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The White Lotus - 2.03 - Bull Elephants - Review

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The season is almost halfway over and we're no closer to knowing whose body (bodies?) was found at the end of The White Lotus week-long holiday. That said, much like with Oscar season, we can start making wild, unrealistic, yet more entertaining than the show itself at this point, guesses, based on what happened during this week's episode. More on that later though, first, let's recap what happened during the episode!

The theme this week is... adultery. Everywhere, all the time (no, not all at once). While Harper has made it her mission to become the Perfect Holiday Companion to impress an already unconvinced Ethan, her attempts are incredibly awkward. She's saved from pretending by Daphne and Cameron's very first disagreement as to what the day will be like. He, the dudebroiest dudebro to ever dudebro, wants to jetski (I hadn't realized this was even still a thing. Why would you want to bulldoze your way around the ocean, when you could sail?!). Daphne, on the other hand, wishes to visit Noto, a "beautiful baroque town on the coast". It took me a while to remember because it was a complicated trip, but I actually visited Noto when I was in Sicily and it's a lovely little city but once you've been on those steps you've about seen it all (also, surprisingly, pizza is very hard to find there?!). Then again, unlike Daphne, I didn't reserve the palazzo so maybe my experience was skewed.
As a result, Harper finds herself peer-pressured into a day, then a night, with a suddenly honest Daphne. She knows Cameron isn't entirely faithful, but she's "learned to live with it", and, in her words, "isn't a victim". This kind of little coup, she says, is her way of getting even with Cameron. I'm not sure how much of this is sincere, or if she and Cameron are carefully orchestrating something to get Ethan away from Harper, but the dynamics are getting weird. Meghann Fahy (as promised) is wonderful though, and I'm going to need someone to point me towards those sunglasses of hers.

Back at the resort, the jetski bros are trying to outdare each other, first on the sea, and then at a party. Cameron (or "Cam" as he will now be known) is way ahead of "E" though, and after Lucia sets her sights on them, he's pretty much a lost cause. Ethan, despite all the temptation in the world, and a very lukewarm relationship with his wife, resists Mia's advances. The question, however, is for how long.
On the other side of a spectrum, the man whose sexual dalliances have ended his marriage has finally found a reason to say no (hence why Lucia was on the hunt for rich, temptable men again): his son Albie. Can Dominic change that much, though? Time will tell, but in any case I'm having a hard time figuring out Albie's personality. Maybe because he has none. He's trying so hard with Portia, and it's getting him nowhere because ultimately I'm pretty sure she's going to hook up with that tattooed guy from the pool. What Portia needs to do before that, however, is quit her job. Tanya has always been a mess, but it's never been more apparent just how insufferable she is with the people in her life. And sure, Greg is no prize either since I'm now led to wonder if he only married her to benefit from her excellent healthcare referrals (told you that cough was lethal), but really, how does one live with Tanya long term? Portia has to suffer through an ill-fated tarot reading, all while being sent to the bathroom when things get too personal, and stay for naptime. It's so over the top (as was that scene during which Tanya made sure the entire restaurant heard her loudly wail at Greg), it's like her character on Friends all over again. Anyway, Albie is not getting into Portia's hotel room anytime soon, that's for sure.
Quick overview of who may or may not end up as shark fodder as of this episode:
- Tanya: purely based on the annoyance factor, Portia might just come through with her threats and put Tanya out of her (self induced) misery
- Harper: if she pushes Cameron too far about his materialistic tendencies, he and Daphne could find a way go get her out of Ethan's life. FOREVER.
- Cameron: jetskis. Drugs. Adultery. Lawsuits. So many problems, so many opportunities
- Albie: he may fall off a cliff if he tries any harder to be the perfect woke man
- Rocco: Valentina hates him, enough said.

A lot of people have remarked on this already but I agree: this season focuses much less on the White Lotus staff, and it's a shame (we miss you, Armand!). It's also not even remotely a comedy anymore, but that's a discussion for another time. More Valentina with the kittens, please! More Valentina, period, actually. And less of that remixed score. Season 1's score was perfect, this one is, well... like the entirety of season 2 so far, not it. What did you guys think? Did you find this episode more exciting? As usual, sound off in the comments!

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