Author’s note: SPOILERS for the tenth episode (the season finale) of Lodge 49, “Full Fathom Five”.
A flashback to a time where upheaval was at hand, but still distant enough, opens up the season finale, “Full Fathom Five”. Everything is calm, with the Dudley patriarch enjoying time with his son at the pool shop, pawning his watch, and going off for a swim. But he will not be returning from that swim, ominously disappearing from view.
“Full Fathom Five” is really about the harsh reality of the season coming in and crashing down on its characters. It’s a time of letting go. Dud (Wyatt Russell) has nowhere to go and loses the Thing (his car), that iconic yellow monster. Ernie (Brent Jennings) loses most, if not all, of his accounts at work. Liz (Sonya Cassidy) is persona non grata at her executive job after jumping off the cruise and causing a panic. She can’t even return to her old job, having been replaced. There’s no more going down for them, after the hint of going up.
Scott (Eric Allan Kramer) was made sovereign protector by default, as it’s looking like the lodge is finally going under. The only one seeming to enjoy himself is Jocelyn (Adam Godley) the emissary, tossing away his shirt and joyously running into the ocean without a care in the world. He plans to stay, as it looks like he found a place that woke him up. His passionate speech to his superiors on why Lodge 49 must stay open is heartfelt and uplifting, but when we see Lodge 1 moments later, the woman in charge says it’s closing.
Scott and Ernie had it out, quite messily, in the foyer of Lodge 49, crashing and punching and kneeing one another into tired submission on the ground. It’s over the sovereign protector at first, but really it’s over Connie (Linda Emond). Once both realize she’s missing and gone from both of their lives, it’s obvious that neither truly won in their battle for her heart. Connie has taken off to Lodge 1 in London, taking time for herself (time she is running out of), and to enjoy the rain. She looks much happier in this new setting, so perhaps it’s for the best, at least for now.
But not all was a downer in “Full Fathom Five”. What goes down must come up (that’s not the saying, but stick with me). It was all a wake-up call, with Dud going back into his temp agency and asking about the career opportunity he turned down in “The Solemn Duty of the Squire”; Liz putting down all of her cash on the debt and hoping for a Hail Mary at the bank; and Ernie coming to terms with his life and becoming true friends with Dud, even accepting to become his mentor of sorts. Things work out, in their own way, even if it isn’t what everyone wanted in full. Liz did finally get to see zero on her debt, a cause for celebration; but she spends her remaining moments crying in her car, like losing the debt is like letting go of her father for the last time.
And just as the dust is starting to settle, Blaise (David Pasquesi) discovers a secret alchemy bag in the wall with gold residue in it, Jocelyn receives word Lodge 49 can stay open (because of the secret scrolls rumor, at least in implication), and Ernie finds a secret trap door in the lodge that leads to Larry’s (and now Dud’s) trailer, El Confidente (Cheech Marin!) waiting for him.
Dud gets back out on the water after some resistance and Alice’s encouragement, and as “water people”—as Liz called their family before—he looks at peace. He even sees a seal smiling at him. But he’s suddenly knocked into the water, and a fin surfaces behind him. Blood bursts from the water, and we see a shark has gotten him. He’s pulled back to shore as Liz’s twin intuition kicks in. He looks up and screams, just as he did when the snake got him in Nicaragua, but it’s momentary. He sees his father in his delirium, and it calms him. Liz is at his side, and he mumbles, half delirious, “Told you it was a shark,” referencing their father’s disappearance. It’s a strange, half-upbeat, half-upsetting ending, where Dud is maimed even more than before, as though happiness can only be fleeting, and then it must take its pound of flesh from him (quite literally).
For a finale, it’s exactly what Lodge 49 was all along. It’s not meant to offer huge answers to its mysteries, and if anything, offered more questions. Everything, apart from the safety of Lodge 49’s financial problem, is left in the air. But that’s life, in the end. Nothing is ever completely settled, and besides, there’s no fun in that. Lodge 49 was about characters looking for some kind of acceptance and comfort in their troubled lives, and about how they can find it in friendship and the belief that one day, things could possibly get better. It can get better, it always can, but it’s never permanent. Nothing is permanent. So it’s best to enjoy things while they last, and I enjoyed the hell out of Lodge 49, this magical and weird time not many other networks would even attempt. So kudos to AMC for taking a chance, and kudos to Jim Gavin and company, for creating something with such a specific and unique voice. I may not have known or understood every reference, or of tarot cards being symbolic of each character’s plight, but it’s there for those who do understand, and I didn’t feel like I lost anything with that going over my head. The show has a lot of layers at play, and there’s multiple ways to enjoy this series.
And a special mention to the cast of Lodge 49, an incredibly talented and hilarious bunch of people who have provided some wonderful laughs, fun characters, and memorable performances.
∗ The possums strike again, this time in Dud’s car. Once was suspect, but twice is a metaphor. “Playing possum” in your own life doesn’t get you anywhere, is what I’m guessing it all means. I’m probably wrong.
∗ Becoming a godfather is important work, like stopping your godson from drinking poison soup. The Shamroxx crew need to get some honorable mentions; they have been consistently fun in their short time in the season.
∗ Liz returning to the executive office after jumping off the cruise is a classic George Costanza move.
∗ Wyatt Russell without his beard really threw me off. Every movie and show I’ve seen him in, there’s a beard!
Lodge 49 has been renewed for a second season by AMC.