The White Lotus season 2, episode 3 recap: Bull Elephants

The White Lotus season 2
The White Lotus season 2 /

On season 2 episode 3 of the multi-awarded HBO series The White Lotus, the American guests staying at the five-star resort are in for some legit surprises. Harper and Daphne unexpectedly bond in an unplanned sleepover outside the hotel.

While Lucia and Mia try to find a new client, Tanya inveigles Valentina to find her a fortune-teller to assuage her suspicions about her husband Greg.

The White Lotus season 2
The White Lotus season 2 /

The White Lotus season 2 episode 3 recap: Morning after

It’s another beautiful day in Sicily and Valentina walks through the streets of Messina to the café. She tries to take her espresso shot in peace but the guy at the counter hits on her.

She rebukes him harshly and then leaves for the hotel. The rest of the American guests are also trying to get their bearings for the day.

Dominic DiGrasso quite literally, as he wakes up after another debauched night with Lucia and Mia. He ushers them out of his room with complete payment, but Bert DiGrasso spots them leaving his son’s room.

Bert confronts him later at the buffet line, but Dom tries to play it cool and deny even knowing the girls. Meanwhile, Harper has also gotten up early in anticipation of her husband Ethan coming in all horny and sweaty from his morning run.

She props herself on the bed with a nice nightgown. But Ethan simply ignores her overtures and takes a bath.

She promises him that she’ll be super friendly with Cam and Daphne from here on out.

The White Lotus season 2 episode 3 recap: Greg has left the building

Harper makes good on her promise to be suuuper friendly to the Sullivans at breakfast. She might have overdone it a bit when she suddenly gets an invite to go with Daphne on a trip to the small town of Noto, while Ethan and Cameron jet ski.

Greg and Tanya are in a similar tiff but their situation has tripled in the drama levels. Greg is packing up for his flight back to the US and Tanya has been inconsolable in her sulking.

Then she lets the sobbing and petitioning fly at breakfast. Greg just looks embarrassed while the rest of the guests try not to look their way.

She is silent when Greg actually gets in the car though, as if she’s not quite processing that this is real, that her husband is leaving her on her own while on vacation. Albie and Portia are also similarly having a breakfast, uh, moment.

Portia spots the grim face of Tanya sitting opposite Greg a few tables away and has a breakdown about her job, lamenting the absence of history in modern life, too.

The White Lotus season 2 episode 3 recap: Lessons from Michael Corleone

The elder DiGrassos pressure her to come with them on their tour of The Godfather shooting locations. Albie tripled down on this, especially since she has chided him that he should be more aggressive.

But at the tourist village, Portia gets a distraught call from Tanya. She needs her to get back immediately, especially since Tanya’s already booked a Gypsy woman to read her fortune and get insight into Greg’s weird behavior.

Daphne springs the big surprise on Harper when they arrive at Noto. Not only have they rented the whole palazzo out, they are also staying the night.

While Harper weakly protests, Daphne urges her to think nothing of it and get into the spirit of it being a girl’s night out, by doing what they want sans regard for their husbands. It’s all good since she packed two of everything, so Harper’s objections really hold zero water.

Daphne even calls Cameron to really stake in the punishment since, as she reveals, he has really intense FOMO.

The White Lotus season 2
The White Lotus season 2 /

The White Lotus season 2 episode 3 recap: Tech bros jet ski day

Back at the hotel, before their husbands go on their jet ski day, Cam finally springs his ask on Ethan. He had so wanted to make some money on Ethan selling his company, but never mind that.

Now that Cameron can make him feel guilty about it, he should just invest some of his tech windfall into their hedge fund company. Tanya is digging the Gypsy tarot reader, so she asks about Greg and if their marriage will last.

But the old woman sees something disturbing in the cards after she reveals that Greg is in love with someone else who is beautiful. Beautiful and not her.

This isn’t at all what Tanya wants to hear, so she all but wrestles the poor Gypsy out the door. She rants that it was all way too negative.

What’s not negative is Daphne and Harper’s day out at the Noto Cathedral. They have a late lunch and chew some edibles while a lot of guys ogle and buy them Aperol spritzes.

Daphne explains that it must be so lonely to be a man, apropos of Harper laughing about how the last time she downed an edible she kept saying “I am a woman” while curled in the fetal position.

The White Lotus season 2 episode 3 recap: Men are victims, too

An anecdote about bull elephants being kicked out of the pod when they come of age, brings us the title of this episode. It illustrates how men are also victimized by the system and have no choice but to wander the jungle alone by themselves.

But back at the hotel, Cam and Ethan don’t feel so alone as they whoop and holler on jet skis across the Ionian coast. At dinner, Dom DiGrasso comes down to the bar to tell Lucia and Mia that he can’t really be with them for the rest of the week.

Basically, they’ve been fired and he’s no longer availing of the girlfriend experience. This comes on the heels of some real talk with his son Albie, who urged him to really change before he can even think of getting a stab at getting back with his wife.

Fortunately, Lucia is great at pitching herself and almost immediately Cam Sullivan is waving her over.

The White Lotus season 2
The White Lotus season 2 /

The White Lotus season 2 episode 3 recap: Poolside rejections

As Lucia presents her array of drugs to the tech bros, Daphne and Harper are having a girl bull session over at the palazzo in Noto. Both parties are intent to have as rewarding an experience away from their spouses as possible.

Towards the end of the night, Daphne reveals that she does know that Cameron cheated on her once. And that’s just about the one time that she can confirm.

She’s aware that he does do it almost constantly, though, urging Harper not to think of her as a victim. Poolside, a young British guy tries to make eyes with Portia.

But then Albie comes along and tries to make moves on her, culminating in a mistimed and ill-advised kiss. Portia is so turned off that when Albie proposes they go back to one of their rooms, she just claims she needs to crash.

Dominic looks just like Albie feels and he sees Tanya also drinking at the bar to drown her sorrow. Ethan and Cameron however are partying it up with Lucia and Mia.

They start drinking at the bar, then head over to the pool, and from there end up in the room where they down some Ecstasy. It’s actually Ethan and Harper’s room.

When Cameron and Lucia start sex on the couch, Ethan politely refuses Mia and he just watches from the bathroom doorway, smoking.

The White Lotus season 2 episode 3 recap: Review

The highlight of this episode is the surreal and funny, almost shot-by-shot recreation of a scene from the 1960 film L’Avventura. It’s at the Noto Cathedral where Daphne and Harper are being openly ogled by a lot of men.

“Lots of horny guys in Noto,” quips Harper. While Greg’s departure is very suspicious and I like how smoothly Lucia and Mia transitioned from the loss of their client in Dom DiGrasso to getting booked by tech bros Cam and Ethan, the depth of this episode is in how Daphne and Harper find that they have a lot in common.

I think they were both surprised by this revelation as much as we folks watching were. When Daphne reveals that she definitely thinks Cameron’s business partners are criminals she also spills the beans on how she knows that he has definitely been cheating on her.

Well, at least the one time she can confirm. There’s a certain charm in how Albie and Portia’s awkward, almost one-sided attraction is developing.

But really you can’t blame either one of them for thinking they want something as dictated by their environment and upbringing (or a reflex avoidance because of it) and then realizing they want the complete opposite. That scene poolside where I was rooting for Albie to finally get his when he kissed Portia but she rejects him, is both a funny and tragic moment.

Which is what the whole series is about, really.

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You can stream The White Lotus on HBO Go.