The White Lotus Season 1 is the first season of an American satire comedy-drama anthology television series created, written and directed by Mike White. The series focuses on the lives of the staff and guests at a tropical resort in Hawaii over the course of a week. Season 2 has been ordered and will feature a new set of visitors to the White Lotus resort.
Consisting of six episodes, The White Lotus Season 1 provided faithful viewers with intriguing insights into the lives of resort staff and the visitors. For the former, we have Armond (Murray Bartlett) the eccentric resort manager hiding a dark secret and Belinda (Natasha Rothwell) the spa manager with a dream of escaping her mundane existence. For the latter, the spotlight fell on the Mossbacher family viz father Mark (Steve Zahn), mother Nicole (Connie Britton), daughter Olivia (Sydney Sweeney) – accompanied by her friend Paula (Brittany O’Grady) – and son Quinn (Fred Hechinger); honeymoon couple Shane Patton (Jake Lacy) and his newlywed wife Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) and the troubled Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge). Whew.
Despite the sheer number of protagonists, The White Lotus Season 1 does a good job in giving each character a fairly meaningful arc while emphasising the central theme – the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Of the bunch, Armond is the most interesting and despite his flaws, certainly has the viewer invested in his fate throughout. Perhaps Armond is the main character? In that respect, then The White Lotus Season 1 can be considered a tragedy, as Armond makes a critical error at the beginning of the series and never quite recovers from that.
That all said, in the final analysis, the overall plot is a functional one. The series opens with a mysterious death, but The White Lotus Season 1 is not a murder mystery like Mare of Easttown or The Undoing, and both plot and characterisation are in service to the central theme, as outlined above. There is some merit in how the series shines a light on the privileged lives of the Mossbachers, the Pattons and Tanya when contrasted to those of the indentured staff but the series never quite sticks the landing.
Or maybe that’s the whole point – nothing changes because nothing can change? Still it’s fair to say that The White Lotus Season 1 is worth watching, especially for Bartlett’s delicious performance as Armond – he chews up every scene he is in! Recommended.
Now streaming on HBO MAX.
… still there’s more …