‘The White Lotus’ Episode 5 Recap: Beware the Lotus-Eaters

Desperate times call for desperate measures on this week’s “The White Lotus”

white lotus e5

Spoiler alert! If you have not seen or intend to see Episode 5 of “The White Lotus” titled “The Lotus-Eaters,” proceed with caution.

Well, we are over halfway through HBO’s limited series “The White Lotus” and we still have the same number of potential murder victims (and suspects) as we started with. Given that the series finale is next weekend, I’m thinking we’ll finally have some answers sooner rather than later though.

Be sure to refer here for recaps of Episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4 so we can get into Episode 5, “The Lotus-Eaters.” There’s a lot to unpack in this one. 

We resume not long after the drug-enduced “encounter” between Dillon (Lukas Gage) and Armond (Murray Bartlett) that left us hanging in the last episode. The young resort staffer and victim of an HR nightmare picks up his clothes — and dignity — off the floor, while a harried Armond has already conveniently forgotten all the promises he made when he was trying to get laid. 

Across the hotel, Paula (Brittany O’Grady) and Kai (Kekoa Kekumano) are coming to terms with the fact that their summer fling will soon be forced to fizzle. Kai gives her a necklace to remember him by, but Paula has a much bigger parting gift in mind.

“I can’t give it to you, but I can help you take it,” she says. 

That morning, a meltdown is brewing in the Mossbachers’ room ahead of schedule. Nicole (Connie Britton) confronts Mark (Steve Zahn) about not just telling their son Quinn (Fred Hechinger) about the pricey bracelets he bought her but also the reason for them: penance for his infidelity. It’s clear that Nicole is still in a lot of pain about the whole thing. 

Not as much pain as I’m in watching Kitty (Molly Shannon) in the next scene, though. Shannon’s “ladies who lunch” facial expressions and vocal intonations are just so infuriating (and spot-on). She’s at breakfast with her golden boy Shane (Jake Lacy) and his new but already-suffering wife Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) when Armond shows up to say the words they’ve all been waiting for: the Pineapple Suite is theirs, free of charge. 

Of course, we know this is only happening because Shane caught a glimpse of Armond’s “really, really busy night” with Dillon. 

In Tanya’s (Jennifer Coolidge) room, Belinda (Natasha Rothwell) is once again playing the role of sidekick and sounding board. The self-proclaimed “straight-up alcoholic lunatic” just knows BLM Greg (Jon Gries) (from the Bureau of Land Management, not Black Lives Matter) is never going to stay with her once she shows her hand. 

Belinda comforts her as any good friend would, saying how this is just the type of work she could be doing at the center (except for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds) before sliding Tanya her business proposal. 

Later at the pool, Rachel has no choice but to tell Kitty about her identity crisis. Her monster-in-law explains that, however asymmetrical their marriage may be in terms of money or “cache,” Rachel should take solace knowing she was pretty enough to beat out all the other girls after Shane’s alleged heart.

“You’re making me sound like a trophy wife,” she says, to which Kitty replies, “What’s so wrong with that?”

The Mossbachers are going to spend the day out on the water, leaving their room open for Kai to get his hands on his “present”: Nicole’s $75,000 bracelet. Paula is proposing that he steal the bracelet to pay for a good enough lawyer to help reclaim what was stolen from his family: the land the hotel was built on. He reluctantly agrees.

Little does he know, the family’s scuba diving excursion will not proceed as planned. Just as Kai is fiddling with the safe, Nicole is coming back to the room in tears, fed-up from being the “punching bag” all trip-long.

Once she catches a glimpse of his masked face, Kai throws Nicole to the ground and assures her he won’t hurt her as long as she stays put. Just then, Mark tackles the 20-something to the floor and quickly ends up on the bottom of the man heap, getting punched in the face repeatedly. Kai eventually breaks free of the tussling and runs off with the goods. 

When the kids return to the hotel room, police (and their slightly battered dad) are waiting for them, and Armond is already doing damage control. It’s safe to say that their stay is comped as well. As for which employee stole the jewelry, Olivia (Sydney Sweeney) is immediately suspicious of Paula and her boy toy. 

Later at dinner, Rachel is barely holding it together, as her husband and mother-in-law s— about which folks from the bay club have turned out to be “disasters” and which, even worse, don’t actually come from money. Hey, at least Kitty is leaving the next morning. 

Meanwhile, the events of the day have had the opposite effect at the Mossbacher table. Mark’s failed but nonetheless chivalrous deed has brought the family together. He gets some “badass” cred from Olivia, and he’ll get a whole lot more from Nicole later. Sorry, gross. 

Tanya, having ditched Belinda and her business proposal yet again, is trying to show Greg the “core of the onion” she’s so afraid he’ll see and leave her for. But even as he’s staring at this hysterical, crying woman and holding her dead mother’s urn he assures her, “Hey, I still wanna f— you.” 

After all the sound and fury the guests have managed to stir up, the episode ends with Armond and Belinda quietly commiserating over drinks. 

“Sometimes just watching them eat every night makes me want to gouge my eyes out,” Armond says. “Lotus-eaters”

Guys, I’m starting to think nobody’s actually going to get murdered at The White Lotus. There’s only one way to find out, though — join me again next week for the series finale, airing Sunday, Aug. 15 on HBO Max. 


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