The White Lotus: Season 2
“White Lotus Season 2 offers a far more complex and emotionally charged story than viewers might expect.”
A gripping, sex-centric story
The exceptional performances of Aubrey Plaza, Jennifer Coolidge and Meghann Fahy
Lots of visually lush and sunny spots
Several scenarios that fall flat
Noticeably messy and uneven rhythm
A duller comic side than the first season
The White Lotus Season 2 is a sunny and often hilarious TV season. In other words, it’s a worthy sequel to the series’ acclaimed and hugely popular first season. The series, which was designed to fill a pandemic-shaped hole in HBO’s lineup, was never meant to be anything more than a one-off thing for HBO and its creator-director Mike White. However, when The White Lotus season 1 became an unexpected hit for the network, and White and HBO quickly pledged to bring the series back for, at the very least, one more season.
To do this, White turned The White Lotus in a semi-anthological series, which follows a different group of wealthy, self-obsessed guests through their shared stay at one of the resorts owned by the show’s eponymous hotel chain. The White Lotus season 1 largely kept its cast within the confines of its central Hawaiian resort town and used its setting to explore questions of privilege and wealth in a variety of observant ways, often with chilling precision.
The White Lotus Season 2, meanwhile, sees the series relocate from Hawaii to Italy and turn its attention to how wealth can often affect both romance and sex. Despite its new setting and thematic ideas, the perfectly chaotic opening scene of The White Lotus season 2 confirms that White not only brought back the same holiday-based template from the show’s first season, but also its loose and playful murder-mystery format.
The White Lotus season 2 doesn’t let its new location or story stop it from opening in a hugely evocative way. The season begins much the same as the series debut, first with a flash-forward that promises future murder, then with the arrival of the series’ central guests via a glamorous boat ride. Throughout the remaining minutes of the premiere, we are introduced The White Lotus next set of eclectic characters, including Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and Ethan (Will Sharpe), a married duo who embarked on their first journey as a couple with Ethan’s former roommate Cameron (Theo James) and her wife, Daphne (Meghann Fahy).
The season’s other characters include Bert (F. Murray Abraham), Dominic (Michael Imperioli), and Albie Di Grasso (Adam DiMarco), who traveled to Sicily in hopes of exploring their family’s Italian roots. Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya McQuoid-Hunt, meanwhile, completes the main tourists of The White Lotus season 2 as the only major returning character from the show’s first season. She’s joined this time by Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), her apathetic assistant, who quickly forms an ill-fitting relationship with DiMarco’s Albie.
When introduced in the season premiere, all The White Lotus‘new players and returning players are struggling with their own relationship issues. The first five episodes of the season, which were the only episodes critics got early access to, then follow them as the mess of their personal lives slowly but surely spreads and intertwines with the lives of their fellow guests. Of course, in the center of everything The White Lotus Season 2’s subplots are money, which creates, ruins, and over-complicates many of the season’s core relationships.
These problems are only exacerbated by the presence of Lucia (Simona Tabasco), a local Sicilian prostitute who is first hired by Dominic d’Imperioli but soon begins making the rounds with several of her fellow guests. Mia (Beatrice Grannò), Lucia’s friend, slowly begins to see the transactional appeal of Lucia’s profession. The way the two girls are slowly integrating into the life of The White Lotus There’s a slimy side to the tourists in season 2 that would probably seem purely comical were it not for the gory fate we know awaits, at the very least, one of the show’s characters.
The same can be said for much of The White Lotus season 2, which isn’t as goofy or downright wacky as its predecessor. Overall, the show’s second season is less concerned with the class differences that separate White Lotus guests and staff and more with the self-defeating impulses that vast wealth not only fosters among the world’s wealthy elites, but also protects them. to suffer the consequences. In the case of Plaza’s Harper and Sharpe’s Ethan, the wealth they gained from the sale of Ethan’s tech startup created an identity crisis in each of them that is quickly exploited by, in particular, James’ Cameron.
Harper’s desire to constantly compare her and Ethan’s marriage to Cameron and Daphne’s is only made more toxic by the two couples’ financial situation. Its slow but sure disintegration is one of the most compelling and gripping subplots of the season, if only because it allows Plaza to maximize the effect of its usual intensity. Somewhere else, The White Lotus Season 2 struggles throughout its early episodes to give Coolidge’s Tanya a storyline truly worthy of her self-involvement and obliviousness. However, her arc picks up considerably when she crosses paths with Quentin (Tom Hollander), a gay British expat whose self-awareness makes him both a perfect friend for Tanya and a harbinger.
Portia and Albie’s friendly but ultimately flat relationship also struggles to have a big impact, so it’s no surprise White decides to wisely drop it halfway through. The White Lotus season 2. Richardson remains one of the friendliest and most versatile young actresses we have today, but Portia’s story only really begins to pick up once she ditches Albie to flirt with Jack ( Leo Woodall), a handsome British guest she meets during one of Tanya and Quentin’s chill-out beachside sessions. Albie, notably, also becomes a much more interesting figure once White decides to pair him with the more confident Lucia of Tabasco.
The unevenness of some of the season’s storylines, some of which take multiple episodes to get going, leaves a much messier feel than the series premiere. However, even if it often seems less precise than its beginnings, The White Lotus‘ The second season is never that entertaining. With a handful of standout performances courtesy of Plaza, Coolidge and Fahy, the season delivers a messy and sexy adventure that, even more than The White Lotus season 1, often unfolds in ways that are both surprising and intriguing.
Whether or not The White Lotus season 2 actually manages to hold its landing remains to be seen. That said, based on the overall trajectory it follows through its first five episodes, it seems safe to say that White has already set the stage for The White Lotus‘ final adventure to conclude in an even more explosive and emotionally complex way than the series’ popular first season. As fans of The White Lotus know, that in itself is an accomplishment that should not go unnoticed.
The White Lotus season 2 premieres Sunday, October 30 on HBO.