Q: How is Dud‘s apprenticeship going? What growth has Blaise seen in Dud – especially to choose him to accompany him on this Magnum Opus?
A: Well, Blaise’s options are limited. [Laughs] So, there’s that. Dud’s the only one who shows even a modicum of interest in this stuff besides Blaise. Dud having some interest is thrilling for Blaise. This is overwhelming. It’s too much for Blaise. He does need help and there’s no one else to ask. I think they both like the idea that there’s possibly wonderful things out there that we can’t prove with ordinary measurement.
Q: How does Blaise navigate the real-world map and a more mystical map? Do he and Dud balance each other out?
A: That’s common with philosophies and starting off on these intellectual adventures. You get excited about it and then your excitement outreaches your knowledge. You get a little glimpse of some new idea and it makes absolutely no sense. Even when Dud tries to explain it to Liz or even back to Blaise, he’s often incorrect about what things mean, but it doesn’t damper his enthusiasm.
Q: Blaise is typically open to just about everything, but he’s resistant to Dud’s plan to go to Mexico – at least until he sees El Confidente’s paintings…
A: I think Blaise looks at the whole notion of Mexico as being tied with the money-making schemes of Season 1. He views that as a different world. There’s a physical world and, underneath it, a different world with different maps for that world. There are different types of alchemy. One type of alchemy is literally trying to make gold out of lead, which is a get-rich-quick scheme. Blaise’s notion of alchemy is a different thing. It is to be able to understand the world in a different way and to actually see and enter a different world – not just pull one over on this world. I think that’s the distinction that Blaise is seeing…but when he sees these paintings, it’s like “this is not possible in the physical world.” That’s what changes his mind. This is the real deal.
A: I think it’s both of those things as well as preserving his autonomy in his intellectual pursuits. I think he certainly feels a greater connection with Ernie. Ernie is more open to at least giving Blaise the space to investigate the things that interest him, whereas Scott wants to shut all that down immediately. I think there is some self-interest involved, but he certainly feels a closer affinity to Ernie than Scott. If Ernie runs the lodge, Blaise will be able to continue his intellectual pursuits. If Scott is in charge, it’s clear that there is no more of that.
Q: What does that moment where Blaise stands up to Scott mean? What “dark tunnels” does he wish for Scott to navigate?
A: I think that’s a moment of kindness for Blaise. He wants the same for Scott – the things that he’s found helpful. There’s some benefit in these things that he refuses to look at. It’s like telling someone to try some therapy. [Laughs]
Q: How does the robbery affect Blaise? What’s it like for him to believe he’s being punished by the same universe he’s so in awe of?
A: The idea that his shop gets robbed at gun point is a stark, undeniable slap in the face of “this is not the world you think it is.” Blaise walks around pretty trusting and open, but that’s not what just happened. I’ve been robbed before and it’s a horrible feeling. Like Blaise would, he views it as retribution for him swaying from the true path. It’s punishment. As he was telling Dud, he’s tried a Christian mystic path. I don’t think self-flagellation is unfamiliar to Blaise. That sets him on the path to double down on his efforts, including self-deprecation. That’s a recipe for rough times ahead.
Q: What excited you most about Season 2?
A: I was so tickled by it. From the beginning of Episode 1 with Paul Giamatti, it’s like “How did we get there?!” But I knew we’d be told when we need to know. That’s one of the things I love about the show. You just relax into it.
Read an interview with Brent Jennings, who plays Ernie.
Lodge 49 airs Mondays at 10/9c.
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