This time, Paradise has returned in Italian form with more sperm than ever. Season one of HBO’s famous The White Lotus examined the thorny politics of privilege, power, and colonization; now, in season two of the now-anthological series, the focus has shifted to the bubbling politics of sex, and it’s about to explode.
Showrunner/director Mike White has relocated the fictitious five-star White Lotus resort from Hawaii to Sicily, bringing him an (almost) brand-new menagerie of wealthy clients and enablers.
While Ethan and Harper have recently become wealthy after the sale of his startup, the other members of their group have been “atrophied” by their enormous fortune for quite some time.
Meanwhile, in the Di Grasso family, generational gaps are on full display as patriarch Bert (F. Murray Abraham), his Hollywood executive son Dominic (Michael Imperioli), and Dominic’s son Albie (Adam DiMarco) try to deal with the sexual infidelity of Dom’s mother, the elephant in the first-class suite.
Finally, among the Sicilians is the kind-hearted but dim-witted heiress Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge). Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), her disgruntled 20-something assistant from last season, has been dragged along to this season because she is now married to her fiancé Greg (Jon Gries).
The first episode of the second season, also titled “Ciao,” establishes the framework for a murder mystery. Daphne, who has a great bubbly personality, is the first to greet the newcomers and immediately begins reminiscing about her weeklong holiday.
She raves about Italy’s enticing romance. “Death awaits you. You’ll have to be forcibly removed from this place.” After that lively exchange, Daphne abandons them to enjoy one final swim in the azure waters of the Ionian Sea.
It’s business as usual until she feels a hand on her underwater. The floating body comes into sight. A member of the hotel staff has reported that there are many bodies in the water. The show flashes back seven days to the arrival of our ensemble, but the identity of the victims and the killer(s?) aren’t revealed so readily.
This season’s high-strung, meticulous hotel manager, Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore), welcomes guests and constantly cracks the whip on her gang of complacent hirelings.
Lucia (Simona Tabasco), a sex worker hired by one of the newcomers, and her best friend Mia (Beatrice Grann) hide in the shadows as the guests disembark from their ivory yachts.
While checking into their accommodations, prospective visitors will notice the resort’s colorfully painted porcelain head statues can be seen strategically placed just about anywhere. They are based on the tradition of testa di moro, in which a Moorish man seduces a Sicilian girl.
After learning that her lover was already married with kids, she severed his head. Daphne laughs, “It’s a caution to spouses, babe.” When you fumble around in the garden, you’ll end up dead.
Clearly, the couples that are sharing a vacation have little chemistry with one another. Harper seems distant and unfriendly at first, and she doesn’t even want to pick up a champagne flute to raise a glass for the upcoming holiday.
But it’s not hard to figure out that Daphne and Cameron make her uncomfortable due to their public displays of affection, Cameron’s lack of interest in politics, and Daphne’s refusal to acknowledge that she has a voice in the democratic process. She worries that she and Ethan may start acting similarly because of their newfound wealth.
Because Cameron lost his luggage on the way to Sicily, Harper and Cameron go into her suite without the rest of their party to borrow a pair of swimming trunks from Ethan. This only serves to heighten the others’ suspicions of them.
While Harper rummages through her toiletry bag in the bathroom, Cameron undresses behind her, his bare butt reflected in the enormous, obviously placed mirror.
She has no idea what to do and is getting angry about it. (In the meantime, Cameron is the clear leader for this season’s resident entitled douchebag; yet, unlike Shane from last season, he carries himself in an altogether more clever and calculating manner.)
Relationship problems in a family of four are not unique. Tanya’s arrival at the White Lotus, accompanied by a crap tonne of baggage (read that any way you like) and Portia, only serves to irritate Greg. He then insists that she quickly return her assistant home from their romantic getaway.
When it comes down to it, Tanya does obey. And she emphasizes that her jaded servant should “lie low and not come out of your chamber.” Maybe Tanya may need her for moral support down the road. Portia becomes hysterical as a result of this.
She tells her pal everything while sobbing into her phone from one of the resort’s sunbeds beside the pool. That “she’s a horrible mess,” she says of her. “Having $500,000,000 would undoubtedly make my life more bearable. Normally, I would be having a great time.”
Also Read: A Truthful and Genuine Review: The Hunter
Albie, for a moment free from his idiotic, incessantly farting grandfather and cheater dad, meets Portia by the pool. Bert is making his way down the stairs to the pool while they talk when he trips and collapses.
Albie rushes over, concerned that his grandfather, who is 80 years old, has suffered a concussion, but the unconscious Bert is only interested in Portia. Inquiringly, “Who’s the girl?” he queries of his grandson.
Because of their hyper-masculine attitudes toward women, the three generations of Di Grassos end up fighting with each other throughout the journey. Bert is a senior pervert in Albie and Dom’s eyes because he is constantly trying to pick up any woman within six inches of him.
Dom’s history of cheating doesn’t help his case, though. Albie tells them both over dinner, “No girl should have to be exposed to an old guy’s junk.” When pressed further, Bert replies, “Like it was ever particularly attractive, to begin with.
A penis is not a sunset, you know.” Lucia and Mia try to break into the hotel, but Valentina confronts them and kicks them out. And then there’s the brilliantly performed exchange between Lucia and Valentina, in which Valentina insults Lucia’s profession.
At least, Valentina argues, she doesn’t have to trade sex services for cash. When provoked, Lucia responds with a fierce flurry of “Nobody would pay to have sex with you. Prissy, unattractive whore!” Brava!
Lucia tries to persuade her buddy to have a threesome with her, herself, and her as-yet-unnamed client in order to maximize their earnings while they wait for a chance to sneak into the hotel.
Mia appears interested in learning more about Lucia’s life, but she finally declines the invitation because she has recently experienced heartache.
Mia is mesmerized by the singing piano player at the resort’s bar after the two manage to get past Valentina’s guard and settle in there.
After a while, Lucia has to leave the pub to keep her appointment, and Mia takes this as her cue to speak with the night’s featured performer, Giuseppe.
She lets him know that she is also a musician who hopes to work in the field where she may perform publicly as he does. Giuseppe seems to be only half-listening to her when he finally breaks the silence by asking how much she will charge for the night.
When Mia hears this unexpected inquiry, she storms off, but not before hurling her drink in his direction. Lucia, meanwhile, appears at the front door. Then, to her surprise, Dom replies when she knocks.
Does this come as a surprise to anyone? They sit around and chat aimlessly while drinking. Dom is a downer and doesn’t give Lucia much to work with in terms of conversation (he did, after all, just contact his ex-wife in an absurdly failed try to win her back hours before).
He rescues her from her plight at last. You are incredibly gorgeous, he continues, but he’s having trouble talking to you right now. Pleased to have you here, I say. No more talking is required tonight.