Warning: This review contains some spoilers regarding The White Lotus’ season two characters and storyline.
HBO’s hit series, The White Lotus, is back. The second season begins the same way as the last one — with an unidentified dead body, character flash- backs, and the oh-so-catchy intro theme song.
The season focuses on love, betrayal, and each of the many different characters, all privileged one-per-centers, who vacation in Sicily at the White Lotus Resort. The seven, one-hour episodes kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, wondering whose wife would cheat or which hotel guest would end up dead. The second season is full of drama, lust, comedy, and discomfort; at times, it’s even hard not to cringe while watching some scenes.
The cinematic shots of various locations across Sicily are beautiful, and the characters are so complex and intricate, adding to the fun and mystery of the series.
Finance bro, Cameron (Theo James), and his wife, Daphne (Meghann Fahy), invite an old college friend, Ethan (Will Sharpe), and his lawyer wife, Harper (Aubrey Plaza), on a getaway vacation to the resort. From cheating and lying to blowing money on drugs and alcohol, the foursome brings a whole new
meaning to “romantic vacation.” Between their marital problems and wandering sexual desires, the chemistry and tensions between all four actors really made this season shine.
Meanwhile, a family pack — including grandfather, Bert (F. Murray Abraham), father, Dom (Michael Imperioli), and son, Albie (Adam DiMarco) — visit Sicily to reconnect with their Italian family heritage. Yet, the tension between Dom hiring hookers and Albie’s desire to save young, helpless women grants the family an experience worth much more than a history lesson during their stay at the White Lotus.
The family’s story cleverly draws attention to their issues with masculinity and shows that, in the end, the father’s character is deep and, although greatly unlikeable, somehow vastly human.
The only returning character for the second season is Tanya, an irrational multimillionaire in crisis, played by the fantastic Jennifer Coolidge. While on a romantic trip with her new husband Greg (Jon Gries), she manages to drag her young personal assistant, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), into her mess. While in Sicily, Portia struggles to form connections with men, resents her boss’ chaotic lifestyle, and models an interesting array of outfits (seriously, they are mortifying). Meanwhile, Greg’s sketchy behaviour during the trip triggers Tanya’s suspicions of cheating, and as more secrets are revealed, it becomes clear that maybe he didn’t marry her for the right reasons.
Mia (Beatrice Grannò) and Lucia (Simona Tabasco), are two sex workers who force their way into many of the guests’ lives — and hotel rooms. Their swindling of both men and women in order to get what they want is what makes the two girls truly the show’s most cunning, lovable characters.
The White Lotus has it all. From sexual mind games to disastrous murders, this series is beautifully filmed, cleverly written, and never boring. With its lovable — if not slightly idiotic — cast of characters, satirical storylines, and jaw-dropping acting, this series absolutely nails its second season. As for season three, I’m hoping for a new, beautiful hotel destination, more murder-mystery, and the return of a few iconic characters.