'Hotel Portofino's "Alliances" Include Too Much Negroni, a Vegetarian Dog & an Errant Grenade

Lily Frazer as Claudine dances in a musical number in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Lily Frazer as Claudine dances in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

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Cecil may look very dapper with his three-piece suit and perfectly coiffed hair, but every time he comes on the screen, the Wicked Witch theme music from The Wizard of Oz plays in my head. Yes, my friends, the snake in the grass has returned to Hotel Portofino and is slithering around, leaving barbed remarks in his wake. “Have you been keeping your nose clean,” he smirks at Billy. When Billy says he has, Cecil replies, “Good man though I shan’t be taking your word for it.”

Bella is doing her best to avoid her husband, but although the hotel is lovely, it’s not actually that big, and Cecil eventually tracks her down. “It looks like you were lying in wait,” Bella tells him. “I don’t understand why you’ve come back. There’s nothing for you here.” To Bella’s surprise, Cecil is extraordinarily contrite. “When you are here, and I’m back in London, I feel half the man I do than when I am with you... I will do better, whatever it takes,” he tells her. Bella is still wary but later gets tipsy with Claudine (who notes quite accurately that Cecil is hanging around the hotel, like body odor). Bella confesses that after so many years of marriage and the shared history of losing a son, she’s not sure she is ready to or wants to divorce him. 

Claudine wonders about Bella’s lovelorn pen pal, Henry. Bella tells her she hasn’t written to Henry in months and he was a port in the storm during a difficult time. Alas, poor Henry is not aware of this. He writes to Bella that he will be traveling to Italy soon as a tutor for a family. “It is my only wish to see your sweet and oft-imagined face again,” he writes Bella. 

Oscar Lloyd as Jonathan Bertram directs a film in Hotel Portofino Season 2

Oscar Lloyd as Jonathan Bertram in Hotel Portofino Season 2

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Cecil is going to Cecil. So even after his apology, he chastises Bella for not being ambitious enough with her plans for the hotel. “Not ambitious enough? I have built this hotel single-handedly whilst you sat around smoking cigars and reading the racing tips. How could you possibly lecture me on ambition?” I’m very much enjoying this version of Bella. 

Bella is also sidetracked by her still-smoldering architect Marco, who we learned was widowed 11 years ago when his wife and newborn baby died during childbirth. Marco’s father was a socialist, and Marco tells Bella that because of his political leanings, his business has been slow. Cecil is not a fan of Marco and does a lot of broodily staring at him and making snarky remarks. “Architect, you say? Seems a spot excessive for an Italian paint job,” he smirks when he’s introduced to him. 

Cecil is also in deep waters with his import/export whiskey business. Although it’s thriving due to prohibition, the Italian businessmen (read Mafia) he’s dealing with want a meeting with him, but Danioni doesn’t know why. “If I know you’re here, then they do, so we will not wait too long to find out,” Danioni tells him. 

Melanie Gray and Michele Moran as Jane and Patricia Dodsworth dress the same in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2 as Jane and Patricia Dodsworth in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Melanie Gray and Michele Moran as Jane and Patricia Dodsworth in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

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Betty thinks Constance should marry an Italian. She could tell him her husband died in the war, and no one would question it. But after spending a romantic day running errands together, Lucian and Constance finally kiss, with Lucian announcing he has to follow his heart. “I can’t believe it would lead you to the hired help,” Constance says.  But Constance has much bigger problems on the horizon. Constance’s mother has written to Betty that because of her poor health, she may have to place Constance’s son up for adoption.

Thankfully, there is some comic relief in this episode as two sisters, who insist on dressing in matching outfits (do they think they are on The Amazing Race?) check into the hotel with their Pomeranian dog in tow. The sisters and their dog are vegetarians (or veterinarians, if you ask Billy). Everyone at Hotel Portofino thinks the sisters and their canine could be the green travel guide inspectors, and the obnoxious sisters complaining about their room and their spoiled dog could be some sort of test. 

Claudine arrives via boat and tells Bella the press will be after her because there’s a rumor that she’s having an affair with her co-star, who happens to be one of the studio’s biggest stars and engaged to someone else. Bella is shocked the tabloids would make up stories like that. “I said it was a rumor; I didn’t say it wasn’t true,” Claudine tells her. After a few too many bottles of Negroni, a very tipsy Claudine and Bella go to the kitchen in search of a snack. They find the sister’s spoiled dog in his little carrier, and Bella decides to liberate him. Not just from his cage so he can roam loose in the hotel but from the hotel. Bella opens the door, and the pup runs out. Let’s hope the sisters aren’t the green travel guide inspectors. 

Rocco Fasano as Gianluca Bruzzone and Bruno Nacinovich as Salvatore on a motorbike in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Rocco Fasano as Gianluca Bruzzone and Bruno Nacinovich as Salvatore in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Eagle Eye Drama Ltd

Nish has the show’s most serious of the storylines. He’s still in Turin with Gianluca but is increasingly upset about the violence Gianluca and his friends plan, particularly that innocent people may be killed in the name of the resistance. “It’s fatal to hesitate,” Gianluca tells him in a bit of foreshadowing. “Go back to Portofino, at least until this is over.” 

And it looks like Nish will do that until he sees an old man getting beaten up in the streets. He’s now ready to fight. But just as the gunfire is about to begin, Nish realizes a baby will be caught in the crossfire and tries to stop the attack. He’s too late and doesn’t heed Gianluca telling him to run. The final moments of the episodes have Nish falling as the grenade explodes around him.

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Hotel Portofino

Step into the 1920s at the Italian Riviera for drama and mystery in the aftermath of WWI.
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When Amy Amatangelo was little, her parents limited the amount of TV she could watch. You can see how well that worked out. 

In addition to Telly Visions, her work can currently be found in Paste Magazine, Emmy Magazine, and the LA Times. She also is the Treasurer of the Television Critics Association. Amy liked the ending of Lost and credits the original 90210 for her life-long devotion to teen dramas. She stays up at night wondering what happened between Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi and really thinks Carrie Bradshaw needs to join match.com so she can meet a new guy. Follow her at @AmyTVGal.

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