Jonesing for something to watch, I finally decided to give THE WHITE LOTUS a try. It didn’t seem like my thing, but I’d heard a lot of good things about it, so why not. I liked it, finding it an interesting drama about power–who has it, who doesn’t, and what that means–which gave it some nice darker overtones. That and the fact it starts with a dead body.
Welcome to the White Lotus, an upscale hotel in Hawaii built on lands taken from native Hawaiians, where they now work catering to predominantly rich whites coming from the mainland. At the hotel, we have Armond (the manager), Belinda (the spa manager), and various workers. On the guest side, we have a family complete with spoiled teens, midlife crisis dad, and workaholic mom; a needy, fragile woman come to dispose of her mother’s ashes; and a couple on their honeymoon. We follow them on their respective vacation experiences.
The show plays out like an episode of the old TV show FANTASY ISLAND stretched out over six hour-long episodes. A group of people show up wanting something, only to leave with what they need. Honestly, almost none of them are very likable, and we see many of them affected in some way by exploitation or a power dynamic from which they’re abused or the abuser, even if the person they’re battling is dead, a dangerous version of themselves, or some off-screen group. They all get what they need but not what they deserve, some of them having left considerable damage in their wake, particularly anyone who tried to change the present power dynamic to their advantage.
As for the acting, it has a terrific cast that includes Alexandra Daddario, Steve Zahn, and more, with Murray Bartlett, who plays Armond, really impressing me; the guy chewed every scene he was in. Another thing I’d like to point out about the show is the directing. It’s a beautiful show. The hotel setting, landscape, and music were all quite beautiful, which along with the darker tone and human ugliness elevated what was again a stretched-out FANTASY ISLAND.
Overall, I didn’t fall in love, but it was fun enough and I liked it–a good turn-off-the-brain kind of show–enough to start the second season.