‘The White Lotus’ finale recap: We’ve all been played
Too bad for Tanya being the connective tissue between each season of anthology series. Obviously, spoilers ahead for the Season 2 finale, in which Jennifer Coolidge’s character ends up on a boat that isn’t a party.
The seventh and final episode of the HBO Max series was a masterclass of social commentary, witty writing, and stunning shots from writer/director Mike White. He wrapped just about every loose end, while leaving a dangling strand involving Ethan and Daphne — and keeping that mystery unsolved is the goal.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for The White Lotus Season 2 finale.
But first, Tanya. It was always going to stretch gullibility for another person to die at a White Lotus resort, but White chose the craziest and most eerily believable option. The wealthy Tanya has indeed found ain cowboy hats together. (Although this is not explicitly confirmed.) She and her assistant Portia conclude that Greg colluded with his ex-lover Quentin to have Tanya killed, as their prenup prevents Greg from taking all of her money if they divorce. .
In a truly chilling sequence, a trembling Tanya loses Portia on the phone and has to deal with a boat full of people who want to kill her. She waits as long as possible before Quentin’s man arrives to take her ashore and possibly murder her on the way. Taking her only opportunity to save herself, Tanya brazenly grabs her killer’s gym bag and locks herself in a room. Inside the bag, she finds a gun. As the door is kicked in, Tanya braces herself and pulls the trigger, shooting anyone who comes her way.
In one of many instances of absurd hilarity, Tanya makes sure to ask Quentin before he coughs up blood and dies if Greg was cheating on her with another woman. Quentin looks at her in disbelief, before kissing her (i.e. to die in English). Unfortunately, as Tanya tries to get off the boat and escape via a dinghy, she slips and hits her head on the dinghy’s railing before crashing into the water, where she drowns. Her colorful dress made it look like the corpse we partially see in Episode 1 was wearing bright boardshorts.
Many thought Tanya would be the only character to appear in every season of The White Lotus, which was renewed for a third outing last month. In one of many smart mat draws, White eliminated that possibility. Why would Tanya spend all her time at the White Lotus compounds anyway, if they’re a hotspot for murder?
He could also potentially use one of the new characters introduced in Season 2 as a familiar connection. Pray it’s Harper from Aubrey Plaza, though that seems unlikely. In a bittersweet turn of events, her rolling-eyed lawyer, who at first is strongly principled, assimilates the same performative marriage facade that Cameron and Daphne put up. It’s now the only way for her and Ethan to move forward – whether or not they believe each other’s stories of infidelity, it doesn’t matter. They are both ready to play a happy marriage and allow themselves to maintain a certain level of mystery. Resting in each other’s arms at the airport, they look like a picture of peace and togetherness.
All of this after Ethan and Cameron had their inevitable showdown in the sea, but it might have been too obvious and extreme had one or both been dead. The most unexpected turn of events involved Daphne taking Ethan to the neighboring island of Isola Bella – the photo looks like one of those Instagram photos of couples leading each other down a path. Whether anything happened between them remains to be interpreted, but it seems likely, since Daphne wasn’t fazed by Ethan’s concern that Cameron and Harper might have cheated together. She says suggestively to Ethan, “You don’t have to know everything to love someone. A little mystery? That’s kinda sexy…”
In an equally messy situation, Di Grasso’s men leave Sicily with 50,000 euros less, but they all seem surprisingly unfazed. Young Albie is momentarily taken aback by the revelation that Lucia was toying with him the whole time, but he quickly moves on to the next opportunity: a changed Portia, who has now had her fair share of excitement and only wants to settle for the safest. , the most boring romantic option possible. (At least she looks mortified for a brief moment that her boss just drowned.)
Finally, in a nice 180 degree turn, season 2 sees no deaths and an optimistic outcome for the staff of White Lotus, in Sicily. Unlike season 1, this time it is the poorest who take advantage of the rich guests. Lucia had a stellar payday, Mia is living her dream as a singer and hotel manager, Valentina has embarked on her sexual awakening. She’s already less bitter in life for it, allowing her former crush Isabella to work janitorial with her grateful fiancé Rocco.
Best friends Lucia and Mia swirl down the cobblestone streets in Elena Ferrante style, basking in the glow of their accomplishments. Lucia briefly says hello to the now smiling waiter who chased her and the Di Grasso family in a car, revealing it was all a ruse to convince three generations of men she was a puppy wounded who needed to be rescued.
It was a super satisfying end to an even better season of the genius show, with the fountains and volcanoes of Italy erupting in a perfect climax. Maybe it would have been interesting to see Albie’s dad’s reaction to his son’s play, as he suspected, but other than that, it was a truly pristine capsule for the season.
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