“The White Lotus: Season 2” review: Secrecy and immorality plays part in the second season of HBO’s hit anthology


Courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Veronica Offner, Life and Times Assistant Editor

The second season of “The White Lotus” attempts to warn audiences about the dangers of lust and greed, but ultimately falls flat in its pacing and character development. 

Directed by Mike White, “The White Lotus,” which first debuted on HBO Max in the summer of 2021, was an instant hit. On Oct. 30, 2022, its second season premiered, cementing “The White Lotus” as a media sensation. 

The central premise of the second season of “The White Lotus” is similar to the first. The White Lotus itself is a fictional chain of high-end resorts, with each season focusing on a different cast of vacationers at different White Lotus resorts. The series is an anthology, so while the premise is the same, the theme of each season is different. Season one was a highlight on greed. A nagging husband constantly begging for upgrades, a wife longing for more, and a fair share of out of touch rich patrons. The theme was blatant. But, season two dives into a different theme: desire. 

The ideas of lust and desire are prevalent throughout all seven episodes of the new season. When taking the new guests to their rooms, the resort manager mentions a particular decor item that cues the viewer into what exactly this season is about. Each room is adorned with statues of heads relating to the story of “Testa Di Moro.” “Testa Di Moro” is a story in Sicilian folklore, in which a woman falls in love with a man, only to find out he has a wife and family back home. She then beheads him, and uses his head as a flower vase. These statue representations of the beheaded man can be found all over the White Lotus resort. The statues act as a loose foreshadowing of the events to follow. 

My main critique of this season lies with the foreshadowing I previously mentioned. While there were certain moments that caught me off guard, for the most part, this season was extremely predictable. In typical “The White Lotus” fashion, the final episode contains a fast paced, shocking sequence with a plot twist that truly caught me off guard. Unfortunately, any other moments intended to shock fell flat. I found myself bored by some of the characters, and I felt that the introductory phase of the season went on for too long. While I understand the need to build context to make the action more impactful, it took too long for anything to happen. I was a few episodes in before I was interested in anything that was happening or intrigued by what might come of these characters. Maybe it’s just the style of the show, because I felt the same way watching the first season. 

The cinematography of “The White Lotus” was one thing I enjoyed while watching this season. As previously mentioned, the use of the statues as a set piece and also a tool for foreshadowing was genius. While yes, obvious, it was still well planned and a good way to immerse the audience in the environment of Sicily. The shots are dynamic, and easy to watch, that in some cases makes up for boring dialogue or plot lines.  

Overall, it’s worth a watch if you like this genre of show. Although it was predictable and slow moving, it was still a fun viewing experience with appealing cinematography that completes the immersion into the universe of “The White Lotus.”


“The White Lotus” is now available on HBO Max.

Design by Ariel Landry. Photo credit: Ariel Landry