “You’re next.”

He means Ernie can tee off. Ernie thinks he is talking about death.

The Sins of the Father Fall on the Daughter

Liz is meeting with a bank representative about the loan that she co-signed with her father. She has defaulted and is getting non-stop collection calls. She is clearly at her wits end and is telling the agent that there is nothing she can do.

Even after she explains that her father has died and there is no way to pay back the monumental $80,000 that is owed, the rep threatens her with third party collections. Things just keep getting worse and it seems like Liz may be headed for a downward spiral like Dud.

Looking for a Safe Place

Majority of this episode focuses on finding a refuge from personal storms. Immediately after the events of the day have worn on Dud, he seeks out the haven of the Lodge. Unfortunately, no one is around.

Meanwhile, Liz is waiting tables at Shamroxx. Her boss, Jeremy (Daniel Stewart Sherman) informs her that he couldn’t give her the promotion to assistant manager even though she has been there for a year. Of course, she doesn’t want it.

Apparently, corporate has bestowed the title upon one of their calendar girls. Much to Liz’s chagrin, Jeremy dubs her the “Queen of Shamroxx.”

Ernie isn’t having much luck either. Bob, his boss just gave him a mess to clean up with one of his customer’s because he quoted him an incorrect price at a happy hour. Then he misses out on a cruise to a young hotshot sales guy named Beautiful Jeff (Michael Lee Kimel). Which, by the way, has to be the best character name in television history.

Challenging him to a push-up contest, Ernie loses and also doesn’t get to go on the cruise. Plus, he is also not getting his commission. “It will be coming any day now,” is what Bob tells him.

Who is the Captain?

Now, we get some insight into another important figure in this story. Upset at not receiving his commissions, Ernie informs Bob that he is going after “Captain.” Apparently, according to Ernie, this character is the king of real estate development in the Long Beach area.

He is mythical because no one can get to him and he is spoken about in hushed tones. You get the sense that quite possibly this character is going to show up at a critical juncture but much like everything that goes on in this series, he is “under the surface” of everything too.

“Captain” is the holy grail for Ernie to chase.

Strength in Numbers

Everyone has convened at the Lodge to talk about Larry. The prognosis isn’t good. Blaise laments that doctors don’t know what they’re doing, so he administered a treatment to Larry on his own.

These little tidbits of knowledge that Blaise gives away are adding up and eventually we will see exactly what he is capable of doing. The entire lodge is forecasting that their Sovereign Protector is probably not long for this mortal coil so they believe that they need to talk about succession.

Leading the charge is Scott, Ernie’s rival for Connie’s affections. When Ernie announces that Larry will be stepping down and making him the SP, Scott is immediately crestfallen. He wanted to be considered.

When Scott starts going on and on about protocols, Ernie tells him that he will call London (where the lodge headquarters is located) to sort things out.

Things We Tell Ourselves

After Liz is stashing away her tip money, she stares at the monumental loan that she owes the bank. Not wanting to focus on that, she immediately goes on a cleaning frenzy in her apartment.

In an attempt to hide, while cleaning out her refrigerator, Liz gets inside and closes the door. This is a woman hanging on to life by a thread.

When Dud comes home the two curl up on the couch together to watch a mindless dating show. Here is where he drops a bomb. In going to the library to get reading material for Larry, he has become smitten with one of the librarians. He tells Liz he may have a crush on her.

This revelation is significant. Where Liz wants to escape from her problems with drinking and excessive cleanliness and Ernie focuses on nabbing “Captain” for a lucrative sales win, Dud chooses to seek out love. Despite the fact that he is emotionally reeling, he wants to make a human connection.

The Verdict

I know I keep saying this but Lodge 49 is truly a brilliant show. The entire theme of “Moments of Truth in Service” is more than anticipating what is coming next, it is about how to cope until you get to that level.

With Liz, she is just trying to bide her time at Shamroxx and squirreling away money until she can figure out a way to get out from under her financial burden. Ernie is like a modern-day Don Quixote who keeps fighting windmills until he gets to the elusive “Captain” in his tower.

Dud just wants to belong.  For him, he copes by investing his time into becoming a Squire. The Lodge gives him that sense of family that he doesn’t really have since his Dad passed away. Learning the history behind the Lynx gives him a connection to something real.

The best moment in the show occurs when Dud explains to Ernie how he feels about the Lodge. “When I’m out there, I feel like I am all alone. All these things chasing me, these dragons and dickheads… but it’s different in here.”

You know what? It is different in here and that is precisely what sets Lodge 49 apart from the rest of the television landscape.

Catch Lodge 49 Mondays on AMC at 10 PM.