When Ernie Fontaine asks the question, “What is the use of living forever if you are all alone on a Sunday?” Truer words were never spoken. Are we capable of being present in the moment and living our lives to the fullest or do we just resign ourselves to merely existing? Is there a better path to take?
“This is the craziest s*** I have ever seen!” – Blaise St. John
It’s Not a Mummy
Last week the body of Wallace Smith, Sovereign Protector from 1959-1962 was found in a secret room. Mummified because of hermetically sealing the “tomb” and dead because he drank formaldehyde, the corpse holds a special fascination for Dud.
Why did he take such drastic measures? No one seems to know however he did speak cryptically about Lodge 49 not being the true lodge. Apparently, Wallace was also trying to make gold. The entire thing is a weird mystery but oddly enough it isn’t surprising that it happened.
It seems like maybe Larry Loomis; the current SP might have the key to unlocking this conundrum. Unfortunately, he is nowhere to be found. While Dud and Ernie are trying to figure out why Smith ended his life, the Scout pancake breakfast is about to begin.
Ernie gathers Blaise, Big Ben and Anita and shows them Wallace’s body. They are all trying to make sense out of Smith’s last communication. He completed the Magnum Opus and has “aligned the stars to build a bridge to the true lodge.”
This is sounding very mystical and Egyptian like. Once Scott arrives the gang has to convince him not to call the authorities but rather to wait and do it after the breakfast. Blaise leads the charge because they have to catalogue everything in the room because Smith did everything with a purpose.
Reluctantly, Scott agrees but warns them he will follow procedure and phone it in later. Dud sees his discovery as fate. He believes he was supposed to find Wallace and that his path awaits him.
Running Out of Time
As with most episodes on Lodge 49 the concept of time is a huge factor. Usually, there is never enough of it. Ernie confronts Connie and tells her he is “running out of Saturdays” and that he wants to spend the rest of them with her. She tells him that they need to “take a break” because there is too much going on with Scott and her job situation.
For Liz, there is too much time. She has Sunday off which would make the average person ecstatic but we all know Liz is far from average. So, she decides to head to the beach.
However, she changes her mind at the last minute and decides to go into Shamroxx to see if she can pick up a shift. Jeremy, her boss informs her that they are fully staffed and that she should have some fun.
Right now, that is the last thing on Liz’s mind. She needs to make some serious cash to take a chunk out of her debt.
Reeling from Connie’s rejection, Ernie decides to make time and along with Dud set out to locate the elusive Larry. While they are en route, they notice a black SUV following them.
Quest for Answers
Dud and Ernie pull up in front of Larry’s house. When they walk up to the door, they hear a saw being run. After knocking, they are greeted by a man who informs them that he is “The Occupant,” and that Larry hasn’t lived there for a while.
As he goes to retrieve Larry’s mail to help the guys out, Ernie and Dud can see that he is making coffins. “The Occupant” is a performance artist who designs witches collars and other weird items.
After they get the information on Larry’s possible whereabouts they leave immediately. While on the road again, Dud almost hits a seal. This event causes Dud to have a mini-breakdown. He is trying to understand why Wallace killed himself.
Contemplating that question makes Dud recall the feeling of the venom entering his body after he was bitten by the snake in Nicaragua. You can tell he hasn’t reconciled himself to fully understanding the impact that misfortune had on him.
Then he begins to talk about how darkness enveloped him. He wondered if that is how his Dad felt before he died. Was darkness waiting for him too?
Ernie tells him that he survived for a reason. Maybe it was to find the Lodge. Dud tells Ernie that he feels the two of them are connected in ways that even they don’t know yet. Skeptical, Ernie answers him with “maybe.”
Sometimes Answers Are Not What You Need
While Liz sits at the Shamroxx bar, she is lost in thought. Her mind goes back to one of the last times she spent with her Dad. They are having lunch and he is asking her to co-sign his loan.
We find out that in her other life, Liz was a successful paralegal. Then it dawns on us how truly awful her existence is and what a waste of her skills to be stuck in that menial job.
It also feels like her father deliberately misled her into thinking that the business was still viable when he knew it was on the brink of collapsing. Hindsight is foresight and now Liz is pretty much screwed.
Meanwhile, Blaise is still in Wallace’s tomb studying the first edition books. When Connie enters she asks why did he do all of this? Blaise says because it has to do with Harwood Fritz Merrill doing the same thing in the London lodge.
Even though they have limited answers or possibilities, Blaise is really enjoying the mysteries because in his mind, he feels as if the lodge is “waking up.”
While Dud and Ernie are still looking for Larry, Ernie concludes that Larry doesn’t want to be found. How do you even look for someone like that? Dud feels like maybe Larry is getting ready to leave this mortal coil and that it might be a requirement of all the SPs.
The Search for Meaning
Dud and Ernie abruptly run out of gas. They end up walking to a convenience store where Dud fills up a gas can to take back to the car. Along the way, the two men start talking about Connie and how after 40 years of not seeing her, she waltzes back into his life with Scott.
It would appear that maybe Blaise has found another key to the solving the mystery of Wallace Smith. In his journal, he finds a picture of Larry’s mother. The inscription on the back makes them seem like they might have been in love.
While filling up his car’s tank with gas at the local Shell station, Dud heads inside to pay while Ernie waits in the car. It is then that he is “abducted” by two men in the black SUV.
As it turns out, his captors are actually bearing a gift basket from the “Captain.” Kaplan Industries (where Ernie crashed a meeting and tried to pitch his plumbing supplies) decided that they needed to make amends with him.
How Do You Find a Person Who Doesn’t Want to Be Found?
They talk about how elusive “Captain” is and drop him back at Dud’s car. While at the Lodge, Blaise is getting interviewed about Wallace Smith while the coroner’s office and the police are removing the body.
It seems like everyone, including Liz is getting enlightened with certain truths. For her, it involves a special alcoholic concoction from Champ which results in her jousting in the parking lot of Shamroxx in shopping carts.
Ernie and Dud find Larry’s abode which turns out to be a block away from the Lodge. It is a trailer next to a pumpjack. Ernie informs Dud they are done looking for someone who doesn’t want to be found.
Disappointed Dud laments the fact that he wants to know what the one true lodge is. Is it code for eternal life? Which sparks Ernie to remark, he doesn’t want to live forever. He just wants to live real for a little while.
Dud ends up going to Gloria’s house. He blew her off all day because he didn’t want to go into work. The two kiss and prepare to end his dry spell together.
At the lodge, contemplating the long day he just had while watching Blaise on the news Ernie hears a noise. When he goes into the hallway to check it out, Larry is standing there in his boxers. “I’m back,” he utters. And with that, he walks into another room.
One of my favorite things about Lodge 49 is the complexity of the scripts. Themes are seamlessly intertwined and characters intersect in surprising places. You have to think when you watch this show and that is why it is brilliant.
Sunday was the perfect example of what makes this series compelling. You tune in every week for the ensemble cast. Everyone is given their moment to shine like jazz musicians.
There were so many great lines of dialogue tonight and the running gag of Blaise’s with “It’s not a mummy it is a “reliquum corpus,” was hysterical. One moment in particular resonated.
When Dud started to talk about his near-death experience to Ernie and how he felt the darkness, I found myself feeling sorry for him. Then when he spoke about wanting to know if his Dad felt the same way before he died, well, that got me in the heart.
Each of these characters are dealing with personal losses. In Ernie’s case, it is Connie. For Liz and Dud, it is their father. Connie is lamenting the loss of her job and a case could be made for Larry losing his mind.
Somehow, amidst all the dysfunction, there is hope. And that is why we keep returning to the Lodge week in and week out.
Catch Lodge 49 on AMC every Monday night at 10 PM.