Running only six episodes, The White Lotus is perhaps the most perplexing series I’ve had to review thus far. In the premiere, we meet a group of diverse guests who all happen to be staying at a Hawaiian resort called (you guessed it) the White Lotus in the same week. Throughout the season, we get to know these characters closely and intimately, though the brevity of the season leaves a lot to be desired. We’re seeing snippets of these characters’ lives, but I wish we got to dig a little deeper.
The undeniable MVP of the show is hotel manager Armond, played by Australian actor Murray Bartlett (when he first appeared on screen, I could’ve sworn he was Taika Waititi). He receives the most character development, and the show is at its best when following him. Armond has a lot in common with writer/director Mike White, as they are both middle-aged white gay men, and it was clear a lot of care was taken with crafting his character. We’ll just forget Armond’s gratuitously disgusting moment in the finale and call it a day.
Everything about The White Lotus, from a technical standpoint, is impeccable. The locations are beautiful and natural, the production design is immaculate, and the musical score is unique and well-crafted. While its writing and pacing sometimes leaves something to be desired, it makes up for its flaws with magnetic performances, an intriguing framing device and a (mostly) satisfying ending. Over the course of the first season, tensions rise and fall, and you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next. [Grade: A-]
Director/Writer: Mike White
Fun Fact: There will be more seasons of The White Lotus, but it will adopt an anthology approach, focusing on new characters and locations.