The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Ciao

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If there were any concerns that The White Lotus Season 2 wouldn't be able to find a compelling enough bunch of characters to kickstart a new mystery, The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1 washed them away.

The White Lotus excels by putting people you'd never want to meet in real life in an exclusive setting that lives and breathes drama.

Many of the guests on The White Lotus Season 2 probably couldn't hold a conversation in the real world, making the series so exciting.

Jennifer Coolidge Returns for Season 2

Jennifer Coolidge makes a triumphant return as Tanya, aka the most popular character from the freshman season, which was originally to be a limited series.

Here, Tanya is more confident than ever, but she's still struggling to connect with people on an emotional level.

Tanya in Italy - The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1

It's hard to tell what she sees in Greg. Sure, they're married, but he seems far more concerned with tearing her down.

The comment about her inhaling five macaroons was something I didn't expect from Greg, but I guess that he's married Tanya, and the cracks of being with someone so overbearing are starting to appear.

How was your caprese? I was told that the cheese here was made by a blind nun in a basement.


The truth is, everyone on The White Lotus wants others to believe they're living a perfect life, but Tanya and Greg's relationship is already looking weak in the eyes of people around the resort.

Greg's annoyance about Portia being brought along for the vacation wasn't surprising because how can you truly shut off from work if you have your assistant with you?

Aubrey Plaza on The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1

Tanya struggles to connect with people, so maybe she conceded that bringing Portia along would give her someone to hang out with if Greg has other commitments.

My other theory is that Greg is cheating on Tanya with Portia because, let's face it, his very public reaction to her arrival, followed by his whispering down the phone in the bathroom, is not a good look.

Valentina: I know you. Not in my hotel.
Woman: Jealous? You don't know what pleasure is. It's written on your face.
Valentina: At least I don't have sex for money.
Woman: Who'd pay money to have sex with you? Uptight, ugly bitch.
Valentina: Is no one monitoring the entrance here? Or the exit?

Then again, this could all be innocent, and he could have some form of surprise up his sleeve for his wife. We haven't spent enough time with Greg to get a read on who he is as a person.

You get what you see with Tanya, but I'm watching him.

The White Lotus Sicily Manager Season 2 Episode 1

Jennifer Coolidge has an excellent presence in this universe because we can follow this journey with her, and we feel like we're in her shoes.

Daphne and Cameron are probably one of the worst couples on TV. Meghann Fahy and Theo James are great in these roles because they've managed to craft characters we love to hate.

Harper: Are you taking that side of the bed. I sleep on that side of the bed.
Ethan: Is it a big deal?
Harper: Yeah, I want to sleep on that side of the bed.
Ethan: Okay, I'll sleep over there.
Harper: I think that's better. Also, they're so touchy-feely, right? It feels performative. Like, who does that?
Ethan: Happily married couples?
Harper: Couples who have been married five years, no way. It feels fake.
Ethan: You are so quick to judge people.
Harper: Yeah, people that brag about taking helicopters to the Hamptons and being friends with Jeff Bezos. I mean...
Ethan: Look, Cameron is the kind of guy who if you can put up with him for five minutes, you can put up with him forever, He is consistent.
Harper: A consistent douche?
Ethan: Yeah, he's crazy. It's funny.
Harper: Was he like that in college?
Ethan: Way worse.
Harper: Why were you even friends with him?
Ethan: We weren't friends. We were roommates and you know how it is, you kind of become friends, and now we're friends.
Harper: At some point, he is going to approach you with some kind of money-making scheme, or some kindof favor, or something. There's a reason they invited us here. That's my prediction, so we'll see.
Ethan: Can you just please try to make an effort or this is going to be a very awkward week.
Harper: When do I ever make things awkward?

Daphne and Cameron have a perfectly curated exterior that makes everything behind closed doors feel like a sham.

They have money, and they're not afraid to show it, but there doesn't appear to be much going on in either of their heads, which makes someone like Harper, played to perfection by Aubrey Plaza, so exciting.

Daphne in Sicily - The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1

Harper could be a significant disruptor in their lives because she's not afraid to call them out when they piss her off, even if doing so gets under her husband's skin.

Daphne and Cameron definitely wanted adjoining rooms because they wanted to watch Harper and Ethan sleep or something.

Greg: How was the flight?
Tanya: I text you a bunch of times and you never text me back.
Greg: I know, I'm sorry, I just had a flare up at work and...
Valentina: Can I show you your room... or?
Tanya: Yeah, definitely.
Greg: What the hell is she doing here?
Tanya: Look, I'm traveling by myself.
Greg: You bring your assistant to a vacation with your husband?
Valentina: Anything you need, I'll be there.
Tanya: I just don't know what the big deal is. I don't know why you're so bothered.
Greg: Because I said no. Because it's supposed to be romantic. Because it's a vacation in Sicily for us.
Tanya: It's not like she's going to be in our bed and stuff. She has her own room.
Greg: Tanya, get rid of her.
Tanya: Alright. I'll get rid of her, alright.
Greg: Put her on a plane.
Tanya: Hey, um, you're going to have to get lost.
Portia: Okay, yeah. So, what do you mean? I see you in week, then?
Tanya: No, no, I want you to stay close 'cause I might need you but just lay low and not come out of your room. Okay? I gotta go. I did it. I did it.
Greg: Bye Portia. Do you want a drink?
Tanya: I'm hungry.

There were signs that Daphne and Cameron only invited them on the trip because they wanted something in return.

While I have some theories, this show loves to subvert expectations, so I'll need to see how the next few episodes play out.

Awkward Family Dinner - The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1

I'm already counting down the minutes until Harper inevitably smashes down Daphne and Cameron's oh-so-perfect life with a sledgehammer of harsh truths.

It's bound to come, eventually, and it'll be interesting to see whether Ethan chooses his wife or his "I don't read the news or have any idea what's going on in the world" college dorm mate.

Dominic: Why did we do this?
Albie: It's nice, dad. It's a nice thing to do.
Dominic: I got a migraine, I'm gonna go lay down.
Albie: Okay, I'm probably going to head down to the pool and then what time did you want to meet up for ... [Door slams]

Seriously, why does Ethan feel the need to do everything to appease Cameron?

Then there's the complicated family dynamics of the Di Grassos. Dominic was initially a boring player because he looked like all he wanted to do was go to his hotel and leave his son and father to their own devices.

Cheers to a Great Vacation - The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1

But then he had a very telling phone call with his ex-wife. You don't get someone yelling down the phone like that if they still love you.

No, with whatever he did, he's burned every bridge, and the sooner the show peels back the layers on that, the better.

Bert: You slammed the door in that poor girl's face.
Dominic: You were harassing her.
Bert: No I was not.
Albie: You kind of were, and farting.

Given that Bert was all over the women and inappropriate every time he was in the presence of a female, I figured he was the one to hire Lucia.

Don't ask me how I thought it, but Dominic retiring to his bedroom at every turn now makes sense.

Valentina Awaits the Guests - The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1

Lucia and Mia will be the ones to watch because they're probably well aware of what these wealthy guests get up to when they want people to think they're just happy being rich.

Lucia has aspirations of meeting a rich American man and moving to the U.S., and it didn't look like Dominic was interested in that.

Guys, we did it, we're finally here. Been talking about this forever. It's awesome.


It would surely be a middle finger to his ex-wife, but it seems more like something Bert would do.

Albie, bless his heart, is too good to be on vacation with his father and grandfather.

Harper Uncomfortable - The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1

There's an apparent disconnect in the family because Albie wants to utilize the luxuries the White Lotus has to offer, but not alone.

In many respects, he and Portia have a lot in common, but I won't be able to say I'm ready to 'ship them until I know whether Portia has been sleeping with Greg.

Cameron: Honey, check out this view.
Daphne: Whoa. Is that a volcano?

It's hard to believe I've gotten this far without mentioning the mystery. Maybe it's because all of these characters are shockingly realistic.

Valentina learning that there have been multiple deaths is a gasp-worthy moment because she strives for perfection.

Happy or Delusional? - The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1

She wants everyone to enjoy the resort and all it has to offer. She doesn't want her guests mingling with commoners, so to speak.

It's going to be a fun week to watch these characters cross paths and possibly die.

Wow. This hotel is so cool.


Multiple bodies are concerning, but we're dealing with such a massive pool of characters that it will be a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I doubt Cameron's death. Surely Daphne would have been more rattled ahead of her swim if she hadn't been in contact with her husband.

Over to you, The White Lotus Fanatics!

What did you think of the new characters and mystery?

That's a lot of fucking bags. Maybe she's moving to Italy.


Hit up the comments with your early theories.

Theories make the world go round!

The White Lotus continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Ciao Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 1 Quotes

Greg: Tanya, you ate all the macaroons.
Tanya: What macaroons?
Greg: How do you expect to lose weight if you inhale five macaroons and not remember?
Tanya: I only ate three.
Greg: There were five. Did you drink the champagne, too?

Valentina: I know you. Not in my hotel.
Woman: Jealous? You don't know what pleasure is. It's written on your face.
Valentina: At least I don't have sex for money.
Woman: Who'd pay money to have sex with you? Uptight, ugly bitch.
Valentina: Is no one monitoring the entrance here? Or the exit?