Photo: Fabio Lovino/HBO
We have reached that point White lotus The season is where the fan hits, and it’s fair to assume that most of our guests have already used Expedia once or twice for an early flight home. Questions are finally being answered and our characters’ secrets are being revealed, not just to us, but to each other. And at this resort, information is another form of power, so with each messy secret revealed, we’re seeing the power dynamics shift more and more.
Our morning begins with Ethan finally seeing the condom wrapper that Harper left last night for him to find. “Harper, what is it?” he asked as she lay awake on the bed. “You tell me.” Finally, after not communicating the entire episode about the rapper or how he got there, Ethan gets a chance to explain that it’s Cameron’s and tells her all about Molly and the hookers. Of course, this doesn’t set him free the way he thinks, and Harper is upset that he spent all of yesterday lying to her when she repeatedly asks him what happened that night. The result of this revelation is a serious rift in their relationship, but Harper also walks away with a wealth of new information.
Harper now knows all the secrets of her traveling companions and therefore holds all the cards for this trip. But what will she do with this new advantage? When Cameron suggested a wine tasting, Harper immediately jumped on board and said, “Let’s get drunk. Maybe we’ll find some Molly and get really pissed off,” teasing her newly acquired intel and teasing Cameron. We can see him wondering, If she knew about Molly, what else would she know?
But Harper isn’t the only one who knows about Cameron’s secrets; Lucia is still roaming the resort and still wants the money she owes. All this season we’ve been hearing about how rich and successful Cameron is, so why is this a problem? Either he is not as rich as we are led to believe, or the reason he is rich is because he deceives people. Finally, Daphne told us that he works with several variants of Bernie Madoff. But of all people to screw with, it doesn’t seem wise to offend someone you want to keep your secrets from. Then again, I don’t think anyone would describe Cameron as “smart”.
Speaking of money, it turns out that Lucia was on the clock when she spent last night with Albi, surprising him when she asked him for money the next morning. I cannot interpret Lucia’s intentions here. Yesterday she seemed to resent her work, instead directing attention to Albie which I don’t interpret as business. But now, in the cool morning light, it actually shows was Business Did Lucia ever change her mind, or was this always her plan? Perhaps rich, innocent Albie was incredibly easy prey.
From Albee’s perspective, it’s a real Catch-22. He is certainly disappointed that his return from Portia was paid for, but even worse, he now appears to be following in his father’s footsteps; A place he never wanted to be. So what is his next move? The wheels turn as they try to figure out what the “good guy” is. What’s worse, paying for sex or skipping it on the bill? We’ve seen Albie be a pushover all week, and that’s definitely not going to change, so of course he promises to make her pay.
Dominic catches on to what’s going on when he tells his family he needs to go to the bank. He approaches Lucia, charges her room, and in return asks her to stay away from his son. “Whatever you do, please don’t tell him anything about you and me,” he pleads. This secret gives Lucia immense power, more than she already had in Dominic’s tab. If she’s ever in the mood for blackmail, Lucia can clean up, because she’s got these guys by the balls (both literally and figuratively).
Later, Dominic encourages his son to stay away from her, but he can’t explain why without giving up on himself. Less clever is Burt, who immediately comes out and says they’re escorts. This of course leads to a whole conversation about sex work, in which no one seems as subtle as they think. When Albie wakes up, Dominic wants to know what’s up with his father, who nearly reveals his secret about Lucia. After getting hit over the head earlier in the episode, Burt delivers the episode’s best line, “I can’t be responsible for what I say, I’m messed up!”
After a few more deserved pours at a wine tasting, Harper indulges in some old-fashioned shit-steering and asks if Cameron and Ethan have ever slept with the same girl. “Be honest!” She taunts. When Cam brushes it off by saying that they have different dating pools, Ethan says that whenever he likes a girl, Cameron will have sex with her. “You have a bad case of something called mimetic desire. When a high-status person wants something, it means you’re more likely to want it too.” It’s a new side to Ethan, but what ultimately pushes him back? Is it the fact that he spilled the dirt on Cam from the other night, or is he angry that keeping that dirt a secret has now caused a rift between him and Harper?
Harper doubles down on the game, asking if they’ve seen each other have sex. After sharing a room in college, Cameron says probably. “So I guess old habits die hard, huh?” she says “What the hell? Did you tell her?” Cameron asks, pulling Ethan aside. Now that he knows his enemy of the week has done dirt on him, what is he going to do about it?
While secrets are kept and revealed back at the resort, a mystery is still brewing in Palermo, where Quentin invites Tanya and Portia to spend two days by yacht. “You have to bring some cute things. Do you have any cute things?” Tanya instructs Portia, as if she’s reading a tweet about her bad outfits. But before they start their journey, Tanya thinks about her failed marriage and wonders how she could have missed all the signs. As she blindly goes out with the troupe, it’s worth wondering if she’s missing all the signs again, because something seems off about her new friends. Tanya’s relieved that they’re rich, which at least means she doesn’t have to worry about using her for money — but then why? is Did they collect her?
Quentin, comparing Tanya to a tragic figure, insists on taking her to the opera. Madam Butterfly, which practically acts as an analogy for Tanya’s own life. Meanwhile, Jack shows Portia around town, dining on rice balls but ending up dashing because he forgot his wallet. It looks like Grift is starting to show through the cracks, but Portia’s timing is good. Even before they retire to Portia’s room, Jack has to run off to do something for his uncle.
Speaking of family, Albie is having dinner with Lucia while Dominique and Burt watch, who now claims she doesn’t want money for their second night. “You can’t be surprised,” Burt says, accusing Dominic of normalizing it for him. “You know the reason I’m the way I am,” Dominic tells his father, and once again they litigate the generational ramifications of their respective infidelities.
At the restaurant, Cameron decides to turn the tables on Harper and asks her about her sex life. As this happens, Cameron puts his hand on her knee under the table, causing her to trip. Remember what Ethan was saying about mimetic desire? But aside from just wanting what Ethan has, this appears to be a calculated attempt to disarm Harper. If Cameron succeeds in seducing Harper, it takes away all the power he currently has over her, because then he will have done dirt on her too.
When the boys go to get cigars, Harper tells Daphne that she thinks something happened last night. But when it comes to infidelity, Daphne is the seasoned veteran and Harper the rookie, and she assures Harper that it’s probably no big deal. “And if something ever happens, do whatever you have to do to make yourself feel better about it.” There’s an awkward pause before Daphne starts telling Harper about her blonde, blue-eyed, cute trainer — singing its praises and suggesting Harper get one of her own. But when she shows her a photo, it’s of her blonde, blue-eyed, cute son. “Oopsy,” she says, as if something had gone wrong.
It sounds like some kind of psychological thriller and I have no idea what’s going on. What is Daphne trying to convey with this move? Or is her son really her trainer’s baby? Or should Harper have a baby to deal with infidelity? Is her camera roll really that messed up? For every question answered and for every secret revealed, new questions multiply at a double rate.
All this chaos needs a good soundtrack, and ever since she accidentally drugged the resort’s piano player, Mia has been pestering a very resistant Valentina to give her the key. In another example of knowledge being power, Mia picks up on the fact that Valentina is gay and is able to use it to flirt with her and convince her to give her the gig. Hey, that’s why we’re seeing so much Valentina flirting with Isabella.
As Mia rapturously (and ironically) sings “That’s Amore,” we float through the unfolding lives of our guests: Harper and Cameron seductively smoke each other, Dominic calls and gets his wife’s voicemail (more darn!), and Albie has sex with Lucia. But when the music stops, we’re back in Palermo, where Tanya wakes up at night and wanders through a ghostly space following the sounds of sex. She opens a set of doors, and sees Quentin being tricked by his “nephew” Jack. Another breathable secret revealed – A top Secret secret, if you will. And this is her first night in Palermo! I can’t wait for breakfast.