The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 3 Kicks Things Up A Notch

Another day in Sicily. Welcome back! The third episode of season 2 of "The White Lotus" starts off with a bit more interaction than anyone would want with their morning coffee. Hotel manager Valentina is approached by a man trying to get to know her while she downs her morning espresso at a local cafe on her way to the hotel. She berates him, just trying to drink her coffee in peace, after which he backs off. This seems simple yet significant. She could just be a hothead, but the exchange seems to hint at the fact that Valentina isn't interested in men. Food for thought.

Back at the hotel, Harper propositions Ethan when he gets back from his run, but he totally ignores her. She says she's gonna be "so good today and friendly" for the rest of their time, so "fun," totally the "life of the party." She even challenges her husband: "You don't think I can be lovely? Just watch." You better believe the Sullivans notice a change in her demeanor at breakfast.

Tanya cries to Greg at breakfast before he leaves and he reveals to the audience that she is the one who got him healthy. Quick recap: he was terminally ill when they met in Hawaii and he disclosed that to her during one of their trysts. "I feel like once you knew you had a lot more years, you realized you were going to be stuck living them with me," Tanya tells him that morning, but it doesn't stop him from leaving.

Blossoming connections all around, or so it seems

Grandpa sees Lucia and Mia leave Dominic's room as he heads down for breakfast and confronts his son at the buffet. Albie joins Portia for breakfast, making it a point to tell her that he wanted to hang out in her room the previous night after kissing her but didn't want to make her uncomfortable. She says he could never make anyone feel uncomfortable romantically, and then reveals she's completely unfulfilled, even in Italy, mainly because of how technology has molded us and our ability to connect in the real world. Grandpa and Dominic sit with them and invite her on a tour of the local filming locations from "The Godfather," which Albie also demands (in his sweet way, of course) that she attend.

Daphne invites Harper on an outing to Noto, a nearby town, at breakfast after Cameron turns her down in favor of jet skiing despite it being the only thing she really wants to do in Sicily. Despite Harper's newfound cheeriness, she is definitely reluctant to say yes, but agrees anyway in the name of being more approachable for her husband's sake. Well, this should prove interesting.

Lucia and Mia go shopping in town again, where we discover that Mia didn't actually sleep with Dominic the night before. While at the shooting location where Michael's wife dies in "The Godfather," Portia gets the inevitable call from Tanya demanding she come back to the hotel because Greg is gone. Albie blames them for driving Portia away, to which Grandpa asks if they embarrass him. "No, I just don't think you realize how you sound sometimes," the young man responds, sparking an olds-versus-youngs-perspective debate about men being conditioned to want the "Godfather" life — a woman who cooks, cleans, and asks approximately zero questions—and other staples of so-called masculinity. It's insightful and true in the way past White-written conversations on this show about race and class have been. Plus, the exchange is well acted with pitch-perfect timing all around.

Playing games and making changes

Tanya asks Valentina to find her a fortune teller, who comes to her room and gives her a reading she doesn't like. She claims Greg has someone "beautiful" in his life that isn't Tanya and that he's in love with someone else, which would seemingly track considering what both we and Tanya have seen. Needless to say, it wasn't what Tanya wanted to hear after catching Greg being totally suspicious and letting him leave.

In Noto, Daphne reveals she booked the palazzo they're touring for an overnight stay, catching Harper completely off guard. Later, Daphne drops the ball on Cameron about their stay to mess with him after revealing to Harper that they both "play games" with each other. Interesting. After the call, Cameron mentions his wife is punishing him, so he declares that he and Ethan are going to spend the time alone partying. Over drinks, Cameron propositions Ethan to invest some of his newfound fortune with Cameron's company. Ding ding ding! He also outwardly expresses his disappointment that Ethan didn't tell him the company was being sold, which, as Ethan retorts, is illegal anyway. So, Harper was pretty on point when it came to the vibes she picked up from Cameron on day one of the trip.

Back at the hotel later, Dominic asks Albie to tell his mother that he feels remorse about their situation, but Albie gives him a dose of reality: Nothing can fix his relationship with her short of him actually changing. Dominic says he has changed, that he is changing and that he can change — a clear sign of not doing that whatsoever, especially considering his trysts with Lucia—but Albie is far from convinced and, frankly, it doesn't seem like Dominic is either.

Beginnings, endings, and transgressions in between

Harper and Daphne go shopping in the center of the town they're staying in, and White gives us this really fun scene where men on the street surround Harper in an almost surrealist way, advancing on her until Daphne breaks the illusion when she returns to the ATM. They do edibles at lunch, which actually doesn't give us any fun trippy visuals, but I like that White employed those tactics in an otherwise benign scene. It's also worth noting what a trusting moment it is for Harper to agree to do drugs with Daphne, someone she claimed not to like very much just a day before. Again, food for thought.

That evening, Dominic meets Lucia in the bar and tells her that they can't meet up anymore, pays for their drinks, and meets up with Grandpa and Albie for a meal. As a result, Lucia starts looking for a new date, leaving Mia to her own devices—but soon, Lucia catches the attention of Cameron at a nearby dinner table with Ethan. Prior to beckoning the girls over, he admits to Ethan, with quite literally no guilt whatsoever, that everyone cheats, including himself. "We've only got one life," he asserts. Ethan doubles back and tells Cameron that he doesn't lie to his wife. Cameron even goes as far as to claim that monogamy was "created by the elite to control the middle class," which is kind of a lot to wrap your head around but not the most un-sound theory out there. Ethan is visibly apprehensive about hanging out with the girls, but goes along with the fun.

The potentials of romance

In one of the first obviously weighty moments we get with the hotel staff, Valentina has a scene with pretty employee Isabella at the front desk. Isabella compliments her as a boss and she's taken aback, and seemingly incredibly charmed. So was I right, or was I right? One of the best parts of what "The White Lotus" established itself to be last season is that it focuses as much on its hotel staff and the dysfunction therein as it does on its guests. Though we aren't quite at dysfunction yet on the side of the staff, we are finally getting a better look into their personal lives, and the most interesting character to do this with is undoubtedly our manager. I'm dying to know more about her, the workaholic enigma that she is. 

Tanya is shocked to learn Portia has met someone at the resort when Albie greets her from afar at dinner, but Portia tells her that she wishes he "got her heart rate up more or something," and that while he's nice, something is missing. Tanya tells her, "Portia, don't spend your life chasing emotionally unavailable men, you'll spend your whole life just banging your head against the wall." A table of guys keeps staring and smiling awkwardly at Tanya while she and Portia eat, but she smiles back. They seem more important than meets the eye, so more on them later, I'm sure. That night, Portia catches the eyes of a handsome young guy swimming while she's sitting near the pool, but Albie finds her with a beer and ruins the moment of tension by walking her back to her room. Bummer.

One hell of an end to the night

That night at the palazzo, Daphne admits that Cameron cheats on her and that he runs in a worrying crowd at work. But in order to stave off resentment, she claims she does what she wants, like the palazzo stay. While partying with the girls, Ethan locks himself in their adjoining room before giving in and letting the trio into his space. Mia makes moves on him and he kisses her but ultimately turns her down. 

Cameron, however, has sex with Lucia on the couch while Ethan watches—a scene accompanied by an absolutely panic-inducing score. All the while, Harper is calling Ethan as the episode comes to a close, but he doesn't pick up the phone. Yikes. I shudder to think where we'll be next episode, but all we know for sure is that the playing field has been re-leveled and things have changed. Considering this episode is basically the season's halfway point—or if you want to be fair, this and episode 4, since this season has one more episode than last did—I might even go as far as to call it the point of no return.