Sushi for Twelve, $482 plus delivery f Mastodon Mastodon The White Lotus - 2.01 - Ciao - Review

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The White Lotus - 2.01 - Ciao - Review

Sometimes, new TV shows appear on the scene with seemingly no warning and suddenly take over as the new must-see, and that's part of what makes TV fun (see also: Yellowjackets). With a show like The White Lotus, which was initially planned as a standalone series, the question of whether a second season based on the first's success is wise or greedy always comes up. Usually, I'm not one to deny (myself) that kind of pleasure, if they managed to create lightning in a bottle in the first season, why not give the people what they want and try again. However, despite the same teams being involved, sometimes it just doesn't work (see, Big Little Lies season 2, Conversations with Friends, etc.). Only time (and six more episodes) will tell if The White Lotus deserved a second, Italian, edition, but based on the first episode, I'm not entirely convinced it did.

In identical fashion to the Hawaiian version, the episode starts with a flashforward to the vacation's end, in which Daphne (Meghann Fahy, who despite my misgivings about this season, deserves great roles such as this one!) is enjoying the last few rays of sunshine on the beach, and goes in for a swim. Alas, a few strokes in she encounters (no, not sharks) limbs that aren't in any way alive, and rushes out of the water screaming for help (one would at less, if some seaweed dares to graze my skin, I'm outta there). Harried hotel workers realize with dismay that yet again, the White Lotus Resort curse has striken: guests aren't safe, even in tiny Sicilian coastal towns. At this point, I tried to remember who had even died in season 1 (and couldn't), because as expected the death is part of the intrigue, but certainly not the focus of the show.
Meet the new WL guests: first and foremost, one of only two leftover familiar faces from season 1, Tania! Now married to Greg, she's back for a week of pampering in yet another idyllic setting, frazzled assistant (Haley Lu Richardson, with an improbable wardrobe) in tow. Greg, on the other hand, seems to have exited the honeymoon phase and doesn't find Tania's eccentricities quite as exciting anymore. He's berating her about not respecting her diet, bringing said assistant (who promptly has to disappear and spend the week in her room, eating pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), freaking out during sex, you name it, it annoys him.

The other two couples aren't so much at odds with each other, but one does wonder why, exactly, they thought vacationing together was a good idea. Cameron (Theo James, and... okay, now I get it) and Ethan are old college roommates who didn't have much in common then, and have even less now, aside from Ethan's newfound wealth. Cameron and Daphne seem to live a charmed, if... not based in reality, life, in which they neither vote nor care about the news (Daphne asking "what's wrong with the world?!" in a baffled tone when Harper was in *gesticulates wildly at exactly every single thing that is wrong* mode was delightul), watch Dateline like it's a reality show, and engage in loud tickling. Ethan and Harper, on the other hand, are a lot more lowkey. Harper is downright disagreeable from the start, and even her relationship with Ethan seems tenuous (that fishy fish scene, gosh. It did crack me up because it felt like that Gilmore Girls episode during which Emily says the word fishy approximately 45 times and in the end, Richard still isn't convinced).
Which brings us to The Incident, i.e. Cameron's missing suitcase (who knew you had to commute through Berlin and not Rome if you wanted your luggage to follow you. Valentina is just full of useful ideas) leading to Ethan lending him a swimsuit via Harper, and Cameron promptly undressing in Ethan and Harper's room, fully visible to her, in the bathroom mirror. Ethan doesn't find it weird, but it makes Harper feel... some kind of way, and the question of these couples mixing and matching is definitely in the air.

Finally, the last three guests are a multi-generational bunch: Bert (F. Murray Abraham), an elderly yet constantly inappropriate man in search of his Sicilian roots, his son Dominic (Michael Imperioli of Sopranos fame), a struggling divorcee who chastises his father about harassing women much younger than him, yet orders the local women to his room just the same, and Albie (Adam DiMarco), the shy grandson who strikes a discussion with a lonely Portia. I'm not 100% sure what's up with Albie, but I wouldn't be surprised if he were a senior in high school instead of a fresh Stanford graduate (sounded like he was fishing for California college names there for a second) in order to get closer to Portia.
The following episodes are sure to bring more mayhem and information about how these guests are going to ruin each other's respective vacations, but I do miss the off kilter fun of last season's Paula and Olivia, and of course Connie Britton's glorious hair. Still, I'm excited to see where it goes, and more Meghann Fahy please! What did you guys think of the premiere? Any theories on who's left floating in those translucent waters at the end of the week? As usual, sound off in the comments!

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