One of the juiciest dynamics on “The White Lotus” season two is that of the central foursome: Ethan (Will Sharpe), Harper (Aubrey Plaza), Cameron (Theo James), and Daphne (Meghann Fahy). While Harper is initially disgusted by her husband Ethan’s former college roommate, Cameron, as the married couples intermingle, the pair’s adversarial dynamic becomes murkier (and a little more heated). This all culminates with a potential dalliance between Harper and Cameron in episode six, which might just have deadly consequences in the finale.
Harper’s frustrations with Ethan begin in episode four when, after rejecting her sexual advances over the course of their vacation, he repeatedly refuses to tell her the truth about the debauchery he and Cameron got up to while she and Daphne were in Noto (which includes him kissing Mia). Once Ethan finally confesses (only after Harper discovers a condom on the couch), a fed-up Harper still harbors doubts about Ethan’s story — so he asks Cameron to talk to her and corroborate his version of events.
Cut to Harper and Cameron grabbing drinks at the bar and looking too chummy for comfort for Ethan. When they disappear together so Harper can retrieve her hat from her room, Ethan immediately suspects them of hooking up there, especially when he discovers the adjoining door of their hotel rooms unlocked.
Harper insists nothing happened, but Ethan, in a deliciously ironic twist, can’t help but stew. So what really transpired between these two?
Do Harper and Cameron Hook Up on “The White Lotus“?
In episode five, Daphne advises Harper to “just get a trainer” (aka an extramarital boy toy) after dropping the bomb that she knows Cameron cheats on her (a revelation that has viewers thinking her eldest child might not be Cameron’s). It’s possible a bitter Harper simply took this advice. It’s safe to say this is what Ethan suspects: in the preview for the finale, we see Ethan spit, “I know you did something!” at his wife and punch Cameron.
Could he be right? Harper always seems disgusted with Cameron (he’s a sleaze who scoffs at her work as an employment lawyer; can you blame her?), but there’s also been some heat there, too. Let’s not forget that under-the-table leg touch in episode five or the way he undresses right in front of her in episode one. Plus, Harper is noticeably upset about the fact that Ethan would rather watch porn than be intimate with her — again, can you blame her? — and repeatedly asks Ethan in episode six if he even “wants” her anymore. Could her wish to be desired have ended with the hasty hookup Ethan keeps envisioning?
Is Harper Playing Games With Ethan on “The White Lotus”?
Harper’s behavior in episode five is revealing, though: at the winery, she repeatedly asks Cameron and Ethan if they’ve ever hooked up with the same girl, picking at the scabs of Ethan’s old insecurities about Cameron.
“Cameron would always sleep with the girls I liked but before I could get to them,” a prickly Ethan explains, ostensibly because Cameron was jealous of Ethan’s “higher status” (a dynamic that’s especially apparent in the present day, as a grown-up Ethan is now much richer than Cameron).
There’s definitely some macho beef between these two, and Harper is smart enough to exploit it. Harper is expected to believe Ethan’s story about his night with Cameron on his word alone — even though she finds a condom in their room, witnesses him talking to Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Grannò), and waits days for him to divulge the truth. It’s clear she resents his perceived deception, along with Ethan’s lack of attraction to her.
Harper could just want to give him a taste of his own medicine and is “playing games” the way Daphne taught her in Noto. What better way to get back at her husband than by staging a hookup with his frat-boy frenemy, complete with “smoking guns” like the deadbolted door, and asking him to take her on her word? It’s devious, and we can’t say we don’t love it — let’s just hope this little piece of domestic theater doesn’t get anybody killed next episode.
Is Ethan Just Paranoid on “The White Lotus”?
The last possibility is that Ethan, having found himself capable of kissing another woman during their vacation, has simply become overly paranoid that Harper would do the same, despite her having done nothing to make him doubt her fidelity. After all, it’s not like Harper hasn’t gone back to their rooms with Cameron before (only to have Ethan brush off her concerns about Cameron undressing in front of her). Ethan’s suspicions may just be a bad case of projection. Let’s just hope his paranoia doesn’t drive him to do something he can’t take back in the finale.