This post contains detailed spoilers for The White Lotus. If you haven’t caught up, check out our spoiler-free review of the first five episodes!
After Season 1’s lush and murderous antics in Hawaii, The White Lotus welcomes a (mostly) new cast of characters eager to leave their worries behind – this time in Sicily. But, as always, a carefree stay at the White Lotus is anything but, and there’s plenty of sex, mystery, and death in the air. After the first episode, here’s what we’re dying to know.
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Does the opening credits foreshadow what’s to come?
Season 1 saw composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s haunting tropical theme play over a resort wallpaper scene marked by decay: rotting fruit, dangerous predators, storm clouds and a dead fish. This time, an amplified version of the music resonates over an equally loaded series of Italian frescoes. An older man woos a potential lover, foreshadowing a series of scenes where Bert (F. Murray Abraham) meets a succession of much younger women in the premiere. Then, two birds fight in the air as Aubrey Plaza’s name appears on screen – perhaps signaling the culmination of the conflicts between Harper, her character, and her three traveling companions. And that’s just the beginning. We also see a large burning villa perched on top of a cliff – one that looks strikingly like the White Lotus hotel itself – two men in the act on a beach, a woman with a knife and a stabbed man falling down a flight of stairs. We know someone dies at the compound. Do the opening titles give us a clue as to who doesn’t make it out of Sicily alive?
Who’s in the body bag?
Much like season 1, season 2 of The White Lotus opens with a corpse. In Sicily, it is Daphne (Meghann Fahy) who discovers a corpse in the ocean after going for a swim. We only see one body bag taken away, but later find out that “a few” guests have died. How many people exactly were killed and who are they? After thinking back to the start of the week, Daphne herself offers a possible spoiler. While chatting poolside with husband Cameron (Theo James) and fellow travelers Harper and Ethan (Will Sharpe), Daphne gushed about how much she loves Dateline. She explains: “Husbands murdering their wives. It happens a lot during the holidays. Does Daphne offer a glimpse of what’s to come? Or is it a red herring?
Why did Cameron and Daphne invite Ethan and Harper to Sicily?
Ethan, who has been friends with Cameron since college, just sold his business for a lot of money. Harper worries that Cameron and Daphne only invited them to ask for money or join an investment plan. Why invite them if not to flirt with them for a little money now that they are rich? Besides being very rich (and sharing the love of Ted Lasso), the two couples have little in common. But that does little to lessen the sexual tension that radiates from all sides of the foursome.
Ethan and Daphne look at each other as their partners walk back up to the hotel, suggesting they might have their own story. Once in the room, Cameron strips down into a swimsuit and Harper doesn’t look away. Meanwhile, Daphne showers Harper with praise, complimenting her on the quality of her work, and Cameron declares “I would do you well”, while describing how handsome Ethan is. It’s easy to see how two of the four could end up together. The question is how many pairs we’ll see before their time at the White Lotus ends.
Who the F is Tanya McQuoid?
While Season 2 sees an almost entirely new cast, Season 1’s breakout character is back. Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya McQuoid, who has stayed at so many White Lotus resorts that she’s a member of the company’s exclusive “Blossom Circle,” heads to Sicily with her husband Greg (Jon Gries). As the only returning main character, we know more about Tanya than anyone. We see her go from a grieving wreck in season 1 to obsessive pleasure for her husband in season 2. In the premiere, we learn from Tanya’s assistant, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), that Tanya is worth half a billion dollars.
We knew you had to be rich to stay at White Lotus, but this is serious business. How did she get this money? Is she a business tycoon? She travels with both an assistant and a family of expensive luggage. Maybe a wealthy heiress? Did she win the lottery? And why did she marry Greg? Tanya has self-esteem issues that date back to her trip to Hawaii, but Greg treats her badly as soon as she arrives in Sicily. We’re excited to spend another week at the White Lotus with Tanya in Season 2. But the more we learn about her, the more questions we have.
What is Greg up to?
While we’re at it, what’s going on with Greg? In Season 1, he wooed Tanya and treated her (rather) well. But now the shine seems to have worn off. He doesn’t respond to Tanya’s text messages, he insists that Portia leave after traveling all the way to Italy, and he berates Tanya for eating too many macaroons. On holiday! But none of this compares to Greg’s incredibly sleazy behavior at the end of the episode: locking himself in the bathroom and whispering on the phone so Tanya can’t hear him. When she takes him out, Greg claims to have talked to someone named “Bob” about business and casually dismisses Tanya’s concerns. Something has obviously changed with Greg since season 1. Did he marry Tanya for his money? Or is he just a workaholic husband who wants to have a great week with his wife? Either way, there is definitely something suspicious going on.
Will we have more Laura Dern?
One of the biggest surprises of the premiere was a spectacular cameo (audio only) from Laura Dern. After arriving at the resort with his father, Bert, and son Albie (Adam DiMarco), Dom (Michael Imperioli) retreats to his room to make a phone call. In an agonizing 2 minute conversation, Abby de Dern, who we assume is Dom’s current or future ex-wife, curses Dom, berates him for keeping secrets, calls him out for his behavior during the last ten years, calls him a bad father, says he’s an asshole and tells him never to talk to him again. What exactly did Dom do? And will we find out more about Abby herself? There are signs that Dern’s scene is a one-time cameo, but it seems unlikely that we’ll get the truth about Abby and Dom’s relationship from Dom himself. So maybe another phone call to Abby from Dom or maybe Albie could shed more light on their clearly dysfunctional family.
What is Albie hiding?
It’s clear Albie is working a lot against him when it comes to relationships. Her grandfather Bert seems to be a serial womanizer. Dom, Albie’s father, did something so horrible to Albie’s mother that she never wants to talk to him again. Not to mention Dom insisting that an injured Bert stay in Albie’s room so Dom can invite a prostitute to the hotel.
On the surface, Albie seems to have broken his family’s cycle of bad behavior. He’s a Stanford graduate, works as an intern at a city planning consulting firm, and dotes on his elderly grandfather. He innocently flirts with Portia by the pool and seems like a nice guy in every way. And while Abby calls Albie a “sweet, sensitive young man,” it’s plausible that the apple won’t fall far from the tree and that Albie is following in the footsteps of the other men in his family. Are the nice guys who stay at the White Lotus all they seem? At this point, with Albie, it’s a toss-up. We’ll see what the rest of the week has in store for us.
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