Tonight, AMC aired the premiere of Lodge 49, a series that we feel like many viewers aren’t going to quite know precisely what to make of it. It’s a show about a guy named Shawn Dudley a.k.a. Dud (Wyatt Russell) who was desperate to find some sort of community after everything that he’s been through.
For most of the episode, though, it was clear that Dud was trying to compartmentalize much of what he had gone through in his life. Basically, he was just cruising around to find various trinkets on the beach as a way to make ends meet while getting thrown out of both of his old apartment and his family’s home. When he stumbled upon a Lynx Ring on the beach belonging to a nearby lodge, one that he had never been aware of despite living in Long Beach his whole life, he thought it was fate … especially when his car broke down outside of the place. Inside he met Ernie (Brent Jennings), one of the people at the lodge who followed its charter and seemed to have a little bit of a gambling problem. That seemed to be the impetus for him taking “dues” from Dud in the form of $2,000.
It wasn’t until we saw Dud at his first Lodge function later in the episode that we started to understand his full backstory — he had just lost everything in his life, from his home to his job to his father to even his love of surfing after a snakebite injury on a trip to Nicaragua. He was struggling to find himself again and had only his sister Liz to rely on. This is where he thought he could find himself again … though the head of the Lodge in Larry punched him for no good reason and didn’t seem to even understand why himself after the fact.
What else do we know? Dud loves donuts, Ernie recently got in touch with an old flame, and Dud thought that he had reconnected with an old high school friend only to be ditched by them later on.
Lodge 49 is a very weird show. Yet, it’s also incredibly compelling. It meanders along at its own pace without really doing a whole lot to explain what the whole point of the show is. You’re really just following the life of a seemingly-likable guy who wants to do the right thing for himself but doesn’t seem to have much ambition or opportunity. The plot is barely here at all other than that he wants to be around people who can help him.
Yet, we hope that the lack of a clear narrative focus one episode in doesn’t steer too many people away from the show. It is enjoyable and delightfully lighthearted at times, and we certainly understand why AMC has chosen to pair it with Better Call Saul tonight. The two shows have enough tonal similarities for it to make sense.
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