The White Lotus: 7 Ways The Show Improved With Season 2

Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Grannò) walk arm in arm
(Image credit: HBO)

When The White Lotus came out in 2021, at first, I didn’t get what all the fuss was about. What could a story that just follows privileged people on vacation have that could make people lose their minds? But then I watched it, and I fell in love with it like everyone else did – and it wasn’t that long before Season 2 was announced, fully making my year. 

Now, The White Lotus Season 2 has come to an end with its insane ending, and honestly, I have to say, I actually really liked Season 2 way more than Season 1, for many reasons. And I have a feeling that most people are willing to agree to that. Here are my reasons why. 

Also – if you haven’t gotten to the season finale of The White Lotus Season 2, there are spoilers below!!

The resort featured in The White Lotus.

(Image credit: HBO)

Using The Italian Setting Was Perfect

Look, Hawaii is beautiful. It’s a wonderful place full of whimsey and nature and everything I could possibly imagine. 

But man am I tired of seeing it used as a background for television shows and movies. It’s just so overused that to an extent, I can’t help but feel annoyed by it. I want to literally turn off my television whenever I see it because I see it so often. Which was why using Italy as the backdrop for The White Lotus Season 2 was a million times better. 

I mean, think about some of the best movies that have had serious plotpoints in Italy, The Godfather, Under the Tuscan Sun – heck, even 2022’s Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio used Italy as a setting in stop-motion form and it just made it better. The White Lotus using this country as its background was an excellent decision, and I hope in The White Lotus Season 3, that we get to see a heck of a lot more in another country. 

Aubrey Plaza as Harper in The White Lotus

(Image credit: HBO)

The Performances Were Even Better

I will never knock the cast of The White Lotus Season 1. Seriously, they were all amazing in their own way and deserved all the awards they were given. But man, The White Lotus Season 2 cast is on another level of greatness. 

Their performances are so believable and I was captivated by every single person. There wasn’t a moment where I felt myself scrolling on my phone out of boredom. It was just pure perfection, the whole way through – with specific praise towards Aubrey Plaza. She was outstanding this season. 

Daphne (Meghan Fahy) on the beach in Sicily

(Image credit: HBO)

And The Characters Felt More Complex

Look, in the first season, it was very easy to not like a character. There were good characters and ones that truly made me want to throw my remote at the television, like Shane, and ones I was rooting for, like Rachel. But in Season 2, the characters are a lot more complex and it was hard to be instantly drawn to or despise anyone. 

Harper is a relatively neutral person but she’s certainly not the best out of the bunch, Daphne feels like a nice girl but deep down I know that she’s probably going through it with Cameron since he’s most certainly not loyal. Even Lucia, who is in the sex work industry, is someone I can’t be entirely mad at because yes, what she did to Albie was mean, but the girl is trying to just survive out there. Doesn’t make it right, but I can’t entirely hate her for literally doing her job. 

I have to say, even Portia was complex, the girl I didn’t like in the beginning of the show at all, but I learned to like over the episodes, because I felt genuinely bad for what she went through just because of her boss. Poor girl. 

Harper in white on The White Lotus

(Image credit: HBO)

The Stakes Felt Heightened Throughout The Whole Season

I am always down for a murder mystery, and with The White Lotus Season 2, they don’t hold back for a single second. Literally in the opening minutes of the show, we are introduced to not one, but multiple bodies, which lets you know what a wild ride we are about to embark on. 

It was what kept me in suspense for the whole season; wondering if there was maybe a serial killer or something else on the loose that would cause people to drop like flies, but the ending cleared everything up. Even so, it was because of that excellent cliffhanger at the beginning that made me want to keep going with the show, and it paid off so much.

Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus on HBO

(Image credit: HBO)

We’re Given More About Tanya 

First off, Jennifer Coolidge is my queen and I love her so much and I wish her the best in the world. I want her to win another Primetime Emmy for her role in Season 2 because she was just as good as the first. 

Secondly, I was so freaking happy I was given more about her character in Season 2. We really get more of a look into her interesting psyche and how her mind works, all the way up until the end. Something else I also love is that The White Lotus Season 2 isn’t afraid to show that her happy ending didn’t work out for her, despite it looking like it did at the beginning of the first season.

Thirdly – yes, I am depressed about her ending. Don’t remind me. But it had to happen, I suppose. 

Albie and Portia on The White Lotus Season 3

(Image credit: HBO)

The Different Plots Are Intertwined Perfectly

Here’s the thing with Season 1 – the plots were really interesting, but it only felt like they would interact on a semi-regular basis. Characters from separate stories would pop up to talk to each other but then be gone before the main action could begin. 

In Season 2, these plots were intertwined so well it was like a knot from the Boy Scouts. It was fantastically done; every single storyline felt like it was woven into each other perfectly and created an overarching story that made it so much more entertaining. I loved it when Albie’s storyline crossed with Lucia’s, Valentina’s story crossed with Mia’s... everything. 

Ethan and Daphne walking along beach to island in The White Lotus

(Image credit: HBO Max)

And It’s Gotten Deeper With Its Themes

Dude, Season 2 of The White Lotus was not holding back whatsoever. The themes were expanded so well, because the show has established itself and is able to do more than it did in the first season.

This was something I seriously loved, that it wasn’t afraid to dig deep into the politics of the world with its themes. It talked about sex work, religion, relationship issues and how everyone thinks that going on vacation would fix them.

I also loved how Harper and Ethan, as well as Cameron and Daphne were like the picture perfect representation of two separates sides of society. It was such a fascinating thing to watch and something I really hope the show continues to do as it goes on. 

While The White Lotus Season 3 is already happening, I’m sure it’s going to be some time before we hear about where it might go next. So, until then, I’ll happily watch old episodes again and again. I still have so many questions.

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.