Author’s note: SPOILERS for the ninth episode of Lodge 49, “Apogee”.
“Apogee” is a time of reminiscing, a remembrance of a time potentially gone. They may never be the same again, and so one last celebration is in order. At the highest peak, there must be a fall, but on the way down, you’ll see everything that brought you here, a theme this episode drives home in excellent fashion.
Lodge 49 is in full swing for what’s essentially its going away party, a couple of its regulars tossing out different reasons for such a healthy turnout. Dud (Wyatt Russell) is his usual positive self and perhaps giving away too much about the Captain (Bruce Campbell) deal which will solve all of the lodge’s problems, but things are looking up. He’s found the librarian he had interest in before, and she clicks with him in the secret library upstairs. It’s a fleeting moment, but it’s enough to bring Dud joy, along with the happiness of the lodge booming in a last hurrah.
The parking lot meeting of Captain’s deal had Dud and Ernie (Brent Jennings)—while listening to Paul Giamatti’s wonderful audiobook narration—growing paranoid. A car with a vaping guy pulls up, construction workers are walking toward them, and a drone is flying overhead. It’s clearly a trap! Their rattled and spooked demeanor as they made each other paranoid was a moment Russell and Jennings sold the hell out of, making them almost like a hilarious comedy duo when they’re together.
Hiding out at the motel room Ernie had with Connie (Linda Emond) several times before in the season, Dud and Ernie wonder if something is afoot and shady about the whole situation. Scott (Eric Allan Kramer) appears, demanding to know why Ernie told Connie of their affair being fine with him and putting his marriage at risk. As Scott chases Dud and Ernie down, Ernie runs down the geologist he was impersonating earlier in the season. Ernie shouting, “I know that guy!” was so sudden it got a pretty good belly laugh out of me.
Liz (Sonya Cassidy), meanwhile, is on a cruise retreat (around the bay) for the tail end of the executive seminar finals. She finally is able to meet her future boss but gets tripped up by the question of where she sees herself in five years. It’s just like a few episodes before, in “The Solemn Duty of the Squire”, where Liz can’t see very far into her own future. Here, Liz says she can’t even see herself in five years, a telling moment. Just after deciding she’s ready to take the next leap, she makes a decision similar to her father’s, and makes a very different leap, off the cruise in the waters of the night. But a floating Orbis fridge saves her as a buoy. I guess the trebuchet worked!
Blaise’s (David Pasquesi) labeling of Jocelyn (Adam Godley) the emissary as a “wizard of demystification” was a fun turn of phrase as Jocelyn puts down and dismisses Lodge 1 in London’s drab and boring setting. It’s a continuing little subplot of Blaise not much caring for Jocelyn, after seeing him as a destroyer with only money on his mind and the possible destruction of something he holds so dear. He also split up his short relationship with Avery, which is likely a much bigger disappointment for him.
“Apogee” was an episode about the dots connecting, how everything before happened for a reason and clicked together in the penultimate hour for our heroes. It was a lot of fun seeing those dots come together, making such random things previously become actual payoffs for humor, story, and character reasons. It’s a credit to the writing, to make all of these things work so perfectly.
So, it’s time to get to the craziest moment of the entire season, one for the ages. Captain fires the harpoon he promised was in working order, and just misses Avery’s head, nicking his ear. We hear a splash, and the three run out to find Captain impaled through the head by a narwhal, the very thing his wife loves the most. But he survives somehow, as long as they keep the horn in. This was such a sudden and violent turn of events that it took me a few moments to realize what I had just seen. It was also so much Lodge 49 in its execution, it’s to be commended.
“Apogee” was Lodge 49 bringing closure to a lot of the potential its previous episode set up and brings the possibility of despair and status quo to reign in its characters’ lives. Be it through self-destruction, foolhardy belief, or dimwitted schemes, no one really came out of “Apogee” ahead, and it is leading to a finale which has the possibility of its characters being happy with what they have, or miserable with still being where they always were.
But how far we have come: from a fun, philosophical show about finding yourself, to shady property deals and narwhal stabbings. Thomas Pynchon would be proud.