REVIEW: White Lotus Season 2, A Week in Paradise Begins

HBO’s The White Lotus is back for a second season after the critically acclaimed first, which took home a handful of Emmys, including one for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. This time, it takes place at a resort in Sicily, and stars Jennifer Coolidge, Theo James, Aubrey Plaza, etc. 

The episode starts out the same as season 1: a murder plot at a White Lotus resort. However, this season there are multiple murders have taken place. It then cuts back to a week earlier, as the guests are arriving in Sicily. We meet three different groups: the first is two young couples. Cameron (Theo James) and Daphne Sullivan (Meghann Fayh), and Ethan (Will Sharpe), and Harper Spiller (Aubrey Plaza). They are vacationing together, yet it’s clear from first interactions that they have nothing in common, and that hostility lingers just under the surface throughout. The Sullivan’s live a life of luxury, ignorant of the struggles of others’ everyday lives. This urks Harper (Plaza), who is by far one of the best aspects of the show, as her deadpan and dry humor is perfect for its satirical approach to social class and other darker themes. The next group is the three Di Grasso men: Bert, the womanizing 80-year old, (F. Murray Abraham), Bert’s son, Hollywood producer, Dominic (Michael Imperioli), and his son, Albie (Adam DiMarco), a recent Stanford graduate. The last group consists of the only returning characters from season 1, Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) and Greg Hunt (Jon Gries), along with her assistant, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson). 

Similar to the prior, The White Lotus touches on the themes of social class, spiteful drama, jealousy, and family dysfunction. The most intense and uncomfortable part of the episode is the phone-call scene between Dominic (Imperioli), and his estranged wife, voiced by Laura Dern, who makes her presence known without even appearing on screen. Dern expresses an absolute contempt for her husband by repeatedly screaming obscenities at him that can’t help but make you wonder, ‘what the hell did he do wrong?’ Generational trauma and differences loom over the Di Grasso men, as they attempt to connect with each other on a trip they planned in the hopes of bringing them together (to learn more about their Italian roots). 

Aubrey Plaza's character in a swimsuit, looking disgusted

Image courtesy of HBO

The cast dynamics, chemistry, and Italian scenery will leave viewers anticipating the next episode and what secrets will unveil in the coming weeks. The episode ends with Lucia, one of the two local prostitutes introduced earlier in the episode, visiting Dominic’s room. Dominic reveals that he is struggling with family issues before they have sex. The episode lays out the conflicts between each of the characters and the internal struggles they’re battling. The uncomfortable dynamics along with incredible performances promise an exciting season no one will want to miss.