The White Lotus S2E3: “Bull Elephants” — The Other Side of the Coin

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The following contains spoilers for The White Lotus S2E3, “Bull Elephants”


It is not yet known how many seasons The White Lotus we’ll get from HBO, but it becomes clear that season 2 is just the flip side of season 1. Writer and director Mike White seems to expertly scrutinize the lives of the elite 1%; customers who can afford a trip to a resort like The White Lotus. But at the same time Season 1 gave us the satirist, can-you-believe-these-people insight into their penthouse-level issues, Season 2 is clearly designed to show the dark underbelly of the upper crust. You go into Episode 3 feeling a certain way about many of the characters, but leave the third hour with a much clearer picture of who to look for in the second half of the season.

The true intentions and motivations began to become clear in “Bull Elephants”, and many of our characters find themselves in new and undesirable perilous situations.

Cameron and Ethan

Just when I was starting to like you, Cameron, you had to do something like that to your buddy, Ethan. After the guys end up with a night to themselves after a day of playing chicken with jet skis and drinking Sicilian Mai Tais, things get worse as the real Cameron Sullivan finally decides it’s time to take off his mask.

Cameron’s depravity begins innocently enough when he tells Ethan he was disappointed to learn that his former roommate sold his business for a fortune without even a quick text so Cameron could indulge in a minor crime. initiated. The guys Cameron works with, you see, can do great things for Ethan, so all he has to do is keep them in the (slightly illegal) loop for any future funding.

But it turns out that business ethics aren’t the only thing Cameron isn’t entirely honest about. In the least shocking turn of events since Armond fell off the wagon in Season 1, Cameron likes to run over Daphne. That’s what brothers do, after all, he tells Ethan. After local hosts Lucia and Mia are unexpectedly made available to the next wandering eye in the resort, Cameron locks eyes with Lucia so the four of them can party Sicilian style.

Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

Ethan accepts drinking, drugs, skinny bathing, and general frivolity, but when the clothes come off in the bedroom, he draws a line. Cameron has to, uh, entertain the two girls while Ethan cowers in the bathroom, hiding from the life he never wanted his new found wealth to present to him. He never sees his phone ringing on the bedside table as Harper calls to check in.

Daphne and Harper

We’re a far cry from a Sullivan fairy tale after seeing Cameron’s true colors in his with Ethan. But it turns out that Daphne may be aware of all the trouble at Camelot and decided to go all out to her advantage anyway. In this episode, she invites Harper to go shopping with her in Noto, a “baroque boutique” town with amazing shops and palaces about two hours from the station.

After Harper’s failed attempt to seduce Ethan after his morning run, she pledges to be “the funniest ever” and thus has no choice but to accept the invitation. of Daphne, though it’s clear she’d rather have Ethan’s jet ski fly over her head a dozen times. . But she doesn’t know that Harper is just using the trip as an excuse to earn a little escape from the boys. She’s booking a Palazzo for the girls for the night and when Harper finds out, it looks like she would if you told her the Republicans took over the House, Senate, and Presidency all at once.

Daphne makes several confessions to Harper
Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

But, being loyal to Ethan and wanting to keep his promise, she at least makes the effort. It’s not until Daphne convinces her to take an edible that we finally start to see another side of Harper that isn’t walled off by a strident exterior. She wants to know who Cameron really is so when Harper admits he’s “mean, like a little boy” and not a “real psycho” like Cameron’s co-workers, Harper has to dig deeper.

Daphne admits to Cameron’s irregular, but present, infidelity and how she learned to use it to her advantage. She learned to “not be a victim” and to turn Cameron’s hot dates into treats for herself. This confession flips the switch on Harper and presents the motivation for the phone call to Ethan that will never be answered.

Bert, Dom and Albie

An early riser, Dom wakes to find local ladies Lucia in his bed and Mia on her sofa. Obviously unaware that money won’t make your problems go away, Dom hands his big wad of euros to his guests in an effort to get the ladies out of his room as quickly as possible.

Also an early riser, patriarch Bert sees Lucia and Mia leaving his son’s room and he has an expression that is both horrified and proud, knowing that his son was doing just what Di Grasso’s men should be doing. Bert uses this information whenever he can throughout the day, including frequently complaining about “all the noise coming through the walls” and how difficult it is for him to sleep.

Bert gives Dom a hard time about his evening visitors
Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

As the two older men of Di Grasso and Albie in the Dark invite Portia to join them for a chauffeured tour of The Godfather filming locations, the two older men’s conversations predictably revert to Di Grasso’s usual chauvinistic tendencies, horrifying Albie. But this time, Albie doesn’t want them anymore and gives them the opening lecture “Gender is a social construction” of his introductory gender studies course in his first year at Stanford. I mean, how else is he going to impress Portia?

Despite Dom’s superficial attempt to persuade his son that he’s a “feminist” and that he “wants a change”, we see Dom turn a small corner and dismiss the local ladies of the night, opting instead to swirl his brandy at the bar. . Dom’s journey seems destined to feel the tension between changing his life for his son’s sake and following in his father’s prehistoric footsteps.

Tanya and Greg

After his mysterious phone call provided the cliffhanger to Episode 2, Tanya wakes up the next morning a shell of herself. At breakfast, Tanya tiptoes around demanding an explanation from Greg, even offering to “rethink the prenup” if Greg can give her straight answers. He refuses, even though we finally learn what happened to the various illnesses that plagued Greg when we met him in Season 1.

It seems that Tanya used some of her immense wealth to find the right doctors to treat Greg. But now that Greg has discovered that he has many years left, the thought of spending those many years with Tanya has him seriously rethinking the whole proposal.

This, of course, sends Tanya – who has been slightly sane lately – into a deep spiral, revealing the Season 1 version of Tanya who was more likely to grab hold of her mother’s ashes than help a boyfriend with his health care.

With Valentina’s help, she finds the local tarot card reader, hoping for one last reading that will give her the insight she needs to know Greg’s true intentions. After kicking the fortune teller out for being ‘too negative’, the last we see of her is buried under her covers, asking Portia to read vanity lounge and wait for his next marching orders.

If Greg does indeed return in two days, Tanya may be so far down the black rabbit hole that nothing can stop her from showing up as a flotation device in the Ionian Sea next.

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