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The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 6 Recap: Don't Cross A Woman And Her Artichoke

Contains spoilers for "The White Lotus" Season 2, Episode 6 — "Abductions" 

With each passing episode of the second season "The White Lotus," one can't help but wonder just how well-versed in art history you need to be to understand the season to its fullest. Season 2 first starts with sparse inclusions of ancient sculptures and paintings from the baroque period. By this point, though, as the HBO series sails headlong towards the finale, the quickly increasing artistic visuals make it more evident that if there's one emotion that rules these characters, it is definitely desire.

Be it Ethan (Will Sharpe) who only wants his marriage to remain intact, or Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) who just wants to feel something, all the characters reside in their emotions to a painful degree. In that regard, Tanya's (Jennifer Coolidge) excruciating longing to be seen and appreciated is perhaps the most relatable and most uncomfortable to watch. After her shocking discovery at the end of Episode 5, Tanya — as well as the audience — is filled with anxiety about what her benefactors are up to. Are Jack (Leo Woodall) and Quentin (Tom Hollander) related? Or is there something even more duplicitous afoot?

Jealousy is a cycle

It is dejá vù all over again as Ethan and Harper (Aubrey Plaza) continue to have the same fight. Driven by insecurity in her marriage, Harper refuses to believe that Ethan remained faithful to her after a particularly flagrant night of debauchery. Fatigued by Harper's constant mistrust, Ethan begs Cam (Theo James) to convince his wife that no infidelity occurred. But as soon as Cam stays true to his word, Ethan falls apart.

Harper is suddenly upbeat after her conversation with Cam and Ethan is thrown for a tailspin. Similar to how their fights become cyclical, so do their feelings towards each other. Harper used to be the one that was uptight and jealous, but suddenly that has been bestowed to Ethan. Instead of feeling relief that Harper has moved past her suspicions, he is driven to the brink. He thinks that Harper has cheated on him with Cam but despite her assurances, he remains unconvinced. Now, Ethan and the audience knows what it was like for Harper these past episodes. Because viewers are not privy to Cam and Harper's conversation, we don't know if they cheated or not. Being thrown into a purgatory of not seeing what happened between Harper and Cam coupled with overwhelming insecurity has turned Ethan into Harper. But while we know that Ethan did not step outside the bounds of his marriage, we are in the dark about the exact nature of Harper and Cam's relationship.

Be careful what you wish for

Showrunner Mike White may have explained Quentin and Jack's liaison, but questions still haunt every corner of this episode. After observing the late-night hook-up by the supposed uncle and nephew, Tanya has come to a logical conclusion. Jack and Quentin are not related but do have some sort of sexual agreement. Even though this is technically the best-case scenario, it still leaves an undesirable situation. 

Meanwhile, Portia is having the time of her life, but it isn't how she pictured. Jack becomes belligerently drunk, pointing out that while Portia may be unhappy in her life, she is blind to just how privileged she is. This honesty goes even further when he gives Portia some incriminating information. Quentin is not the rich friend they think he is, but broke. Tanya warned Portia to be careful, but in actuality it's Tanya who is in danger. While at the party Quentin has thrown in her honor, she finds the most damning evidence of all. In the palazzo is a framed photo of a young Quentin and — gasp! — young Greg (Jon Gries). Greg was the young cowboy who Quentin had an unrequited passion for. Is it just a coincidence that they both ended up in Sicily at the same time? Absolutely not. When you are down on your luck and looking for a payday, what can you do but con a depressed rich woman? Hopefully, Tanya's comparisons to Madame Butterfly do not become reality.

The Di Grassos continue being out of touch

No matter how many times the Di Grassos come face-to-face with their misogyny, they never seem to learn. This can be a very depressing statement about the way of the world or maybe someday that the Di Grassos will realize they have to do better. But that is not this day. On this day, the trio of men go on their adventure to find their potential extended relations. Convinced that they have family in the area, Albie (Adam DiMarco) insists on taking Lucia (Simona Tabasco) as a translator. As with everything that involves Lucia, this only culminates in disaster. A mysterious and aggressive man pressures Lucia to come with him which forces the Di Grassos to journey on without her. 

Unaided by someone who speaks Italian, the visit is a catastrophe. Though they meet a family that goes by the name of Di Grasso, it never occurred to the Americans that a house of women would not want to be accosted by a group of strange men. Bert (F. Murray Abraham) approaches them with baffling confidence as though these women would immediately drop everything to accept him. After being threatened with an artichoke by the family's matriarch, the Di Grassos drive back to the hotel. 

Perhaps things would have gone better if they had brought along a female who spoke the language. But once again, this only outlines just how out of touch every single member of the family is.

Where is the White Lotus' HR department?

If any workplace needs a seminar on dating in the workplace, it's the White Lotus. Up until this point, Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) has been toeing the line of abuse of power. Because of her fixation with Isabella (Eleonora Romandini), Valentina disregards her duties as a manager. But irony is cruel, and Valentina gets a hard dose of it. After using sexual harassment as an excuse to banish Rocco (Federico Ferrante) to the beach club, Isabella tells Valentina that his replacement is the one who is giving her unwanted attention. Valentina resists bringing Rocco back, only to learn that Isabella's close relationship with her coworker is because they are engaged.

With all hopes of any romantic liaison with her subordinate dashed, Valentina is devastated. She can't compete with a committed couple and is once again left on her own. Though her motives and actions are indisputably abusive, it is masking an inner pain that only Mia (Beatrice Grannò) sees. Mia rightly caught that Valentina was interested in women, but she did not understand he White Lotus manager has never had a relationship before. As much as she wants to be true to herself, Valentina is insecure about her sexuality and now it seems that it is too late to put herself out there. Luckily for her, Mia has no problem getting intimate. Valentina experiences her first encounter with a woman while Mia continues to leave her innocence far behind.

When does The White Lotus Episode 7 air?

The seventh and final episode of "The White Lotus" Season 2 premieres on Sunday, December 11 at 9 p.m. EST, airing on HBO and streaming on HBO Max. Each episode has been pushing the characters to a breaking point but even with the season finale on the horizon, it's unclear exactly which characters will break beyond repair for the climactic conclusion. 

For those who have forgotten, Episode 1 informed us that there are bodies in the water outside of the White Lotus, and anyone could be a victim. Ethan has careened so far towards snapping completely, it's unclear if he will ever come back. The truth behind Lucia's mystery stalker could be a large red herring, or it could be that she really is in over her head.

And then there is Tanya. Beautiful, broken Tanya, who remains a fan-favorite character. It seems unlikely that she will be one of the bodies in the water, judging from Jennifer Coolidge's Emmy win — and the fact she is one of the only characters to return from Season 1. But there is no doubt that, even if she survives, viewers will have to endure her being thrown into terrible situations once again. Now in the thrall of a cocaine-using mobster, it's obvious that life will only get worse for her when Episode 7 premieres.