The ‘White Lotus’ drops a bomb on its wild end. We tear it all down
“The White Lotus,” Mike White ‘s lead actor-author Mike White’ satire satire of Western imperialism, luxurious tourism, classification and Oberlin College study curriculum, has emerged as the most talked about summer TV series. But it’s hard to say for sure whether that’s because of her dream set, her school caterpillar or the sad style of Jennifer Coolidge.
Sunday’s season – not the series – the ending may bind the open limits of its multi-stranded history, but this is “The White Lotus,” so there’s still a lot of confusion. (One unforgettable moment, literally.) Did White cling to his portrayal of problems in paradise or the cluttered last hour revealing aspects of the series? Los Angeles Times TV critic Lorraine Ali and staff writer Meredith Blake demolished everything, from speculation to scatological.
Meredith Blake, staff writer: Aloha, Lorraine! Our stay at “The White Lotus” is over and there’s a lot to discuss, but I think we have no choice but to start with an elephant in the room – or, to put it bluntly, a smoky turd in the Pineapple Suite. For six episodes now, “White Lotus” has finally played the undisputed game of guessing who-in-the-box. Now we have the answer, as well as an indelible picture of an old man getting into a suitcase before bending down and dying in a tub the size of a king. It is the death toll from HBO history.
Lorraine Ali, TV critic: Mahalo, Meredith, for starting this interview where I was expecting. The mystery is solved, but not before the literal paradise [in an unpublished name here]. To be honest, everyone was so unhappy with this place that death seemed like a wonderful relief. The collection of suspicious characters who do horrible things hidden in the series impress you with some kind of sadness.
Blake: Some might throw a corpse-at-the-top in a series like a gimmick, but I found it effective in eliminating tension and fear. And all the murder-mystery-in-an-exquisite-setting is a tradition revered during the time from Agatha Christie. It is White’s debt, there were many characters who looked determined (or deserved) sudden death. One time I was convinced that Tanya’s boyfriend – you know,
the one from the BLM – was a murderous killer who would kill him and run away with his treasures. At one point, I was convinced that Quinn would kill her family in the “danger” of scuba diving. There was even a minute or two when I thought Kai would come back to Paula by teasing her in this wonderful way.
Apparently Armond was going down a bit in episode 1, but I wasn’t entirely sure he was a goner until he took off his pants and released his guts into the ugly Shane beach jersey. . there is always hope. (Bartlett is as good as Coolidge, IMHO.) At least I’m glad Armond came out in flames of coke glory, made the final virtuoso game as a dinner host (set in “Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desire”) before taking that revenge trash. Best of all, he’s dead with a peaceful look on his face.
Ali: I was looking for Paula to beat Olivia to death with her copy of “Discourse on Colonialism,” or Lani, a pregnant employee who disappeared after giving birth in Armond’s office, that she would come back to kill someone. Anyone. (All right, Shane first.) I needed to be traced to his story. One of the problems I had with this series was that it spent a lot of time focusing on the selfish issues of rich tourists and their interactions with staff instead of exploiting despair on both sides of the divide.
The slow burning of rich people who sank into their careers is nothing new, especially for HBO, and has been a motto at times. That said, Armond was also one of my favorite characters, and his exit became a hero.
Blake: It really was. Being a courageous journalist, I soon began to wonder about the deadly doo-doo machines. (First of all, what made a turd? Who was responsible for creating false sewage? Resources? Visual results? God does not allow… handicrafts?) But I especially loved White for her willingness to go as far as possible and make it happen as high as possible. The most embarrassed filmmaker would have narrowed the proximity of Armond’s face before the first turd fell. But not White. In any case, poo-me was the perfect farewell for Armond, and the microcosm of the show as a whole – twisted, extremely funny and very sad at the same time.
What I love about White’s work, ranging from a loved one, has gone “Enlightened,” his comfort in adversity, his willingness to be deeply sympathetic to his favorite characters, the ease he changes with it from poems to jokes in the pot. In one piece you can have a very nice water sequence that brought tears to my eyes (side note: You really like sea turtles) and a perfect animated approach. Like life itself! However, I will alleviate diarrhea and let you share your thoughts.
Ali: Thank you, Meredith. I will never think of art services in the same way. Finally, I didn’t care who ended up going home in that box. Like Tom Hanks, I wanted to get off the island.
Blake: Let’s talk a little bit about who does and doesn’t leave the island. He makes a good point about Lani. I also wondered what happened to poor, miserable Kai, who was last seen running into the sea after a terrible tragedy. You could argue that White doesn’t care so much about what happens to the less affluent characters, who aren’t white in the series. In fact, she told me that she was “trying to get into the mind
of people with money and power ”in this series. To that end, I felt as if White was making a point of how workers were being used in a place like White Lotus – they are here one day, they go to the next, only to be replaced by a new “fun, flexible team of helpers,” as Armond puts it.
Even Paula who is said to be progressively eventually treats Kai as a nest in revenge for the Mossbachers, never reaching out to her because she knows better than to engage with her.
That last shot of Belinda, who casually greeted another boat of very wealthy people as she stood next to Lani and Armond, instead of her life, her life playing out like a never-ending repetition of “Fantasy Island,” says it all, actually.
For tourists, things are going very well – which is how the world works when you are rich. Rachel leaves her life as a compact, which sounds realistic compared to being a poorly paid content editor. Despite the actual killing, Shane travels to Tahiti – where he has been ordered never to end the “Blink” – with a slap on the wrist. Tanya finally releases her mother’s ashes and goes to Aspen with her boyfriend who may be dying.
One person who seems to be in good health over the weekend is Quinn, who has freed herself from the chains of technology and is still in her infancy. Do we think he will get bored and fly back home? HBO recently announced plans for a second season of “The White Lotus,” with a new look and potential new guests. Did you get any suggestions from White to make the next season less imaginative?
Ali: White definitely makes the point that inequality is rooted in the effects of the characters, which can be understood because that is the reality of the world – and there are many shipping ports. But he did it almost exclusively from the colonial point of view, which is a problem on many levels.
First, it limits the series by providing the same blind spots as recreational guests. There is no shortage of sharp lines there about rich jerseys that treat others like discarded wipes, and “The White Lotus” has a good chance of extending that
formula while taking a family like the Mossbachers to its usual place and bringing in characters like Lani and Kai. But it has never gone beyond the absurdity of white wealth – money instead of parenthood, the separation of power in their marriage – which was clearly felt to be played out.
I mean, we both love Cristobal Tapia De Veer’s song, don’t we? A big part of what makes it so strange is that it sounds like a clash of conflicting cultural resorts, a combination of conflict between the continent and the people of the islands, colonies and indigenous peoples, both historically and still. For me, season 2 would be very energetic and very smart if you walk into the staff lounge before a hukilau dinner show or a lei greeting or whatever “traditional entertainment” awaits guests at the next White Lotus season.
And that doesn’t mean turning this HBO series into a resurrected diatribe. God no. It needs to stay sardonic with its working and non-white characters as well (see “Ramy” or “Atlanta” for directions). As for Quinn, I predict that she will eventually run a shoe-like material in the 2024 spinoff “Blue Flip Flop.”
Blake: Book now to get the best prices!
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