Lodge 49 is back with “Circles.” Blaise learns more about the Scrolls and Orbis. Dud’s leg gets worse. Scott sings from the heart. We’ve got the recap!
Sure. All circles vanish. But in “Circles,” we learn what’s vanishing. Kind of. Does the beaten path of knowledge disappear and allow history to repeat itself? Are we all going around in circles until we find one true path? Do we put ourselves through restless circles of emotionally devastating existential crises? Yup. We are all over the place as a species. But one thing that is not all over the place is this Episode of Lodge 49.
“Circles” was written by Peter Ocko (The Leftovers). It pulls zero emotional punches. The script really challenges the audience. So, it’s good that Alethea Jones (Queen America) is back to direct. Like “Estrella Y Mar,” this is a complex episode that could go astray. Jones organizes everything for maximum effect. There is a ton of whimsy in “Circles.” It was transformative and heartwarming, which was important. Depression has been building on Lodge 49. Isolation and fears of failure have consumed characters. It was nice to get reminders of how precious and fragile life is.
Jackie Loomis is the True Lodge, Bro
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Blaise (David Pasquesi) has holed himself up in a secret room within the Lodge to read the diary of a former alchemist and season one mummy Wallace Smith (Jim E. Chandler). He wants to learn more about the scrolls and how they work. Plus, he’s hiding from Scott (Eric Allan Kramer) after last week’s nail gunning incident. When Blaise and Dud (Wyatt Russell) discovered the diary last season, it included a picture of Jackie Loomis (Cara Mantella). Blaise insisted that she was just a looker along for the ride. But, as Blaise reads the diary, he discovers that it was actually written by Jackie. She happened to be Larry’s (Kenneth Welsh) mom. The writing is so relatable and so compelling that Blaise is transported to the past to watch events as they happen.
When we first see Jackie in the mid 1960’s, she’s going through the motions of everyday life. She wears a lot of gold tinted beige. Jackie loves young Larry, but she feels like she’s loosing him. He eats his circle-O cereal on the couch before school. She’s off for a quickie with Wallace before work. The sex is rigid in all the wrong ways, but Jackie seems just happy to be there. She’s late for work as a typist at Orbis. A co-worker tells to her to be careful. The management team from Florida is coming and they mean business.
It turns out that the gentlemen from Florida make up The Parabola Group. They use crypto currency in town as Orbis is trying to take it over. One of their would-be innovations is another form of currency that sounds just like bitcoin. They harass and bully Wallace at the Lodge for being a dork. Wallace bullies Jackie by dismissing her as a sidekick. In reality, Jackie is more of the hero. She helps Wallace to conjure up enough courage to travel to Lodge 1 in London to get the Scrolls. When they arrive at Lodge 1, Wallace freaks out and vomits. Jackie gets the scrolls on her own.
Jackie is a changed woman. When she and Wallace return to Lodge 49, she starts to wear shades of red. In alchemy, that represents a successful alchemical transformation to gold. After years of accepting being pushed to the side by men who felt the world revolved around them, Jackie was fully realized. And that made her look at the groveling Wallace in a different light. He was supposed to keep their heist a secret, but he blabs to the Parabola Group. He tries to put off telling Jackie that he can’t translate the scrolls. But she knows. And she leaves him.
One member of the Parabola Group, Werner Goss (Patrick Brammall), notices the change in Jackie. They start a relationship. There is an agreement that the two will only kiss. The only sex will be between their brains. It’s fulfilling to Jackie until she finds out that Werner and Orbis are just trying to use the power of alchemy and the Scrolls to build weapons for Viet Nam. Orbis is like the less successful version of Stark Industries on Lodge 49. Crestfallen, Jackie wears gold/beige with hints of red. She is receding. She goes back to Wallace. He has decided the only way to solve the Scrolls is to make a suicide pact. Wallace swallows the poison and dies. Jackie, ready to swallow her death, backs out. Who will take care of Larry?
Jackie buries Wallace in the Lodge walls where Blaise and Dud found him last season. She writes the diary and leaves it for whoever finds Wallace on their quest for the Scrolls. In a chilling scene, we flash-forward and see Jackie sitting on her couch in a tweed pant suit. It’s mostly beige. The red is there, but it’s barely visible. She’s watching news footage of the Viet Nam war. She starts to hear screaming. She runs to Larry’s bedroom. He’s older. He’s a war veteran. He’s waking up from a flashback. Jackie holds Larry tight, still worried that she’s loosing him.
Falling Through Floors and Shark Teeth
Throughout Jackie’s narration, Blaise would casually appear in her past. We even saw equipment like his in the Orbis labs. Or, was that Blaise’s equipment joining the Circles? Liz (Sonya Cassidy) also shows up in Jackie’s past. In fact, Jackie seems to notice her at one point. Come to think of it, Liz has also been wearing some shades of red like Jackie. Liz sells Fydro. It touts itself as “Fire + Water = Magic.” And their branding is shades of red. Uh oh. Is Liz meant to be the Jackie of our age? Instead of feeling like she was left behind, will Liz unify the Circles? What does this mean for Dud?
First thing’s first. Liz gets high as a kite at Champ’s (David Ury) house warming party. He lives in corner of the abandoned Orbis complex. Liz falls through a floor and wanders around. This is when Jackie sees her. It’s the same space Dud discovered last year. Liz opens a door and sees the Northern lights and gets covered in snow that Champ, Gerson (Atkins Estimond), and Jeremy (Daniel Stewart Sherman) are all able to see. Orbis and Fydro may be connected in some magical way.
When we first see Dud this episode, he’s Febreezing his shark wound. That’s a really bad sign of infection. He’s also sweating, so Dud is running a fever, as well. Ernie (Brent Jennings) tells Dud that he told El Confidente (Cheech Marin) to go to Mexico without him. Dud shakes this off and searches for Blaise. He finds him at the end of a fireplace tunnel. Blaise recounts Jackie’s story. Dud is fascinated, but in pain. As a healer, Blaise removes Dud’s bandage, reveals a massive infection, and proceeds to remove a random shark tooth which had been left in the wound. As they hold the tooth up as a sign of something, like Liz, they fall through the floor.
Blaise and Dud land on the stage where the Mystic Chords of Memory, a talent show/open mic, is taking place. Most of the offerings have been filled with sadness and a sense of mourning. Scott takes the opportunity to sing a solo acoustic song to Connie (Linda Emond). At first, she feels awkward, but Scott is a good lyricist with a whole lot of heart. He’s trying to cut through his actions over the past few weeks and get right to how he feels about his wife. Connie seems heart warmed. I know I was.
Wow. Did you need a hug after watching Circles? Are you enjoying season two of Lodge 49? Let’s discuss in the comments!