The white lotus finale review season 1
A quick review of the season 1 finale of the white lotus on HBO. The white lotus was created by Mike White who wrote and directed all 6 episodes giving us a consistently entertaining self-contained series that follows the lives of both the staff and the guests staying at an exotic resort in Hawaii.
If you’re already a fan of the white lotus the good news is that HBO has renewed the show for a season 2 with a brand new cast of characters at another resort but as far as this season is concerned I really enjoyed it, I laughed like hell throughout much of the season and I loved how mike white was willing to show us some truly deranged borderline disturbing scenes.
Because I need a little darkness in my comedy and as a writer mike white seems to take delight in presenting 1 scene after another that’s designed to make the audience squirm or writhe an embarrassment all other they’re unable to take their eyes off the ludicrously strange behavior exhibited by this amazing cast of characters.
Of course not every character is equally compelling or every storyline equally interesting but at a bare minimum the tale of the manager of the resort Armand played by Murray Bartlett makes this show worth a look.
I’ve seen a lot of folks comparing his performance to john Cleese’s performance in faulty towers but I’m not sure that’s the best way to pitch the show. Faulty towers is a sitcom and totally different in style and tone and I think this comparison set up the wrong expectations for the white lotus.
The two shows do have some overlap is watching Murray bartlett coming increasingly unglued as he deals with some of the most high maintenance guests imaginable slowly but surely and then gloriously falling off the wagon into some of the most entertaining drug-filled rampages I’ve seen in recent memory.
Film critic mark Kermit it’s always talking about whether or not a comedy passes the sixth laugh test where you involuntarily find yourself laughing out loud and for me Murray bartlett’s amazing performance got me past that threshold pretty much every single episode but it’s going to be tough to go any further without giving anything away.
So if you’re thinking about watching the show my advice is simply to check out the trailer give the show a chance it’s definitely been a highlight of 2021 for me and I think its fan base will only continue to grow between now and the second season.
So let’s talk about this episode reviewing a social satire can be really tricky for me because whether or not something makes you laugh or giggle with devilish delight it can be so subjective and it varies so wildly from individual to individual but also trying to analyze or explain why a satire or a joke is working can very easily take all the fun out of it I’m going to roll the dice and discuss these beats all the same.
The big question going into this episode was who would be going home in a body bag it was teased in the very first episode. I suspected Tanya’s new boyfriend Greg given his health issues which he admits could make him drop dead any second but he managed to make it to the end also shout out to Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya who is one of the real treats of the season as the crazy insecure needy alcoholic who goes on quite an emotional journey exposing the center of the onion as she described it and eventually discovering some modicum of peace by the end of the story.
Even if her peace comes at the expense of the dreams and emotions of Belinda played to perfection by Natasha Rothwell. Guests treating the staff like was definitely a recurring theme of the season but Quinn, Paula, mark Rachel all these characters were contenders for who would bite the dust but in the end, it was the lovable Armand who gets a knife in the chest after his attempted revenge completely and totally backfires in hindsight being 2020.
It really couldn’t be anyone else and obviously, he could only die at the hands of his mortal nemesis Shane Patton played by jake lacy and honestly the feud between these two characters is what made the show for me.
Giving us the two most shocking and hysterical scenes all season the first being the end of episode four when Shane catches Armand drugged out of his mind indulging in what might be the most enthusiastic ass eating sequence in television history but then in this episode watching Armand squat down and rip ass over Shane’s luggage it was just absolutely priceless especially after watching him raise so much hell with the fellows back in the office and over the last 20 years or so we’ve seen all kinds of crazy things on HBO with shows like the sopranos, and deadwood, Rome or game of thrones.
I mean HBO has been willing to explore some pretty strange terrain but this was actually one of the few times where I actually looked away from the screen for a few seconds even if I was giggling like a five-year-old the whole time and now that I think of it just these two scenes are probably why I’m doing this review because for me most movies and shows these days they’re so tedious and they’re so risk-averse but if a storyteller can come along and shock the hell out of me with some truly outrageous content I will give credit where credit is due and I will always be on the side of provocateurs.
But some other highlights for me from this episode include watching Quinn living the dream and becoming a local joining his new friends on their ongoing series of canoeing adventures those sequences along with the scuba diving sequences with his dad were absolutely beautiful to watch. The underwater footage and all the turtles and everything it was just stunning and of course enhancing all this beautiful photography it’s the amazing music we heard throughout the season.
I particularly enjoyed the use of box Yeezy joy of men’s desiring which was featured several times during the finale and I can honestly say I’m going to miss the theme song from the opening title sequence.
But if I were to offer some critiques and they aren’t major at all or a deal-breaker in any way but there are two storylines that for me ended in less satisfying fashion I’m a big fan of Alexandra Daddario I’ve been following her career since true detective but I wasn’t really that into the resolution of her storyline basically settling for a dude who I think she never would have married in the first place.
Also, Olivia and Paula needed a much bigger finish to their story apart from simply cuddling not to mention the fact that kai’s life has been completely ruined but after seeing her in this and euphoria and once upon a time in Hollywood Sydney Sweeney’s career as an actress it’s obviously just exploding right now I think she did a great job but I feel like her best scenes were earlier in the season.
When Olivia and Paula decide to get completely trashed on the beach only to have Tanya stumble upon them killing their buzz but talking their ears off about her dead mother that scene has absolutely had me screaming with laughter.
So as I start to wrap up this post I simply say this show is a very enjoyable ride what really caught me off guard consistently throughout the season was how a lot of the scripts were able to tap into and explore some really controversial issues in class, gender, race, etc, all without falling into the trap of these really predictable narratives and conclusions that so many lesser writers use as a crutch and if some of these conversations throughout the season left people scratching their heads not knowing what to make of those conversations.
I view that as a positive those topics are incredibly complex and incredibly messy and they give the show a little bit of depth that would not be there otherwise but at this point writer mike white he has a ton of experience under his belt going all the way back to freaks and geeks back in 2000 and if he’s back in the director’s chair next season I will absolutely be back for the second for the white lotus.