Avis-Marie Barnes as Anita Jones, Eric Allan Kramer as Scott Wright, Kenneth Welsh as Larry Loomis, Brent Jennings as Ernie Fontaine, David Pasquesi as Blaise St John - Lodge 49 _ Season 1, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Author’s note: SPOILERS for the fifth episode of Lodge 49, “Paradise”.
“Paradise” is an episode about dreams and reality and how each clashes against people in their own way. Dud (Wyatt Russell) distinctly remembers his dreams, while Gloria (Jocelyn Towne), his new girlfriend, does not. He hears the story of a man who sails off and disappears; to him, it is great; for Gloria, she sees a life left behind. They even differ on if there’s such a thing as paradise, if a serene perfection is attainable.
This episode of Lodge 49 brought reality crashing down on its cast of characters, as they witness from afar (literally, with characters watching from a distance) their hopes and dreams, but still are not close enough to touch that unattainable paradise just yet.
Dud molded (and meddled) into people’s lives in “Paradise”, almost like a passenger. His relationship with Gloria is less than he originally thought, Gloria seeing their time as only sex as she deals with her ailing mother. He tries to help Ernie (Brent Jennings) out with his Connie (Linda Emond) affair but is brushed off. He listens to Alice’s (Celina Au) problems at the donut shop, the hint of his past as surfer buddies but fades away from possibly continuing that life. His conversation with Larry (Kenneth Walsh) at the pier over ice cream was another instance of passing into someone’s life, but without the answers or understanding, it was one-sided and left Dud confused more than helpful.
Blaise (David Pasquesi) is nervous about his upcoming lecture, worried he may not sound intelligent in front of his online friends. He has a severe pain, believing it to be caused by a parasite when he’s stressed, when no “square” doctors could find it. Dud brings it up to Ernie, but Ernie casually dismisses it, too involved in the emissary letter. It’s a reminder of everyone being too absorbed in their own lives, unaware of their surroundings. Dud the passenger, however, takes note.
But the fact that it is real—and literally comes out of Blaise’s nose during his speech—is one of the craziest moments on the show up to this point, and something I found hysterical. It became almost like the never-ending handkerchief magic trick, pulling and pulling while people ran for the exits. Russell’s expression of pure fascination as it unfolds is perfect.
Liz (Sonya Cassidy) seeing an Instagram video of herself happy and laughing is almost revolting to her, like seeing herself happy is a bad thing. She is recovering from the previous episode’s shenanigans and drinking, reality having come in all its cruelty upon her in the light of day. The upper management returns with the corporate application form, an opportunity for something better, but she turns it down, feeling like this is where she belongs, complacent and never moving on. Her fight with Dud at the end of the episode is her lashing out on life and debt and broken dreams, and her almost fearful look as Dud leaves is like the final thing in her life is drifting away from her.
Where other episodes were more hopeful in their delivery, “Paradise” was more on the downer side of these characters and their ideals. This is not to a detriment, as things can’t always be fun and happy, and the episode delivers on showing characters’ weaknesses or fears come to fruition. It’s the settling, the worry of things not going the way they’re meant to, starting to creep into these lives in some form or another. Reaching the halfway point of the season, it’s good to have some doubt in the minds of these characters as we head for the second half.
Paradise is what anyone wishes to attain, a place perfect for them and them alone. To rise up above the maze and take a gander at the whole board is something needed from time to time, and Dud is trying to do that in “Paradise”, and is getting there with his naïve wisdom bestowed on Gloria and Liz (both to varying degrees of success and failure). Some are more accepting of advice and help, while others battle against it. But the episode proves some are willing to give it a try, and that’s something, at the very least. I liked this episode from a philosophical and comedy level, where it may have lacked in punches and execution like others have before it. But still, another strong episode for Lodge 49!
∗ More connections! Liz’s fellow employee Champ (David Ury) happens to be the security guard at Orbis, where Connie (Linda Emond) stops by. He also passes by in the foreground during Dud and Gloria’s “rendezvous” during work.
∗ The bus driver seeing the tomb on the other side of the suite in the news footage led to him sprinting off and leaving the kids on the bus (and one decked into the ground). Could Lodge 49 be the “True Lodge”?
∗ Dud and Ernie’s “in cahoots” banter over the phone was fantastic, even though it seems most people at the lodge know of the affair. It probably explains Scott’s (Eric Allan Kramer) resistance of the succession ceremony happening before the emissary from London comes.
∗ That worm better set an all-time record; Blaise was yanking for a while.
∗ Dud’s only trait to define Gloria is “intense”, which, from Dud, almost comes off as a compliment and a positive.
∗ Brian Doyle-Murray is genius casting as Ernie’s boss. His little speech to the staff about seeing and doing things other men can only dream of is hysterical, and has that Murray family charm in the delivery.