“Something from Nothing” spends most of its time with a new character, but it’s how he affects the lives of the usual Lodge 49 crew that buoys the episode.
“Something from Nothing” is about the waves of expectation crashing up against the shores of reality. Almost all the usual suspects in AMC’s Lodge 49 were faced with something they were expecting this week, but only one of them emerged on the other side thinking that things had gone as expected.
Take Ernie (Brent Jennings). After tracking the enigmatic “Captain” into the desert, he thinks he’s going to be making the sale of his career. Turns out that Captain is just Gary (Bruce Campbell), a slobby drunken maniac fraudster whose wife has thrown him out and who is currently being used as a patsy in a real estate scheme.
But Gary has a scheme of his own, for which he enlists Ernie and Dud (Wyatt Russell), and he agrees to pay off the lodge’s debts in exchange for membership. He might be a liar, but he really is loaded. When pulling up to his house in the hills, Dud exclaims, “Wow, you really are rich.” And Gary replies, solemnly, “Only financially.” But that’s enough to convince Dud that this is all part of his destiny; he’s the only character in “Something from Nothing” who learns pretty much nothing in the whole hour.
Liz (Sonya Cassidy), on the other hand, learns that she doesn’t have to stop being herself in order to be successful. During an ice-breaker session at her new job, she’s worried that her past at Shamrock’s won’t do much for her in a hard-charging corporate role – and she’s totally wrong. Her new bosses respect her honesty about life being a parade of despair and a frantic battle to stave off debt; she’s swiftly employed full-time. It’s the exact opposite result from the one she has been dreading, and it’s nice to see her success, even though the company seems to be staffed entirely by nutters.
Back at the lodge, Blaise (David Pasquesi) is forced to come to terms with the fact that what he considers to be a treasure trove of alchemical secrets is, at least according to London emissary Jocelyn Pugh (Adam Godley), mostly just a lot of fussy, unglamorous admin. The Order of the Lynx means vastly different things to different people; to Blaise it’s an academic calling, to Dud it’s destiny, to Jocelyn it’s just a job. And so on and so forth.
“Something from Nothing” highlights that all of these meanings are equally valid and invalid; as ridiculous as they are likely, depending on how fate conspires. Lodge 49 argues that there’s no such thing as preordained destiny, but there very much is such a thing as chance, which to some people might be the same thing. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. But life is never quite how you imagined it.