The Con is on in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2's "Subterfuges"

Lily Frazer as Claudine Pascal performs for the crowd in Hotel Portofino Season 2 

Lily Frazer as Claudine Pascal in Hotel Portofino Season 2 

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Poor Rose! I know I haven’t been exactly sympathetic towards her in these Hotel Portofino recaps. But you would have to have a heart made of stone to not feel for Rose in “Subterfuges.” She dons a sexy negligee and begins to seduce Lucian and tries to do you say this is a stuffy British way... satisfy him orally when he bursts out with, “What on earth do you think you are doing?” followed by, “Where are earth did you learn a thing like that?” Not good, not good at all. Rose knows that Lucian has eyes only for Constance. The pair get hot and heavy in the library like they are doctors in the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. “It was a moment of madness,” Constance tells him of their sleeping together. “It was the sanest thing I’ve ever done,” Lucian replies. Lucian tells Constance he can’t go back to how things were before but doesn’t really seem to have an exit strategy for his marriage. 

Bella finally goes to see poor Henry. Can you believe that it is revealed that they haven’t seen each other in 12 (that’s right, 12!) years? A lovelorn Henry is so excited to see Bella, but she tells him that writing him those letters was more something she did for herself, that really she was talking to herself and working out her feelings and emotions. Bella gently tells him she doesn’t think they should write to each other anymore. Cecil followed Bella to her clandestine meeting with Henry and confronts him as he leaves. “She deserves better than you,” Henry says. Truer words have never been spoken. Honestly, at this point, I don’t understand the point of the Henry storyline. 

However, Claudine and Bella are definitely up to something. Danioni turns down Bella’s request for the permit to build a solarium at the hotel, citing the law of “marital authorization.” Mussolini it seems, takes a “dim view of female emacipation.” Bella sees Cecil and Danioni conspiring, which is all the confirmation she needs that Cecil definitely doesn’t have her best interest at heart.

Claude Scott Mitchell as Constance March at lht in the window in Hotel Portofino Season 2

Claude Scott Mitchell as Constance March in Hotel Portofino Season 2

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So the con appears to be on! Bella readily (far too readily) agrees to turn over her controlling shares of the hotel to Cecil. “I’m wasted far too much time wishing that things were different,” Bella tells him as she kisses him. Cecil can hardly believe his good fortune and excitedly signs where Bella tells him to. Claudine signs as a witness. But I have to think perhaps Cecil has unknowingly signed over his share of the hotel to Claudine. Cecil also learns that Danioni is not so loyal to him and has been seen at the casino being very chummy with Luigi. In fact, Danioni has told Luigi that their import/export business can move forward without Cecil. Luigi also doesn’t seem to mind the swill Danioni’s vineyards have produced and would happily shake his snotty British business partner.

Alice and Victor have sex in the middle of the day! After their little tryst, Victor finds the bracelet Count Albani gave Alice and definitely seems more interested in the funds the bracelet can provide than the fact that his beloved might have received an expensive piece of jewelry from another man. 

Cecil notes that his daughter is glowing, which Alice attributes to the “Victor effect.” Alice is totally lovestruck, and Victor, for his part, is still super sketchy. Bella encourages Count Albani to stop pining for Alice and, in his words, “loitering around the hotel like a lovesick Romeo.” “I just think you might be happier,” Bella tells him. Count Albani has asked his friends to look into Victor’s background. “If he is who says he is, then I will leave as gracefully as an old man can manage,” he tells Bella. 

Natascha McElhone as Bella Ainsworth on the red carpet in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Natascha McElhone as Bella Ainsworth in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Eagle Eye Drama

Danioni is looking everywhere for Nish. Gianluca is still trying to get Nish out of Italy and smuggle him into France. The plan is to meet at 9 p.m. on the seafront, but in order to get that message to Nish, Bella has to see Gianluca’s father under the guise of needing legal advice. Nish looks worse than ever under the dilapidated shipwreck, with his leg injury now bordering on full-blown gangrene (I’m bumping the wound up to 🤢🤢). Lucian advises Gianluca that the best time to move Nish will be when there’s a party at the casino. “I owe Nish my life, you know,” Lucian tells him. “Then I will guard it with mine,” Gianluca replies.

The sisters check out of the hotel, leaving their dog behind on purpose. It looks like Betty and Paula will be going on a double date with their construction pals. But Betty still has Constance’s mother, Fanny, and her health weighing on her. A call home reveals that Fanny is now too sick to work and that Constance’s son, Tommy, is staying with Fanny’s cousin, Joan. But Joan can only keep him for a little while since she has three children of her own. The only choice may be to put Tommy in an orphanage.

The logline for the season finale next week uses terms like “tragedy strikes” and “fatal consequences.” The obvious target for this would be Nish, but I also fear the show could be planning a bait-and-switch. While we are all so worried about Nish, another character, who we are not expecting, might meet their demise. 

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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 so she can meet a new guy. Follow her at @AmyTVGal.

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