The White Lotus is a lot of things: travel porn, social commentary, rich people drama, and above all, a murder mystery. Similar to the first Emmy-winning installment, Season 2 of the HBO hit began at the end of the plot, with a flash-forward showing the moment resort guest Daphne (Meghann Fahy) discovered a dead body floating in the sea outside of a Sicilian hotel. As the seven-episode season unfolded, pretty much every one of the show's characters has gained a motive to become a murderer, and as we head into the Dec. 11 finale, many fan favorites are in danger.
Before we finally find out who died and who killed in Sunday's finale—and lest you worry, season 3 of The White Lotus has already been confirmed—here's a rundown of the most compelling fan theories.
1. Quentin and Greg are scamming Tanya for her money.
At this point, it's obvious that Quentin (Tom Hollander) is after Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) for something (and not just because of Hollander's excellent smarmy performance). In Episode 6, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) learns from drunk "nephew" Jack (Leo Woodall) that the villa owner is broke, and was about to sell the palatial home before he "came into money." Tanya previously assumed when she saw the villa that she could let her guard down around Quentin, as someone with that house wouldn't need to use her for her own wealth. Our sweet, unassuming Tanya was completely wrong, as during a Palermo rager, Quentin gets her high on drugs and hooks her up with a local dealer, possibly filming the whole encounter. (As seen below, fans noticed an ominous red light blinking from what appears to be a camera in a corner of the room.)
The party was obviously at the crux of Quentin's plan, since he told Jack to keep Portia away from the villa. It's possible that the tape will be used as blackmail, to get Tanya to fund his and his group of gays' lifestyle. However, one strong theory for the setup is that Tanya's prenup with her new husband Greg (Jon Gries) has an annulment clause based on infidelity, where he could get more money if she's caught cheating. So the tape could be used either under threat of the clause, or to actually break the clause itself and make Greg rich when he leaves her.
But wait, you may ask, how do Quentin and Greg know each other? One's a random US park ranger and the other's a broke British expat. They were both staying at the hotel in the series' first few episodes, but that would be a very short amount of time to plot all of this. However, there's a strong hint that the men already knew each other. If you recall, Quentin told Tanya about a straight American cowboy who he fell in love with as a young man. Before Tanya's night of passion, she actually found a framed photo of Quentin and the cowboy as young men. Tanya may have been too faded to notice, but that young American looked a lot like a young Greg.
So, the show has given hints of Quentin's whole plot, which will reach its climax in Sunday's finale when he blackmails, bankrupts, or kills Tanya. (Likely not bankrupt, half of half a billion dollars is still a quarter of a billion, but still.) Tanya's definitely in danger, but I don't think she'll actually end up floating in the sea, mostly because of the character's purpose as the connecting glue between White Lotus seasons. In both seasons Tanya has been the most sympathetic of all the non-staff, non-local characters (unless you count teenager Quinn in Season 1). She's the character who we hope would return home transformed after her trip to the White Lotus, but in Season 1 she only had a surface level change, beginning a new relationship that's now emotionally abusive. It's likely that the same will happen this season, as she escapes from Quentin with her wealth, only to live on with her low self esteem and admiration for the resort chain, planning her next visit (possibly to Japan?).
Rather than Tanya, the character who we should worry for in this storyline is Portia. She's stuck in the Cefalù hotel room with Jack so she's out of the way for Quentin's party, but she's also the only loose thread in his plan, especially if Greg's involved. It's obvious that she cares about Tanya, whether it's because the elder is her boss or because she feels like a sort of guardian. Either way, it's very likely that Portia could be the one who dies, either by accident or so she doesn't interfere with Quentin's plan.
2. Ethan kills Cameron over Harper, who didn't cheat.
In Episode 6, we saw Ethan's (Will Sharpe) mental state slowly deteriorate as he suspected his "friend" Cameron (Theo James), who slept with many of his crushes in college, has continued his ways and slept with his wife Harper (Aubrey Plaza) on vacation. That strong paranoia was previously felt by Harper, who was filled with hurt and anger after discovering the condom wrapper, questioning whether Ethan was lying about sleeping with a sex worker. I personally think that Harper wouldn't actually hook up with Cameron, though she was tempted. It's more likely that she took a page from Daphne's book, and is tricking her husband with some A-level mind games. (I mean, the show casted Aubrey Plaza for a reason.)
Whether or not Harper is making Ethan suspicious as a mind game, her spouse is getting very angry. Years of pent-up resentment towards Cameron is all rising towards the surface, and it's very likely that something in the finale could push him over the edge towards violence. Sure, this would be a very obvious death considering all the options, but the Season 1 twist was a bit obvious too, when you stripped away the bounds of decency between the two characters involved. (No spoilers in case anyone needs to go back and watch). Sometimes the most obvious outcome is the most satisfying, like seeing the asshole of the season actually face consequences for once.
3. Daphne orchestrated the mind games between Cameron, Ethan, and Harper.
This is theory is mostly an ode to my favorite character of the season. The slightly-unhinged, true crime-loving housewife has been having a perfectly fine vacation as Ethan and Harper spiral, and that may be by design. We've learned that Daphne and Cameron's marriage rests on a base of mind games, and that she may even have a child with another man. What if Cameron's decision to invite Ethan and Harper out of the blue was mostly her idea? Daphne could have planted the idea of courting Ethan as an investing client so that she could watch him go through the ultimate mind game of seducing Harper, after she learned that Cameron would always go after Ethan's crushes. All she has to do is set up certain scenarios, like the boys having a night alone and Harper getting the chance to play her own mind games (that mysterious massage disappearance), and wait and see how Cameron handles himself. If she doesn't care about Harper and Ethan, they would just be collateral damage.
If this theory came true, there would be a question of the extent to which Daphne wants her plot to go. I'm assuming she didn't think the scenario would devolve to murder, but maybe this was her way of finally catching Cameron in something instead of just suspecting and later brushing off her concerns to preserve her own sanity. Maybe there's her own infidelity clause, and she finally wants to leave Cameron with as much money as she can get. There's also the simple answer, that she wanted to see Cameron sweat (or she gets off on his cheating) as part of her perfect vacation. I love this theory, so don't be surprised if we get a finale scene of Daphne telling someone, "I never meant for this to happen," after Cameron washes up on the shore.
4. Lucia is scamming Albie, and he kills for her.
Albie (Adam DiMarco) and Lucia's (Simona Tabasco) romance is sweet, but there is a big chance that she is scamming the Stanford grad's savior complex. When the season started, Lucia seemed to be in charge of her sex work career, setting up her week with Dominic (Michael Imperioli) online and recruiting Mia (Beatrice Grannò) so her friend can get some money out of it as well. We saw a wavering of faith from her after the night with Cameron, and then she meets Albie and shows her more romantic side. It's also not until she gets involved with Albie that her arguments with Alessio begin. In fact, in the premiere, she and Mia pass Alessio on the street and they seem cordial, so the arguments were a big shift.
Lucia may have targeted the Di Grassos from the beginning, seeing online that Dominic had a grown son who would be joining him on the vacation. While the money from a week with Dominic would be her plan A, switching to Albie could be her plan B, where she only did the night with Cameron because she hadn't had the chance to connect with Albie yet. After feeling out that he's a nice guy, she could have plotted with Alessio to set up a fake threat that would make Albie want to help her, either monetarily or by taking her back to LA with him. She probably has come to really like Albie, but he's also her one big chance, so she continues the charade and raises the stakes with Alessio's stalking. Judging by the beach scene with her and Albie in Episode 6, her plan is working.
5. One of the Di Grassos kills someone.
Of course, all best laid plans can go horribly awry. Throughout the season, the two characters who fit best into the "nice guy snaps" murder mystery trope have been Ethan and Albie, and Lucia could easily set Albie over the edge. He could figure out her deception and get violent in rage. Also, Lucia has kept up her attempts to get her rightful fee from Cameron and Ethan. Albie could stumble upon a man accosting Lucia in the dark, and either drown him or push him off the cliffside to protect her. Maybe Cameron resorts to threatening Lucia when she asks for her money. Maybe he accidentally confuses Ethan for Alessio at a moment where Ethan's trying to pay Lucia. Maybe Albie ends up attacking Alessio, either with the scam going wrong or with there not actually being a scam at all. There's many possible victims for the obvious "nice guy" Albie, if he does snap.
There's another strong possibility that Dominic would try to protect his son, either through covering up Albie's crime or getting Lucia to disappear. Throughout the season, Dominic's been trying to keep his family together, calling his wife (voiced by Laura Dern!) to keep their connection and even asking Albie to convince his mom to forgive his dad for cheating. He even fired Lucia to turn a new leaf. Maybe Dominic's mission to keep his family together will mean that he has to kill to protect his son.
As for Bert (F. Murray Abraham), the eldest Di Grasso actually seems to be on his way out, based on his several falls this season and his dire mood after the visit with his estranged Sicilian family. Sure, Bert could take someone else out with him, overexerting himself as he kills to protect his family, but that doesn't seem as intriguing as Albie or Dominic going to extremes.
6. Valentina kills someone.
Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) has been an compelling character. In a season where the guests interact more with Lucia and Mia than with the White Lotus staff, the resort manager has been left to explore her crush on her subordinate Isabella (Eleonora Romandini), even buying her gifts and transferring away employees who flirt with her. In Episode 6, Isabella breaks the news that she's engaged to front desk man Rocco (Federico Ferrante), and Valentina's heartbroken. However, she ends up spending the night with Mia, with Mia giving Valentina her first sexual experience with a woman as sort of thanks for hiring her as the lounge singer (and probably some blackmail so she can replace Giuseppe permanently).
Mia and Valentina are the two wild cards of the season so far, both flexible with taboos and having no connection to an active murder theory. However, they're both central characters and both seem capable of at least accidental murder. After Season 1's ending, it would be interesting to see the hotel manager end up killing as an act of self-preservation to keep her position. The only reason I don't like this theory is that the most likely victim would be Mia, and I would like all of the locals to make it out of this season alive.
Hairstylists Agree: These Are the Biggest Hair Trends for 2023
It’s the year of sleek, statement-making styles and baby bangs.
By Samantha Holender
Rita Ora Breaks Down the Beauty Symbolism in “You Only Love Me”
The singer talks to Marie Claire about her favorite Iconic London products, the hidden meaning behind her bridal beauty glam, and why Sophia Loren was the inspiration for her “playful” makeup.
By Samantha Holender
The Most Eagerly Anticipated Action Movies of 2023
It's going to be an exciting spring for action movie fans.
By Quinci LeGardye