The arrival of Mike White’s inimitable muse Molly Shannon as Shane’s meddling and self-professed “crazy” mother Kitty in Sunday’s fourth episode of The White Lotus adds a new wrinkle to the “Who’s in the Coffin?” mystery. It seems entirely plausible that the figurative daggers daughter-in-law Rachel shot her throughout the hour could be replaced with literal ones by the Aug. 15 finale.
“Recentering” actually reshaped the limited series’ central puzzle in a myriad of ways as the episode introduced a second fresh victim candidate and presented a number of new motives among the OG guests (assuming the looming death was a homicide, of course).
Read on for a breakdown of the episode’s five biggest non-Kitty related developments, and then scroll to the bottom of the page to vote in our casket-themed poll.
FRENEMY’S ‘TIL THE END | Turns out the reason Paula’s been keeping her romance with White Lotus bellhop/luau performer Kai a secret from Olivia is because her BFF has a history of boyfriend-thievery. “She’s my friend, as long as she has more of everything than I do,” Paula explains to Kai. “But if I have something of my own, she wants it.” And, sure enough, in the episode’s closing moments, Olivia does indeed make a super-gross play for Kai. This comes as Paula is growing increasingly apoplectic of Olivia and her obscenely privileged brood in the wake of the reveal that The White Lotus was built on land stolen from Kai’s family.
SOBERING DEVELOPMENT | Despite Armond’s insistence that his booze and drug-fueled relapse was just a one-time thing, the overwhelmed resort manager decides to keep the party going amid another disastrous day at the office. Among his newest headaches: After Olivia and Paula out him as the backpack poacher, he’s forced to return the narcotics-filled duffel (but he pockets the meds before doing so); tensions with Shane escalate when the guest-from-hell vows to report him to White Lotus brass for intentionally turning his romantic maritime dinner with new bride Rachel into a “dumpster fire s–t show;” and, lastly, he’s caught having sex in his office with subordinate Dillon by Belinda and — worst case scenario alert! — Shane.
WE HAVE A LOVE TRIANGLE | Belinda takes Tanya up on her wellness center-themed business proposition, but their burgeoning partnership springs its first leak when the latter becomes distracted by a shiny new object named Greg (Jon Gries), a deep sea fisherman with whom Tanya hilariously mistakes for a Black Lives Matter activist. She’s later deflated to learn that “BLM” also stands for Bureau of Land Management (but she has sex with him anyway).
* The breakout star of White Lotus remains Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s alternately sumptuous and feverish tropical-infused score.
* Olivia’s sublimely scornful assurance to her caucasian male sympathizing-mother that all “the white straight men” at the resort are “still thriving” earns Sydney Sweeney this week’s award for Outstanding Performance of a Single Line of Mike White Dialogue.
* Kitty’s aggressively dismissive exhortation to Rachel that her desire to get a real job “doesn’t make any sense” earns Molly Shannon this week’s runner-up award for Outstanding Performance of a Single Line of Mike White Dialogue.
* Rest assured, I’ve requested the minutes from the intimacy coordinator’s meeting with Murray Bartlett and Lukas Gage about Episode 4’s (yep, I’m gonna go there) rim shot.