[Review] ‘The White Lotus’ season two exceeds expectations with beautiful scenery and unique stories


Tribune News Service

Jennifer Coolidge plays a guest at a tropical resort and Murray Bartlett the concierge in the HBO series “The White Lotus.” Photo courtesy of Mario Perez/HBO/TNS.

Lily Singer, Senior Arts & Leisure Editor and Senior Opinons Editor

Filled with scandal, mystery, murder and breathtaking shots of the Italian coast, the second season of ‘The White Lotus’ did not disappoint. Released on HBO Max, the new season of ‘The White Lotus’ takes place in Sicily, Italy and is composed of seven one hour-long episodes, making it the perfect show to binge. The series is both a comedy and drama that follows the guests and employees of the White Lotus resort chain whose stay is affected by their various different storylines.

The first season of ‘The White Lotus,’ which debuted one year prior, was set at a White Lotus Resort in Hawaii and boasted an entirely different cast with unique stories. However, there were two characters who returned to play a crucial role in the new season: Tanya McQuoid and Greg Hunt.

Played by actress Jennifer Coolidge, Tanya is a rich, lonely middle-aged woman who surprisingly finds love with Greg, played by Jon Gries, after he mistakes Tanya’s room for his own. At the start of season two, it is revealed that Tanya and Greg are now married and Greg has heavily insisted that they come to stay at the White Lotus in Sicily.

In addition to Tanya and Greg, there are several other characters who all become connected as the season progresses. In the first episode of the season, titled “Ciao,” the viewers are introduced to all of the main characters as they get off the same boat outside of the resort.

Tanya’s assistant Portia, played by actress Haley Lu Richardson, tagged along on the trip to help out Tanya. However, Greg sees Portia with Tanya and becomes very angry after previously telling Tanya not to bring her. In order to appease Greg, she tells Portia to lay low around the resort and not be seen by them.

Portia soon runs into Albie, played by Adam DiMarco, who is traveling with his father, Hollywood producer Dominic, played by Michael Imperoli, and his grandfather Bert, played by F. Murray Abraham. The men came to Sicily in hopes of finding their extended family and getting a better understanding of their Sicilian ancestry. The three men were supposed to be joined by Albie’s sister and mom, although it is revealed that his father has committed adultery and has pushed both of the women away.

Albie is the quintessential nice guy, going out of his way to help Portia have a good time on her trip despite her troubles with her boss and even brings her with him on his excursions with his family. He constantly tries to maintain order between his father and grandfather and make the most of his time in Sicily.

The remaining two couples on the boat, Ethan and Harper Spiller, played by Will Sharpe and Aubrey Plaza respectively, are traveling with Ethan’s college roomate Cameron, played by Theo James, and his wife Daphne, played by Meghann Fahy. Despite never traveling together before, Cameron invited the Spiller’s to vacation with him and Daphne in Sicily. Ethan, who has become newly wealthy after selling his company, feels like there is a deeper motive behind the invitation, possibly because he wants Ethan to invest with him.

Harper is a lawyer who comes across as intimidating, serious and judgemental. Ethan needs to remind her to play nice with Daphne and Cameron, as to not ruin their trip.

Cameron is a wealthy and successful businessman from a rich family who comes off as a gross narcissist who is ignorant of the current news cycle. Daphne is Cameron’s stay-at-home wife who comes across as vapid, although she still gets along with her husband.

In the opening scene of the first episode of the season, Daphne is seen swimming in the clear Mediterranean water when she swims right into a floating dead body. Similar to season one, where the opening scene shows a box labeled as containing human remains being boarded onto an airplane, the viewers get immediately hooked as they spend the rest of the season trying to understand how the death occurred.

By showing a glimpse of the tragic ending and then beginning the story, the show creates an itch that the audience must continuously scratch until it is finally soothed in the finale. Throughout the course of the season, there was no shortage of conflicts that could have yielded either the perpetrators and victims.

While the season finale did tie up some of the many loose ends, many questions were left unanswered. Many of these questions were left up to viewer interpretation, sparking debates across all social media platforms on opinions of what they think happened.

While I did not know what to expect at the start of the season, the unique storylines, murder mystery and beautiful setting intrigued me. I can not wait to watch season three, which is rumored to be set in Asia and has an unreleased release date, to see if it will make any connections to the two previous seasons.