From the opening moments of this season of white lotusMike White made us wonder, “Who’s in the water?” Who does Daphne bump into in the season opener “Ciao,” and who else does the Italian police find? Is it Cam, Harper, or Ethan, members of couples at different levels of marital distress? Is it one of di Grasso’s men, on a family journey that connects males to the motherland? Sex workers Lucia and Mia or beleaguered assistant Portia?
All these figures walked to the water and gazed solemnly over it; Watch the waves crashing on the rocks. They had heard stories of people killed for their properties overlooking the sea, their dead bodies hurled off the cliffs. And at the end of “Arrivederci” is the returning White Lotus guest Tania who is found drowned, marked for death in her floral lacy floral dress, very similar to the dress worn by the mockumentary version of Michael Corleone’s first wife Apollonia in The Godfather One of the attractions he visited is Portia. “Death is the last immersive experience I haven’t tried,” Tanya said to her husband, who wasn’t Greg at the time white lotus The Season 1 finale “Departure”, and through a sense of narrative self-referencing, White shifts Tanya’s relationship with water from Season 1’s baptism to Season 2’s oblivion.
Water is an established symbol of rebirth in art and literature, and White has evoked this meaning time and again in his own work, with added layers of fantasy and surrealism. in enlightened He used different underwater images to ask how people perceive themselves within the vastness of the universe – are we pearls “hiding under the sand at the bottom of the ocean”, waiting to be noticed and called upon? Is the wonderful tranquility of a sea turtle, fully aware of itself and at peace with it, possible for us? In the first season of white lotusAnd Hawaii’s beach and waters are a haven for wealthy white teenager Quinn, who sleeps on the sand and is captivated by the seeming purity of the landscape, and Tanya, who arrives in Hawaii to come to terms with her mother’s death.
Tanya is presented to us as self-centered and self-absorbed, actively hurting White Lotus employees, and very concerned about her appearance, especially to men. The first time she tried to scatter her mother’s ashes while on a charter boat in Mystery Monkeys, she was hysterically upset, her face frozen into a mask of pain and resentment. But in “Departure,” after all the support from Belinda, the White Lotus employee, she’s exuberant and easygoing, practically dancing through the waves as she tosses fistfuls of ashes into the air. Turning around, she looks at the water around her, and finds a new beginning in it. The same goes for Quinn: after watching Tanya walk along the beach, he abandons his family and instead stays in Hawaii to kayak with a group of locals who accept him warmly and unquestioningly into their crew. One of the final scenes of “The Departed” is Quinn on a Hawaiian-style boat, paddling away from the beach (and his old life), and heading towards the sun and something new.
This season of white lotus, though, visibly and willfully ruined that ending. The deaths in the opening scene indicated a different approach: Gone is the aquatic environment as restorative or welcoming, and in its place is the ocean mysterious and impenetrable – not far from what Daphne says to Ethan about marriage in “Arrivederci”. When Daphne remarks “We don’t really know what people have in mind or what they do. … That part is still a mystery,” she’s talking about the ambiguity of companionship, the impossibility of anticipating what someone you love and trust might do—or do. to me You are. Take these statements figuratively, though, and they sound like a commentary on the ocean, too: 95 percent of them are still unknown and unexplored by humans, whole ecosystems in which we have no part. There are patterns and rhythms of the ocean that run on their own intent, over which we have no influence, and White immediately reinforced that water as a place to die this season heightened the unknowability of that underwater world.
Photo: Francesca D’Angelo/HBO
Each of these seven episodes is used as a B-roll of waves crashing on rocks and splashing on cliffs, pebbles caught underwater and sunlight shimmering on the water’s surface, and sometimes rewind shots of high tide to convey a picture of naturalness, unexpectedness, equal risk. Aggressive – Not much different from the way David Lynch used trees, leaves and wind Twin Peaks As a reminder of everything that goes on around us without regard to our presence or interference. in White lottos, there is something comforting about our personal lack of tension with the choices of others, daphne seems to say, because it gives us the freedom to decide for ourselves how to act and react.
To take this idea of mystery to Tanya, her actions this season often felt like those of someone stuck in a cliff, who continues to flow until there’s no turning back — and no one to save her. It differs from a character like Daphne, who sees the storm and swims parallel to it, plotting her way through the chaos. Instead, Tanya’s ending feels like a stark rebuke to her faked triumph in the Season 1 finale (she frolicked along the beach thinking the water could heal her, when it was really Belinda’s ongoing emotional deserted work), and somewhat of a sad reminder that the answers we seek To it most often the answers we never find. Tanya guesses that Quentin, “those gays”, mob-affiliated Niccolo were plotting to kill her; Otherwise, why would Jack kidnap Portia and steal her phone, and why would Niccolo bring her back to the beach with a bag full of rope, duct tape, and a gun? But Tanya, working her way among the men, never finds out to what degree Greg, whose picture Quentin kept at his bedside, was involved in the scheme; Quentin dies interrogating him. Was that divination reading to Tanya, in which she guessed that Greg was having an affair and that Tanya was going to kill herself, right? Sort of, though, misjudging the distance between two boats and hitting your head is more of an accident than suicide.
A fair amount of all of this is left to interpretation, and – to Daphne White’s point – murky until you make up your mind as to what you want to believe. There is clarity, however, to White sending Tanya to a watery end, warning him that what we think will heal us may actually be what hurts. The line between comedy and tragedy is a fine one, after all, and Tanya could only balance it for so long before slipping through.
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