“The White Lotus” has lost none of its heady appeal, relocating its mix of rich people’s problems and staff struggles to a new island (Sicily), with Jennifer Coolidge as the sole residence of the award-winning original an Emmy It’s an impressive exercise in reloading from writer-director Mike White, who based on this encore should have plenty of frequent flyer miles in his future if he wants it.
There’s a subtle shift in balance, not just with the Italian flavor, though the series once again opens with a moment of foreboding, with an unidentified body washing ashore at the idyllic resort spa, before jumping back on the last boat full of newcomers. .
Specifically, the hotel staff plays a smaller role this time, although the manager (Sabrina Impacciatore) has to deal with the challenges of her demanding clientele. Instead of just hotel employees, the local contingent is represented by a prostitute, Lucia (Simona Tabasco, in what appears to be a breakout role), who finds the latest guests to be a needy bunch and thus profitable; and her less worldly friend Gia (Beatrice Grannò), an aspiring singer whom Lucia tries to teach her the ropes.
As for those guests, in addition to Coolidge’s Tanya, who brings in and abuses a new assistant (Haley Lu Richardson), the record includes a mismatched couple consisting of two college roommates (Theo James, Will Sharpe) and their respective wives (Meghann). Fahy, Aubrey Plaza); and three generations of men – father (F. Murray Abraham), son (Michael Imperioli) and grandson (Adam DiMarco) – on a trip to see the old man’s ancestral home, with a lot of family baggage with them.
Little by little, tensions are emerging on several fronts. Plaza’s Harper resents her fellow travelers’ performative displays of affection and apparent indifference to what’s going on in the world (they don’t bother to watch the news), while Dominic d’Imperili, a high-powered executive at Hollywood, he drifts away from his wife, placing his son Adam, a shy Stanford graduate, in an awkward position.
Once again, White painstakingly layers each of these stories, which begin as parallel lines before gradually starting to intersect and collide in unexpected and dangerous ways. When a character utters a line like, “Please don’t make me regret this,” in the setting of “The White Lotus,” it immediately feels like a warning that he eventually will.
If the situations are darkly comic, the dialogue also remains exceptionally sharp, such as Abraham’s aging lion, who insists on flirting with much younger women, thinking of the socially conscious and often embarrassed Adam who instead of respecting people big, ‘Now we’re just reminders of an offensive past that everyone wants to forget.” This includes a family debate about the merits of “The Godfather” as the trio goes on a wish-list tour of Sicilian locations where shot the film.
Five of the seven episodes this season were made available, so it remains to be seen if the payoff is again worthy of the build-up, and obviously there isn’t the same sense of discovery.
For now, though, White has pulled off one of Hollywood’s most daunting feats: conjuring up a follow-up to a rightfully admired project without a clear plan for how to do it and avoiding a complete collapse at the box office. offering another five stars. television experience.
“The White Lotus” premieres Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. discovery