‘The White Lotus’: Is Armond Really ‘Gaslighting’ Shane in the HBO series?

The one question HBO viewers have after watching The White Lotus Episode 3 is about gaslighting. What exactly is the term, and was the resort manager, Armond (Murray Bartlett), gaslighting Shane Patton (Jake Lacy)? The actor gives insight into Armond’s motivations.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from The White Lotus Episode 3, “Mysterious Monkeys”]

The White Lotus Episode 1-6 cast and director pose for photographers at the Los Angeles Premiere of the HBO limited series: 'The White Lotus': (L-R) Jon Gries, Mike White, David Bernard, Fred Hechinger, Steve Zahn, Connie Britton, Jolene Purdy, Molly Shannon, Sydney Sweeney, Jennifer Coolidge, Brittany O'Grady, Natasha Rothwell, Murray Bartlett, and Alexandra Daddario
‘The White Lotus’: (L-R) Jon Gries, Mike White, David Bernard, Fred Hechinger, Steve Zahn, Connie Britton, Jolene Purdy, Molly Shannon, Sydney Sweeney, Jennifer Coolidge, Brittany O’Grady, Natasha Rothwell, Murray Bartlett, and Alexandra Daddario | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

‘The White Lotus’ Episode 3 recap: Shane and Armond

When Shane and his new bride, Rachel (Alexandra Daddario), arrived at the White Lotus for their honeymoon, he realized the couple was in the wrong room. In The White Lotus Episode 1, Shane confronted the resort manager, Armond, about the honeymoon suite. However, Armond insisted that their room was the best room at the resort. In that first encounter, the manager already withheld information from Shane. In a private conversation with another resort staffer, Armond admitted that he double-booked the Hawaiian suite.

In the second episode of The White Lotus, Armond seems to become more accommodating to Shane, but is he gaslighting him instead? However, when he brings the couple a bottle of champagne as an apology for putting them in the wrong room, he slams it down into the ice so hard it makes Rachel jump.

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In The White Lotus Episode 3, Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) told Armond she needed a boat to spread her mother’s ashes. The lone traveler also informed him that she would be very emotional during the trip. In another scene, Shane asked Armond for help creating a romantic evening for Rachel. 

So, Armond books Shane and Rachel on the same charter boat as Tanya. The resort manager knows full well that Tanya will be a sobbing mess, but he describes how romantic the dinner at sunset will be. When the trip is terrible, Armond celebrates. Meanwhile, in the last few minutes of The White Lotus, Shane tells Rachel that Armond is gaslighting him. 

Is Armond gaslighting Shane in ‘The White Lotus’?

What is the definition of gaslighting? According to Merriam-Webster, gaslighting is an “attempt to make (someone) believe that he or she is going insane (as by subjecting that person to a series of experiences that have no rational explanation).”

In The White Lotus Episode 3, Armond subjects Shane to Tanya’s memorial for her mother, and it looks like gaslighting, even to viewers. The resort manager described the boat ride as romantic and Tanya as a quiet mouse. Both things could not be further from the truth.

“There will be one other guest on the boat,” Armond told Shane. “You won’t even notice she’s there. She’s as quiet as a church mouse.”

Murray Bartlett talks about his character, Armond

In an “Inside the Episode” recap by HBO, the actor who portrays Armond discusses his character’s motivations. 

“Armond sending Shane out on this boat ride is definitely calculated,” Bartlett explains in the YouTube clip. “But, I’m not sure if he would’ve done it if he wasn’t now high. It unlocks in the character this ability to really act on what he wants to do.”

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Although the actor didn’t describe the situation as gaslighting in The White Lotus, it sounds like that’s precisely what is happening. However, Shane takes his complaining about the situation too far when he says he’s dealt with this his entire life. 

“People have been coming for me my whole life,” Shane tells Rachel during episode 3.

The White Lotus airs on HBO and HBO Max on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.