HBO’s slow burn second season The White Lotus continued to simmer until the final minutes of the finale on Sunday which solved the mystery of the show’s signature unit.
When it was all ready and done, creator, writer and director Mike White revealed more details about the shocking ending, calling it an “opera conclusion” for Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya, as well as a “happy ending with dark clouds on the horizon” for both couples – Ethan and Harper and Daphne and Cameron.
The show upped the ante from the first episode with not one but four corpses, but to be fair only one was a main character, Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya, and her fate was foreshadowed by the tragic Lady Butterfly opera she watched in the middle of the season.
“When I stay in a White Lotus, I always have a memorable time, always,” Tanya said ominously in the Season 2 premiere as series creator White brought back the Season 1 character for a second go-around which became Tanya’s final act.
It turns out White planted the first hint of Tanya’s impending death in the Season 1 finale.
“At the end of last season, Tanya is sitting with Greg in the last episode and he talks about his health issues and she says, ‘I’ve had all kinds of treatments over the years, death is the last experience immersive that I’ve ‘I haven’t tried’, and I thought it would be so fun to bring Tanya back because she’s such a great character, but maybe that’s the journey for her, the journey to death,” White said in an HBO Max featurette. “It’s not that I really wanted to kill off Tanya because I love her as a character and obviously I love Jennifer, but we’re going to Italy, she’s such a diva, a larger than life female archetype , I thought maybe we could craft our own lyrical conclusion to his life and story.
The holidays didn’t start well for Tanya when her husband Greg left and she found out he might be cheating on her. Things went from bad to worse when she got involved with shady characters, led by Quentin (Tom Hollander), and spent much of her time at her villa in Palermo.
The penultimate episode began piecing together the scam Tanya was at the center of with the revelation that Quentin’s mysterious long-lost cowboy love interest is likely Greg when Tanya saw an old photo of them at the villa. . Quentin tried to dump her in the finale claiming the guy’s name was Steve but the signs were already there.
Portia’s suspicions about Jack intentionally keeping her away from her boss grow after her phone mysteriously goes missing. By the time she used Jack’s phone to call Tanya, she was on the yacht heading for the hotel.
“I have a weird feeling that something bad is going to happen,” Portia told him, and the two pieced together the mystery. Portia shared that a drunken Jack admitted Quentin had no money but was expecting a windfall. Tanya realized that her prenup would leave Greg all of her money if she died, while a divorce would leave her with nothing. Oh, it was also his idea that they both come to Sicily.
Panicked, Tanya fumbled with her phone and dropped it overboard. As the yacht was anchored and her lover, Niccolò, who has Mafia ties, arrived to take her ashore, she knew full well what awaited him. After stalling for a while, she asked to go to the bathroom and grabbed Niccolò’s gym bag, locking herself in a bedroom. Her worst fears were confirmed when she found rope, duct tape and a gun inside. She took the gun and when the door opened she just started shooting randomly. She still managed to kill Niccolò, Quentin and Didier but then, while trying to get from the yacht to the dull, she somehow decided it would be best if she jumped over it. the railing in her dress and high heels. She did not survive, but hit a metal bar and fell overboard.
“I just think her death at someone else’s hands was too tragic,” White said of Tanya’s disappearance. “It was like she had to give her best and somehow had some sort of victory over whoever was conspiring to get rid of her. It just made me laugh to think that she would love to take out this cabal of killers and after achieving this she just dies this derpy death and it’s so Tanya,” he added.
As to whether justice will be served, White was a bit ambivalent but optimistic despite Portia apparently heeding Jack’s warning that “These people are powerful, you don’t want to fuck with them” and not saying so. not to the police – or anyone else – what she knows.
“I think in terms of what happens to Greg and the Tanya death conspiracy, maybe I think Portia is scared enough to leave her alone, but the fact that all these guys are dying on the boat, it feels like you have to be someone who’s going to track it down to Greg,” he said. “But maybe you’ll have to wait to find out what’s going on.”
While Tanya seemed on course for a tragic end, the finale tried to discourage fans by having Ethan and Cameron fight in the water, around where Daphne would later find the floating body.
Ethan stormed out to find Cameron after Harper confessed to him that she and Cameron kissed when they returned to their rooms. Cameron was swimming and the two fought, each at risk of drowning, but eventually the beachgoers broke up the fight.
In the end, Ethan and Harper rediscovered their passion, Cameron finally paid off Lucia, and Ethan and Daphne may have had something when they walked into a remote area together.
“The question of whether Harper and Cameron did more than kiss, I think that’s probably all that happened. At the same time, there’s time that’s not really considered and I think that’s why it’s eating at Ethan’s,” White said. “Did Ethan and Daphne have some kind of banter on the island or whatever happened? [Ethan] let go of the jealousy that was simmering in him. It kind of brings back that first kind of sexual charge that happens at the start of relationships and sometimes fades over time.
“At the end, you’re like, well, maybe what Ethan and Harper needed, just a little bit of what Cameron and Daphne have. I feel like Cameron is one of those guys who isn’t really going to change. Some of the things left unsaid between them, you wonder if it will finally catch up with them. It’s a bit of a happy ending although there are also dark clouds on the horizon,” White added.
A resolution that everyone saw from a mile away: Albie got played. He asked his father for €50,000 in ‘karmic payment’ to help Lucia, who they had seen being ‘kidnapped’ by her supposedly abusive pimp, in exchange for a good word to her mother for him.
Albie’s father, Dominic, was candid, telling him he wouldn’t get far in life if he was that easy. He transferred the money to Lucia anyway, and she left Albie as her father had said.
“At the end of the show, we see three generations of men and there is this pretty woman who crosses paths. They’re all sort of looking at her and I hope Dominic changes, so there’s a bit in the texture that their relationship with women is always going to be loaded with sexual desire,” White said of the final scene. Bert, Dominic and Albie together at the airport.
Lucia and Mia became the biggest winners in season 2. Lucia got the money she was looking for, while Mia, through sexual favors, asked manager Valentina to make her the temporary pianist and then permanent in the complex. In the finale, Valentina fired Giuseppe on his return after Mia drugged him to the point where he passed out.
White also touched on what could happen in Season 3 of the show, which picked up last month. He indirectly confirmed the speculation that The White Lotus would then head to Asia talking about the theme for the next episode.
“The first season we highlighted the money and then the second season is the sex and I think the third season it might be kind of a satirical and funny look at death in religion and spirituality oriental – looks like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus,” he said.