The characters of The White Lotus Season 2 are caught in a mess of sex and deceit, but it appears as if Sicilian sex worker Lucia Greco (Simona Tabasco) is weaving a web of her own.
Lucia starts out the season involved with White Lotus guest Dominic Di Grasso (Michael Imperioli), but after he tells her he can’t see her anymore, she becomes entangled with his son Albie (Adam DiMarco). Not only does this make for super awkward family interactions — Albie doesn’t know about Dominic and Lucia’s earlier arrangement — it also seems to have placed the Di Grasso family in a bit more danger.
As Lucia tells Albie, her pimp Alessio controls her and claims she owes him, even though she makes him a lot of money. The alarm bells start to go off in episode 5, when Albie witnesses a tense interaction between Lucia and Alessio on the street, but the danger kicks into high gear in episode 6. Lucia accompanies Albie and his family (again, awkward) on a day trip around Sicily. Her time with them is cut short when Alessio follows them in his car and demands she go with him. She leaves reluctantly, and the intrigue surrounding her and Alessio thickens.
Except something is off. Why has this Alessio plotline only emerged now, over halfway through the season? If Lucia was so worried about Alessio, why not bring it up to Dominic originally? As if that weren’t enough, there’s one major moment in the season’s first episode that really solidifies my doubts about Lucia’s story.
We’ve seen Alessio before, in episode 1.
Credit: Fabio Lovino / HBO
The very first time we meet Lucia in The White Lotus, she and her friend Mia (Beatrice Grannò) are on their way to the White Lotus boat to look for Lucia’s newest customer. As they walk, they pass Alessio, and Lucia greets him with a friendly “Ciao.” The interaction is nowhere near as contentious as their later scenes, suggesting friendship more than a business relationship. So if Alessio is just a friend, what’s he doing supposedly antagonizing Lucia? What’s her endgame?
Simple: She’s scamming Albie.
Just like poor Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) seems to be getting fleeced by Quentin (Tom Hollander), Albie is getting scammed by his new paramour. Lucia recognizes Albie’s naïveté after their first night together and almost immediately begins to spin a tale of a tragic sex worker in danger. All she has to do is get a friend to pose as her pimp. It’s a smart move: She’s banking on Albie’s desire to be a white knight for a distressed damsel. Based on his concern, and how he asks her what it will take to free her from Alessio, it’s clear her plan is working.
Lucia could be shaking Albie down for more money, but she could also have her sights set on something greater. When the two first start talking in episode 4, she asks about Albie’s life in Los Angeles. “I always wanted to go to Los Angeles. That is my dream,” she tells him. Could she be planning to leverage her connection with Albie to leave Sicily?
Lucia’s actions fit into The White Lotus‘s wider focus on deception.
Credit: Courtesy of HBO
If Lucia is scamming Albie — and based on Alessio’s appearance in episode 1, that seems likely — then she is committing extremely hard to the bit. Staging a street argument with Alessio is one thing, but arranging a car chase and a kidnapping is something else entirely. If anything, that scene lends Lucia’s story more credibility.
But we have to remember that The White Lotus is playing with the idea of narratives we spin in our head. In the same episode as the car chase, Ethan (Will Sharpe) begins to think his wife Harper (Aubrey Plaza) cheated on him with his friend Cameron (Theo James), all because of a suspicious moment in their hotel room. He can’t see behind closed doors, and neither can we. We’re left to fill in the blanks ourselves.
It’s the same with Lucia and Alessio. The White Lotus very pointedly does not show us what happens to Lucia after she gets in the car with Alessio. We’re left to assume they continue their argument, but they could just as easily be gloating over the success of their ruse. Notice how all their conversations are in muffled, non-subtitled Italian, placing us in Albie’s shoes. The White Lotus is only showing us what it wants Albie to believe, and Albie is buying wholeheartedly into Lucia’s likely scheme. Let’s hope it doesn’t lead to either of them winding up in one of this season’s many body bags.
The season finale ofThe White Lotus Season 2 is airing Sunday, Dec. 11 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.