Did The White Lotus Finale Secretly Kill The Show’s Real Villain?

Closed captioning on The White Lotus season 2 finale may have revealed a simple continuity error...or something more sinister.

Tom Hollander on a yacht in The White Lotus season 2
Photo: Fabio Lovino | HBO

This article contains spoilers for The White Lotus season 2 finale.

The tide has finally come in on The White Lotus season 2, and boy that episode 1 tease of “a few” deaths really paid off. Since we first saw Daphne (Meghann Fahy) discover a floating corpse in the seas of Sicily, we’ve been on the edge of our seats to find out which unlucky guests were going to kick the bucket.

In the end, it was fan-favorite Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) who sipped her last Aperol Spritz, but not before she took a few of her devious captors with her. The bodies quickly piled up, but did a throwaway line in Dec. 11’s “Arrivederci” secretly kill the show’s big bad… or set them up for a return in the already confirmed season three?

Eagle-eyed viewers were on the money that Tanya’s new pals weren’t just fashionable gays trying to give her a good time with trips to the opera and attractive suitors. It was Tom Hollander’s Quentin doing her dirty, while her own husband, Greg Hunt (Jon Gries), was the puppet master behind it all. Tanya and Greg were the only two characters who returned from The White Lotus season one, and if the closed captions of the season 2 finale are anything to go by, neither of them might be returning for season 3.

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As things came to a head on Quentin’s yacht, Tanya barricaded herself in a cabin and snatched the gun of Niccolo (Stefano Gianino). Although it sounded like it’s Quentin who tells her to come out of the cabin, the episode’s captions say it’s Greg who’s on the other side of the door. It’s a strange turn of events because Greg had been MIA from the series since episode two – saying he had to fly back to the states on “business.”

The sordid saga that led to Tanya’s death involved Greg hiring Quentin and Niccolo to kill her off, nullifying her prenup and ensuring Hunt would get his hands on her small fortune. This was largely given away to audiences when Greg said he had no money, which was also echoed by Quentin masquerading as some wealthy gay while also scrambling for cash. It’s even more twisted due to the fact Greg was the mysterious “cowboy”  who Quentin had an unrequited love for when they met on a dude ranch, decades before.

A surprisingly sharp Tanya recognised Greg as “the cowboy” in an old photograph and quickly figured out she’d been lured out to sea for a watery demise. Using Niccolo’s gun, Tanya shot blindly through the boat and left a trail of bodies in her wake. When she left the cabin, we saw an unknown number of casualties, as well as the hilarious moment she questioned Quentin on whether Greg was having an affair. We only saw one of Quentin’s accomplices escape the boat when he dived into the sea, and if Greg was on board, it’s entirely possible he’s one of the victims of this bullet-riddled bloodbath. Seriously though, Tanya was a sharpshooter. 

There are some obvious flaws in the theory. Namely, why would Greg go to the effort of concocting this plan and having the perfect alibi of being back in the USA, only to be right there at the crime scene? As well as the danger of being spotted, his DNA would surely be somewhere on the yacht. It’s also unclear who Greg said “I love you” to earlier in the season. We know he didn’t share Quentin’s affections, so it’s implied there’s a mystery woman out there too. Given that Laura Dern had a secret voice cameo as the wife of Dominic (Michael Imperioli), let the A-list fan castings start. 

It gets even more complicated when you realize the Greg caption only appears in the “Unpacking the Episode” featurette and eagle-eared listeners say it sounds like Gries. In the standard HBO version, the captions say it’s Niccolo who bangs on the door. At the time of writing, Greg’s name is there in the extra,  but we imagine it’ll soon be fixed. We’re no closer to unraveling the mysteries of Greg, but the words of series creator Mike White suggest he’ll live to fight another day. 

Discussing THAT big twist in a behind-the-scenes video (via The Wrap), White said, “I think as far as what happens to Greg and the conspiracy of Tanya’s death, it’s possible that I think Portia is scared enough to just leave it alone but the fact that all of those guys die on the boat feels like there’s gotta be somebody who’s gonna track it back down to Greg. But maybe you’ll have to wait to find out what happens.” Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) was Tanya’s long-suffering assistant, who was likely to meet a similar fate until she was set free by Jack (Leo Woodall). Jack warned Portia to stay away from these “powerful people,” and going way into tinfoil theories, does this mean Greg is part of some sort of all-seeing Legion of Doom that’s running every White Lotus around the globe?

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There’s no word on who’ll be returning and who’ll be new when we check in for The White Lotus season 3, and while we hoped Coolidge would be something of a Sarah Paulson in American Horror Story as the series staple, Gries could take that role as the villainous Greg. If Greg does get away with it, we imagine him spending his newfound fortune to spread Tanya’s ashes at another exotic White Lotus location. White previously told Deadline he’d love a season set in Asia, while Daphne saying, “Next year, the Maldives,” is another possible locale. Either way, it’s likely that “Greg Hunt” appearing in the captions was simply an error, meaning this black widow will soon be packing his suitcase all over again.