Regarding Episode 57 & your question about the Big Game stuck ball in the upper left saucer (that feeds the upper lanes)… ultimately, as with any stuck ball, it’s up to TD discretion where to put it. There is nothing that precludes him/her from selecting the plunger lane.
IMHO, I would have opted for the plunger lane for a ball that’s stuck in that saucer. But if the ball were stuck in the left lane anywhere prior to the saucer, I’d go with the lower left flipper.
Regarding a ball in Harlem’s upper saucer, it’s the same: TD discretion. They can choose the either upper left flipper, right flipper, or plunger lane – because lower left flipper would just be mean. Only @pinwizj would select that option.
Pertinent rules language below (from PAPA):
"If the tournament official is unable to free the stuck ball, the machine will be opened, and the stuck ball freed and placed either in the plunger lane, or on the upraised flipper of the tournament directors choosing, with the flipper button held by the player. In the event this is not possible, the official may select another location or feature where the ball can be placed safely while the machine is being closed in order to resume normal play.
If more than one ball is stuck, all freed balls will be placed on the flipper(s) of the tournament director’s choice before play resumes, or in the plunger lane if the flippers are inactive while the machine is open."