The morning after the night before plays to Mike White’s strengths in possibly the best installment of the second season thus far.
This recap of The White Lotus season 2, episode 4, “In the Sandbox”, contains spoilers.
It’s the morning after the night before in Sicily, which is really the same as it is anywhere else, only hotter. The vibe remains; it’s a lot of guilt, a lot of shame, a lot of nausea, and a lot of trying to cover up the evidence.
The White Lotus season 2, episode 4 recap
Ethan and Cameron do a p**s-poor job of that last bit. After their night of debauchery in Episode 3, they rely on the bro code and ignorance – both deliberate and feigned – to keep their secrets. Harper is back in the suite for five minutes before she finds an empty condom wrapper that they left behind.
However, Harper doesn’t do anything with this information yet. Instead, she gives Ethan plenty of chances to confess things on his own. And he should, really, since it was Cameron who slept with Lucia. He kissed Isabella, sure, but he backed out of it, which they could probably reason through if he was just honest about it. No luck, though, and his secrecy only makes him look more guilty (and, needless to say, there’s no way Cameron would be so tight-lipped if the situation was reversed.)
But this is the first instance of the episode’s recurring theme – relationships going rapidly downhill. Portia and Albie, the show’s cutest wannabe couple, both end up with completely different suitors this week after their miscommunication and bad timing and hesitancy have stymied their union at every turn. Portia, being dragged around by Tanya, ends up meeting an Essex geezer named Jack (Leo Woodall) who is everything she wanted Albie to be but with none of the sensitivity. Meanwhile, Albie meets Lucia quite by chance, and she obviously takes a liking to him, not letting Portia speed ahead in their sudden game of one-upmanship.
The reason Tanya is dragging Portia around, by the way, is that she’s trying not to think about where Greg is, so she instead takes solace in Quentin (Tom Hollander), Jack’s uncle, a charming and probably awful Englishman who gives Tanya all the flattery she needs to keep going.
“In the Sandbox” also delivers our first real clue about who the dead body found in the premiere might be – at least one of them, anyway, since it’s implied there are several. But the likely candidate is Giuseppe (Federico Scribani), the hotel’s creepy pianist. Isabella decides that by sleeping with him she can fast-track her musical career, but when she tries to, he can’t get it up. To help out, she retrieves what she thinks is V****a from Lucia, but since Lucia is too busy with Albie, she fails to differentiate between the V****a pills and the MDMA. Judging by the fact that a sweaty Giuseppe collapses during his evening performance, it seems like Isabella gave him the latter.
This, it seems to me, is Season 2 of The White Lotus really finding a rhythm. I still think it’s vastly inferior to the first outing, but it’s getting there, and you can see the seeds of what Mike White is best at beginning to bear fruit. Hopefully, once Harper does something with her knowledge of Ethan and Cameron’s extramarital affairs, things will start heating up a little more.
You can catch The White Lotus season 2, episode 4, “In the Sandbox”, exclusively on HBO.
- The White Lotus season 2, episode 5 preview.
- The White Lotus season 2, episode 5 recap. (Will go live once the episode airs.)