This post contains detailed spoilers for The White Lotus. If you’re not caught up, check out our spoiler-free review of the first five episodes!
After Season 1’s lush, deadly romp in Hawaii, The White Lotus welcomes a (mostly) new cast of characters itching to leave their worries behind – this time in Sicily. But, as always, a carefree stay at The White Lotus is anything but, and plenty of sex, mystery, and death is in the air. After the first episode, here’s what we’re dying to know.
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Are the Opening Credits Foreshadowing What’s To Come?
Season 1 saw composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s hauntingly tropical theme play over a resort wallpaper scene marked with decay: rotting fruit, dangerous predators, storm clouds, and a dead fish. This time, an amped-up version of the music resonates over an equally charged series of Italian frescoes. An older man courts a potential lover, foreshadowing a series of scenes where Bert (F. Murray Abraham) hits on a succession of much younger women in the premiere. Next, two birds fight mid-air as Aubrey Plaza’s name appears on screen – possibly signaling the culmination of strife between Harper, her character, and her three traveling companions. And that’s just the beginning. We also see a large burning villa perched atop a cliff – one that looks strikingly similar to The White Lotus hotel itself – two men in flagrante delicto on a beach, a woman with a knife, and a man with a stab wound falling down a set of stairs. We know someone dies while at the resort. 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?
Just like Season 1, Season 2 of The White Lotus opens with a dead body. In Sicily, it’s Daphne (Meghann Fahy) who discovers a corpse in the ocean after going for a dip. We only see one body bag being carried away but later find out that “a few” guests have passed away. Exactly how many people were killed and who are they? After we flash back to earlier in the week, Daphne herself offers a possible spoiler. While chatting by the pool with her husband Cameron (Theo James) and travel companions Harper and Ethan (Will Sharpe), Daphne gushes about how much she loves Dateline. She explains: “Husbands murdering their wives. Happens a lot on vacation.” Is Daphne offering a preview of what’s to come? Or is it a red herring?
Why did Cameron and Daphne invite Ethan and Harper to Sicily?
Ethan, who’s been friends with Cameron since college, just sold his company for a lot of money. Harper worries that Cameron and Daphne only invited them so they could ask for money or join an investment scheme. Why invite them if not to hit them up for some cash now that they are rich? Aside from being uber wealthy (and sharing a love of Ted Lasso) the two couples have little in common. But that does little to diminish the sexual tension radiating from all sides of the foursome.
Ethan and Daphne make eyes at each other when their partners go back up to the hotel, suggesting they may have their own history. Once in the room, Cameron strips down while changing into a swimsuit and Harper doesn’t look away. Meanwhile, Daphne showers Harper with praise, complimenting her on how good she must be at her job, and Cameron states “I’d do you,” while describing how handsome Ethan is. It’s easy to see how any two of the four could wind up together. The question is just how many pairings we’ll see before their stay at The White Lotus is over.
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’s now stayed at so many White Lotus resorts that she’s a member of the company’s exclusive “Blossom Circle,” decamps to Sicily with her now-husband Greg (Jon Gries) in tow. As the only returning main character, we know more about Tanya than anyone else. We see her progress from a grief-stricken wreck in Season 1 to obsessively pleasing her husband in Season 2. In the premiere, we find out 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 The White Lotus, but that’s serious dough. How did she get that money? Is she a business mogul? She travels with both an assistant and a family’s worth of expensive luggage. Maybe a wealthy heiress? Did she win the lottery? And why did she marry Greg? Tanya has self-esteem issues dating back to her trip to Hawaii, but Greg treats her badly from the moment she arrives in Sicily. We’re happy 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 on the subject, what’s going on with Greg? In Season 1, he courted Tanya and treated her (mostly) well. But now the shine appears to have worn off. He doesn’t respond to Tanya’s texts, he insists Portia leave after she traveled all the way to Italy, and he berates Tanya for eating too many macarons. On vacation! But none of that compares to Greg’s incredibly shady 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 makes him come out, Greg claims to have been talking to somebody named “Bob” about business and casually dismisses Tanya’s concerns. Something has obviously changed with Greg since Season 1. Did he marry Tanya for her money? Or is he just a workaholic husband who wants to spend a nice week with his wife? Either way, there’s definitely something questionable going on.
Will We Get More Laura Dern?
One of the premiere’s biggest surprises was a spectacular (audio-only) cameo by 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. Over the course of an agonizing 2-minute conversation, Dern’s Abby, who we assume to be Dom’s current or soon-to-be ex-wife, curses Dom out, berates him for keeping secrets, calls him out on his behavior over the last ten years, labels him a bad father, says he’s an asshole, and tells him never to talk to her again. What exactly did Dom do? And will we find out more from Abby herself? Signs point to Dern’s scene being a one-time cameo, but it seems doubtful that we’ll get the truth of Abby and Dom’s relationship from Dom himself. So maybe another phone call to Abby from Dom or perhaps Albie could shine more light on their clearly dysfunctional family.
What is Albie Hiding?
It’s clear that Albie has a lot working against him when it comes to relationships. His grandfather Bert appears to be a serial womanizer. Dom, Albie’s father, did something so horrible to Albie’s mother that she never wants to speak to him again. Not to mention Dom’s insisting that an injured Bert stay in Albie’s room so Dom could invite a prostitute to the hotel.
On the surface, Albie seems to have broken his family’s cycle of bad behavior. He graduated from Stanford, works as an intern at a company that does urban planning consulting, and dotes on his elderly grandfather. He innocently flirts with Portia by the pool and seems like an all-around nice guy. And while Abby calls Albie a “sweet, sensitive young man,” it’s plausible that the apple won’t fall far from the tree and Albie will follow in the same footsteps as the other men in his family. Are nice guys who stay at The White Lotus all that they appear to be? At this point with Albie it’s a coin flip. We’ll see what the rest of the week has in store.