Portofino Hotel Recap: Episode 3

Portofino Hotel tunes Sunday at 7:00 p.m. WTTW Passport members can flow the whole show now. Recap the previous episode.

A storm of violence, then a literal storm: as Bella gathers Constance and Anish to help treat Billy’s friend who has been beaten by fascists, a thunderstorm erupts. The noise causes Lucian to have nightmares of the war in his sleep, and Anish hears him screaming from Paola’s room, where he sleeps with the Italian maid. Anish stabilizes Billy’s friend before two men led by Billy come to take him on a cart in the morning.

Billy apologizes to Bella, who asks him to stay out of politics – we don’t see the hotel taking sides. Betty apologizes for her son: she worries about him. Constance promises to keep everything a secret.

She joins Lucian in a game of light tennis with Lottie, even though she has never heard of the sport before. Tennis star Pelham Wingfield loaned Lucian his racquets so he could buy her a bike. Lucian advised Billy to find one for Wingfield.

Alice watches her brother lovingly interact with her daughter and Constance from her bedroom window. She was invited to a supper at the villa rented by Lady Caroline, much to the delight of herself and Lady Latchmere’s niece, Melissa, as well as several other hotel guests.

Bella suspects that Count Albani designed the invitation and thanks him, but he objects. He offers to let Lady Latchmere ride with him to the villa, and Bella assures the Englishwoman after he leaves that he is quite respectable, even though he is Italian.

He also insists on helping organize the next tea party for the townspeople – presumably to be close to Alice, Bella and Betty suspect. Constance is surprised and asks about Alice’s husband. He died in the war, like so many others, says Betty.

Lady Latchmere also lost someone during the war, as she reveals to Bella in a moment of sadness: her eldest son. Bella quotes Emily Dickinson to the lady and gives her a book of Dickinson poetry as comfort. Lady Latchmere thanks her for listening.

Constance may also have losses in her life: during a reading lesson with Lucian, she tells Anish that she no longer has a large family; only his mother and “little Tommy” remain. Anish has not seen his family for ten years, having been sent by his father for an English education. Alice berates Constance for her absence from duty when she is done with the lesson and the conversation.

Anish and Lucian had a little argument. They were mocked and then chased by fascists in town, due to Anish’s dark skin. A stylish Italian misdirected the fascists and gave Lucian and Anish a pamphlet: he’s an anti-fascist. He knows Anish from Billy’s beaten friend, who might lose an eye from the beating. Lucian laughs at the brochure, but Anish is curious: he wants to understand the political situation in Italy.

Lucian reads Homer with Constance in his lessons, and when she is called upon to bathe Claudine, she tells the American that she is as pretty as Helen of Troy. Claudine puts lipstick on Constance and returns the compliment by giving her a dress to wear. Most of the young men admiringly notice Constance in her new look as she serves dinner, but Lucian is buried in conversation with Rose. Julia notes Constance’s disappointment.

Constance is back in her uniform for the tea party, during which Bella notices Danioni looking around the hotel and talking to her. She’s already given him a “gift” for his wife – presumably her ring – but he hints she still has a lot more to share.

Cecil leaves the party to receive delivery of the possible Rubens from his grandfather. Danioni asks about the delivery but Cecil objects. He talks to Jack Turner about it and Wingfield overhears him. The tennis player sneaks into the office to look at the board and hides when he hears Cecil and Jack approach. Jack suspects the painting is from Rubens’ studio, not the master himself, but he and Cecil make a deal to authenticate it and split the profits no matter what. Cecil has a large debt to an Italian casino that needs to be paid soon, so he needs the money.

Wingfield also took note of where Bella keeps the hotel keys, so Cecil’s promise to lock the board might not be effective.

Still looking for a deal, Jack joins the guests who have been invited to Lady Caroline’s villa – Cecil says his family has a lot of art, in London. Claudine is upset at being continually left behind by Jack, and he gets mad at her for complaining. Be careful, he warned grimly.

She certainly occupies her time. She flirted with Albani’s son, Roberto, and drove him to a deserted stretch of beach to roll in the sand. And she takes out her costumes and her boas – she’s a dancer – for a dance party with lots of champagne with Lucian, Wingfield’s wife, and Roberto when the other guests go to Lady Caroline’s.

Rose stayed at the hotel with a migraine, but she joins the others when she hears the music and has a good time. Claudine even takes Anish away from her books in the celebrations. Paola and Constance sadly watch Lucian dance with Rose.

When the other guests return, Julia is horrified by Rose’s dancing, but Rose challenges her and continues. Lying in bed later with her mother scolding her, she can’t help but smile.

Anish and Lucian are too wired to go to bed when the party is interrupted, so they take the bike to the anti-fascist meeting in town. The police and Danioni quickly intrude, beating up any attendees they can catch as everyone flees. Danioni notices the bike and a hotel towel draped over it.

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