Spoiler alert! If you have not seen or intend to see Episode 3 of “The White Lotus” titled “Mysterious Monkeys,” proceed with caution.
No clear murderer or murderee has presented itself just yet on HBO’s “The White Lotus.” Thankfully, the stellar performances and writer-director Mike White’s (“Enlightened,” “School of Rock”) gift for dialogue have made for an entertaining stay regardless.
Still, you can never get too comfortable-even at a five-star tropical resort when there’s a killer in the mix.
Episode 3, “Mysterious Monkeys,” begins as yet another gorgeous dawn breaks at the resort. Quinn (Fred Hechinger), exiled to the beach by his sister, wakes to all of his electronics washing away with the tide. Paula (Brittany O’Grady) has also been out of the room all night, rendezvousing with a hot waiter she’s been exchanging glances with the entire trip.
Now that the rest of the Mossbacher family has awakened, Mark (Steve Zahn) is having some trouble grappling with the fact that his father was gay. Olivia (Sydney Sweeney) tries to comfort him to the best of her ability, assuring him that his Pops could’ve still been “butch” or at least a “bossy bottom.”
Strolling into work, Belinda (Natasha Rothwell) stumbles upon Armond (Murray Bartlett) passed out in his car, to which she remarks, “You know I thought you were dead right?”
Checking in with lovebirds — we’re using that term in the loosest sense possible — Shane (Jake Lacy) and Rachel (Alexandra Daddario), it’s clear from their morning activities that they each place vastly different value on sex in their relationship, something they discuss over brunch.
“Oh my god, you think that I’m just this… sex pig?” Shane exclaims, before adding, “Me? I can be romantic. I’m actually emo.”
In order to prove this alleged tender, passionate side, Shane arranges for a romantic sunset cruise on the resort’s charter boat. The only problem is, Armond’s already promised the same boat ride to Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) for her mother’s ash-dumping ceremony. Unsurprisingly, Tanya has guilt-tripped Belinda into taking off work to attend.
We’re going to need a bigger boat.
At the pool, Mark is in the midst of a Bloody Mary-induced stupor and is exploring his existential crisis with a thoroughly disinterested Quinn.
“You know what’s real? Gay, straight, whatever, we’re all just monkeys, we’re just f—ing monkeys…driven by base instincts to create these hierarchies and hump each other.”
Speaking of base instincts, Shane is at the other end of the pool flirting with Olivia and Paula and irritating Rachel in the process. Unable to take any more giggles and splashes, she makes a beeline for the bar, where Mark is sitting, ready to regale her with some TMI tidbits from his and Nicole’s (Connie Britton) former sex life.
Mark eventually passes his phone off to Quinn, whose own device is lost at sea, rendering himself stranded at the bar with a never-ending parade of beers to keep him company, assuming The White Lotus is all-inclusive, of course.
As the sun begins to set over the resort, it’s time for the honeymoon-ash dumping cruise spectacular. As we were all expecting, Shane is not happy to have been double-booked again. He has to hide his disdain for Tanya and her inconvenient grieving, though, and plot his inevitable confrontation with Armond in the meantime.
Tanya’s grief proves pretty difficult to ignore. She’s been tossing back champagne for hours and is now wailing and oversharing. We’ve all been there. She only makes it a few minutes into spreading her mother’s ashes, some blowing into the face of the young hotel staffer working the event, “Big Lebowski” style.
Believe it or not, things are just as messy back at the pool bar. Mark has been hitting on women for hours and, when propositioned by an equally-blitzed Armond, considers taking it there but ultimately rebuffs.
When Dillon (Lukas Gage), the kid who just became very acquainted with Tanya’s mother, comes back to describe the “s— show” that was the sunset cruise, Armond hits on him too! Cue the Tyra Banks “we were all rooting for you” gif.
The episode concludes with the various horned-up guests retiring to their rooms. Olivia catches Paula hooking up with the waiter in a cabana, and Quinn is watching porn on the beach not far off.
So, following horror movie logic, having sex, even with oneself, is typically a telltale sign that said character is going to die. That narrows our potential victims down to Nicole, Mark, Paula, Quinn and Rachel (since we already know Mr. Sperry Topsiders survives).
Don’t quote me on that, though, because if “The White Lotus” has taught us anything by this halfway point, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Join me again Sunday, Aug. 1, for episode four.