'Hotel Portofino' Recap: Season 2 Episode 4
November 5, 2023
Hotel Portofino airs Sundays at 7:00 pm. WTTW Passport members can stream the whole show now. Recap the previous and following episodes.
Keep up with your favorite dramas and mysteries by signing up for our newsletter, Dramalogue.
Lucian wakes up in Constance’s bed to find a sketch by her of him asleep. She has gone for an early morning swim. The blissful morning is ruined at breakfast, when Lucian receives a telegram that his wife Rose is arriving at the hotel the following day. Constance tells Lucian that they must forget their night together ever happened.
Lucian’s not the only one upset to be thrust into intimacy with his spouse. Some guests who had cancelled their booking have arrived nonetheless, forcing Bella to move Cecil into her own room to make space. When she and Cecil review the architect Marco’s plans for a solarium for the hotel, Cecil pointedly mentions that he’s once again sharing a room with Bella. Marco is upset, and kisses Bella when she tries to assuage him. She tells him she can’t have an affair with him, at least not right now.
Alice is much happier in her relationship, having brought Victor, her Swiss-Italian fiancé, back from France with her. She tells her mother she is clear-eyed about him and the speed of their engagement.
Cecil invites Count Albani for a drink with Victor and takes a liking to him – and his family’s presumed wealth. He asks Victor to join him at the new casino sometime and introduces him to Danioni. Albani is more skeptical, and not just because he himself once courted Alice.
Cecil gets another invitation to the casino from Farrino, the gangster who is setting it up and represents the Americans to whom Cecil and Danioni illegally export alcohol. Farrino demands that Cecil find a way to expedite increased production of the whiskey immediately, and also invites both men to a gala at the casino. Danioni mentions that Claudine is staying at the hotel, and Farrino insists that the movie star come as well.
Cecil calls his brother Edmund in England and begs him to speak to the lord who owns the distillery from which he is exporting whisky, even though the lord doesn’t do business in the summer.
Danioni has several of his own solutions. He brings Cecil to a vineyard owned by a cousin and has him taste grappa made there, but Cecil spits it out. The Americans would never buy it, he says before storming out.
Danioni also has a plan for Cecil to acquire the hotel from Bella, so that he can launder money through it. Cecil wants Danioni to refuse Bella’s application for a construction permit, so that Cecil can fire Marco and choose his own architect. But Danioni says they should grant the permit in exchange for taking control of the hotel. A husband should be in charge of his wife’s finances and businesses, anyway, as in a recently repealed law that the Fascists are trying to resurrect.
Danioni is under pressure to find and arrest Anish and Gianluca. Lucian and Billy secretly move Anish to a new hiding place, after he was nearly discovered, even though Gianluca told Anish not to leave.
Gianluca finds Lucian and threatens him with a knife, asking where Anish is. Lucian refuses to say, and Gianluca stands down. He tells Lucian that he has an escape plan in place for Anish; Lucian says it is up to Anish to decide whether to take it.
Lucian goes fishing with Billy and Jonathan, the snooty writer who has recently warmed to Lucian, and leaves them to go visit Anish. His leg wound doesn’t look good, so Anish wants to let Gianluca take charge. Lucian may not trust him, but Anish does.
Lucian has begged off spending time with his wife to go fish. He has been cordially distant from Rose ever since she arrived, taking any excuse to get away from her. She has learned from an offhanded comment from Bella that she didn’t ask him to come to the hotel to help her with her renovations, as he told Rose. He came of his own desire.
In Lucian’s absence, Rose asks Constance to teach her to swim, since she knows Lucian loves being in the water and wants to do things he likes with him. Constance reluctantly agrees, and the two have a pleasant time until Rose looks at Constance’s notebook and Constance admits a photo inside is of her son. Rose clams up and Constance leaves to go back to work.
The staff is on their best behavior, as Billy glimpsed part of a notebook mentioning a middling meal in the Dodsworth sisters’ rooms when he helped them after their dog bit one of them. Betty is insulted, but redoubles her efforts and wins praise from the sisters on her Italian eggplant – a dish she learned from one of the construction workers. She and Paola have brought him and his strapping younger colleague cake as a peace offering, and they’re all getting along swimmingly.
Cecil, for one, is less happy about the popularity of Betty’s cooking. All the tables are booked, so he has to eat a meager meal in the kitchen. He searches for Bella to complain and learns she is taking a phone call, despite the late hour. He eavesdrops and hears her set a date for something.
Later, he asks Bella to get Claudine to sing at the casino gala, offering her money and a favor fulfilled for Danioni. Bella agrees, with her own plans in mind.
Claudine has consulted with the lawyer Bruzzone, Gianluca’s father, with Count Albani serving as translator, and learned that she breached her movie contract by fleeing a rumor to Portofino before it was done filming, to avoid gossip and paparazzi. Bruzzone has suggested she pretend there was a misunderstanding and that she thought she had permission to leave for another professional engagement. The casino gig could be that engagement.
Bella and Claudine hatch a plan. As part of it, Bella lets in the photographers waiting outside the gate in the hopes of glimpsing Claudine. She leads them to the lawn, where Claudine, the other guests, and even the staff are taking part in some exercise led by Marco’s nephew.
Rose is distraught to see Lucian’s delight in interacting with Constance during the exercise and rushes off to their room, where she flops on the bed. She notices Lucian’s sketchbook under the pillows and pages through. She finds Constance’s sketch of a shirtless Lucian sleeping in bed tucked inside.