‘The White Lotus’ Season 2 finale: Biggest shocks, missteps

Warning: Below are spoilers from the Season 2 finale of “The White Lotus”.

The season, which brought up thousands of theories, ended with “Arriverderci” on Sunday night, as the creator of “White Lotus” Mike White and company bid farewell to Sicily with a super final of 77 minutes. Neither of them got the ending right (not even close), but columnist Mary McNamara and assistant editor Matt Brennan weren’t too embarrassed to tear up every spin and spin in the episode. Here is their autopsy:

Mary McNamara: Let’s listen to Mike White, who mixed the Ionian sea with so many red herrings that we couldn’t believe the corpse in the water would be the obvious choice – Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge), who has a huge fortune and hypocritical husband. (Although there was definitely some questionable fiction in the original exploration scene, because I know there wasn’t the slightest trace of hot pink flowers in the water.)

None of our guesses came true, Matt! None! I think it’s partly because we don’t believe White will kill Jennifer Coolidge.

I admit it blinded me from what I knew to be true: I knew from the very moment Tom Hollander appeared in the guise of the evil Tom-Hollander that he would try to kill Tanya – ladies, never get on a boat with an exhausted Englishman named Quentin, who has an Italian villa and no visible income. When Tanya saw the gun in Niccolo’s bag in the penultimate episode, many assumed (rightly) that the gun would go off in the finale. But I don’t think anyone saw Tanya’s “Dirty Harry” moment come.

To be honest, it was so satisfying to have Coolidge jumping out of this tastefully furnished yacht that I’m ready to officially forgive all the ridiculous plot and heavy tension-building plot this season. And he killed them all with his eyes closed!

However, I was disappointed when he fell off the yacht and died. ‘Why is he jumping? There has to be a better way to get down by boat.’ Now Greg is inheriting! This doesn’t seem fair at all.

What do you think?

Paolo Camilli, from left, Tom Hollander, Bruno Gouery and Francesco Zecca play Tanya’s swindling gay friends in “White Lotus.”

(Fabio Lovino / HBO)

Matt Brennan: After publishing theories from the Times’ “White Lotus” audience on Friday, someone inside HBO reached out to me with a cryptic message: “Remember, this is a tragedy!”

So maybe I should have known better – but I still gasped loudly when Tanya’s head hit the railing of the boat where Niccolo planned to kill her. In fact, I was half waiting for her to open her eyes as she floated, so convinced that White and Coolidge would never part. While I was disappointed with the outcome, largely because it was so exciting to see Coolidge gaining acclaim, Emmys, and new opportunities from the role, I’m a Ned Stark TV School of Death student: To get a real surprise, White did it here, you have to kill your lovers.

Whether he supports the most compelling finale he can create from the ocean of possibilities that comes in is another matter entirely. Just before Tanya started firing that boat—the image that came to my mind was De Niro in “Taxi Driver” after all—I found myself checking my watch, a sign of the boringly sinister nature of the episode. Between the close-ups of paintings and sculptures, the slow motion inserts of crashing and receding waves, and the roaring rumble of Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s composition, I finally felt that White was struggling to keep turning the plates after an engrossing season. slowly with the approach of everything but the kitchen sink. And with almost every subplot ending, I felt deflated.

In a way, Tanya’s death also eliminated the possibility of a strikingly satisfying conclusion in other story sequences: Portia’s (Haley Lu Richardson) confrontation with Jack (Leo Woodall) that came to a head came out as a sad whimper. Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and Cameron (Theo James) and Ethan (Will Sharpe) and Harper (Aubrey Plaza) decide to leave the past in the past or pretend to be the past. And Di Grassos, Bert (F. Murray Abraham), Dominic (Michael Imperioli) and Albie (Adam DiMarco) seem to be heading home to Los Angeles, albeit at 50,000 euros more or less unchanged. Even the season’s “winners” Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Grannò) only get a glimpse of a Taormina shopping spree before the credits.

Then again, my own final theory highlighted the season’s discontent and boredom. So maybe I should have anticipated my own disappointment. Were you satisfied with the finale beyond the solving (and accidental success) of the Kill Tanya plot?

McNamara: Although it started with the mention of a murder last season, it was more of a social digression and satire. This season has leaned heavily on the larger whodunit renaissance – “Knives Out” meets one of Agatha Christie’s seaside resort novels. From the very beginning, the audience was trying to figure out who killed whom with what and why. I thought it was clever that White eliminated at least one favorite theory – that Ethan killed Cameron – right up front. But I think intelligence has often worked against him this season.

At first, White seemed to empty the concept of relaxation (Hawaii!) completely, just as he had emptied the concept of relaxation (Italy!). But with murder so dominant, the characters and relationships were interesting only as pieces of a larger puzzle. Fahy made Daphne the most interesting character in the series because she actually looked like she was on vacation and you could see her presence in a Christie novel. (Darling, I just gotta get a pink gin.)

The rest are not so much.

Did I care if Ethan and Harper rekindled the spark of marriage? As much as I loved Plaza and found her performance in the first episodes funny, I didn’t like it. “Walk some more,” I wanted to shout. “Go somewhere outside the hotel for dinner.”

Whether or not Di Grassos found his long-lost relatives, or when it comes to père and grand-père, I didn’t give figs or olives to their equally incomprehensible conscience. (Still, I definitely appreciated any scene where they didn’t blandly discuss their views on “The Godfather,” be it sex or God help us.)

Tanya remained a goddess, but Portia was a drop (though I did like Jack quite a bit). I’m not sure what to think about Mia and Lucia – it was nice to watch and hear Grannò and I guess I’m glad they “won” but I’m never a big fan of storylines that feature women. They can get ahead using their feminine tricks.

I agree that the season feels oddly overfull and empty. White seemed to want “Knives Out” and all seven episodes. There were definitely bright spots – Coolidge rocking taffeta, Hollander left suggestive good words, Plaza eats toast aggressively, and Fahy gives marriage advice. But with all the ominous music and shots of those Moorish heads, White seemed determined to make us worry about the ending, the explanation that is never a good thing for a character-driven drama.

A woman and a man are having a serious conversation on the beach.

Meghann Fahy with Will Sharpe in the season 2 finale of “The White Lotus”.


Brennan: Ethan details his suspicions about Harper and Cam in a conversation with Daphne on the beach shortly after the kids, while Fahy, as if to explain her purpose, lands the finale’s strongest punch with just one expression, breaking in her face like a wave. ‘ wet t-shirt contest… I mean showdown. That character and performance provided the pathetic situations the rich are in this season, and Daphne’s advice to Ethan comes with a subtle bitterness that I wish White had spent more time searching for in the midst of the bombs. “I think,” she says openly, “doing whatever it takes to not feel like a victim of life.”

With Daphne and Harper’s stony night at the palace and the duel dates between Albie/Lucia and Portia/Jack, this was the high point of the season for me—the moments that coincided with White’s enduring masterpiece, “Enlightened,” effortlessly combining the comedy of human frailty with endless sadness. brings together. As for the rest, as with many resort holidays, I have a hard time remembering it already; It wasn’t as mundane as it was tasteless, each episode blurring into the next, just as certain as dinners in the restaurant.

I guess, in a way, the point is: The class satire you’re talking about is basically about wealthy Americans residing thousands of miles away in search of a carefully selected copy of the “alien”, not a real face-to-face interview. with local people, cultures or traditions. But let’s just say Luca Guadagnino’s “A Bigger Splash” doesn’t do much to suggest the world beyond the resort, unlike “The White Lotus” – Lucia and Mia are largely White’s own “Father” and Valentina’ treated like moles in yours. (Sabrina Impacciatore) the first queer sexual experience comes implicitly. sterling for him quo. Hawaiian vision of the series at least aforementioned colonialism. All Sicilians get is arancini and a volcano.

In a final guess, I found this season very similar to its characters: half too sarcastic, sometimes annoying, sometimes appropriate, always a little shallow. “How will you succeed in life if you are such a big mark?” Dominic asks Albie in “The Arriverder” after Albie demands a “karmic payout” for Lucia, but even the season’s biggest naive has learned how to get to his jugular vein. “Give me 50,” he demands at last, “and I’ll help you with your mother.” Maybe that’s the tragedy my source at HBO was talking about—the tragedy of people who are in stunted, transactional, fundamentally dishonest relationships and yet cling to them because that’s all they have.

Him or Greg getting away with Tanya’s money. This sucks.

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