The White Lotus season 2, episode 2 recap – where is Greg really going?

November 7, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
HBO, Premium Channels, TV, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Italian Dream” doesn’t do much to develop the overarching mystery, but Mike White’s sharp writing, and enjoyable performances, keep the change in setting feeling fresh.

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3.5

Summary

“Italian Dream” doesn’t do much to develop the overarching mystery, but Mike White’s sharp writing, and enjoyable performances, keep the change in setting feeling fresh.

This recap of The White Lotus season 2, episode 2, “Italian Dream”, contains spoilers.


The gimmick of The White Lotus, if you want to call it that, is that the show is essentially a murder mystery that cons you into forgetting all about the murder and the mystery. The Season 2 premiere made clear that at least one – but probably several – corpses are going to be found bobbing in the clear Sicilian waters that ring the White Lotus hotel, and the logical assumption is that one of the moneyed, entitled guests will be responsible for how they got there. But it hasn’t been addressed a single time since. And thus far, everyone seems as equally likely to die as they are to have killed someone, whether accidentally or intentionally.

The White Lotus season 2, episode 2 recap

So, the second episode, “Italian Dream” spends almost all of its time focusing on sex – not necessarily just who’s having it, but who isn’t, who is trying to and failing, who is trying not to and failing, and why it all, in a roundabout way, speaks to the relationship between people and what they believe they’re entitled to.

It’s not a coincidence, say, that rich people tend to have weird sexual hang-ups, because someone who can have literally whatever they want starts to view their human connections through the same lens. Cameron going ballistic about his missing luggage isn’t entirely unrelated to the fact he was happy to let it all hang out in front of Harper last week. Why not? He’s rich, he’s handsome – he can, in his mind, have and do whatever he wants.

Harper doesn’t like Cameron, or his wife, Daphne, and she wants to believe it’s because they’re snobby, superficial airheads. They don’t even read! But when Harper walks in on Ethan jerking off after a morning run and then can’t persuade him to let her help, she begins to realize that for all their bookish sophistication they seem to have a less intimate relationship than Cameron and Daphne do. It isn’t a coincidence that we later see those two have sex while Ethan once again rejects Harper’s advances.

Cameron and Daphne don’t like Harper either, or at least can’t see why Ethan is with her, because she’s boring and controlling and wants to mother him. Harper is right that a couple who don’t argue can’t be trusted, but Ethan is also right that she’s looking for things about people she’s threatened by that make them, in her mind, less than her. She’s insecure, but about what?

The problems among the di Grasso family are much more obvious and, again, revolve primarily around sex. We learn in “Italian Dream” that Dominic is a serial cheater and has just been caught stepping out on his wife, which is why she and Albie’s sister haven’t accompanied them on the trip. We also know that he’s continuing to cheat with Mia and Lucia, who he books onto his room so that they can linger around the hotel unmolested, much to the snickers of the White Lotus staff. When they visit him later, he claims to be trying to curb his impulses and compulsions, but he’s so easily swayed that it’s difficult to take his resistance particularly seriously.

This affects everyone. Bert is upset that his granddaughter isn’t with them, and blames Dominic for that, but he doesn’t scold him for cheating, only getting caught doing it. Dominic counters that Bert himself wasn’t entirely faithful, and he writes off his own sexual misadventures as “peccadilloes”. And Albie’s romantic ideals are to simply not be anything like his father, which has made him nice and polite perhaps to a fault, which is presumably why he doesn’t follow up on the polite kiss he shares with Portia outside her hotel room.

I should mention Tanya since her Vespa trip with Greg is the episode’s best bit of physical comedy, but it’s difficult to care that he’s obviously lying about having to fly off to Denver to work for a couple of days. One supposes this will have a knock-on effect on Portia’s burgeoning romance with Albie, since without Greg around she’ll probably require the services of her assistant, but Tanya’s return for the second season continues to feel a little pointless beyond excusing more Jennifer Coolidge ridiculousness.


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