Wyatt Russell perfects the everyman as Sean “Dud” Dudley in ‘Lodge 49.’
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By Alison Foreman2020-01-03 10:00:00 UTC
The following is spoiler-free.
It’s never too late for Lodge 49.
An AMC show that aired for two seasons before being canceled in October, Lodge 49 was, and is, special. As many fans who have loved something others did not will tell you,this showwas unlike anything else on television.
It was hard to explain, let alone pitch new viewers on — see Santa Clarita Diet, Firefly, Sense8, and Party Downfor similar conundrums — yet, those who saw it loved it. And they’re sure you would’ve too, if only you’d known it existed.
A lazy, stoner fantasy as spectacular as it is comforting.
Starring Wyatt Russell, Sonya Cassidy, Brent Jennings, and a dozen other under-recognized talents, this cult favorite is a blend of Cheers, Shameless, and Twin Peaks, packaged in a lazy, stoner fantasy as spectacular as it is comforting. Sound strange? Well, it is.
Set in the city of Long Beach, California, this mysterious dramedy follows Sean Dudley (Russell) — known semi-affectionately as “Dud” — a drunken ex-surfer with more grief than many know in a lifetime.
Dud is reeling from the unexpected passing of his father, a tragedy that put him and his sister Liz (Cassidy) thousands of dollars in debt a year earlier, as well as contending with an injury that left Dud partially immobilized. He’s doing his best to play catch-up on existence, to put aside his tragedies and remain optimistic about the future.
But that’s a hard thing to do, particularly considering Dud is living on spare change, the generosity of his sister’s couch, and the welcoming embrace of a perpetual hangover.
Then, one day, Dud finds a ring.
It’s a puzzling trinket, donning a golden emblem, that leads him first to a pawn shop — then, to the local chapter of The Ancient & Benevolent Order of the Lynx, aka Lodge 49. It’s the start of an amazing journey, for Dud and for Lodge 49‘s rareviewers.
A fraternal order founded on quasi-mysticism, the Lynx are good people dealing with their own troubles — far from the hooded figures most secret societies recruit.
Among them is Ernie Fontaine (Jennings), a plumbing salesman deep in gambling debt who acts as Dud’s mentor, an alchemist named Blaise St. John (David Pasquesi) with a medical degree from an unaccredited college and the biggest smile in southern California, and Sovereign Protector Larry Loomis (Kenneth Welsh) who wastes no time in inexplicably punching Dud in the face.
It is unique, it is exceptional, and for now, it is over.
They are a family, and Dud is now one of their own.
What follows is a blend of genres that touches on experiences and emotions with rapid-fire precision, creating a cast of characters that are lovable, exhausting, hilarious, and maddening, often all at once.
With an ever-spiraling narrative that raises questions many shows have never thought to ask, Lodge 49 can keep you on the edge of your seat while warming you from the inside out. It is a balance of so many wonderful things that even when the plot feels slow the enjoyment seems almost too much to take in. There’s romance, tragedy, terror, magic, donuts, and some of the best jokes I’ve ever heard.
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To tell you more about this slow-burn series would ruin the experience of watching it. Lodge 49 is a leap of faith, with numerous Season 1 critics calling its creation “a miracle.” It asks you to take a journey you might not have known was out there, to believe in the possibility of something you’ve never before considered. It is unique, it is exceptional, and for now, it is over.
When the news of Lodge 49‘s demise was announced last fall, its creators and fans took to the internet with #SaveLodge49 and #LongLiveLodge49 in the hopes of stirring up support for the under-appreciated series. But after weeks of lobbying, creator Jim Gavin confirmed the series would not be going forward at any studio.
I hope the next TV show that focuses on plumbing and hermeticism becomes a ratings smash. But until then! Maybe it’s fitting that a show about a secret society remains a secret. Something people have to search for, or stumble upon, like a ring in the sand.
— Jim Gavin (@jimatdeltaco) December 17, 2019
Gavin encouraged would-be viewers to check out Lodge 49 when both seasons became available on Hulu in January. I was lucky enough to heed his suggestion — starting in on Season 1, which is already streaming, over the holiday break. Now, I’m begging you to do the same.
I’m savoring every moment of Lodge 49, so I can’t tell you if you’ll be left on a cliffhanger come the unheralded series finale. But I can assure you, what exists of this show is worth your time. I don’t know why I decided to watch this show, but I did. I don’t know if you’ll watch this show, but you might. No matter what comes of this show, the people who love it will know it for the gift that it is.
You too can be a Lynx, and for today, that’s enough. That said, AMC, I’d still like a Season 3.
Lodge 49 Season 1 is now streaming on Hulu; Season 2 will begin streaming Jan. 13.