“All Circles Vanish” sees Lodge 49 return with just as much charming weirdness, as we rejoin the most unique and likable cast on television to see what they’ve been up to lately.
This recap of Lodge 49 Season 2, Episode 1, “All Circles Vanish”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the first season finale by clicking these words.
If you didn’t see the first season of AMC’s bizarre knockabout comedy-drama Lodge 49, it’s almost impossible to describe it — certainly to describe why it was so good. It had almost no plot. It was often inscrutably surreal. All of its down-on-their-luck characters were strange, at best, and outright gonzo caricatures at worst. Most of what happened could pass for a dream or hallucination. But despite that obvious and determined surrealism, the show was about very real themes; the need to belong, the pursuit of purpose, the nature of destiny, the power of dreams and the crushing weight of failing to achieve them. Its return for a second season proves it struck a chord with people, and the Lodge 49 Season 2 premiere, “All Circles Vanish”, proves that series’ creator Jim Gavin and showrunner Peter Ocko understand why the nebulous story they’re telling here resonated with people.
“All Circles Vanish” revisits the cast not long after the events of the first season. Dud (Wyatt Russell) is on the mend after a shark attack, with his long-putrefying snake bite now “inexplicably” healed — he claims it’s destiny, the doctors claim it’s antibiotics. Ernie (Brent Jennings) is withdrawn following his various misadventures and the loss of Connie (Linda Emond), who is now abroad and plagued by a lack of purpose — and migraines. Scott (Eric Allan Kramer) is running the Order of the Lynx in his own militant fashion — and butting heads with Jocelyn (Adam Godley), who is still overseeing the Lodge during its probationary period. Would-be alchemist Blaise (David Pasquesi) believes there are further mysteries to unpack, and Liz (Sonya Cassidy, still the clear MVP) looks for work at Dud’s temp agency and finds a suitably bizarre employer to keep her busy.
All of these characters are in slightly different positions than how we left them, but they’re still recognizable — one of the show’s many pleasures is in how comforting it feels to revisit these people and see what shenanigans they’ve become embroiled in. An opening flashforward featuring Paul Giamatti jumping out of a plane and a weird, burning blue-headed mascot promises more weirdness to come — the mascot makes a brief reappearance later, on the desk of Liz’s new boss — but “All Circles Vanish” introduces some local issues to deal with first. Chief among them is the fact that Dud’s family business has been bought out by an insufferable family of snooty city-folk, including their moron pool-cleaner son, Booie (Sam A. Coleman), who when asked by Dud what he likes about cleaning pools replies, simply, “Bitches”.
It’s back, then, and mostly just how we left it. “All Circles Vanish” was a solid reintroduction to this charmingly oddball world, and it’s a pleasure to be hanging out with its residents once again.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.