The White Lotus – Season 2 Episode 2 “Italian Dream” Recap & Review

Italian Dream

The day in episode 2 of White Lotus season 2 starts off quite early. Ethan gets up and like every self-made millionaire ever, goes for a run. A long one where he goes deep into the town. He also sees Lucia on the way out, who is just leaving the hotel.

The morning for Daphne and Cameron is warm, loving, and unreal. They wake up together and cuddle. Harper, though, is a completely different story. She wakes up alone as Ethan is not back yet from the run. Tanya and Greg probably have it the strangest. It seems like he is hiding something and when Tanya wakes up, she finds him sitting up in the bed, and staring at something. He dismisses it but something is not right.

Albie and Portia once again get to have food together (making it three “inadvertent” dates till now) when the latter spots Tanya approaching. Albeit, his father and grandfather are still there. Daphne and Cameron call Harper to their table, even though she wanted alone time with her book. The Di Grassos talk about the in-fighting between Dominic and his wife. Bert invites Portia to the “Sicily initiation” they will have and she reluctantly agrees. Daphne says to Harper that she and Cam never fight, which harper finds odd. Her characterization of their relationship has been too good to believe – even for us.

The topic is shifted to Harper and Ethan and she suggests that they are not having as much time together, physically, as the other couple. Ethan comes back to his room and immediately starts jerking off. Tanya describes her plan for the day to Greg – dress up as Monica Vitti and then go on a Vespa into town and have dinner at a famous restaurant. Greg surprisingly complies and is ready to do whatever she wants. Harper finds Ethan in the room but he is strangely reluctant in asking her to help him “finish”. When she mentions the fighting thing Daphne told her, Ethan turns the conversation on to Harper. He says she has a syndrome that makes her defensive and bitchy whenever she feels threatened.

That is exactly what happens then as Harper tries to negate the suggestion. Lucia and Mia stand outside an expensive store looking at the dresses. The former says that they will have the money to buy things soon as Dominic will talk to Valentina about them. He goes to the manager and asks her to add Lucia and Mia’s names to the room when Valentina rejects their entry into the hotel without them being official guests. Dominic allows them to buy and order stuff for the room but modestly. Valentina is not happy about it but does not want to upset Dominic. When the Spiller and Sullivan couple meet again, Cameron casually mentions to Harper that he knows she does not like them. Harper is a bit taken aback by that and goes for a swim and Cameron too joins her.

He apologises for startling her. But he makes sure to put into her mind that it is “important for him that she likes him”. And Daphne. That is how he says it and it definitely means something. Lucia and Mia begin their spending spree, boasting about room no. 148 everywhere they go. Greg and Tanya take the Vespa, something that Valentina is unhappy about as it means the hotel might have to be liable if they meet an accident. The ride is indeed tricky because of Tanya’s weight and how tightly she holds on to Greg. They almost fall off on a couple of occasions too but make it safely through the day. Lucia tells Mia that she will have to come with her to Dominic’s room for the night as he paid for her as well.

She is reluctant but knows that it is what Dom would have expected. She is also not too excited to see Giuseppe again, the pianist on whom she threw a drink when he asked her “the rates”. The girls go to the bar and surely enough, Giuseppe takes to the piano again. But Mia walks up to him confidently and requests her to show him her talent for singing. Giuseppe, despite that embarrassment, sees sincerity in her request and allows her to take over. She mesmerizes the crowd and Giuseppe with her rendition of “The Best Things in Life are Free” by Frank Sinatra. Lucia too is overwhelmed with emotion and hugs Mia. Portia’s rotten luck continues as she goes on a date with Albie but discovers that Tanya and Greg have come to the same restaurant.

Portia decides to stay and not ruin another chance she has with Albie because of Tanya. Their conversation is quite warm and it eventually veers off in the direction of what kind of partners they want. Portia describes herself as someone very delicate and with a traumatic past, whereas Albie says he likes “pretty wounded birds”, signalling his interest in her.

The Sullivan and Spiller couples have dinner and in conversation, it is revealed that Daphne once had a baby die during birth. The C-section birth almost killed her too and that brought her and Cameron really close to each other. Harper seems jealous in front of the couple but Ethan watches on silently.

Dom has dinner with Bert, who tells him that Dom should have been “more careful with his affairs”. He obviously knows why Dom’s wife is leaving him (something that Albie confirms to Portia in a separate conversation) and asks him to make it up to her. Greg drops a bomb on Tanya when he tells her that he will have to go back to Denver the next day for two days. She is shell-shocked and instantly starts berating him in public and walks off.

Albie drops off Portia outside her room and asks if he could kiss her. She says yes and agrees to see him on another date. Harper apologizes to Ethan for being a dampener on things and spending the trip for the group. She promises to make more of an effort to have a good time but Ethan is relatively unchanged. He reads a book while she goes off to sleep. Daphne and Cameron call Harper “a pill”, indicating that they think she is boring and was lucky to land a guy with Ethan’s background. They then proceed to make love.

Dom is initially averse to inviting Lucia and Mia into the room, saying he needs to get a handle on things and has a genuine disease of uncontrollable sexual urges. On further prodding by Lucia, he invites them in and it seems like they have a threesome. Tanya gets up in the middle of the night and catches Greg having a phone call with someone, saying to them that “Tanya suspects nothing” and that “he loves her”. He is cheating on her and probably even has a wife back home. What will Tanya do about it, though?


The Episode Review

Episode 2 brings along more teasing drama to the couple showdown between the Sullivans and Spillers and much more. The on/off flirting-cum-resentment between Harper and Cameron is by far the most interesting and focused aspect here.

Episode 2 has established that people in the White Lotus are not generally what they seem. Everyone seems to have layers underneath and is lost in an attempt to validate their insecurities depending on others. Seeing themselves through the prism of other people’s perception can always lead to frustration and the tension seems to be building up intensely in season 2.

A lot of foreshadowing shows how smartly the writers have pieced their puzzles for the viewers. Themes have started emerging that really give a sense of belonging to the exposition part of the storytelling. Cameron vs. Ethan in who gets “alpha-dogged”; the discreetness of men and their affairs vis-a-vis Dominic, Albie, and Greg; and the lack of clarity of where to draw the line in friendship and fascination between Lucia and Mia.

Season 2 is setting up to be a delight in a foreign land with foreign characters starting to feel right at home in the modern world of perverse television content.

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