HBO’s The White Lotus: Recentering (Episode 4) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s The White Lotus, Recentering, the vacationers hit rough waters as tough conversations turn sour and create damaging fractures.
At the end of last week’s episode, Olivia (Sydney Sweeney) got an up-close view of Paula’s (Brittany O’Grady) secret relationship with a hotel staff member named Kai (Kekoa Kekumano). It’s been a little odd that Paula has kept this relationship a secret but in a conversation with Kai, she reveals some unresolved issues between her and Olivia. Olivia’s got control issues and needs have things go how she wants – including keeping Paula by her side. There was even a past incident where Olivia broke apart one of Paula’s past relationships just so she keeps her under her control, so she’s clearly got issues and it’s not hard to see why. The entire Mossbacher clan is totally toxic, especially with each other, and this episode proves that they really squandered an opportunity to mend their relationships.
Nicole (Connie Britton) continues to belittle Mark (Steve Zahn) in their relationship by completely scoffing at his behavior and absence the day before. While he might’ve been drunkenly aggressive and kind of deserved it given that we find that he cheated on her once, Nicole isn’t any better. She should frankly listen to her own advice on “participating” on this vacation since we literally never see her do anything with anyone. All she’s ever doing is sitting by the pool by herself, eating by herself, or doing something work related. When Mark said that their spark was gone, he really hit the nail on the head. It’s sad that this vacation could’ve been a great time for them to reconnect not only as a couple, but also as a family. However, they’ve only let things get worse and it wouldn’t surprise me if they just split by the end of this.
As a family, the Mossbachers are spiraling towards a major low as they have a disastrous conversation at dinner that shows their unflinching sense of entitlement. Through the Mossbachers, writer/director Mike White creates a perfectly satirical look at differing generational political views that don’t really say anything. Sure, it’s clear where these people stand. Olivia and Paula are young liberals that seek to support change and let generally unheard voices be heard while Nicole is much more conservative in her beliefs and rebukes change for the sake of change. Although where they stand is clear, there’s actually a lot of problematic aspects to their stances. Rather than really talk about the changes and injustices they support, Olivia and Paula kind of just use this stance as ammo to feel entitled over other people. They’re basically the equivalent of people who just go to rallies and protests to make their Instagram look better.
As for Nicole, well, her ignorance speaks volumes as she tells Olivia and Paula to feel bad for Quinn (Fred Hechinger) because “straight, white men are having a tough time.” She barely even wants to have a real conversation and just invalidates and belittles any opinion that they have that makes her look bad. Add in the fact that Mark just pathetically agrees with Nicole for the hell of it and Quinn berates everyone about the Earth and environmentalism like he’s some kind of expert after he has one conversation with some islanders. It’s sad that the Mossbachers likely represent a lot of the political discourse we’re seeing with how unflinching both sides are and its likely going to lead them to destruction. Olivia is already lighting the match with how she goes back into her old ways as she attempts to get in between Kai and Paula.
As for the other guests, Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) re-affirms to Belinda (Natasha Rothwell) that she wants to invest in her own therapy spa business, but there’s something about this that just doesn’t sit right. It all feels like a setup for Tanya to fall through on this deal. She gets distracted by a date with a guy and with how things just completely fall apart in this episode for everyone else, it feels like things between Tanya and Belinda aren’t going to stay good for long.
The Armond (Murray Bartlett) and Shane (Jake Lacy) feud intensifies this week as Shane’s mother Kitty (Molly Shannon) enters the picture to turn Shane and Rachel’s (Alexandria Daddario) honeymoon into a worsening nightmare. It’s always fun when White and Shannon come together on a project because they just have the same kind of comedic mind and having her here is an absolute blast – well, maybe for everyone expect for Rachel. If you needed anymore proof that their relationship is just crumbling, Kitty shows up to drive the wedge even further. Since Shane has no backbone to actually speak against his mom crashing his honeymoon and just doesn’t give a damn about anything Rachel thinks, it’s no shock that things get as messy as they do. He makes a really petty remark to Rachel about her mom being poor and doesn’t even give her the dignity or respect to fight with her. He just wants to continue this petty feud with Armond over the room situation.
After going on an absolute bender last week, Armond unsuccessfully tries to kick this pill popping habit he’s developed over the last few days. Oof, I would be genuinely shocked if Armond somehow isn’t the one in that coffin after everything that happens with him. The stress of this job is really starting to get to him as Shane continues to be an absolute nightmare for him and other things within the hotel start to fall apart. Although Belinda tries her best to get him off these drugs, Armond can’t resist and makes a choice that leads to a wild ending. High and horny as hell, Armond convinces one of the male hotel assistants to have night full of drugs and sex with him in his office. Unfortunately for him, this happens the same time Shane forces Belinda to his office to confront him about their feud and they walk Armond literally eating ass. It’s shocking. It makes your heart drop. There’s even something some kind hilarious about the situation. It’s a really flawless ending that leaves you guessing with how Shane leaves in self-assurance that he’s going to turn the White Lotus upside-down.
The White Lotus hits a major turning point with its characters as their feuds signal major relationship fractures in the near future that are about to reduce the White Lotus to rubble. Shane’s discovery of Armond’s erotic office antics and the Mossbachers’ family feud intensifying makes for endless entertainment and make Recentering the strongest episode yet.