So much for Tanya, who is the connective tissue between every season of anthology series. There are 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 in social commentary, witty writing and gorgeous visuals from writer/director Mike White. It wrapped up almost every loose end while leaving one dangling thread involving Ethan and Daphne — and keeping that mystery unsolved is the point.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for The White Lotus Season 2 finale.
But first, Tanya. It was always going to stretch credulity for one more person to die at the White Lotus Resort, but White chose the wildest and strangely most plausible option. Rich Tanya really foundtogether in cowboy hats. (Though this is not explicitly confirmed.) She and her assistant Portia deduce that Greg conspired with his ex-lover Quentin to kill Tanya because their prenup prevents Greg from taking any of her money if divorce
In a truly frightening sequence, a shaken Tanya loses Portia on the phone and must face a boat full of people who want to kill her. She stalls as long as possible before Quentin’s man arrives to take her to shore and possibly kill her along the way. Grabbing her only chance to save herself, Tanya brazenly grabs her killer’s bag and locks herself in a room. She finds a gun in the bag. When the door is kicked down, Tanya braces herself and pulls the trigger, shooting anyone who approaches her.
In one of many examples of absurd hilarity, Tanya makes sure to ask Quentin before he coughs up blood and dies if Greg cheated on her with another woman. Quentin looks at her in disbelief before calling him (aka dying in British). Unfortunately, as Tanya tries to get off the boat and escape by boat, she slips and hits her head on the railing of the boat before crashing into the water where she drowns. Her colorful dress made it look like the dead body we partially see in episode 1 was wearing bright pants.
Many thought Tanya would be the only character to appear in every season of “White Lotus,” which was renewed for a third time last month. In one of many smart rug pulls, White eliminated that possibility. Why would Tanya spend all her time at the White Lotus resorts if they are a hot spot for murders?
He could also potentially use one of the new characters introduced in season 2 as a familiar connection. Let’s pray it’s Aubrey Plaza’s Harper, though that seems unlikely. In a bittersweet turn of events, her eye-rolling, initially highly principled lawyer assimilates the same performative marital facade that Cameron and Daphne put on. Now it’s the only way for her and Ethan to move forward – whether they believe their cheating stories or not doesn’t matter. Both are willing to play a happy marriage and allow themselves to maintain some level of mystery. Resting in each other’s arms at the airport, they look the picture of peace and solidarity.
This is all after Ethan and Cameron have their inevitable showdown at sea, but it might have been too obvious and over the top if one or both of them died. A more unexpected turn of events involves Daphne taking Ethan to the nearby island of Isola Bella – the shot looks like one of those Instagram photos of couples leading each other down a path. It’s left open to interpretation if anything happened between them, but it seems likely since Daphne wasn’t bothered by Ethan’s concerns that Cameron and Harper might have cheated together. She tells Ethan suggestively, “You don’t have to know everything to love someone. A bit of a mystery? It’s a bit sexy…”
In such a messy situation, the Di Grasso men leave Sicily €50,000 poorer, but they all seem surprisingly unfazed. Young Albie is momentarily disturbed by the revelation that Lucia has been playing him all along, but he quickly moves on to the next possibility: a changed Portia, who has now had her fair share of excitement and isn’t willing to settle for anything more from the safest, most boring romantic option possible. (At least she seems briefly mortified by the fact that her boss just drowned to death.)
Finally, in a nice 180-degree turn, Season 2 sees no deaths and an optimistic outcome for the staff of White Lotus, Sicily. Unlike season 1, this time the underprivileged take advantage of the wealthy guests. Lucia had a stellar salary, Mia was living her dream as a singer, and hotel manager Valentina was embarking on her sexual awakening. She is now less bitter in life because of this, allowing her former crush Isabella to work as a concierge with her grateful fiancé Rocco.
Best friends Lucia and Mia roll through the cobbled streets in the style of Elena Ferrante, basking in the glow of their accomplishments. Lucia briefly greets the now-smiling waiter who chased her and the Di Grassos in a car, revealing that it was all a ruse to convince three generations of men that she was a hurt puppy in need of saving.
It was a super satisfying end to an even better season of the genius show, Italian fountains and volcanoes erupting in a perfect climax. It might have been interesting to see Albie’s father’s reaction to his son playing out just as he suspected, but other than that, it was a really flawless hit of the season.
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