Editor’s note: this post contains light spoilers for HBO’s The White Lotus season two episodes three and four.
After a widely successful first season, season two of The White Lotus was set in Sicily and introduced a brand-new set of characters (besides Jennifer Coolidge reprising her role as Tanya McQuoid).
Two of the most fascinating – and hottest – characters introduced in season two are Cameron (Theo James) and Ethan (Will Sharpe). After being college roommates back in the day, Ethan and Cameron rekindled their friendship and went on a trip to Sicily with their respective wives, Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and Daphne (Meghann Fahy).
During the season two premiere, Cameron had a fully nude scene while changing clothes in the same room as Harper. The scene suggested that Cameron was either trying to get Harper to cheat on Ethan or playing mind games with her, for some reason. And yet, Harper never took the bait. Instead, episodes two, three, and four have placed a much larger focus on the palpable tension between Cameron and Ethan, which often seems to have some sexual undertones to it.
A particular scene that had the gays shaking in their boots took place in the fourth episode of The White Lotus season two. Cameron told Ethan while lying together in the same bed, “I love you. I just wanna be inside you. I wanna do stuff to you. I wanna make you feel good.”
For non-viewers of The White Lotus, the scene pictured above might look like a crystal clear “gay moment” on the show. However, things are a little bit more nuanced than that.
In episode three, Daphne and Harper had a girls’ day away from the White Lotus resort, leaving Cameron and Ethan to their own devices at the hotel. The girls’ date turned out to be an overnight thing, which meant that Cameron was able to pursue two local sex workers that he and Ethan could “party” with. After a lot of drinking and pill-popping, the four of them partied it up in a hotel room, but Ethan never followed through with cheating on Harper. As expected, though, Cameron absolutely cheated on Daphne and had sex with one of the Italian women. Ethan sat against a wall and watched Cameron have sex with the woman, which once again underscored the homoerotic undertones of these characters’ relationship.
Episode four started with Cameron and Ethan paying off the Italian women and dismissing them, as well as dealing with a severe hangover. While waiting for their wives to return to the White Lotus resort and feeling extremely hungover, Ethan and Cameron lied on the same bed to relax for a second and gather their thoughts. It was during this moment that Cameron delivered the “jokes” about wanting to be inside Ethan.
One of the most brilliant writing devices in The White Lotus is the constant dialogue that can be perceived in very different ways. More often than not, the characters deliver lines that could be perceived as ominous or completely innocuous, depending on whether they are actually joking or being brutally unfiltered.
Cameron said in episode one that he’d “do” Ethan after calling him a handsome man. For many episodes now, Cameron also has a habit of regularly kissing Ethan on the cheeks. With that said, Cameron has otherwise presented as a straight man throughout the season, and one could argue that he is behaving like this in an attempt to “patronize” Ethan.
As far as Ethan is concerned, it was undeniably odd that he chose to sit and watch his college friend having sex with a woman after a night of drinking and popping pills. Ethan has also made many excuses for Cameron’s behavior every time that Harper tried to call him out. Though there is clearly a lot of tension between Ethan and Cameron when they’re alone just the two of them, it remains to be seen if this is “sexual tension” or a deeply-rooted hatred of Cameron that Ethan has been carrying around for many years now.
In the meantime, gay fans of The White Lotus are enjoying the seemingly homoerotic bromance between these two incredibly attractive men.
The White Lotus season two airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.