The White Lotus S2E6: “Abductions” — No More Homecoming

Quentin has a plan for Tanya
Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

The following contains spoilers for The White Lotus S2E6, “Abductions” (written and directed by Mike White)

The fabled statue heads our guests see all over the resort make a dramatic return in The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 6, “Abductions.” The head of Testa di Moro, introduced in Episode 1, is a part of the folklore of Sicily, but also a foreboding sign. In the story of Testa di Moro, a young lonely Sicilian woman fell in love with a Moor who was in her country. She was immediately drawn to him and his mystical life, and she fell madly in love quickly. Soon, however, she would learn his secret that he has a whole other family in his homeland. This causes her to tip over the edge, and she beheads him and turns his head into a vase she can use in her garden. That way, the story goes, she can always watch over him to make sure he never hurts her again.

No less than half a dozen times in Episode 6 do we see the Testa di Moro head, a sure sign that secrets that have been kept for this long are soon to be brought into the light. By the end of this penultimate episode of Season 2, many secrets have been revealed and motivations become clear.

jack and portia talk on a bench
Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

Tonya, Quentin, Jack, and Portia

As many theorized ahead of this episode, it turns out that Quentin may not be nearly as affluent as he would lead Tanya and Portia to believe. In an inadvertent drunken confession, Jack tells Portia that the lifestyle Quentin leads is a farce and he is on the verge of having to sell his Palermo palazzo, the boat, and much of what he has come to recognize as part of his upper 1% existence. What became clear to Tanya at the end of Episode 5—that Jack is not Quentin’s nephew—slowly is unveiled to Portia throughout the episode.

Jack admits that he works for Quentin because Quentin helped him when he was in a “deep hole, a deep f*ckin’ hole.” Now, it seems, Quentin is stuck in that hole and his plan is to use Tanya and her immense wealth to try and get out.

At a party in Tanya’s honor, Quentin begins twisting Tanya’s arm to partake in the bountiful amounts of free cocaine, and tells her that he has secured the services of Nico, the “gorgeous and notoriously well-hung” Palermo citizen who may or may not have a connection to a well-connected “family” in the region. The plan to begin seducing Tanya out of her money is afoot, particularly after Nico shows up disrobed and ready for a drug-fueled night of pleasure.

Quentin introduces Tanya to party guests
Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

Just as viewers begin to understand the “why” and the “what” of Quentin’s plan, the question of “how” still remains. How did these two just happen to end up at the same place at the same time to set this machine in motion? As Tanya wanders around Quentin’s bedroom strung out on cocaine, she discovers a photograph. It turns out Quentin’s cowboy love affair from Montana he confessed to in Episode 5 was none other than Tanya’s husband, Greg.

Suddenly all the late-night phone calls, the sneaking around, and Greg’s general disinterest in what Tanya has to offer become crystal clear. He used her and her wealth to pay medical bills, get treatment for his illnesses, and restart his life with Quentin. Now, Quentin plans to pull the same ruse and use the “life of beauty” to take Tanya for all he needs, if not all she has.

As we enter the finale, will Tanya remember what she saw in Quentin’s bedroom and make the connection? Will Portia leave a passed-out Jack to rush to the side of her boss—playing the role of savior that Tanya actually needed from the beginning? And do we see Greg again, pairing up with his partner in crime to finish what they started with Tanya once and for all?

Ethan, Harper, Cameron, and Daphne

One of the earliest and most present Testa di Moro statues from this entire season stares directly at Ethan and Harper’s bed in their room. Its presence almost begs for their intimate secrets to be revealed. But, as Harper deduces, it’s the lack of intimacy between her and Ethan that is the unspoken secret that they must stare down like a di Moro statue.

Harper knows that what they might have had before is slipping away. She knows that “we are too young to be this old,” and that the love they claim to share for one another may not be enough if there is simply no attraction anymore. Ethan dismisses it, reverting back to his old excuses of work schedule and mismatched physical priorities. But it’s clear their relationship takes a sharp turn from which it will be hard to come back.

When Daphne books a massage, leaving Ethan, Harper, and Cameron on the beach together, Harper begins a dangerous game that is likely to have deadly consequences. What starts with Harper tanning in her two-piece soon moves to the beach bar where she and Cameron laugh over drinks in full view of Ethan, drawing back to when Jack and Portia shamelessly flirted at the beach bar in front of Albie.

But where Albie can move on to the next wounded bird, Ethan’s rage begins to boil. He’s already gone for his run that morning, so he jumps into the sea for a quick swim. When he emerges, Cameron and Harper are both gone, nowhere to be found. Next we see of Ethan, he is doing his best Jack Torrance wandering the halls of the Overlook Hotel, on a mission to find Cameron and Harper. When he finds his hotel room door locked and latched, the accusations go into overdrive. Ethan can’t prove the two were in the room together having sex, Harper says nothing happened, and the night-in-Noto tables have officially been turned.

Ethan plots his next move against Cameron and Harper
Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

At dinner, Ethan is officially off the reservation in a moment alone with Cameron. He immediately confronts Cameron and is only interrupted by the ladies sitting down at the table. The only other time we see this grouping is when Ethan is sitting alone in his room, imagining Cameron and Harper bent over the table together.

Does Ethan have a violent side? To what ends will he go to protect that which is his and not let Cameron take another girl of his? Ethan stares down the statue of Testa di Moro as Harper drifts off to sleep.

Albie, Dom, Bert, and Lucia

The storyline of the Di Grasso men takes a marvelous turn, with all credit due to Mike White and the showrunners of The White Lotus. In the first five episodes of this season, patriarch Bert is positioned as an old flirt, someone who wants nothing more than the ladies of Sicily to know who he is and what he can offer them. This boys’ trip has been more about how each can pursue their physical desires while the primary motivation for the trip—looking for Di Grasso distant relatives in the homeland—was secondary.

The hunt finally starts on the sixth day, and the boys with prostitute-turned-translator Lucia head off to the country in search of la famiglia. They do find a family with the name of Di Grasso, and are sure these ladies will be thrilled to meet these distant relatives from across the sea. The truth, in fact, is that their well-intentioned visit is the last thing the family wants. Those ladies have no time for rich Americans who show up unannounced in their Mercedes with their money and expensive clothes.

the di grasso men introduce themselves to italian family
Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

It’s a rude awakening on the surface, and further down is surely a reflection from Mike White that those in power and with means surely don’t have fans on all rungs of the social ladder.

The dismissal by these ladies especially injures Bert. At dinner that night, he gives what is perhaps the most emotional speech of the season. Knowing that his wife recently died, we now know his intentions were to try and make connections and build more of a family to replace the one he lost. He admits, “you always think there will be a homecoming. The embrace of a woman. Who tells you you’ve done all right. Well, there is no homecoming, not for me, not anymore.”

He knows what awaits him back in Los Angeles is an empty house and memories that can’t cover him as well as that embrace. The homecoming he was looking for in Italy will never happen.

But while Bert, Tanya, and Ethan have all experienced their own forms of emotional abductions, Lucia was followed by her Italian John, and despite the urgings of the Di Grasso men, agrees to be taken by him to parts unseen.

When she arrives back to Albie’s room that night, visibly shaken and distraught, Albie begins to understand the depth of her predicament. Lucia knows that what this man wants is “control” and it will take “a lot of money” to break free from him. She does try to let Albie off the hook, telling him with her mouth that “it’s not your problem,” while at the same time her eyes say “can you do something, anything for me?” Will Lucia’s problem become Albie’s problem? And how far will he go to protect her?

It’s just one of many problems waiting for our White Lotus guests when the sun rises on their last day in Sicily next Sunday night. The statues are staring at them. Who will blink first?

Written by Ryan Kirksey

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