Season 1, Episode 2, “New Day”

Image of the article titled Fortunes Change and Doubt Spreads in Ever Sneaky White Lotus

Photo: HBO

In the new documentary Roadrunner, on the life and death of Anthony Bourdain, extract from an episode of Bourdain’s show in 2011 No reservations. In it, Josh Homme – Bourdain’s close friend and frontman of the band Queens of the Stone Age – says of the “bittersweet curse” of travel, “Nothing feels better than coming home, and nothing doesn’t feel better than leaving the house. ” At first it seemed that holidaymakers from The white lotus might agree with the latter part of this statement, and might indulge in the joy of being away from the familiar and experiencing it in the new. But now we are on the second day of living in Heaven, and in “New Day” we see how quickly fortunes can change – figuratively, of course! Of course, we know someone dies at the end of this week in Hawaii. Losing their money, however? Crazy! Is Mike White really that cruel?

“New Day” is a whirlwind of episodes, so jam-packed with plot and character development and so interspersed with ironic asides and satirical moments that I had to stop my normal recap-writing process, which is to take notes during an episode and then going through them, highlighting in different colors different elements of the episode that I want to discuss. When I was halfway through my grade review and virtually every grade line was already highlighted, I knew I was fighting a losing battle. There is so much grandeur here: Olivia and Paula’s flippant egocentricity as they fear they will be bored an all-expenses-paid vacation on a beautiful island then console himself by withdrawing more and more drugs. The dismayed look that resort employees share when they see how Shane attacks the breakfast buffet like a hungry man rather than what he really is, who is a tight-fisted who just tries to eat as much as he can for upset the hotel. As Rachel is lost for words when Nicole transforms into a second from a tasteless feminist who supports women into a megalomaniac who targets the jugular, precisely cruel. And the mirrored looks of Steve Zahn and Connie Britton in absolute bewilderment when Mark learns from his uncle how his father really died! Testicular cancer? Not really.

The white lotus hosts tonal balance masterclasses in each scene of “New Day” and also effectively advances each subplot. “Arrivals” was devoted to character introductions, relationship setups, and introducing tension between customers and resort employees. “New Day” deepens, probing the irregular and out of sync ways these two groups communicate with each other and without each other. Mark learns he doesn’t have cancer and everyone’s reactions seem muted. Nicole is thrilled, but treats the news like she’s ticking a box on a to-do list, while Olivia, Paula, and Quinn barely blink. Shane and Rachel are all about “honeymoon sex frenzy,” but he couldn’t less respect his career. “It’s just click traps like waking, trendy, high-minded bullshit,” Shane says (in the true mind of every man whose shitty comments appear in my hidden responses on Twitter!), And this self-involved line isn’t even the worst to come out of his mouth in this little speech. That honor goes to “Welcome to the rest of your wonderful life”: is that really what Rachel wants?

It is a bit late to question yourself, and yet moments of doubt permeate “New Day”. The episode starts off with a little bit of hope, with Mark’s cancer-free diagnosis encouraging him to say “I have, like, a new life” and commit to diving with Quinn; Tanya still basks in the glow of Belinda’s holistic health treatment; and Rachel thinking she might score an interview with Nicole, whom she had previously written about in a listicle. But White doesn’t allow his characters to linger in optimism – to fantasize within him – for very long.

Mark gets the most grace, with “New Day” spent in a sunny glow (“We have no problems. We have food to eat, family, we are healthy and alive”) before may his sense of identity and masculinity not be shattered by the revelation that the father he idolized as a pillar of heterosexual strength was gay, led a double life, and died of AIDS. Rachel, thinking she can prove Shane wrong by scoring an interview with Nicole, kicks a hornet’s nest upon learning that the article she wrote – which she assumed no one had. lu – was actually consumed and hated by Nicole. Her husband tells her her job is a joke, and a woman she admires tells her that she sucks at this shitty job. Alexandra Daddario might be the most pleasantly surprising member of this ensemble cast so far, not because she’s already been bad at anything (her supporting role in the first season of Real detective was incredibly bubbling, and she brings a truly unsettling faith to the ’80s horror comedy tribute We invoke darkness) but because the role of Rachel offers so many opaque and mystifying layers. Does Rachel really like her job, or does she think she’s good at it, or does she think it’s worth it? Would it be bad to stop working because of the principle of giving up her independence, or because she would give up her independence to Shane? She looked positively shocked to walk away from this conversation with Nicole, and the words “Have a nice vacation” sounded like a curse.

I’ve covered the clients at the resort, but “New Day” also spends enough time on Armond that it’s clear that his sobriety, his war with Shane, and his so far close relationship with Belinda are all going to be elements. central to history. The self-doubt that plagues Armond after he realizes Lani, “I was criticizing her all day, and she was at work,” did not immediately make me think that Armond would break his sobriety of five years old, but as soon as Olivia and Paula’s drug backpack arrived in her office, the writing was on the wall. Murray Bartlett does a great job when Armond thinks no one is looking at him, as his face pinches as he walks away from Shane, who again complains about the Pineapple sequel and puts his mother’s travel agent Lorenzo on the case. But the pill he takes after lying to Olivia and Paula about their missing hiding place seems like the first step on a really bad path – and I have to admit I’m also wary of the relationship developing between Belinda and Tanya. .

I have no doubt that Tanya really appreciates the way Belinda has helped her or that her invitation to dinner with Belinda was truly well-meaning, and I also don’t think her gushing over Belinda during the meal was not sincere. But unlike all hotel guests, who, whether sober or high, can avoid the clearly passing Tanya, Belinda lacks that ability. She cannot refuse the invitation of a guest at the risk of offending him. And once Tanya offers to invest in Belinda, Belinda also cannot refuse other appointments or events together. Money is a lure, and everyone at White Lotus needs it, and it distorts and affects every interaction they have. Except, again, for Quinn, who also retains her purity in this episode. Does her time sleeping on the beach cross her screen haze? Her wonderful “What the fuck is this” seeing that killer whale break-in was a nice reminder of the natural world this resort is in and so many guests seem to ignore. Quinn not just shit over there, girls– he realizes that maybe his belief that nothing would be better than going home is wrong.

Stray observations

  • Excellent editing during this final scene, with Belinda’s confession: “With the customers here, it’s mostly rich whites. And to be honest, I struggle with that, ”and our cycling through the Mossbacher, the Patton and their little disagreements.
  • Yes Olivia and Paula are absolutely nightmarish, but “We only do witchcraft” and “Make offerings to Hecate” made me laugh a lot, as did “We weren’t lesbians, Daddy” and “We were were sea witches. “These two speak their own language, and it both scares and amuses me both, like Mark and Nicole, I’m sure, as we saw when Paula dared to say the word ‘colonialism’ .
  • “Just a bus boy”? You don’t throw Kekoa Kekumano, young Aquaman, to play just a busboy! I guess whoever that White Lotus employee is, they’re going to come between Olivia and Paula (friends, lovers, whoever they are) in the next few episodes.
  • This isn’t the last time we see Armond rummaging through Olivia and Paula’s drug backpack, right? Reminder of what’s in it: herb, Adderall, Ambien, Xanax, Klonopin and ketamine.
  • A nightmare I could never have expected: the possibilities suggested in the sentence “Who is her doctor, Lena Dunham?” “
  • Oh, and another: “Are our clits going to explode?”
  • Guess I’ll think about it every episode, but: have Shane and Rachel never discussed the practicalities of their life after marriage? Shane expects Rachel to stop working so casually (“Now you just do what you wanna do, whatever it is”) that it’s clear he just assumed that she would devote the rest of her life to being his wife. I’m going to go with “controlling” rather than “altruistic” for this.
  • This week’s Best Online Reading awards go to Connie Britton, who makes the distinction between bewildered and resentful with her “It Was a Fucked Piece” to Rachel, and Steve Zahn, whose “Liv, Your Mom Ain’t. not Putin “irritated. was really perfect comedic timing. Good job, the Mossbacher!
  • Speaking of Zahn, Mark’s line “You are still being born into life” is very similar to what Belinda said to Tanya in the first episode: “Every moment I was born into this life. Is this just a dialogue overlap from White, or has Mark also seen Belinda in an offscreen scene?

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