Season 2 of The White Lotus, known as The White Lotus: Sicily, introduces another group of wealthy vacationers, hotel staff, and locals whose lives intertwine to great comedic and dramatic effect. The characters are largely just as entitled and loathsome as they were in season 1, but the stakes feel higher from the beginning, due to the mystery of multiple murder victims.
Across the season so far, most characters have been limited to variations on familiar character tropes, including the cheating husband, the dirty old man, the clueless millennial, and more. But some of these characters are definitely better rendered than others, whether they break out of their stereotypical portrayal or not.
10 Cameron Sullivan
From the beginning of the season, The White Lotus: Sicily doesn’t shy away from painting Cameron Sullivan (Theo James) in a villainous light. An entitled finance bro, Cameron doesn’t care about the many ways he makes people uncomfortable so long as he is satisfied.
He exposes himself to his friend’s wife, screams at service workers, demeans his wife in public, encourages his friend to engage in insider trading, and cheats on his wife with sex workers. There has been very little effort to paint Cameron in a sympathetic light, which leaves him feeling rather cartoonish at times, but James does the best he can with the material he is given.
9 Dominic Di Grasso
As the middle generation of the problematic Di Grasso family, Dominic Di Grasso (Michael Imperioli) represents a pernicious form of misogyny and entitlement that has become apparent in the post-#MeToo era. Dominic is an ambiguously depicted Hollywood higher-up whose marriage is in shambles due to his openly admitted sex addiction.
Despite being blatant about his proclivities, Dominic shows no signs of shame, guilt, or repentance for his addiction, further indulging in debauchery while on a family vacation with his father and son. Dominic hasn’t had much to do so far, but it’s entirely possible his character could be one who snaps.
8 Bert Di Grasso
The elder Di Grasso patriarch, Bert Di Grasso (F. Murray Abraham), represents yet another form of misogyny from an era gone by. Bert is even more open about his chauvinistic viewpoints, encouraging his son and grandson to “sow their oats” so long as they are discreet about their sexual indiscretions.
He is lecherous almost to a fault, trying to flirt with every young woman that he meets, even while struggling with his faculties in many ways due to his advanced age. There is something comical about Bert’s character since he is so exaggeratedly dirty-minded, something that the series itself interrogates while it leans into the “sweet but dirty old man” stereotype.
7 Ethan Spiller
Ethan Spiller (Will Sharpe) has had a slow-building storyline throughout the season’s first few episodes, with the most recent installments showing that his character is perhaps headed for a downward spiral. Thus far, Ethan has been shown to be relatively level-headed compared to his college friend Cameron, struggling to adjust to his newfound wealth and what it means for his life.
What is most interesting about his character, however, is his relationship with his wife, Harper. Despite their open dialogue with each other about every topic imaginable, the two share no sexual chemistry and apparently struggle with their sex life. Now that Ethan has cheated on Harper and been introduced to Cameron’s hardcore partying and spending lifestyle, this relationship, and Ethan’s measured personality, could be in for a real change.
In contrast with her over-the-top counterpart Lucia, Mia (Beatrice Granno) is a fascinating character who provides the lavish White Lotus resort with some local intrigue. Mia is a young Italian woman who dreams of being a singer professionally, though she struggles to find work in this field. Her friend, Lucia, tries to encourage her to join her in her line of sex work.
Mia resists this temptation to a degree, but quickly becomes enamored by the financial benefits that the life of a sex worker in a high-end resort could offer her. It is clear that Mia is headed down a traditional corruption arc, and her journey should be one of the most interesting ones to watch as the season progresses.
It would be hard for anyone to follow in the footsteps of Murray Bartlett’s hotel manager Armond, but the equally high-strung Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) has so far done an incredible job. Alternating expertly between conversing snippily in Italian with her staff and dealing with her entitled guests in English, Valentina is a woman who should not be messed with.
Beneath her powerful and often judgmental exterior, however, there are glimpses of real warmth, longing, and sadness within Valentina’s character, especially when she interacts with her younger colleague Isabella, or when she takes lunch by herself with the wild cats residing outside the resort.
4 Harper Spiller
From the beginning of the season, Harper Spiller (Aubrey Plaza) is a character that seems like she will be one to snap before the season ends. Harper begins the vacation as a complete stick in the mud, judging all of her travel companions and resenting their seeming happiness and wealth.
In the third episode, Harper finally begins to shed some of her judgmental nature, primarily through bonding unexpectedly with Daphne over their roles as women in a society defined by wealthy men. But in softening somewhat, Harper also grows increasingly paranoid and nervous about her own marriage’s stability. It seems unlikely that Harper will be one of the dead bodies by the time season 2 ends, but she very well could be one of the killers.
3 Albie Di Grasso
As the youngest member of the Di Grasso family, Albie (Adam DiMarco) is immediately the most interesting one due to his disavowal of everything his father and grandfather represent. Albie proudly and openly discusses gender constructs and refuses to have bad relationships with women, priding himself on his open-mindedness and his Stanford education.
But beneath the surface of this seemingly nice veneer there lurks a potential darker side, emblematic of the millennial misogynistic trope known as the “Nice Guy.” Albie might come across as an ally, but his entitlement is slowly surfacing in recent interactions with the disinterested Portia, which could make him a potential threat as the season continues.
As season 2’s most interesting millennial character, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) is a young woman who is at a crossroads in her life in many ways. She is miserable in her job, treated like dirt by Tanya at every turn on the vacation she was dragged along on. But she is also miserable in seemingly every other aspect of her life, lamenting the fakeness of Instagram culture and desperately craving the ability to feel something real while in paradise.
Halfway into the season, Portia is a character who remains a real wild card. Her romantic life and her career both remain up in the air, and both of these storylines contain the potential for sizable conflict, which the season will likely be ramping up in the last few episodes.
1 Daphne Sullivan
The characters of The White Lotus might be mostly stereotypical, but Daphne Sullivan (Meghann Fahy) already proves there is often more to a character than meets the eye. At first glance, Daphne seems to be a clueless, entitled housewife with little care for anything other than her immediate circle and her wealth. After all, she doesn’t even vote or watch the news.
But subsequent episodes have revealed an incredible depth to her character. Daphne is aware of the gilded cage in which she lives and even accepts her husband’s infidelity because of the power it then affords her in her desire to do what she wants. Despite living among wealthy and selfish men who try to make themselves seem like they control everything, Daphne might be one of the most powerful characters in the series.
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