'Hotel Portofino' Comes Together for a Confession, a Concealment & a Consummation

Natascha McElhone as Bella Ainsworth and Mark Umbers as Cecil Ainsworth about to make poor life choices in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Natascha McElhone as Bella Ainsworth and Mark Umbers as Cecil Ainsworth in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Eagle Eye Drama Ltd

We didn’t really think Nish would die, did we? (I’ll admit I was slightly nervous. This is, after all, the same network that killed off Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey.) 

Thankfully, almost immediately, we see Nish peeking out in the back of a wagon. Eventually, it’s revealed that an extremely injured Nish is hiding out in an abandoned property not too far from the hotel. It’s Billy who figures it out. First by recognizing a drawing of Gianluca in the newspaper and then by working with his contacts to find out where Nish is.

Billy, Lucian, and Constance head out on a long trek to see him (alas, no Uber service existed in the 1920s). Among his many injuries, Nish has a concussion, broken ribs, and an oozy leg wound that, according to Constance, “doesn’t smell right.”(🤢) Lucian struggles to understand how Nish, a pacifist at heart, got caught up in such violence. Nish finally confesses that he loves Gianluca, and Gianluca loves him. “Well, I love you. I love you very much,” a still clueless Lucian replies. “It’s not the same,” Nish tells him. 

Slowly, Lucian begins to understand. “How long have you felt like that?” he asked Nish. “Ever since I can remember,” he replies. Nish tells Lucian that they should leave and not come back. That he doesn’t want Lucian to get caught up in his mess. “Friends don’t abandon other friends under any circumstances,” Lucian tells him while flashbacks of their time together in the war play in his head.

Mark Umbers as Cecil Ainsworth and Pasquale Esposito as Vincenzo Danioni are plotting more bad thingsin 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Mark Umbers as Cecil Ainsworth and Pasquale Esposito as Vincenzo Danioni in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Eagle Eye Drama Ltd

When Danioni comes to inspect the hotel, thinking Gianluca could be hiding out there, Bella discovers what Lucian, Billy, and Constance have been up to. She agrees that Lucian cannot abandon his friend but that it’s too dangerous for Billy, whom the police are following, to go back with Lucian to see Nish. Lucian and Bella return with medicine to help Nish, but Constance warns them that Danioni has been tracking them and will arrive soon. In a classic soap opera moment, Bella comes up with the only reasonable way to cover up what they are doing. Lucian and Constance jump into bed and pretend that Danioni has caught them en flagrante. The ruse works; delighted to have something to hold over Lucian, Danioni and his minions retreat. 

Once home, Lucian comes to Constance’s room, and suddenly, they are no longer pretending. The pair consummate the relationship brewing since Constance first arrived at Hotel Portofino. Of course, we all know what this means: Rose should be showing up very soon. And do the previews for next week’s episode show Rose arriving? Why, yes, they do. 

Whenever Danioni shows up, I keep thinking of that line from Casablanca because of all the hotels in all the world; he keeps walking into this one. In addition to trying to track down Gianluca and Nish, he’s also arranging for Cecil to meet with his business partners from Detroit. Someone in the writing room watched a little too much Sopranos because the character’s name is Luigi Farrino, and he’s wearing an outlandish plaid suit and saying lines like “Capiche?” Cecil is all caught up in Luigi’s fancy cars and home until he hears that the mob wants him to expand his liquor export business. “America is dry, gentleman, and America is thirsty,” Luigi says. “I’m telling you there is unlimited demand.”

Natascha McElhone as Bella Ainsworth and Daniele Pecci as Count Carlo Albani helplessly plan in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Natascha McElhone as Bella Ainsworth and Daniele Pecci as Count Carlo Albani in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Eagle Eye Drama Ltd

Cecil balks, saying it’s not logistically possible but also that much exporting would attract attention at the border and that there’s no place to deal with all that money. Luigi offers him a dollar more per bottle they successfully export. “These are not people to say no to,” Danioni suggests that the money get laundered through the hotel. Cecil wonders how he will ever get Bella to agree to this. “Well, the same way every other man gets his wife to do what he wants. Find a way,” he barks. Given what we’ve seen Cecil is capable of, this does not bode well. 

Alice, who has been missing for exactly one episode, returns with a French fiancé named Victor. “I see now where your daughter gets her beauty,” he says to Bella. Sorry, but I don’t trust this Victor character. Bella sends Henry a telegram telling him she will call him soon (the odds of both Henry and Rose showing up at Hotel Portofino at the same time are extremely high). Count Albani, who really could use a storyline of his very own, worries that people will talk about Bella and Marco. For comic relief, we have Betty frustrated with not knowing how to make eggplant parmigiana and the construction worker making it while Betty isn’t looking. And, no surprise here, Cecil is an absolutely horrid hotel guest.

I haven’t said too much about Jonathan Bertram, who is a cranky man traveling with his mother and has only had snarky comments to say to Lucian so far this season. Jonathan and Lucian have a moment where they both realize they are perhaps more tied to their mothers than they would like. Maybe a friendship is forming, but I’m still not quite sure what Jonathan or his mom are up to at Hotel Portofino unless, of course, they are undercover for the Green Travel Guide. Jonathan does like to write in his notebook. 

I expect many not-exactly-welcomed guests to check into Hotel Portofino in the next episode. 

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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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