The Resort Recap: In the Penthouse With Off-Brand Santa

The Resort

Tempus Exhaurire
Season 1 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

The Resort

Tempus Exhaurire
Season 1 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Peacock

Does it feel weird to anyone else that there are supposed to be five more episodes of The Resort? Things are already so madcap and seemingly so close to being solved that it’s hard to know where else it can go. That being said, the mystery hasn’t actually been solved just yet, and there are no bodies, alive or dead (although Emma might’ve accidentally created a new one at the end of this episode), so I guess there’s still more for The Resort to explore.

All that is to say, man, a lot happens in every episode of The Resort. In the Peacock series’s third episode, Noah and Emma take sunny yellow bikes to the decrepit Oceana Vista, where they spout off Ace Ventura quotes as they “take the tour,” as it were. They dip into Sam’s room, marvel at how much nicer Violet’s room was, and try and suss out where Balthasar’s yellow room was. When they find it, they see it is still very much intact, weirdly. However, Emma realizes that Balthasar’s supposed room isn’t actually the one she’s seen on Sam’s phone, which had arched windows. That room, she figures out as Noah swings a golf club he picked up, is actually the penthouse.

Speaking of that penthouse, back in 2007, we get to see Sam watching some creepy “off-brand Santa” stretching on his balcony. That leads to a debate among his family about whether they should go on Jet Skis or a banana boat — they decide on the latter, even though that is obviously the wrong choice — and Hannah rips into Sam for being a dick to her. “I kinda thought you liked dicks,” he responds. Touché.

Later, he runs into Violet at the hotel bar and tells her that he knows she thinks he’s a total dirtbag. He tells her about the dick pics on Hannah’s phone and explains that he hasn’t broken things off not just because it’s hard and he’s a wuss, but because they’re on a Christmas vacation with his whole family, and if he did break up, then what would happen? It’s potentially easiest for him to just follow the path of least resistance, and that kind of seems to be his vibe. (Or maybe he wants to go ape and get caught, because sometimes that’s the easiest breakup of all.) Violet picks up what he’s putting down and invites him to the staff holiday party, to which she’s wrangled an invite because she is cool as hell. She also tells him she’ll keep looking for his missing skateboard, which would seem trivial until it’s absolutely not later in this episode.

After a meal of Band-Aid-like octopus sushi with her very sweet dad, Violet ditches him in favor of Sam, and off they go to the staff party which, frankly, is a huge rager. Where is this thing even being held? It’s like you have to go through the bowels of the hotel to get there, but then there’s a bar and French doors and swanky snacks? Violet chats with a partyer named Luna, who is wearing a cool shirt that her friend Balthasar presumably made for her.

Meanwhile, Balthasar is back at the bar chatting up Violet’s sad dad, who is hanging out even though it’s well past closing time. “My wife died a year ago,” he says, “and my daughter wanted to spend Christmas here, but not with me.” That solid candidate for the saddest story in the world earns him a bottle of booze on Balthasar, who then quickly glides on over to the party, where Sam and bad daughter Violet watch in awe as he immediately wins over everyone with his confidence, beauty, and disco dancing. Violet’s staff contact tells them who Balthasar — er, “Peniche” — really is and says, “Don’t fuck with the yellow snake. It has four noses.” Sam draws his ire mere minutes later, seemingly just for existing, and Violet texts him those exact words. As we know, it’s her last text to him ever, so some bad shit must be about to go down.

Enter off-brand Santa, who’s seemingly pretty fucked-up on something and is also pretty fucked-up-seeming overall. He has an off-putting look in his eye, and that’s certainly not helped by his matted beard and haphazard ho-ho-ho attire. Sam asks him about his skateboard only for the man to tell Sam to leave him alone. Violet jumps at the chance to ask him to dance as Sam tries to pull his key card off his belt. The man flinches just as Sam goes for it, and he takes an elbow to the nose. “HEY!” yells Santa, but the two flee and Santa seemingly does nothing about it … or does he?

The violence seems to do nothing to tamp down Sam and Violet’s electric vibe, and they’re making out in the elevator to the penthouse within seconds. Once inside, clothes come off and they seem poised to get it on, which, bad idea. Go literally anywhere else. Of course, someone comes into the penthouse and they have to hide in the closet. Violet’s bag is still in the living room, though, and in it, the book from her mom. That’s where we leave our two lovers, but there is a shot of either Violet bursting out of the closet to get her bag or someone bursting in and finding them out. Neither possibility seems great.

Speaking of a couple of lovers: Noah and Emma have climbed to the hotel’s eighth floor, which is as high as the stairs go, only to find out that actually, no, the penthouse is on the hotel’s ninth floor and only accessible via elevator — or in this case, a scary, dark elevator shaft. Emma is committed to scrambling up the flimsy elevator, while Noah thinks it’s evidence that they need couples therapy. When they get up there, it’s still suspiciously well kept and lived-in (albeit a little dusty) for something that has sat abandoned for 15 years. It’s also a full-on creep show, with a mural showing everyone from the resort in and around the actual building, including a shirtless Sam and Violet up in the hotel’s penthouse peering sadly through the window. There’s a room covered in associative Post-its, which every viewer knows is supposed to signify that whoever lived there is a bit unstable, or at least singularly focused on some weird thing.

That’s when Noah finds Emma’s broken tooth, which she has stuck in a little baggie. He’s understandably worried about why she didn’t tell him about it and her obsessiveness in general, telling her, “You sound like a drug addict,” which isn’t untrue. He wants to know why she “won’t just fucking talk,” but then they hear someone coming into the penthouse, and into the closet they go.

Enter Balthasar, who is alive and in search of something. He finds the Razr that Emma put Sam’s SIM card into and heads for the doors. On-edge Emma can’t have that, and she sprints after him. There’s a scuffle and the phone lands on the edge of the elevator. As Balthasar goes for it, Emma clocks him with the golf club. The phone then seemingly rings silently (?!?!) and down it goes into the depths of the elevator shaft, presumably destroyed forever. (Or is it?) That’s not the worst part about the whole affair, though: As Emma turns around in anger, she sees the damage she’s done to Balthasar, who’s now lying on the penthouse floor either knocked out, seriously injured, or maybe even dead. Uh-oh. Now what?

Last Resort:

• Obviously, I have nothing but questions about Balthasar’s big dance number. Is that just something he does? Were those dancers working on it in advance of the party, or are they just made better by his very presence? And why didn’t he like Sam, other than the fact that Sam probably shouldn’t have been there?

• Speaking of shouldn’t have been there, my heart breaks for Nick Offerman, who is doing all this series’s emotional heavy lifting so far. He’s great, but every time he’s onscreen I pretty much want to cry, and not just because I’m thinking about all those depressed dolphins.

• Has anyone ever successfully hidden in a closet on TV or in a movie?

The Resort recap: In the Penthouse With Off-Brand Santa