Review: 'The White Lotus' Season 2 retains the edge with ostentation while holding back on social commentary
The White Lotus Season 2 is definitely not an improvement in its predecessor even retracting its edginess but is still a good time with bingeing.
Published: Sunday,Oct 30, 2022 15:47 PM GMT-06:00
The White Lotus Season 2
After loving the satirical yet edgy dark humor of The White Lotus, the show returns for a second season continuing its anthology format with an entirely new cast except Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya and a new location. Having one more episode (seven) than the previous season, the reigns of this one continues to be with creator and writer Mike White.
Having been provided with five episodes for review, here's what I thought about it-
Continued Edge But Missing the Sharpness
There is a sense of distinctive pleasure in watching the lavishness of the setting; this time in Sicily, Italy while gawking in the ostentatious behavior of the protagonists. That is what made the first season as delicious as it was. This one attempts to continue that edginess but almost with a retraction of sorts which makes one feel that the said edge has lost its sharpness. Owing to the same, this season doesn't manage to hit as hard as the first while also being much slower with the screenplay.
Amping up the stakes while being more inclusive
Missing out on the chance of being inclusive with Hawaiian setup was perhaps the only recurring criticism in the first season. This time around, creator White seemingly wanted to answer that with aplomb. They manage to bring in Italian actors speaking the language almost to an extent where it is used extensively. However, it is unfortunate that they are reduced to a particular treatment from being comic relief and titillation with sexual sequences.
Running Motif; Infidelity
Maybe a conscious effort, Mike White decides to swap things from the first season this time around. The internal conflicts and dysfunctionality between the characters was underlying while class commentary and colonialism was the central focus. This time though, there is a change with infidelity being the central topic. The likes of Aubrey Plaza, Will Sharpe, Theo James and Meghann Fahy as Harper, Ethan, Cameron and Daphne respectively have it circling around while other characters also seem to be dealing with it in one form or another. The plot centralisation of monogamy and deceit while being too explicit with woke opinions through Adam DiMarco's character was good but not enough to be meaty and engaging in holding your attention for five hours.
There is a running motif of Moor's head dotting the resort with ceramic folk art that tells the story of a woman who learned that her Moorish lover was married and cheating on her with his wife and cut off his head; it is smart and it appears in the opening credits as well even more when any character is cheating or attempting to.
A Mixed Bag with Performances
The big ensemble of actors try their level best to bring in authenticity and chops to their characters but the likes of Plaza, F. Murray Abraham, Jennifer Coolidge and Michael Imperioli standout with the arcs and quirks provided to them more than others. Plaza, especially is the best part of the show while Coolidge manages to walk on the thin line of living up to being the only returning character and having expectations.
The White Lotus Season 2 is definitely not an improvement in its predecessor even retracting its edginess but is still a good time when it comes to enjoying a binge-watch.
Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)