It seems impossible to deny that the world is now obsessed with crime. Whether it’s the sudden craze for Jeffrey Dahmer following the release of a Netflix documentary about him, or the fictional story of killers and the supernatural happening in a suburban town, viewers can’t get enough of it. If White Lotus aired on HBO in the midst of the pandemic, in the summer of 2021, and was a hit with critics and audiences. The six-part limited series won numerous awards, from ten Emmy Awards to a Hollywood Critics Association Television Award. The second season White Lotus will be released in October 2022, just in time for Halloween and the upcoming holidays.
White Lotus has been turned into an anthology series, meaning it will feature a different cast and likely a different location each season. A a month after the first season was released, seeing the success it brought to HBO, the series was renewed and planned for six episodes. Production began in the winter of 2022 and was completed before release at the end of the year. A major aspect of the show’s story also had to be preserved: the hotel guests arrive at, the White Lotus Resort, appears to have multiple locations around the world.
Mike White, who created the show, is back for a second season and is the sole director and writer of every episode this season. Only John Grice and the return of Jennifer Coolidge for the second season. This new cast is coming together with Megan Fahey, Theo James, Aubrey Plaza and Will Sharp as a group of friends with two couples on vacation. Tom Hollander, Sabrina Impacciatore, F. Murray Abraham, Haley Lou Richardson, and Michael Imperioli, among others, appear in the main cast. Filmed on location in Italy, the gorgeous yet disturbing visuals complement the strong performances of this star-studded cast.
Mystery in Sicily
Fans of the first season will immediately notice that the setting looks a little different. That’s right: Unlike the first season, which was set in Hawaii, this season is set in Sicily, Italy. Most of the cast from the first season did not return for the second season, making this set of characters an entirely new cast. A notable exception is Jennifer Coolidge, who plays Tanya. Aside from that character, everyone is a fresh face looking to tackle the themes and storylines laid out in the first season. However, other debates that arose that season are pushed aside in favor of new ones.
The first episode of the second season White Lotus opens on the beaches of Sicily with a group of women talking about the hotel and area where they are staying. As one of the women was taking her last bath before heading home, she came across what appeared to be a body floating head first right in front of her. As she begins to scream for help, the scene cuts to the police discussing that multiple guests were found in the water, not just the one body found earlier. There’s trouble in paradise, and the party’s just getting started.
The scene shifts to a week earlier, showing what led up to the fateful beach scene. Switching seamlessly between Italian and English depending on who is in focus or who is speaking to whom, the narrative structure is quickly established. New guests, mostly wealthy Americans, are arriving at the Italian “White Lotus”. Two local girls, both Italian, provide an outsider’s view of the new blood in town, munching on lollipops and grinning as they comment on the guests and make assumptions. As the story deepens, introducing each character individually and allowing them to reveal their innermost desires and comfort level with money and wealth. One of the characters, Harper, is a lawyer who has just met with the richest people, and becomes a sharp contrast to such as, for example, the disgraced and elderly businessman Burt.
A sense of doom and gloom pervades everything. Whether it’s the mountain and ocean that trap them, preventing them from escaping if they want to, or the artwork and sculptures that depict violent endings placed right in the center of their hotel rooms. There is a lot of history in the art of Italy, but there are hidden meanings and predictions hidden in the scenes and frames. Some of the best stories are created by studying characters and White Lotus does just that. As with the previous season, there is a lot to explain when it comes to the mysterious elements, leaving the audience in doubt and disbelief until the end.
A closely related but flawed story
White Lotus immediately establishes a conflict: a body is found on the beach, and after reporting to the police, many other bodies of hotel guests are also floating in the water. This is nothing new in the world of storytelling for movies and TV shows, but White Lotus works through its storylines smoothly and tightly. Many of the characters are ones we’ve seen before: the rich who do whatever they want, go after what they want, and get it by any means necessary. Unlike other recent movies and shows, in the first place Triangle of sadness, this show is not interested in representing the class dynamics of the staff at such luxury hotels. The focus is almost exclusively on wealthy characters who inhabit this space as guests, giving them certain powers and privileges that they are surely used to in their everyday lives. However, there are small pockets where you can get a glimpse of the native Italian workers, especially when they roll their eyes or turn away from the antics of a guest.
These characters can trace their roots back to the first season. The ensemble cast play interesting people struggling with their relationships, as many of these couples are not very happy with each other. Both settings are considered romantic in the context of the stereotypical locations, but what happens as a result is much darker than expected. This show isn’t about finding out who did it, it’s about capitalizing on the mystery elements to build tension between the characters. You can even forget that some people die very quickly if they go through episodes. Instead, it’s all about the drama and messy relationships between the characters. There’s going to be a lot of shadow, tension and anger, especially considering these characters come with a lot more baggage than they’re holding.
The second season White Lotus more restrained compared to its predecessor. Sometimes it seems more restrained and precise. Being set in Hawaii, there was a lot of deep context about the impact of colonialism and resorts like this on the islands. By changing location to Italy, it loses that subtle underlying touch, even if the first season only touched broadly on the issues plaguing the islands. The inclusion of art about seduction and death, touching on cultural moments in Italy, adds a new layer about the relationships portrayed on screen. Sex takes center stage this season, and the quartet of friends, with the underlying sexual tension between them all, remains one of the most interesting parts of this season.
Even if some of the characters are lackluster, the snappy dialogue and performances from all the actors hold the glue together. white lotus still holds up, even if lacking in some areas. Its biggest downfall comes from the fact that the shadow of the first season hangs over it as well, creating higher expectations when, according to many, the original is better. The second season continues to enthrall and mesmerize, drawing even deeper into its web and sending warning signs through imagery and setting. Even when the heroes realize something is wrong, they ignore it, sending the entire operation on the path it begins on a week after everyone arrives at the resort. Fans of the first season and the characters and stories it featured will find this season worthy of their attention as well.
The first episode White Lotus available on HBO Max as of October 30, 2022. The remaining episodes will air weekly on the streaming platform and on HBO.