The White Lotus told a bunch of stories in its six-episode limited run. It told a story about a rich little snot and his frustrated new wife. It told a story of an insufferable married couple and their bratty children. It told the story of a needy alcoholic heaving her mother’s ashes across Hawaii. But, most interestingly, to me, at least, it told the story of a hotel manager spiraling into hell because of all those other things (and a sprinkling of manic pill-popping). It was a ride as fast as it was wild, and it ended with him pooping in a suitcase and then getting stabbed and then having his corpse stuffed into a box and loaded into an airplane. A classic story we’ve all seen a million times.
I’m talking about Armond here, as you know if you watched The White Lotus, which I’ll go ahead and assume you did because you clicked on this article. Things did not go great for Armond. It all started out so small, too, with a miscommunication about a reservation. A few episodes later he was snorting ketamine in his office. If you were to sum up his headspace in one moving image, it would probably look something like this.
But this brings us to the important question here: Did Armond, even with all the drug-sniffing and underling-seducing and suitcase-pooping, actually, in the grand scheme of things, do anything that was really that wrong? It’s a fair question. One with shades of gray. Let’s dig into it all with another round of Case For, Case Against.
CASE FOR: Armond did something wrong
You should not poop in a suitcase. Ever. Even if it’s your own suitcase, but especially not if it’s somebody else’s suitcase. I’ve been cranking my brain away on this since Sunday night and I have not found a single good reason to poop in a suitcase short of “it’s a special suitcase that has a little portable toilet in it,” but that, to my knowledge, is not a thing that exists. Nor should it. Maybe for camping, if we want to stretch the limits here (no one steal this idea), but I don’t think we do, in part because carrying a suitcase full of poop around the woods is weird and in part because it was not the situation here anyway. Shane had a normal suitcase. You should not poop in normal suitcases.
You should also not steal drugs from teenagers and do those stolen drugs in your office during work, even if the teenagers are mean and have good drugs. I don’t even need to put the “and” in that sentence. I could have said “you should not steal OR do drugs in your office during work” and I still would have been on solid footing. You definitely should not snort ketamine at work, or ever, probably. That’s the kind of thing that’s hard to explain if a coworker catches you. (“Oh, uh… hey Dan. I was just… snorting… ketamine.”) I suspect we can all agree on this, at least in a vacuum.
Another thing that you should not do: Give the stolen drugs to your employees and then engage in sex acts with them. That’s bad supervising all around, and not super moral, even if the employees seem cool and have great hair and are up for it.
You should try not to screw with guests at your fancy resort, too, or at least not in ways that are obvious to them. Like, it is generally not good to book a honeymooning couple on the same small boat as a sad messy lady who is lugging her mother’s remains around a tropical heaven inside a golden box that she only puts down to get massages or make love to dying bald guys. It’s kind of funny, sure, and extra funny when the honeymooners are entitled little skunks and/or whiny bloggers, but still. Just as a general principle, you should try to avoid this. Some of it is the bad karma, some of it is professionalism, most of it is avoiding situations that can wind their way toward you getting stabbed to death in a luxurious hotel suite. This last thing is very important. The key to screwing with people is to keep it small enough that you have deniability. And to not get stabbed. Please write this down somewhere.
Add it all up and the conclusion is obvious: Armond made some mistakes over the six episodes of The White Lotus.
THE CASE AGAINST: Armond did nothing wrong
I mean… look. Could he have made better decisions? Sure. Would he still be alive if he had? Probably. Maybe. I suppose he could have been hit by lightning or swallowed up by lava even if he had acted like a saint the whole time. The world is weird and not always fair. Might as well get your kicks in while you can. And anyway, if anyone in the history of the world deserved their suitcase to be pooped in and their drugs to be stolen, it would be this guy…
… and these girls…
… respectively. Someone needed to take them down a peg, to show them the world is full of real people with real problems beyond whatever trivial hooey they consider a flagrant violation of… whatever exactly they think was flagrantly violated. Some of this may be colored —shaded, at least — by the thing where I worked at a fancy schmancy country club in my teens and would have found it endlessly funny if someone pooped in a few of the members’ golf bags. Some of it may be the stupid faces Shane made every time he was on screen. It’s probably a combination of things.
I’m not saying his actions were right, at least not in any sort of moral or ethical way that could be defended against even the slightest pushback. I’m just saying, like…
… I get it. You do, too. Please do not lie to me about this. Or yourself.
Armond went a little too far. I’ll concede that. But also, come on. Someone, somewhere, whether it ended up being a hotel employee or gardener really any other form of service worker, was eventually going to poop in or on at least one of Shane’s possessions. It might happen again. It might not have even been the first time. Let’s cut the guy some slack.