It took seven episodes, but The White Lotus Season 2 finally revealed who survived the Italian vacation in its supersized, 80-minute finale. As the guests wrapped their time in Sicily, there were some clear winners and losers, as well as a few murky storylines that were designed to be left up to viewers' imaginations.
It took a while to get there, though. The episode was a slow build that brought several characters full circle, while allowing others to get out of their own way. In a change from the show's first season the locals and White Lotus employees walked away slightly better than when viewers met them. Some of the elite, meanwhile, proved they're destined to repeatedly make the same mistakes.
The good news for fans is HBO has already confirmed a third season of the show, featuring a new group of vacationers. The bad news is it will be a long wait before that show makes its debut. For now, read on for the most shocking moments in the Season 2 finale as well as the biggest questions from the episode.
There were plenty of theories about which body was floating in the water during the show's premiere, but it seemed unlikely creator Mike White would write off his biggest returning character. Yet, in a cruel twist of fate that paralleled Madame Butterfly, it was indeed Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) who died.
Tanya realized her beloved gays had it out for her when Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) called Tanya to warn her something was off. Although, her radar should have been up after she spied Quentin (Tom Hollander) having sex with his "nephew" (played by Leo Woodall) nights earlier and also saw a photo of a younger Quentin with her husband Greg (Jon Gries).
In the end Tanya (kind of) put it together that Greg was the cowboy Quentin fell in love with and would do anything for. Especially if it meant salvaging his lavish Italian lifestyle. Unfortunately, Tanya had the most Tanya-like ending, despite temporarily saving herself.
After grabbing the gun Niccolò (Stefano Gianino) stashed in that duffle bag and using it to shoot her way out of the bathroom (somehow hitting her targets along the way), Tanya asked a dying Quentin if Greg really was cheating on her. Then, instead of doing the smart thing, like grabbing one of the guy's phones or waiting for help, she tried to jump into the boat and killed herself in the process.
Does Tanya's death mean that Greg won? Probably. Tanya admitted on the phone to Portia that their prenup kept him from getting her money in the case of a separation, but if she were to die then he could cash in free and clear.
Greg created an alibi for himself when he left Sicily. He was also in Sicily before his wife arrived (giving himself time to set up her eventual death). When he saw Portia, he was angry — not because he wanted Tanya to himself but because it threw off his plan. Essentially, all signs pointed to Greg as the murderer, with the gays as his accomplices.
The way the show ended, with Portia unable to reach Tanya or confirm her death, made it seem as though Greg got away with it all. Then again, perhaps a third season could revisit that particular storyline, especially if Portia eventually goes to the authorities with what she knows.
One of the highlights of the finale was the moment Daphne (Meghann Fahy) realized that Cameron (Theo James) cheated on her with Harper (Aubrey Plaza). As the camera closed in on her face, viewers could see the character plotting revenge. She asked Ethan (Will Sharpe) to go for a walk with her, and the series certainly set it up as if the two of them slept together.
But who would that be hurting, really? Harper previously admitted they weren't attracted to each other any more, and Daphne previously alluded to cheating with her trainer since she knows Cameron often messes around.
And did Ethan really cheat on Harper in the end anyway? Was Harper crying at that final dinner scene because he told her about that, or was she still emotional from their confrontation earlier in the day? And did Harper do more with Cameron than she admitted? The show never answered those questions, so viewers' imaginations can run wild.
The foursome probably won't be going on any more double dates or vacations together, but the way it ended each couple seemed content in their own relationship going forward, at least.
When Portia arrived at The White Lotus on her free vacation that she continually complained about, she made it clear she wanted an adventure. Well, she got one with Jack (Leo Woodall) when he kidnapped her and stole her phone so that she couldn't help Tanya.
Then there was Albie (Adam DiMarco), who fell for Lucia (Simona Tabasco) to the tune of 50,000 euros. Both scenarios (which viewers saw coming) were rude awakenings for the characters, especially since they pretended to be removed from their privilege throughout the entire season.
It was poetic that the pair met up and exchanged numbers at the airport, then. It gave the audience one couple to root for, and hope that perhaps they both walked away from their vacations with a little more knowledge and experience. Then again, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
The first season of The White Lotus was all about the collateral damage the elite leave behind, which led many viewers to worry about characters Lucia and Mia (Beatrice Grannò) throughout the season. So it was shocking to see that the locals survived the finale not only unscathed, but in better positions than when viewers first met them.
Lucia got a windfall that hopefully changes her life. Mia landed her dream job singing every night in the lounge. And even Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore), who was angry and in denial when she first came onto the scene, had finally accepted herself and realized she too is capable of love and being loved.
In that sense, the scene towards the end of Mia and Lucia walking hand-in-hand down the streets of Sicily was an ideal ending, one that definitely wouldn't have been possible in Season 1.