The White Lotus season 2, episode 1 recap – who are the new guests?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 31, 2022 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
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The White Lotus season 2, episode 1 recap - who are the new guests?


The White Lotus returns with a new resort and new guests, although the lifestyles of the rich and pampered seem entirely unchanged.

This recap of The White Lotus season 2, episode 1, “Ciao”, contains spoilers. It also details the cast and characters of The White Lotus Season 2. 

Let’s try something different, shall we?

Mike White‘s The White Lotus is a show about many things, but principally about a luxurious hotel chain, and the very wealthy, entitled, and often damaged people who stay there. The first season began with a promise of murder and then followed it through in the finale; the second season implies much the same. But the first episodes of both seasons are about introductions, with new guests checking in, staff floundering, and the audience trying to connect the dots of who everyone is and what they’re after. So, I’m going to structure this recap of The White Lotus season 2 premiere around the second season’s significant arrivals — some you’ll recognize, some you won’t — to try and bring everyone up to speed with who’s who.

Cool? Cool. Let’s do that.

The White Lotus season 2, episode 1 recap – who are the new guests?

Tanya McQuoid-Hunt and Greg Hunt

We might as well start with the Hunts, since both Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) and Greg (Jon Gries) are familiar characters who met in the first season and have since gotten married. They’ve both checked into the Sicilian White Lotus to spend some quality time together, but it doesn’t exactly seem like their marriage is flourishing. Greg is already there when Tanya arrives in “Ciao”, Tanya disassociates during sex, Greg shames Tanya about eating five macaroons instead of three (she finds the other two later — did he hide them to gaslight her?), and Tanya is overhearing Greg having whispery conversations through the bedroom door. What on earth is going on here?


Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) is Tanya’s assistant, who has been dragged to the resort to work but finds herself quickly dismissed when Greg decides she’s surplus to requirements and undermines the romantic mood. However, Tanya doesn’t actually want Portia to leave in case she needs her, so she’s forced to hide in her room, hide behind the menu at dinner, and generally make herself scarce. This should prove mightily difficult since she seems to be developing a flirty connection with another guest who we’ll get to in a minute.

Harper and Ethan Spiller

The Spillers have come to the White Lotus to spend time with another couple (see below), one half of which Ethan (Will Sharpe) knows from college. Ethan is new to money and doesn’t seem to do much for Harper (Aubrey Plaza), an employment attorney who has never lost a case. The dynamic here is immediately about how little the two couples get along, but there are also weird sexual sparks, and questions to be asked about the Spillers’ marriage. Harper and Ethan seem very serious — they’re aghast when their companions reveal they don’t follow the news, for instance — and it’s hard to put a finger on what their relationship is built on. I suspect there’s much more to come here, and I suspect that Ethan will probably pay the price.

Cameron and Daphne Sullivan

Cameron (Theo James) is Ethan’s friend from college, a quintessential bro-type who seemingly has no compunction about stripping off to change into some swim shorts in full view of Harper, who for the record had a good look at the goods. He’s the complete opposite of Ethan and his wife, Daphne (Meghann Fahy) seems the polar opposite of Harper, too. It’s worth mentioning that it’s Daphne who, in the opening scene of The White Lotus season 2, episode 1, which is set a week after the rest of the episode, finds a dead body in the sea — and by the sounds of things, it isn’t the only one.

The Di Grasso Family

Dominic (Michael Imperioli), Bert (F. Murray Abraham), and Albie (Adam DiMarcoform the Di Grasso family, a trio of Sicilians who have checked into the White Lotus so that aging Bert can visit the village where his grandmother was born, presumably before his obviously worsening health makes the journey too challenging. Dominic is a Hollywood executive and everyone in his family seems to hate him, though it’s easy to see why — he has no interest in the trip beyond sitting in his room, though the fact he meets a prostitute there suggests he has some other proclivities worth keeping an eye on. Bert is a flatulent older gentleman who still fancies himself a bit of a ladies’ man, though the other two keep reminding him his behavior verges on sexual harassment, and Albie is the well-meaning college graduate stuck in the middle who takes a shine to Portia when they have a chance encounter by the pool.

Mia and Lucia

These two are friends, and while they’re technically not guests at the White Lotus, they do manage to sneak in and cause a bit of trouble. Mia (Beatrice Grannò) is an aspiring singer-songwriter while Lucia (Simona Tabasco) is a prostitute trying to swindle the hotel’s rich guests. In “Ciao” we see Mia become offended by the hotel’s entertainment trying to purchase her services, while we also learn that Lucia is there to meet Dominic.

You can catch The White Lotus season 2, episode 1 exclusively on HBO.

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