HBO’s The White Lotus: Mysterious Monkeys (Episode 3) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s The White Lotus, Mysterious Monkeys, lust and love spread throughout the White Lotus causing some people to come together and others to fall apart.
This vacation is turning out to be more life-changing for Mark (Steve Zahn) than he expected. He’s gone from worrying about his balls becoming cancerous to now receiving shocking news about his father having gay relationships while he had a family. To say that Mark is on an emotional rollercoaster while staying at the White Lotus would be an understatement and he goes on quite a hilarious and sad journey this episode. Mark never catches a break as he struggles to deal with this sudden realization about his father and the sexual frustration he has in his relationship with Nicole (Connie Britton).
In a time where Mark is going through some big life-altering realizations, you would think that his family could be a place he could find comfort. However, Olivia (Sydney Sweeny), Paula (Brittany O’Grady), and Quinn (Fred Hechinger) definitely don’t ease his mind as they hilariously create visual nightmares for Mark theorizing about his late father’s sexual activity. Their descriptiveness of their ideas of what Mark’s father was up to and beratement of their father possibly having issues with this are hilarious and send Mark on a bit of an alcohol fueled spiral. Mysterious Monkeys is easily the funniest episode thus far and Mark is a big reason why. Him spilling his guts to Rachel (Alexandria Daddario) about how the sexual spark in his relationship with Nicole is gone is the start of the mess he becomes, and it only gets weirder when Armond (Murray Bartlett) with a new-found confidence makes a pass at Mark after they talk about Mark’s father being gay.
Mark’s drunken revelations do highlight an issue in his relationship with Nicole that even Olivia recognizes. During dinner, Olivia talks about how Nicole sexually embarrasses Mark, and she makes a great point. Nicole is way too business focused to the point where she’s rearranging their hotel room for her Zoom call and tries to justify her own ideas by scoffing and degrading others, like her bad interaction with Rachel and her constantly casting doubt on Olivia and Paula for being young. Although Nicole tries to seem perfect, she’s far from it with how she really isn’t invested in her family. This vacation almost seems like a chore or distraction for her. She even makes Olivia right with how she mercilessly denies Mark’s sexual advances, which pretty much resembles the monkey behavior he refers to when talking to Rachel about sex, and doesn’t even try to be real or caring towards him. Their spark is clearly gone and who know where things will stand by the end of their stay.
Olivia and Paula’s relationship is likely heading for rough waters as well with Olivia becoming more aware of Paula’s secretive relationship with a busboy. The nature of their friendship/relationship is still up in the air, but it’s clear that Olivia isn’t happy about Paula keeping secrets with her. From my perspective, their relationship must be more than friends since Paula is really keeping this secret from Olivia for some reason.
Armond’s new-found confidence stemming from his drug use also makes him a delight this week as he causes some fun chaos. Along with being a huge douchebag, Shane (Jake Lacy) has been getting on Armond’s nerves and he starts to get his comeuppance when Armond tries to ruin his honeymoon. When Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) asks Armond to charter a boat for her so she can disperse her mother’s ashes, it sets off a lightbulb in his head. Since Shane is once again in hot water with his relationship with Rachel because he’s thinking with the wrong head, he asks Armond to arrange some kind of special dinner on the sea to show his “romantic” side. Armond sees this opportunity to get Shane back for all the crap he’s been putting him through and sticks him and Rachel with a drunk and depressed Tanya in the middle of the ocean.
It’s an unforgettable booze cruise full of awkward hilarity and it’s great to see Armond going on the offensive, but the idea of it leading to a fatal mistake for him is still worrisome. Through this we also get more of Tanya and Belinda (Natasha Rothwell), but it’s probably not the start of something more. A call Belinda has with her son pretty much states that the nature of this relationship is more business than pleasure, so there’s no need to ship these two or Shane and Rachel for that matter. Frankly, I don’t get Rachel. Shane is continually just a jackass, and it genuinely makes me wonder what is going to be that final nail in the coffin of their relationship. If anything, she’s still got her love goggles on and it’s baffling how she just kind of lets things go with him. I mean he literally flirted with Olivia and Paula at the pool right in front of her. Seriously, what does she see in him?
The White Lotus comes with some great hilarity and growth with Mysterious Monkeys and delivers its strongest episode yet. There are a lot of revelations and retaliations that heighten some of the intensity at the resort, so it’s only a matter of time before tensions really boil over.