The Chilling White Lotus Scene That Epitomized 2022

At the end of the year, it’s time to think. In popular culture, this often boils down to lists and essays. But rarely do they capture the smaller moments of joy. The meme that briefly dominated group chat. The book passage you read 10 times. The lyrics you couldn’t stop hearing in your head for just this week. As this year draws to a close, there’s one such moment that, in its particularly devious way, seems to capture something real about what it was like to live in 2022.

It came about 20 minutes into the sixth episode of HBO’s new season The White Lotus. At this point in the show, Hayley Lu Richardson’s character Portia, a driving American personal assistant in search of adventure, has unexpectedly intertwined a few episodes with Leo Woodall’s character Jack, an English charmer with a thirst for life and likely a drinking problem. Their patrons – the rich and/or supposedly rich Tanya and Quentin – mingle elsewhere, and Portia and Jack are free to sit idly on a bench in Palermo harbor and enjoy the scene. Children splash in the water. circling waves. A painfully perfect blue sky hangs over it all. Jack drinks a beer. Portia eats a complicated looking dessert.

“Do you have goals?” she asks.

Jack laughs. “What? Goals?”


“What are some of your goals?”

“I do not know.” She pauses. “Be satisfied. Yes. That would be nice.”

“I guess you just have to live each day as it comes, know what I mean?” he shoots back. “I’ll do that anyway. Who knows if we’ll still be here tomorrow?”

“Yes,” she says. “It’s very true. The world is a shitty place.”

Jack scoffs. “What is wrong with that?”

“Are you kidding?”

“Pretty damn good world, I’d say.”

“It’s literally collapsing.”

It’s an echo of a sentiment shared by at least one other character, Harper, earlier in the season. It obviously feels connected to the fatalism of climate change, but in that simple statement, Portia could be referring to a number of things: fears about the erosion of democratic values ​​in the US and abroad; the deadly effect of social media; the possibility that people will be just as ill-prepared for the next pandemic as they were the first time. At least emotionally, she’s right. For much of 2022, it certainly felt like everything was falling further apart. And this is where Jack gets a monologue.

“Then you’d rather live in the Middle Ages, wouldn’t you? When they ripped each other to pieces, yeah? They were way worse than ISIS or any of them. It’s a goddamn miracle anyone’s left in Europe at all. What we’ve done is chop each other to pieces and burn each other at the stake. I’m ready for another beer.”

He jumps off the bench. Below him, hopeful music begins to play. “What I’m saying is, right, we’re lucky, you know what I mean? We live in the best time in world history – on the damn best planet. If you can’t be happy here now, you’ll never be happy.” He stands directly in front of Portia and speaks to her. She laughs uncomfortably. “So let’s get mad. Yes?” He grabs her hand. And here we go. The Chilling White Lotus Scene That Epitomized 2022

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