It’s a week of “Exile” on Lodge 49. Dud, Ernie, Blaise, Scott, and Liz try to be there for their friends. Will they push them away? We’ve got the recap!
The level of sadness and desperation drops to an all-time low for Lodge 49. This sounds weird, but it was a pleasure to watch. A lot of times in storytelling there ends up being an event like a sudden death to spark out of character emotional action. In “Exile,” it’s the subtle events that have piled up over the years that slowly crush our friends at the Lodge. “Exile” was written by Valerie Armstrong (Seal Team). It’s set up to offer a real catharsis by the end of the episode. It also sets up the story for the final episodes of the season. “Exile” was directed by Maurice Marable (Brockmire). He lets the actors act and the script dictate the action. You get drawn in, which makes the emotional impact in the last act more powerful.
It’s All Circles, Man
Maybe the point of “All Circles Vanish” was that we can’t see the history that we’re repeating. “Circles” showed us that we are not only repeating history. We sometimes overlap with it and coexist with it. The stinger for “Exile” celebrates circles. Blaise (David Pasquesi) is watching clothes spin in a laundromat. The attendant asks him if he’s finished. Blaise explains that none of these clothes are his. He was simply admiring the circles. He tells the attendant: “It’s all a forgery. One day you’ll see that.” Blaise walks out of the laundromat oblivious to oncoming traffic which nearly hits him.
Dud (Wyatt Russell) is contemplating the sprinkles on his donut. His leg is much better after the shark tooth extraction. He’s walking the easiest he’s ever walked on the series. We start to see the real angst of the episode build when Jeremy (Daniel Stewart Sherman) goes into the Higher Steaks freezer to deposit some meat. He’s in a lined coat. But, when he opens the door, Jeremy finds Liz (Sonya Cassidy) sitting in the freezer counting food. All she’s wearing is the skimpy black hostess number with the cubic zerconia choker.
Scott (Eric Allan Kramer) is trying to lighten up the atmosphere of the Lodge by firing money into it. But, this is not a stimulus package to forgive everyone’s bar tab. No. Scott buys a digital jukebox to play his top 40 grunge-punk pop mix. He also buys 40 inch LED televisions to show all of the college football games. Scott is turning the Lodge into a sports bar. Although Ernie (Brent Jennings) is over the Lodge, he will now have to drive El Confidente’s (Cheech Marin) van because he needs to sell his Cadillac for rent money. There’s a sad “$2,500 OBO” sign in the windshield. Meanwhile, Connie (Linda Emond) is in the park practicing her seeing skills. She captures the eye of the homeless man (Michael Delgado) Liz chased in “All Circles Vanish.”
Blaise has been banned from the Lodge for falling through the egg room floor and onto the Lodge stage during Scott’s love song to Connie in “Circles.” Plus, there was the whole nail gunning of Scott. He still needs things from the Lodge. So, Blaise and his renewed apprentice, Dud, plan to break in during broad daylight. Blaise says he thinks he can pick the lock to the back door. He does. Blaise uses an ax to cut through the door. It’s not exactly quiet. Ernie confronts Blaise about his behavior. Dud ends up getting banned from the Lodge, as well.
At first, Dud fully supports Blaise. He fuels the adventure. That adventure includes procuring Lynx urine from Dorothy the Dealer (Jennifer Christa Palmer) and taking a cleansing bath in Liz’s bathtub. But, Dud starts to worry about Blaise’s psyche. In the supermarket, where bone-chilling realizations seem to take place on Lodge 49, Blaise has a laughing fit that leads to crying while holding up a lemon.
Dud takes Blaise to Ernie’s. Ernie has continued to park on Trish’s (Karen Malina White) block and wait for glimpses of her and her family. Trish walks up on Ernie. He sheepishly apologizes. The two talk about the daughter they lost. Ernie is devastated. He feels like he’s made a string of mistakes ever since her death. He dreams for a world where they are together and their daughter is graduating college. Ernie is afraid to say her name because he thinks that’ll make the dreams go away. Trish tells Ernie to make a life of his own in reality. She tells him that heaven is where all the things that should have happened happen. But, we’re not there.
Later on, Ernie confronts Dud and blames him for Blaise’s breakdown. He really gets on him as if he’s trying to chase Dud out of his life. This happens after Liz bumped into Ernie at Burt’s (Joe Grifasi) pawnshop. She had told Ernie that she appreciates how much he looked out for Dud. Ernie looks a little troubled by this. He was at the pawnshop to make a silly bet on a college football game that would make Scott Van Pelt’s “Winner’s” segment on Sportscenter.
Liz is at Bert’s to get a huge loan to pay off her employee’s at Higher Steaks. Their paychecks have been bouncing. Gerson (Atkins Estimond) left for steadier work at his cousin’s catering business.. Liz vows to track down Janet (Olivia Sandoval) and punch her in the face. Liz does track her down, but when she goes to punch her in front of people at a corporate gig for Janet’s “When Too Much is not Enough” movement, she falls through Janet. Like 2Pac at Coachella, Janet is a hologram. Janet shows up at Liz’s apartment, where Liz properly punches her.
Rock bottom has been hit. Before anything serious can happen, healing begins. Scott finally talks to Connie face to face. She releases him from his duty of seeing her through her illness. That’s hard for Scott to accept. He’s a man of his word. Plus, he loves Connie. Being released from that duty is a form of a break-up, but he agrees. That is what Connie needs. Lodge 1 showed her that too many people had stakes in her well being. She needed ownership of herself.
Liz makes a deal with Janet. She’ll consider being her personal assistant if Janet will pay the Higher Steaks staff more than ‘included gratuity’ and stock options. This is a dangerous place for Liz, but she seems to be in very take-charge headspace. If Janet tries to steal her essence again, Liz will check her.
Dud starts to believe that he’s a garbage person. He loves Ernie and doesn’t want to see him lose that bet. So, he trades his dad’s watch with Burt in exchange for canceling the bet. Burt and Herman (Sam Puefua) are shocked, but the deal is made before the game begins. Of course, Ernie wins the bet. Dud shows up at Ernie’s and tells him that he got the bet (and the $20,000 in would-be winnings) canceled.
Ernie is shocked. He asks how Dud got the bet canceled. When he learns that Dud traded the watch, it floors Ernie. Dud shares that when he found the Lodge, he had been drifting. His whole identity was tied up with his dad as Dudley & Son. When his dad died, Dud felt useless. He’s afraid he’s going to fall that low again. Even though Ernie’s been less than a best bud, lately, he means the world to Dud.
At this point, Ernie sits next to Dud and tells him all about his daughter. He even says her name. It was Amaya, which means The night rain. Ernie realizes that he never even mentioned her to anyone at the Lodge before. The two are back together and fences are mended. They’re healing together.
In the closing moments of “Exile,” Blaise looks to be checking himself in somewhere. Is it a psych ward? No. It’s a place where people check-in and rest for a while at no cost. The counseling that people receive is used to develop treatment programs.
There’s no judgement of anything in the episode. Just coincidental and predetermined paths starting to cross in the lives of wounded people on Lodge 49. Oh, what fun the last three episodes of the season will be.
Are you sill keeping up with Lodge 49’s story? Is Liz the now the most emotionally stable character? Let’s discuss in the comments!