Generally, TV shows and movies that are appealing due to popular votes have not always sat well with me, as I tend to get sceptical. I usually don’t have a palate similar to the majority, but man was I awestruck with this satire. Succeeding its prequel, this season is a continuation of the recurring theme of dysfunctional families and relationships. We are introduced to a constellation of personalities that happen to vacation together on the ravishing island of Sicily, Italy. Mostly strangers at first, the couples and a family triad gradually embark on an eventful journey which reveals the character arcs of the guests and staff at The White Lotus. Will the picturesque landscape of Italy augment their overall holiday experience? Does the unravelling story leave the foreign guests with an adventure worth “dying” for?
In all honesty, I didn’t enjoy the storyline despite the power-packed performances in Season 1. I was quite hesitant about Season 2, but it proved me wrong. What stood out to me was the storyline and the show’s presentation of human hypocrisy depicted humorously. Sensitive topics such as patriarchy, misogyny, sex addiction, betrayal, and toxic relationships were delivered in a demystifying saga. A lot of the difficult, cryptic, and forced conversations mimic real-life circumstances which makes the show relatable. One of the ladies discloses an age-old fact about women which I completely agree with (I will leave this to your imagination). Humans expressing their ideals, yet doing just the opposite made it all the more ironic. An envious backdrop conveyed the exquisite beauty of the locales. We are taken on a tour of the rich Sicilian culture and heritage, which was an intriguing part of the location. The bottom line of the show stressed that there is more to people than meets the eye. When you have a gut instinct, stick to it.
I would have to say we are spoiled with stellar performances by the cast. However, personally, I had a few favourites. Tanya McQuoid-Hunt (Jennifer Coolidge) remains the entertainer of the show. Her paranoia and comic timing make a delightful appearance to watch (her breakdowns and theories are the most hilarious). Bert Di Grasso was played effectively by F. Murray Abraham. Being the arrogant patriarch, his command over tone modulation made it even more interesting. He perfected the flag-bearer of delusion and deflection to a tee. Daphne Sullivan’s (Meghann Fahy) underlying enigmatic personality proved to be the underdog for me. A lurking character beneath a dazzling smile was characterized dramatically. Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) is a charming, soft-hearted woman if you ignore the uptight persona she displays as a front. Her acting had a unique combination of authority meets humour. And last but not the least, Dominic Di Grasso’s (Michael Imperioli) neutral expressions conveyed a lot more depth than his speech. It’s like his eyes were doing all the talking. His acting seemed effortlessly striking.
One must commend the director and writer Mike White for an outstanding infusion of comedy into the psyche of humans. This season surpassed my expectations (in a great way!). His subtle knack for leaving you in chuckles while touching on grave topics is absolute genius. You are left to contemplate yet there is light-heartedness to it. The usage of props to enhance the emotional atmosphere was adept. To have a creative vision and to seamlessly incorporate ideas into life is just a mark above. The winning music score adds a haunting melody apt to the theme of the show (I liked the remixed version in Season 2 a lot better). However, due to the coverage of sensitive topics, one might find oneself triggered. Explicit scenes and drug and alcohol abuse have rendered the show an A rating, hence, not a “family” entertainer, beware. In a nutshell, watch the show for its acting prowess, scenic beauty, and “aha” moments (a must-watch finale, tragic though!). Manipulation at its best (or its worst?).