The White Lotus – Season 2 Episode 3 “Bull Elephants” Recap & Review

Bull Elephants

Valentina has been quite a mystery until this point. We saw the manager of the establishment play a key role in season 1, and episode 3 of White Lotus makes way for the manager here to get similarly involved.

It is not a violent thrust into action but a deeper look at the exotic, hard taskmaster who makes things happen at the White Resort. She picks up coffee in town, runs down a hassler, and encounters Ethan on the way. The morning is not kind to Dominic either, who instantly regrets sleeping with the girls. Bert spotting the women exiting his room makes matters worse. Harper readies herself ins skimpy clothes, makeup, and perfume to welcome Ethan after his run.

She wants to use the one time he feels sexually aroused to have some spark in the relationship but it all goes to waste. Ethan does not bite. However, she does promise to be “the life of the party” going forward and give Ethan’s friends a better account of herself. At breakfast, Harper’s efforts to be more involved are noticed by the Sullivan’s.

Daphne invites Harper for a trip to Noto when Cameron shoots her down. He makes plans for the jet ski with Ethan, who reluctantly agrees. Albie and Portia have breakfast and the latter concedes she is depressed. Her life is “all over the place” and she is thinking of quitting. Albie consoles her, and Tanya starts to lose it.

She cannot quite come to terms with Greg leaving and sees it as a sign of desertion. It seems she did not overhear Greg talking about cheating on her with another woman. Imagine what will happen when she finds that out. Dominic requests Bert not to bring up the girls again when he pesters him. They are joined by Albie and Portia and the four have a wonderful trip planned for the day. They will be visiting the locations where The Godfather: Part I and The Godfather: Part II were shot in Sicily. As the ladies leave for the trip to Noto, Cam eyes up Lucia and Mia, who enter the premises after yet another shopping spree.

As Bert salivates over the legacy of the Godfather films (as he rightly should), Albie’s Stanford education denies him the opportunity. He says the films are so loved because men feel emasculated by modern society. They “remind men of the glory days of patriarchy”. The three men are conflicted about their opinions as Tanya calls up Portia to be with her. She takes her leave and Tanya asks Valentina to send a Tarot card reader to her room to get some positive direction. But the situation is turned on Tanya when the reader rightly predicts that Greg is deceiving Tanya “for someone beautiful in his life”. Tanya hurriedly removes her from the room as the negativity pulverizes her.

Daphne reveals to harper when they reach a famous palazzo in Noto that she has booked it for the night. Harper is unsure but Daphne says it is her way of “getting back at Cam”. Ethan has a difficult conversation with Cam. We are hinted towards the possible reason why he invited the Spillers to the vacation. He wants Ethan to invest money with his financial firm so that he can make money off Ethan.

He is a crystal-eyed vulture and Ethan sees right through him. Daphne teases Cam with the news that she will be staying the night, pressing his buttons of FOMO. Cam does not take it too well and the men go off to ski. The ladies have a gala time, go out shopping, have lunches in the beautiful streets, and even take ecstasy.

Dominic tries to tell Albie that he still loves his mother but the son says that Dom must change to show that he means it. We catch a glimpse of Valentina eating her lunch alone out in the streets with the small kittens that she is fostering. Later, we see Isabella talking to Valentina and mentioning how she looks up to her and admires her. Valentina is caught a bit off guard but takes the compliment well. Dom realizes what he must do and thanks Lucia for the time spent. He says that he will not be needing her services anymore and bids her farewell. It is also revealed that Mia did not sleep with them and passed out before all of it went down.

Lucia then eyes new customers and sees Cam at one of the tables. While she is at the bar, Giuseppe approaches Mia and makes a “friends with benefits” offer to her that she surprisingly does not reject instantly. A table of men eyes up Tanya which makes her both flattered and uncomfortable. Portia and Albie also make a gesture to each other when Tanya warns her that she must stay away from emotionally unavailable men.

Portia confesses that Albie is “too nice” a guy for her and does not make her heart race. Cam and Ethan discuss if cheating is normal and the former imposes his wild perspective on Ethan to invite the girls over. They then have a party together and go to Cam’s room. Ethan locks himself in but eventually gives way for them to come to his room.

When Mia tries to get with him, he politely says no, and she walks away. Portia eyes up another man at the pool when Albie kisses her, indicating that she might be ready to ditch the nice one for a wild one. When Harper asks Daphne if she ever feels Cam cheats on her, she surprisingly says she knows of one occasion when he did. Despite her instincts telling her he does, Daphne says she does “what she wants to” to avoid any resentment against him. Harper is shocked to hear it and the episode ends with her calling Ethan’s phone, and Ethan sitting in his room, smoking while watching Cameron and Lucia have sex.


The Episode Review

There were quite austere revelations about the characters and episode 3 adds to their development. The more we get to know these people, the sadder their realities become. Ethan and Harper are perhaps heading toward a failed marriage. They do not have any spark between them and it is looking unlikely they will be able to redeem it.

Episode 3 was quite clever in making them deal with the issues separately, making the task to get back harder. Daphne and Cam’s reality is different. Although on the surface they look like a successful couple, Daphne reveals how they play games with each other and distract themselves from cheating and deceit. It is as sad but packaged in a different form.

The complexity of drama was the highlight of this episode. The throwback to The Godfather was also quite pleasant in episode 3. We get to see more of the beautiful locations in Sicily and where the cast shoots. White Lotus 2 provides adult drama with mature themes that are not morally black or white. The grey area is where the show operates and gives us plenty of thinking to do with some of the characters and their decisions. Mia is quickly heading towards the dark path that will forever scar her. She just does not know it yet and neither does Lucia.

Is she one of the bodies from episode one? Seems quite likely. Tanya just keeps going deeper into the quagmire of her depression and Portia is too busy with her own challenges. Albie does not even know what he is doing wrong and there is quite a wry smile from the writers while screaming “deja vu”.

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2 thoughts on “The White Lotus – Season 2 Episode 3 “Bull Elephants” Recap & Review”

  1. Great review.
    Does anyone know the palazzo where the girls stay near Noto?
    Thanks.

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