The White Lotus

Last updated

The White Lotus
The White Lotus Title Card.png
Genre
Created by Mike White
Written byMike White
Directed byMike White
Starring
Music by Cristobal Tapia de Veer
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Production
Executive producers
  • Nick Hall
  • David Bernad
  • Mike White
Cinematography Ben Kutchins
Editors
  • Heather Persons
  • John M. Valerio
Running time54–65 minutes
Production companies
Release
Original network HBO
Original releaseJuly 11, 2021 (2021-07-11) 
present (present)
External links
Website

The White Lotus is an American satirical comedy-drama television series created, written, and directed by Mike White that premiered on HBO on July 11, 2021. [3] [4] The series was greenlit in October 2020, filmed in Hawaii in late 2020, and features an ensemble cast including Murray Bartlett, Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Lacy, Natasha Rothwell, and Steve Zahn. The first season, consisting of six episodes, concerns the lives of the staff and guests at a tropical resort in Hawaii. Following its critical acclaim, the show was renewed as an anthology series, which will tell the story of a different group of travelers during their stay at another White Lotus property.

Contents

Premise

The series details a week in the life of vacationers as they relax and rejuvenate in paradise. With each passing day, a darker complexity emerges in these picture-perfect travelers, the hotel's cheerful employees and the idyllic locale itself. [5]

Cast and characters

Main

Recurring

Guest

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Arrivals" Mike White Mike WhiteJuly 11, 2021 (2021-07-11)0.420 [9]
Shane Patton watches as a coffin is loaded onto an airplane. Seven days earlier: wealthy patrons arrive at the White Lotus resort on Maui. They are greeted by manager Armond and his pregnant employee Lani. Shane and Rachel arrive for their honeymoon. Instead of consummating their marriage, Shane becomes fixated on a booking error, causing Rachel to question their relationship. Tanya McQuoid, who has come to spread her mother's ashes, is desperate for a massage, but the spa is fully booked. Belinda, the spa's manager, instead guides her in a ceremonial chant. Nicole Mossbacher argues with her husband Mark about his potential cancer diagnosis, who decides to spend time with their son Quinn. Their daughter Olivia and her friend Paula lounge by the pool and make snide remarks about Rachel, a professional listicle writer. Lani's waters break, but Armond ignores her. Lani begins to give birth as the guests dine. Mark receives a call from his doctor, but is disconnected before he learns his diagnosis. Rachel and Shane agree to put the day's conflict behind them and resume their earlier tryst.
2"New Day"Mike WhiteMike WhiteJuly 18, 2021 (2021-07-18)0.459 [10]
Mark is elated when his cancer diagnosis comes back negative, but he learns from his uncle that his father actually died of AIDS and lived a double life as a gay man. Shane calls his mother to have their travel agent reprimand Armond over the booking error. Rachel considers taking a new writing assignment, but Shane claims she doesn't have to work again. Rachel meets Nicole, who advises her to maintain her independence. However, when Nicole learns that Rachel wrote a listicle mentioning her, Nicole criticizes Rachel's reporting, making Rachel question her career further. After more pestering from Shane, Rachel abandons the job. Olivia and Paula enjoy drugs on the beach until they are confronted by Tanya and leave, forgetting the bag of drugs. The bag is turned over to Armond, who keeps it and uses the drugs due to his stress despite being a recovering addict. Olivia becomes jealous when she sees Paula flirting with a busboy. Tanya invites Belinda to dinner and offers to fund a possible wellness business, which Belinda considers. When Quinn is kicked out of the hotel room by Olivia, he decides to go to the beach where he watches in awe of a group of whales jumping in the ocean.
3"Mysterious Monkeys"Mike WhiteMike WhiteJuly 25, 2021 (2021-07-25)0.478 [11]
As the guests of the White Lotus wake for the day, Paula remains cagey about her tryst to an increasingly suspicious Olivia, while Quinn's electronics are washed away as he sleeps on the beach. Shane and Rachel have sex, but Rachel worries whether their marriage is predicated on Shane's sexual attraction to her. To console her, Shane plans a romantic dinner, but Armond, fed up with Shane's incessant complaining, recommends for their dinner a sunset boat ride, without revealing that Tanya has chartered it to spread her mother's ashes in the ocean. Tanya believes the honeymooners have joined to support her, and the ensuing discomfort enrages Shane. Mark remains distraught over his discovery about his father, and gets increasingly drunk while proceeding through awkward encounters with his son, Rachel, and other women at the bar, culminating in a tepid speech when he joins his family for dinner and a rebuffed attempt to initiate sex with Nicole. Armond too spirals after relapsing from his 5-year sobriety, drinking, taking Paula's prescription medication, flirting with hotel staffer Dillon, and even propositioning Mark when the latter reveals his curiosity about sex between men. As the guests return to bed, Olivia follows Paula and emotionally watches her and the busboy have sex.
4"Recentering"Mike WhiteMike WhiteAugust 1, 2021 (2021-08-01)0.515 [12]
Quinn wakes on the beach again to see Hawaiians singing and bringing their canoe ashore. He introduces himself later that afternoon. Tanya informs the girls that Armond does have Paula's backpack, and when they confront him, he decides to give it back, drugs and all; however, after angry Shane demands to speak with Armond's boss, a livid Armond takes the drugs and returns the backpack without them. Tanya and Belinda would have had dinner to discuss the wellness center, but the former cancels when she is asked out by Greg, a sport fisherman staying in the room next to hers. Kitty, Shane's mother, arrives at their honeymoon hotel; Rachel is not pleased. Mark reveals to Quinn that he cheated on Quinn's mother Nicole. However, at dinner, Quinn unwittingly reveals knowledge of Mark's affair in front of Nicole. Armond invites Dillon to his office to take drugs and have sex, for money. When Shane learns that Armond gave him a fake number for his boss, he storms into the manager's office and comes upon Armond sexually servicing Dillon.
5"The Lotus-Eaters"Mike WhiteMike WhiteAugust 8, 2021 (2021-08-08)0.541 [12]
After getting caught having sex with Dillon by Shane, Armond is forced to move Shane and Rachel into the Pineapple Suite free of charge to avoid repercussions. Rachel begins to worry that she has become a trophy wife after talking with Kitty and second-guesses marrying Shane. Belinda tries to get Tanya to look at her business proposal, but Tanya is more concerned about Greg's interest in her. Tanya admits to Greg that she is an emotional wreck, but Greg is undeterred. Quinn enjoys paddling with a group of locals. Paula convinces Kai to steal a pair of expensive bracelets from Nicole to pay for a lawsuit against the hotel. Nicole rebukes Mark for confessing his affair to Quinn. As the Mossbachers prepare to go SCUBA diving in the ocean, Nicole breaks down over the pressure of having to provide for her family and getting no respect for it and goes back to the hotel, with Mark following her. Unbeknownst to them, Kai is in their hotel room trying to steal the bracelets. Mark saves Nicole but is beaten by Kai who escapes. The hotel comps their stay and Mark finally gets respect from Nicole and their kids, but Olivia is suspicious that Paula is involved with the robbery.
6"Departures"Mike WhiteMike WhiteAugust 15, 2021 (2021-08-15)0.850 [13]
Rachel tells Shane that she regrets marrying him. Tanya decides to stay with Greg despite his terminal illness and tells Belinda she wants to end her dependency on transactional relationships, leaving her a large sum of cash instead. Dejected, Belinda discards her business plan. Kai gets arrested and the Mossbachers’ stolen jewelry is recovered, confirming Olivia's suspicions about Paula. Paula admits her involvement in the robbery, but accuses Olivia of being as privileged as the rest of her family. The two later reconcile when Paula expresses her regret. Quinn tells his parents he wants to stay on the island to join the local paddlers, which they dismiss outright. Shane hears of the robbery while talking to the Mossbachers and calls his travel agent, who informs Armond's superior. This in turn gets Armond fired from the White Lotus. Armond spends his last workday getting heavily intoxicated on Olivia and Paula's remaining drugs. That night, after serving dinner, Armond sneaks into Shane's suite and defecates in his suitcase. However, Shane returns before Armond can leave. Sensing an intruder, Shane arms himself with a pineapple knife and stabs Armond, killing him. Armond's body is loaded onto the guests’ return flight. Rachel arrives at the airport and decides to stay with Shane. Quinn leaves the airport after the rest of his family boards the plane and joins the Hawaiian paddlers.

Production

Development

On October 19, 2020, HBO gave The White Lotus a limited series order that consists of six episodes. [3] The series is created, written and directed by Mike White. White also serves as executive producer alongside David Bernad and Nick Hall. [14] Cristobal Tapia de Veer is the series' composer and Ben Kutchins is the cinematographer for the series. [15] On August 10, 2021, HBO renewed the series for a second season. [16]

Casting

Upon the limited series order announcement, Murray Bartlett, Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Fred Hechinger, Jake Lacy, Brittany O'Grady, Natasha Rothwell, Sydney Sweeney, and Steve Zahn were cast to star. [17] On October 30, 2020, Molly Shannon, Jon Gries, Jolene Purdy, Kekoa Kekumano, and Lukas Gage joined the cast in recurring roles. [18] Alec Merlino, who was fellow contestant on Survivor: David vs. Goliath with Mike White, was cast as a waiter. [8] Upon the announcement of second season renewal, it was reported that a predominantly new cast of characters would be focused on at another White Lotus property for the second season, though Mike White had stated there was a possibility for a few cast members from the first season to return as their characters. [19]

Filming

Principal photography for the series began October 2020 in Hawaii under COVID-19 guidelines. [20] On November 21, 2020, it was reported that the series was halfway through filming at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and was scheduled to film in December at locations around Maui. [21] [22]

Release

The series premiered on July 11, 2021, on HBO. [4] In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, the series premiered on Sky Atlantic on August 16, 2021. [23]

Reception

Critical response

The White Lotus has received acclaim from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 87% based on 78 critic reviews, with an average rating of 8.40/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though its true intentions can get a bit murky, gorgeous vistas, twisty drama, and a pitch perfect cast make The White Lotus a compelling—if uncomfortable—viewing destination." [24] On Metacritic, it has a score of 82 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". [25]

Matthew Jacobs of TV Guide rated it 4.5 out of 5 and wrote that it is "some of the year's best television thus far." [15] Rolling Stone 's Alan Sepinwall graded it 3.5 out of 5 stars and called it "frequently uncomfortable, sometimes poetic, occasionally hilarious, and deeply idiosyncratic throughout." [26]

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per episode of The White Lotus
No.TitleAir date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"Arrivals"July 11, 20210.080.420 [9] 0.040.1980.120.618 [9]
2"New Day"July 18, 20210.060.459 [10] 0.060.2980.120.757 [10]
3"Mysterious Monkeys"July 25, 20210.110.478 [11] 0.080.3920.190.870 [11]
4"Recentering"August 1, 20210.140.515 [27] N/AN/AN/AN/A
5"The Lotus-Eaters"August 8, 20210.110.541 [28] N/AN/AN/AN/A
6"Departures"August 15, 20210.20.850 [13] N/AN/AN/AN/A

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