SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains spoilers up through Episode 7 of “The White Lotus,” airing Sundays on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.
Wake up, babe, it’s the last day of vacation.
The sun is out, the pastries are fresh and the smell of murder hangs thick in the Sicilian air.
Despite dozens of theories leading into the finale, Mike White pulled off a genuinely shocking death, as Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) takes out the “high-end gays” and kills herself, too, knocking her head on the dinghy and drowning after trying to escape the yacht.
Yes, Greg (Jon Gries) is the real winner of “The White Lotus,” after all, as not only is he the heir to Tanya’s fortune, but he doesn’t have to pay Quentin (Tom Hollander) and Co., either.
Of all the scams and schemes in “The White Lotus,” the biggest one was on us all along, as White continuously hinted at Coolidge’s return in Season 3.
But let’s go back to the beginning of the episode, where our favorite tourists are waking up in paradise for the final time. Albie (Adam DiMarco) is promising to rescue Lucia (Simona Tabasco) from a fake threat, Dom (Michael Imperioli) is looking at family photos teary-eyed and Ethan (Will Sharpe) is being cucked in his imagination.
Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) wakes up in a hotel room with Jack (Leo Woodall), but her phone is suspiciously missing, and — oh no — Tanya is dressed like the Apollonia Vitelli car dummy from “The Godfather” museum.
At breakfast, Albie asks his dad for €50,000 to help Lucia, a proposition he quickly dismisses until Albie offers to put in a good word with his mom. The money is transferred.
Elsewhere in the hotel, Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) wakes up next to Mia (Beatrice Grannò) and does a walk of shame to the lobby. It’s the first time we’ve seen her unbutton her blouse a bit.
Giuseppe (Federico Scribiani) returns from the hospital, ready to return to his post at the piano, but Mia is already seated, and — thanks to a newly sexually liberated hotel manager — the bench belongs to her now.
Ethan once again confronts Harper (Aubrey Plaza) about the day prior. He knows she’s not telling the truth about her and Cameron (Theo James), who sneak into the room while Ethan’s in the ocean. When he returns, the door’s latched, and the connecting door to Cameron’s room is open. Ethan’s convinced his wife and former college roommate had sex, but all Harper admits is that he kissed her for “two seconds” before Ethan came back up. Ethan still doesn’t believe her, and the truth is never clearly resolved. In a fit of rage, Ethan heads to the beach and confronts Cameron in the ocean, where they get into a good old-fashioned tussle.
At the palazzo, Tanya confronts Quentin about the cowboy photo. “He looks just like Greg,” she says, and Quentin puts on his best “Who’s Greg?” face. They’re headed to the yacht to return to Taormina.
Meanwhile, Portia is out on the town with Jack, and when he runs off to the bathroom, she takes his phone to warn Tanya that Quentin isn’t who he says he is. (Tanya, of course, knows this. “He was kinda fucking his uncle,” she tells her assistant.)
“He did insist that we come to Sicily,” Tanya says of Greg. “The prenup! If we divorce, he gets basically nothing. But if I…” But just as Tanya starts putting the pieces together, Jack’s back, taking the phone away from Portia’s ear.
Back at the White Lotus, Ethan and Daphne (Meghann Fahy) have a chat on the beach. Ethan tells her he thinks something may have happened between Harper and Cameron, and Daphne seems expectedly unfazed. “I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” she says. “You don’t have to know everything to love someone.”
Daphne goes on: “I think you just do whatever you have to do not to feel like a victim of life. Just use your imagination.” Then the two of them head off to Isola Bella and — speaking of using your imagination — disappear together. Whatever happens on the mysterious island reignites a fire in Ethan, who later returns to Harper with a newfound sex drive. If the possibility of sex with other people is what first exposes the cracks in Ethan and Harper’s marriage, then the vague implication that they might have gone swinging with Cameron and Daphne is what saves it.
Back on the boat, Tanya is getting antsy. She even tries to tell the boat captain that “these gays… they’re trying to murder me,” but as we learned in Episode 5, “he doesn’t understand English, or Italian half the time.” When Niccoló (Stefano Gianino) arrives with a bag, she darts to the bathroom and snags it, uncovering a rope, duct tape and a pistol. When she emerges, she goes assassin mode, killing three of her captors and forcing one to dive overboard. Unfortunately, Tanya doesn’t make it back to shore, either, accidentally tumbling off the yacht and dinging the dinghy with her head. She finally gets to experience the “last immersive experience” she hasn’t tried.
As Jack drives Portia back to the hotel, he gets out of the car and lights a cigarette. If he’s going to kill her, Portia wants to just get it over with. But Jack isn’t taking her back to Taormina. They’re near the airport in Catania, where he advises her to not “be stupid” and just get on her flight tomorrow. “Get the fuck out of Sicily,” he warns. “These people are powerful. You don’t want to fuck with them.” In hindsight, it’s possible Jack left his phone on the table on purpose. He got roped into Quentin’s scheme because he was in a “deep hole,” but lucky for Portia, the boy from Essex has a change of heart.
At the airport, Albie knows Lucia played him. Her pimp, as we noted in our finale predictions, is just a friend, who will likely be getting a cut out of the Di Grasso Women Rescue Fund. But it doesn’t seem to bother him, as he exchanges phone numbers with Portia, rekindling their flame €50,000 and a dead boss later. Ethan and Harper and Cameron and Daphne look content at their gate, too, and Dom is coming home with a second (or third, or fourth?) chance with his wife.
It turns out Sicily is romantic, after all.
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