Lodge 49 premieres August 6th on AMC.
By Matthew Stanford
Lodge 49 is a show that is difficult to label. The episodes are certainly unique, which these days is pretty hard to pull off. On its surface, the premise is simple. A man who is down and out in life discovers a ring on the beach which leads him to a quasi-secret society called Lodge 49.
The main character Dud is played by Wyatt Russell, the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. (You may have seen him in Everybody Wants Some! or Black Mirror.) Dud is an ex-surfer who acts like a super chill dude just enjoying life. But his life is anything but enjoyable! His father is recently deceased, disappeared in the ocean one day never to be seen again. Dud worked for his father at their family pool cleaning business and store. His death left Dud broke and unemployed. The premiere quickly establishes that despite Dud’s dialect and attitude, he is intelligent and capable of more than his current situation. Once led to Lodge 49 by fate, a light bulb turns on for Dud, and he finds a purpose. Despite looking like a run-down building with an okay bar, the lodge brings Dud a case of childlike wonderment.
Lodge 49 essentially has three main characters: Dud, Liz, and Ernie. Liz (Sonya Cassidy) is Dud’s twin sister. She too is down on her luck and works full time at a “Hooters-esque” restaurant. She is also always happy on the outside but crushed on the inside by the loss of her dad and a giant pile of debt. Ernie (Brent Jennings) is a toilet salesman by day and a high-ranking member of the lodge at night. He helps Dud join the ranks, and the two quickly become friends.
The lodge is described as being sort of like the Masons, but with a focus on alchemy. The founder hoped to discover how to create gold. There are lodges all across the world; Lodge 1 in London, for example. Despite being referred to as a fraternity, this isn’t a big party house like you would see at a college. Both men and women can be members. Additionally, while mysteries and secrets surround the lodge, many events are open to the public.
The entire cast is great, and there are lots of secondary characters. My favorite character beyond the leads is Blaise played by David Pasquesi, whom you will recognize as Selina’s ex-husband on Veep. Of all the characters on the show, he feels most like a real person. He is layered, and every scene that he’s in brings more to the show. In the last few episodes of the season, there is a fantastic cameo by a well-known actor that I will not spoil, but I was very excited when they appeared. This will NOT disappoint!
Much of the drama is driven by the death of Dud and Liz’s father, the mysteries of the lodge, a shadow of a man named Captain, and money. If you’re looking for financial advice, watch this show and never do anything that any of the characters do. Lodge 49 sells itself as a mystery, and that isn’t wholly incorrect, but I didn’t care much for the surprises along the way. I looked at the lodge as a MacGuffin that brought this group of people together. This show is a slow-burn, and most of the plot points are inconsequential.
I enjoyed Lodge 49 quite a bit, but I do not see it connecting with everyone. The show isn’t as dark and dreary as most dramas these days, in fact, the majority of the time it’s pretty fun. My recommendation? Watch the first two episodes. If you like spending time with Dud, Ernie, and Liz, then you should stick around and finish the show. If you don’t care about the characters and just want to understand the mysteries of the lodge, it’s best to move on to something else.