Wyatt Russell as Sean "Dud" Dudley - Lodge 49 _ Season 1, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Author’s note: SPOILERS for the second episode of Lodge 49, “Moments of Truth in Service”
Times seemed so much kinder then. The episode opens on a montage of Dud as he spends time with his sister Liz and their dad, enjoying surfing, walking the trails in Nicaragua… and then the snake hits. The close-up on Dud’s expression of immeasurable pain transitions to the courtroom, as he faces the trespassing of the old family home in the pilot. The way the courtroom scene plays out is at once heartfelt and then completely turned on its head, as Dud simply can’t let go of the past, as most characters can’t.
This episode dove in deep on Ernie, showing him as a man frustrated with his lot in life, as the first episode provided; but here, it is showing him as taking things on himself. In the pilot, his ascension to the top of the lodge was met with a little stumbling block of contacting London headquarters and squaring away the confirmation; in this episode, he is announcing himself without the proper procedure. Even at work, Ernie is pushing to break protocol and talk to “the Captain,” a mythical person they report up to but have never met. Ernie is the kind of character who has had enough of waiting, and despite any roadblocks, he will have his way.
The writing, with the episode written by creator Jim Gavin, continues to be fun. Ernie getting goaded about his golf buddy being in the hospital and his reaction to an ominous “you’re next” gives Brent Jennings a hilarious reaction. It’s little back and forth lines like this that make the show shine, little moments that helps elevate simple but effective character traits.
An impromptu push-up challenge competition early in the episode is the right kind of random and bizarre, all over getting a plus-one spot on a company yacht trip. Ernie’s self-assured attitude going in and the sudden cut to him laying back with his bare chest and pounding back a drink is the right kind of silly that I like about this show.
The theme of frustration is present in every character’s life, in lives all dealt bad hands, and everyone is doing their best to make due. Things aren’t as special as originally intended, even in Dud’s fabled memorization of how the Order of the Lynx came to be being shot down by Blaise (David Pasquesi) as being more allegorical and metaphors than total truth. Finally seeing the throne room, in the pilot either remembered or dreamed to look almost like something out of Game of Thrones, is now merely a medium-sized gymnasium-type room. Dud’s confused squint says it all; the legend or build-up never really measuring up.
There are little patterns the characters have that I really enjoyed seeing: in the quick montage at the start, Liz and Dud would sit on either side of their father, and in the present they do the same, a vacant spot between them; Liz’s stubbornness with simple tasks, like a frustrated honk during construction or being asked to hold a baby; Ernie pushing for what he wants, procedure be damned; and continuing from the pilot, Dud’s fixation on past locations, things he should let go of for the betterment of himself and those around him.
“Moments of Truth in Service” is a stronger example of what the show is capable of than the pilot, which itself had been a good start. Some shows can stumble in the beginning, trying to figure themselves out and finding the right rhythm, but Lodge 49 is proving to know itself from the start.
* We get to see Lodge 1 back in England, and how their leader must be visited with a blindfold and a counting of steps to her office. It’s a fun little scene, adding to the bizarre nature of the Order of the Lynx. I look forward to the emissary coming to visit Lodge 49.
* Dud’s having real bad luck with his eyes lately. A kick to the eye and a punch to the other in the pilot, pepper spray at the beginning of this episode… paired with the snake, he’s just having a bad time physically.
* Liz is a stress cleaner, but her love of reality television appears to be a much better outlet for breaking free of her worries.
* A fun little easter egg is the audiobook Ernie listens to is a fake Jack Reacher-esque crime book, “The Prague Paradox”, and the narrator is executive producer Paul Giamatti. The more you know!