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The White Lotus - The Lotus-eaters - Review

There are dark clouds looming over The White Lotus, and based on this latest installment, they are more likely to burst into a full on storm than dissipate and let the sun shine over the guests' lives.

If someone had told me, early on, that Paula would somehow become the catalyst for most everything starting to unravel, I probably wouldn't have believed it. However, it's been pointed out on Twitter that the actual show's poster has not one, but two lightning strikes heading straight for Paula's head, which doesn't seem to bode well for her. This episode was quite the fast track into hell for Paula, with most of her predicaments brought on, by, well, herself, and unfortunate (but somewhat predictable) circumstance.

Last week, when Paula was (rightfully) outraged by Kai having to work for the people who took his land, I didn't think she'd actually act on it, and drag Kai into an ill-fated breaking and entering, assault, and stealing 75K worth of bracelets, plan. True, the assault part wasn't part of the initial plan, and only came about when Nicole and Mark rudely interrupted Kai's mission, but still. Really, Paula? This is the kind of grand plan you think will fix things for your off the menu boyfriend and his family? I honestly thought she was going to steal the bracelets for him instead of sending him on this suicide mission, but no, Paula did not want to get caught red handed. I'm not sure this brilliant idea worked out even if Kai wasn't caught (yet), since Olivia's last words at the end of the episode were a little too on the nose for suspicion over Paula's actions to not come through.
"Sorry about your locket.The one your grandmother gave you. So weird you put it in there and then… like an hour later, it’s stolen. Bad luck, I guess. Right?"
You never know which way Olivia's going to sway either, will she help Paula get away with it? Or will she betray her because as Paula has observed time and time again, Olivia needs to have more than Paula does. On the bright side, while this may get Kai fired from the resort, and Paula fired from the Mossbacher family, it did bring an increasingly distant Nicole and Mark back together. Nicole, fed up with being humiliated and insulted by both her husband and children, finally snapped before they could even leave for the scuba diving trip and rushed back to the room, where Kai jumped her, and Mark, in turn, seized the opportunity to neutralize Kai. At first I didn't think Kai was ever going to act upon Paula's information about the safe, but I guess that says more about my own naiveté than Kai's ultimate goals. Why he had to be violent is its own mystery, Nicole didn't recognize him and neither did Mark, so that part felt... gratuitous, almost like he got caught up in being the bad guy, which I never thought he'd become.
In fact, love definitely wasn't in the air during this episode. Tanya, in record time, had reached the needy "when is he going to call" part of her fling with Greg, which could've well ended in disaster. In Tanya's defense, she was pretty straightforward with him about what exactly lay underneath all the onion's layers, and Greg took it in stride, which was really nice to see. Tanya waiting around for him to live his life, and then stood Belinda up AGAIN when he finally contacted her, brought on war flashbacks which were not welcome because it's always a terrible situation to be in. I feel even worse for Belinda though, because she's truly the one getting slighted here. Does Tanya even have a "business manager"? The way she picked up Belinda's proposal but didn't give it a second glance makes me think that project is never going to see the light of day, and it's just cruel to drag Belinda along. Subconsciously, Tanya may be repeating what she herself is being subjected to: little jots of hope that will never be followed through with the real thing.
Not so lucky though, is Rachel's realizations about her relationship with Shane (and Kitty. When she married Shane, she apparently married the whole family). During the entire episode, the quieter Rachel got, the more desperate the look in her eyes became, to the point where she left their (Pineapple Suite! Finally! And it didn't look as nice as their original one!) room after mentioning she'd made "a terrible mistake" and not looking back. On a lighter (well...) note, Shane's vengeance upon Armond is only simmering, the shit-eating grin he had when Armond was at their table makes me think whatever is in Armond's future, managing the White Lotus isn't going to be part of it for much longer. It's also a wonder the resort is even turning a profit at this point, with that suite comped for the Pattons, and the Mossbacher holiday being almost fully free of charge (minus stolen property) thanks to what happened with Kai. At this point, Armond seems to be running out of any semblance of caring what happens, as he and Belinda dejectedly observe their guests.

All in all, Quinn seems like the only person who's enjoying his vacation (no thanks to his family) and who will truly be transformed at the end of it.

Murder/death theories of the week

- Kitty's supposedly leaving so she may not be the casualty, but as Rachel left the room that evening, there's no telling where she went, or what she did. Kitty repeatedly telling her she should be happy, but basically concluding she was a trophy wife, did not go over well.
- Kai turns on Paula for ruining his life
- Greg doesn't break up with Tanya but ends up dying on her before the vacation even ends (that cough did not sound good)
- Armond decides to take everyone down with him, which will not end well for... well, someone.

So, what are we expecting/hoping for in next week's finale? There apparently have been talks about a second season, which I'd be here for since each episode is delightfully evil at this point. As usual, sound off in the comments!

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