At the end of the last episode of The White Lotus, Aubrey Plaza and Will Sharpe sat down for a post-credits interview (which, by the way, if you aren’t watching, you absolutely should). “There’s this false belief that if you go on vacation, you leave your life behind,” Sharpe says in his (surprise!) British accent. “But you actually are just the same person, living the same life.” Sharpe makes a good point. There’s a desire to be a certain type of person when you’re on vacation—one who doesn’t check their phone every five minutes, who dresses impeccably for every excursion and activity, who tries to only speak the native language even though they have just an elementary understanding of it. But as the days wear on and the notifications keep popping up, the need to wear your most comfortable one-piece instead of that sexy bikini gets stronger, and you realize all you can say is “va bene”—you cannot hide who you truly are just because you’re in a new setting. As we enter episode three of The White Lotus, the shiny vacation veneer on these characters is beginning to fade, and their true natures are slowly coming out, for both the audience and their fellow hotel guests to see. It was about time. Daphne could only pretend she had the perfect marriage for so long, and it was never that believable to begin with, considering the way her husband acts. It seems like a good time to check back in with the hotel’s guests—since they’re showing their true colors once and for all.
Even when things were going well between Tanya and Greg in season one, the guy still came off as a bit of a sketchy character. Now, though, he’s leaving in the middle of a romantic vacation that he insisted on (by the way, in what world can someone go from Sicily to Denver and back in two days?). Clearly, at this moment, the show wants us to think Greg is the bad guy here, and they’re doing a very good job at painting him in that light. Yes, Tanya has control over him financially, a not-so-great position to be in when the person holding the wallet has proven to have the attention span of a six-year-old in a toy store. But still, all this sneaking around, the rude comments, his decision to leave abruptly...I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he’s making it very hard. Then, things start to make a little more sense when we learn a bit more about their dynamic, and that Tanya used her wealth and connections to help Greg with his health issues.
“Tanya, you’ve done a lot for me, OK?” he says at dinner before he leaves her for “two days.” “You found those doctors. I’m going to live because of you.” Luckily, Tanya says what we’re all thinking in that moment. “But ever since you found out that you were going to have a lot more years, I feel like you just realized that you were going to be stuck living them with me.” Does Greg deny that? No, because he is a bad man. Maybe I’m getting swept up in Tanya’s hysteria, but I hope he doesn’t come back to Sicily. She’s better off without him.
At first, Albie seems like such a catch. He’s cute (and tall), Stanford-educated, from a wealthy family, and most importantly, he respects women (though to almost a weirdly aggressive extent). Despite all of that, Portia clearly just is not into this guy, and I spent the first two episodes screaming at the screen like my Jewish mother: “He’s such a mensch! Get over yourself and go for him!” Yes, he’s a bit of a Gen-Z hardo who can’t even admit that The Godfather is a fantastic movie, but hey, that’s just your typical Stanford brainwashing, right Bert? In this episode, though, Albie reveals his true identity—an Instagram whore, and an oblivious one at that. I mean, Portia just spent the previous night explaining to you that she’s sick of living for her phone and you spend the next morning snapping selfies at breakfast? Sir, are you trying to woo this woman or not? Get off your phone! And don’t tell Portia to throw hers in the ocean unless you’re going to pay for a replacement.
While Daphne and Cam brilliantly played the wonderfully-in-love couple during the first two episodes of the series, it has become clear that not all is well in paradise. Despite being married for many years and having kids together, the pair still loves to play tricks on each other. That wouldn’t be too bad, except Daphne admitted she plays these games to trigger Cam’s “really intense FOMO and abandonment issues,” and finds it funny.
Daphne’s story arc is probably the saddest in this episode, as you realize she’s not the happy-go-lucky girl she projects. It takes only one edible for her to reveal that fact (BTW, I’m going to need to see the dosage on those gummies). She clearly loves her husband, but she’s also very aware that he is a tool, as are his friends, and she has to find ways to bend the narrative to convince herself that she’s happy and “not a victim.” I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the Daphne who didn’t vote. Bring her back—she was so cute and not at all depressing (despite the fact that her lack of democratic responsibility was a little sad).
Speaking of Cam, surprise! He’s an asshole cheater! This technically isn’t a revelation, as it was obvious from the moment Cam first walked onscreen, but it does feel validating to be proven right. Convincing Ethan that “everyone cheats,” though? Not cool.
Valentina was somewhat of a mystery in the first two episodes. It was clear she had a bit of a stick up her butt, and took herself and her job a little too seriously, but in episode three, we get more of a peek into who Valentina is—and boy, is it sad. Valentina is lonely, eating her lunch with the street cats (something she’s done so frequently, she knows their preferred canned fish), while her colleagues likely sip espresso and gossip together on their lunch break. And when Isabella compliments Valentina, she can’t hide her excitement, acting like a dog who has just been told he’s a good boy. Someone please be this woman’s friend, she clearly needs it.
While we learned a lot about some characters in this episode, others still remain untapped—like Ethan (who I’m pretty sure is a cardboard cutout of a man at this point), or Dom and Bert, who are fairly straightforward with their nature. Dom is trying so hard to change, but he’s a womanizer through and through, and Bert is just the pervy old guy we’ve come to love—the one who gets excited when he sees sex workers leaving his son’s room. Never change, Bert. Actually, maybe ditch the fedora.