Sex and death. WHITE LOTUS 2 is a five star entertainment

The second season of The White Lotus is mainly about… sex.

Michalina Peruga

17 December 2022

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There’s snow up to the ankles and jackets buttoned up to the neck, and in the last episode of The White Lotus – hot, Sicilian sun and carnal debauchery. The second season of the popular satirical series is a great antidote to the winter, as well as the all-encompassing mediocrity of TV shows that keeps you in suspense from the first episode and does not let go until the very end.

Once upon a time, when the Moors ruled Sicily, there lived a beautiful young girl in Palermo who spent her days at home caring for her beloved plants. One day, on the balcony, a young Moor noticed her and immediately fell in love with her. He immediately knocked on the door of her house and confessed his love for her, and the girl, charmed by his courage, reciprocated the feeling. This is how their heated romance began, which soon ended with the man’s confession – he had a wife and two children in his country. Mad with jealousy, the girl killed her lover in the night and cut off his head. This legend is still alive in Sicily in the form of la testa di Moro – ceramic vases or pots in the shape of a Moorish head. And these are the ubiquitous decorations in the luxurious hotel of the White Lotus chain in Taormina, Sicily, where wealthy heroes go to rest. Sex and death are inextricably linked in the legend as well as in the series. The second season, like the first, begins with finding corpses, but only at the very end we will learn the identity of the dead unfortunates (yes, the plural is not a coincidence). We will be picking for the whole seven episodes, and there were quite a few candidates in this bittersweet game.

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Financier Cameron (Theo James), an arrogant playboy who does not shy away from sex on the side, and his sweet and charming wife Daphne (Meghann Fahy), who takes care of their children on a daily basis, invite Ethan, Cameron’s friend from college, to spend a holiday together. Once a typical nerd, Ethan (Will Sharpe) has just gotten rich off his tech company, and his not-so-friendly wife Harper (Aubrey Plaza) is a lawyer. Cameron and Daphne are superficial but still madly in love with each other, even though their sweet marriage is just a façade that annoys Harper, whose own relationship with Ethan isn’t quite as good as the couple no longer have sex. A sexual game begins between the spouses, which is foreshadowed by the passing doors connecting their hotel rooms.

Bert (F. Murray Abraham), Dominic (Michael Imperioli) and Albie (Adam DiMarco) – three generations of the Di Grasso family – grandfather, father and son, who come to Sicily to discover the Italian roots of the family. The age difference between the men manifests itself in the approach to relationships and male-female relationships – the grandfather is a womanizer, a walking symbol of the past, who was an absent husband and father. His grandson Albie is a representative of the young generation with a modern approach to relationships. He catches the eye of Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), a young girl who is an assistant to Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge), known from the first season, who is facing problems in her marriage. When her husband Greg suddenly returns to the States for work reasons, Tanya becomes friends with Quentin (Tom Hollander), a wealthy British gay man who is traveling with his friends. The attention of almost all (heterosexual) men in the hotel is attracted by two beautiful young Italian girls, Lucia (Simona Tabasco), a sex worker and cunning con artist, and her friend Mia (Beatrice Grannò), who dreams of a singing career. The hotel is managed by the temperamental, impatient Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore), who has a crush on her employee. The second season of The White Lotus is mainly about… sex.

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The famous Sicilian legend of the cheating Moor and his lover is the starting point for the series. Passion, jealousy, betrayal and sexual power – the main themes of the legend – are also the leitmotifs of the second season of White Lotus. His characters, entangled in interpersonal relationships and struggling with their own uncertainty, try to find happiness. They are looking for lasting relationships, new experiences, sex for money or pleasure for one night. They want to find love, boost their ego, satisfy their lusts or get back at their partner. The characters of The White Lotus shimmer with many colors and shades, and no one is clearly defined here – good and evil are relative concepts in the Sicilian world, the world is not black and white, and disappointment is an inseparable element of human existence. Maybe that’s why this season seems to go deeper than the first – less satire here (which doesn’t mean it lacks humor) and a little more sympathy for its, however privileged, characters. While the first season was very political, the second season trades politics for human relationships, automatically approaching its characters and treating them with more empathy, though not without a critical eye. Full of depth and nuanced characters are due not only to the great script and direction of Mike White, the creator of the series, but also to the perfectly selected cast. You can dwell on the casting for a long time, but the sensational female cast comes to the fore. Jennifer Coolidge once again brings a comic dose of absurdity to the series. The James-Sharpe-Fahy-Plaza quartet is great, with particular emphasis on the latter two. The Italian cast is also memorable – the charismatic Impacciatore, eye-catching Tabasco and Grannò. The creators have set the bar high. Creating another series based on the same plot concept was subject to the risk of repetition. Mike White comes out unscathed, and his new creation is fresh, original and piercingly brilliant. Satire of the privileged is mixed with reflections on relationships, sex and gender, and The White Lotus once again becomes an important film reflection on the condition of the modern world.

Michalina Peruga

Michalina Peruga

Film scholar, art historian and lover of contemporary horror cinema and classic Hollywood cinema, especially film noir and the work of Alfred Hitchcock. In cinema, she loves mixing genres, breaking patterns and looking closely at characters.

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