The White Lotus Season 2 Ending Explained: Who Died And What Happened to Everyone Else

Here's who lives, who dies, and who leaves Italy changed forever in The White Lotus season 2 finale.

Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus Season 2 finale
Photo: Photo: HBO

The following contains major spoilers for The White Lotus season 2.

Vacation is officially over. Another drama-filled sojourn at The White Lotus has come to an end, filled with suspicion, betrayal, and a variety of rich people behaving badly. Since the series’ anthology format means the season 2 finale is our last outing with this particular group of characters, the show does its best to tie up its (many!) loose ends and show us how their collective time in Italy has changed their lives—for good or ill. 

Here’s a rundown of what happened in the supersized The White Lotus season 2 finale from who makes it out of Sicily to the secrets several major characters will be taking home with them.

Who Dies in The White Lotus Season 2?

Although the first episode of The White Lotus season 2 straight up tells us that four people die over the course of this run of episodes, only one of them actually turns out to be a major character. 

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The body that Daphne (Meghann Fahy) discovers in the water during the season’s opening moments belongs to fan favorite Tanya McQuoid-Hunt (Jennifer Coolidge), who manages to survive a murder plot and gun down the cabal of gay men who appear to be planning to kill her only to fall from their yacht to her death as she tries to reach the dinghy that would carry her back to shore. The rest of the season’s deaths—sorry everyone who was predicting one of the Di Grasso men was a goner—are basically the gays who were part of the plan to kill Tanya, including Quentin (Tom Hollander), Didier (Bruno Gouery), and her hook-up from last week Niccolo (​Stefano Gianino). Hugo (Paolo Camilli) escapes by diving into the water and swimming to shore. 

Your mileage will likely vary about The White Lotus’s decision to bring back Tanya (its only returning season 1 character) to not only kill her off but to silo her in a plot that had so little to do with the rest of the action back at the resort. (I’m still so mad that Tanya essentially never interacted with the Sullivan/Spillar quartet.) But Coolidge gets several of the season’s best lines—prepare yourself for the inevitable memes!—and ultimately goes out as the result of a freak stupid accident rather than getting murdered by a man. 

Was Quentin Plotting to Kill Tanya?

Yes, although the specifics of his plan are never fully spelled out. (To be fair, they probably don’t really need to be.) We know that Quentin is broke and needs money, although he’s told his “nephew” Jack (Leo Woodall) that he’s expecting to come into some any day now. He apparently has a lengthy history with Tanya’s husband Greg (Jon Gries), whose prenuptial agreement means he won’t get any money if the pair divorce, but who stands to inherit it all if she dies. 

With some help from Portia (Haley Lu Richardson)—who’s having her own problems trying to figure out the reasons for Jack’s (Leo Woodall) extremely suss behavior after he steals her phone and refuses to take her back to the group—Tanya figures out that Greg and Quentin have been plotting to stage her murder. Greg has conveniently left Italy. Jack’s been assigned to keep Portia far from her boss, and mobster adjacent hottie Niccolo has been tapped to kill Tanya en route back to Taormina. But before he can do so, Tanya steals Niccolo’s black bag and barricades herself in a bedroom. Inside it, she finds rope, duct tape, and a gun, confirming the murder plot and arming Tanya for her Final Girl-style kill spree. 

After shooting him in the back, Tanya tries to get Quentin to reveal if Greg is cheating on her—a questionable choice of interrogation tacks given, well, literally everything else it appears her husband has been plotting and the extent of whose involvement we still don’t know—but he says nothing before he dies. 

Did Harper and Cameron Have Sex?

No. At least, not according to Harper (Aubrey Plaza). She tells her husband Ethan (Will Sharpe) that yes, Cameron (Theo James) came on to her and, yes, she accepted his suggestion that they go upstairs together. But she insists that all they did was a kiss, and though it doesn’t appear that Ethan fully believes her, she sticks to her story, despite the fact that there are some gaps of unaccounted time she never fully explains.

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 How About Daphne and Ethan? Did They Hook Up?

What exactly happened between Ethan and Cameron’s wife Daphne in the season 2 finale is also left for viewers to decide. After his fistfight with his supposed long time best friend, Ethan fills Daphne in on his suspicions about the idea that something is going on between their spouses. Despite a brief look of devastation (which, to be fair, trying to bang your BFF’s wife is pretty low, even for her repeatedly philandering husband), Daphne’s surprisingly calm about the whole situation.

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” she tells Ethan, reminding him that you can never really know anyone, even sometimes yourself, and that you just have to find a way not to feel like a victim in your own life. By way of changing the subject, she gestures to a beautiful nearby inlet called Isola Bella and says she wanted to make sure she saw it before they left. She invites Ethan to come with her. The two say nothing on their walk across the beach, but the pair’s extended intense eye contact and the dramatic music underscoring their stroll certainly imply that something major is about to happen. (And whatever does happen seems to play a key role in giving Ethan his sexual mojo back with his wife. Maybe Daphne’s right—some secrets are a little bit sexy.) 

Portia Escapes Jack

Though The White Lotus finale confirms that Jack is a key player in Quentin’s plot to kill Tanya, we never quite find out the extent of his “assignment” with Portia. Yes, he was clearly supposed to keep her busy and out of the way—he steals her phone, brazenly lies about it, and repeatedly delays their return to Taormina—but he also seemed to genuinely like her, which makes his decision to let her go feel extra murky. Was he supposed to kill her on the way back to the resort? Would she also have been marked for death by Niccolo once she got there? We’ll never know.

Instead, while Jack refuses to confirm any of Portia’s suspicions he at least sets her free, dropping her off near the airport in Catania and advising her to skip looking for her (now-dead) boss and just get on her flight out of Siciliy as soon as possible. He warns her that she doesn’t want to mess with these powerful people and drops her missing phone out the window as he drives away. How precisely Portia is meant to leave Italy when her passport and all her luggage is presumably either back at the White Lotus or in Quentin’s villa I’m not sure, but at least she lives to buy more indescribable Gen Z fashion another day.

Lucia and Mia Embrace New and Brighter Futures 

The most iconic duo of The White Lotus season 2, however, is hands down Sicilian sex workers Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Grannò). After a first season that saw locals and service workers repeatedly forced to suffer at the hands of the White Lotus’s uber-rich guests, it’s wildly satisfying to see the non-elites notch some significant wins this time around. After all, Lucia’s plans to scam the Di Grassos weren’t exactly well-hidden, and Mia’s been forthright about her true desire to be a musician since the season premiere. And by end of the finale, both women have gotten almost everything they could have possibly wanted, and both their lives are on new and improved trajectories.

Lucia not only finally manages to get paid by Cameron (at the last possible moment!), she also tricks Albie (Adam DiMarco) into giving her 50,000 Euros. Ostensibly, this money is meant to help her get away from the abusive and dangerous pimp that seemingly chased her and the Di Grasso family through the countryside in the season’s penultimate episode, but that shadowy figure never actually existed and there was never any real threat to Lucia’s life or safety. (It turns out that the supposed pimp was actually just a friend.) Albie, surprisingly, seems to take being conned and abandoned in stride, probably because it’s never entirely clear how likely he actually thought the plan for Lucia to visit him in Los Angeles truly was. (The real lesson here is that his family is rich enough that losing 50 large is little more than embarrassing vacation memory, so everyone wins!)

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As for Mia, she is officially given the piano gig at the White Lotus thanks to her new bond with hotel manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciator). While it’s not directly stated that her job prospects improved thanks to their hook-up, it’s hard not to assume that their newfound friends with benefits played some role. But, Mia at least seems to genuinely like Valentina and promises that she and Lucia will take her out to clubs and help her meet women. 

Portia and Albie Reconnect at the Airport

Much like season 1, The White Lotus’s second installment ends with everyone back at the airport, ready to head home. Both the Sullivans and the Spillars look content at their gate despite their possible partner swapping, and all three Di Grasso men prove the apparent strength of their collective gene pool by blatantly oogling a hot girl together. (Siiiigh.) 

While waiting to board their flights, Albie runs into Portia again. The pair reconnect over their separate disastrous vacation romances—he admits that Lucia conned him and Portia says that Jack was deranged and confirms her trip to Palermo with him wasn’t exactly great. Albie also reports that several dead bodies turned up at the resort though he admits he doesn’t know who any of them were. (Portia’s expression, at least, says she knows she’s not waiting for Tanya anymore.) But despite their various personal setbacks, the two swap numbers, implying that even a dead boss and a lost 50,000 euros can’t stop young love.