The White Lotus season 2 review: A trip worth taking

White Lotus: Season 2

“The second season of White Lotus delivers a story that is much more complex and emotionally charged than viewers might expect.”


  • A compelling story about sex

  • Excellent performances by Aubrey Plaza, Jennifer Coolidge and Meghann Fahy

  • Plenty of visually lush, sun-drenched locations


  • A few stories that fall flat

  • Noticeably sloppy, uneven pace

  • A duller comedic edge than the first season

White lotus season 2 is a sun-drenched, often hilarious season of television. In other words, it is a worthy continuation of the acclaimed and extremely popular first season of the series. The series, which was created to fill a pandemic-shaped hole in HBO’s programming lineup, was never meant to be anything more than a one-off for HBO and its creator-director Mike White. However, when White lotus first season became an unexpected hit for the network, White and HBO quickly committed to bringing the show back for at least one more season.

To do this, White turned around White lotus into a semi-anthology series, one that follows another group of wealthy, self-obsessed hotel guests during their shared stay at one of the resorts owned by the series’ eponymous hotel chain. White lotus season 1 mostly kept the cast within the confines of its central Hawaiian resort and used its setting to explore issues of privilege and wealth in a variety of careful, often chillingly accurate ways.

White lotus Meanwhile, the second season of the series moves from Hawaii to Italy and focuses on how wealth can often affect both romance and sex. Despite the new setting and thematic ideas, a perfectly chaotic opening scene White lotus season 2 confirms that White has not only brought back the same vacation-based model from the show’s debut season, but also its relaxed, playful murder-mystery format.

Dominic, Albie and Bert stand together by the sea in White Lotus Season 2.Fabio Lovino/HBO

White lotus season 2 doesn’t let a new location or story stop it from opening in a very reminiscent way. The season begins practically in the same way as the debut, first with a flash-forward that promises a future murder, and then with the arrival of the main guests of the series on a glamorous boat ride. In the remaining minutes of the premiere, we get to know white lotus’ the next round of eclectic characters, including Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and Ethan (Will Sharpe), a married duo embarking on their first couples trip with Ethan’s former college roommate, Cameron (Theo James), and his wife, Daphne (Meghann) Fahy ).

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The other characters of the season include Bert (F. Murray Abraham), Dominic (Michael Imperioli) and Albie Di Grasso (Adam DiMarco), who traveled to Sicily in hopes of researching their family’s Italian roots. Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya McQuoid-Hunt, meanwhile, rounds out the main tourists in the White lotus season 2 as the only main, returning character from the first season of the series. This time she’s joined by Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), her reluctant assistant, who quickly forms an inappropriate relationship with DiMarco’s Albie.

When they’re introduced in the season premiere, everyone White lotus‘new and returning players struggle with relationship issues themselves. The first five episodes of the season, which were the only parts critics had early access to, then follow them as the mess of their personal lives slowly but surely expands and intertwines with the lives of their fellow guests. Of course, in the center of everything White lotus Season 2’s subplot is money, which creates, destroys, and overcomplicates many of the season’s key relationships.

Mia and Lucia look at each other while walking down the street in White Lotus Season 2.Fabio Lovino/HBO

These problems are only exacerbated by the presence of Lucia (Simon Tabasco), a local Sicilian prostitute who is first hired by Imperioli’s Dominic, but quickly begins to visit many of his fellow guests. We are accompanied on the ride by Mia (Beatrice Grannò), Lucia’s friend, who slowly begins to see the transactional appeal of Lucia’s profession. The way both girls slowly slip into their lives White lotus Tourists in Season 2 has a crazy edge that would probably come across as purely comical if it weren’t for the bloody fate we know awaits at least one of the show’s characters.

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The same can be said for a large part White lotus season 2, which isn’t nearly as creepy or outright farcical as its predecessor. As a whole, the second season of the show is less concerned with the class differences that divide guests and staff at the White Lotus, and more with the self-destructive impulses that vast wealth not only promotes among the world’s wealthy elite, but also protects them from experiencing the consequences. In the case of Plaza’s Harper and Sharpe’s Ethan, the fortune they made from selling Ethan’s tech startup created an identity crisis within each of them that he was quick to exploit, especially James’ Cameron.

Harper’s desire to constantly compare her and Ethan’s marriage to Cameron’s and Daphne’s is only made more toxic by the financial status of both couples. Her slow but sure disintegration is one of the season’s more compelling and engrossing subplots, if only because it allows Plaza to maximize the impact of her usual intensity. Elsewhere, White lotus season 2 struggles through the first few episodes to give Coolidge’s Tanya a story truly worthy of her self-involvement and obliviousness. However, her arc takes a turn for the worse when she crosses paths with Quentin (Tom Hollander), a gay British expat whose self-awareness makes him both the perfect friend for Tanya and a warning sign.

Portia and Tanya stand together by the sea in White Lotus Season 2.Fabio Lovino/HBO

Portia and Albie’s friendly but ultimately flat relationship similarly struggles to make much of an impact, so it’s no surprise when White wisely decides to abandon it halfway through White lotus season 2. Richardson remains one of the most likable and versatile young actresses we work with today, but Portia’s story only begins to develop when she ditches Albie in favor of flirting with Jack (Leo Woodall), a handsome British guest she meets during one of Tanya and Quentin’s hanging out by the beach. Namely, Albie also becomes a much more interesting figure after White decides to pair him with Tabasco’s more confident Lucia.

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The unevenness of some of the season’s storylines, some of which take several episodes to really get going, feels a lot messier than the first series. However, even if it often seems less precise than its debut, White lotusThe second season is just fun. With a handful of outstanding performances courtesy of Plaza, Coolidge and Fahy, the season delivers a messy, sexy adventure that, even more than White lotus season 1, often unfolds in ways that are both surprising and intriguing.

White Lotus Season 2 | Official trailer | HBO

No matter what White lotus whether season 2 actually manages to hold its landing remains to be seen. That said, based on the overall trajectory he’s taken over the first five episodes, it seems safe to say that White has already set the stage for White lotus‘ the latest adventure that ends in an even more explosive and emotionally complex way than the popular first season of the series. As lovers White lotus they will know that this in itself is an achievement that should not go uncelebrated.

White Lotus 2 seasons premieres Sunday, October 30 on HBO.

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