SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers up through Episode 6 of “The White Lotus,” airing Sundays on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.
“The White Lotus” is set up for an explosive Season 2 finale on Sunday, but before fans wave goodbye to Sicily, there are a lot of loose ends to be tied up in Mike White’s hit HBO series.
What will happen to Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge)? Did Cameron (Theo James) sleep with Harper (Aubrey Plaza)? Who is the father of Daphne’s (Meghann Fahy) kids? Is Lucia actually in danger? What ever happened to the piano player? Who dies?!?
From the viral cowboy conspiracy to the sex work scheme, Variety investigated some of the most popular and outlandish “White Lotus” finale theories.
Greg is in cahoots with Quentin to kill Tanya for her money
Given the events of Episode 6, this might be an obvious one, but we’ve been suspicious of Quentin’s (Tom Hollander) relationship with Tanya since he first invited her and Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) down to the beach club. The “high-end gays,” as Tanya calls them, have since been wining and dining her, taking her to the opera and lifting her spirits. But it’s “The White Lotus,” after all. Of course there won’t be a happy ending. Any sliver of normalcy in this fast friendship was thrown out the window when Tanya sees Quentin having sex with his nephew, Jack (Leo Woodall), at the end of Episode 5. Now, it’s all-but-confirmed that Quentin is not really Jack’s uncle, and a drunk Jack tells Portia that he isn’t really rich, either. “These posh fuckers… they’ve got their palazzos. They ain’t got no money,” Jack says, echoing an earlier line from Cameron. Jack says Quentin almost had to sell the family house, but now he’s “coming into money,” and “he’s gonna help his friends.” “I’m just happy that I get to help him now. Because he’s helped me,” Jack says. “I was in a fucking hole.”
The money he will be coming into is Tanya’s. Perhaps to get out of this hole, Jack has agreed to play along in Quentin’s scheme for a cut of the money. Earlier in the series, Quentin tells Tanya that he first fell in love during a trip to America, where he fell for a heterosexual “cowboy” in Wyoming. “I’d have done anything for him,” Quentin says. “And the amazing thing is, after 30-odd years I still would.” A theory that the cowboy is in fact Tanya’s husband Greg (Jon Gries), who as you might remember works in land management in the American West, is confirmed when Tanya discovers an old photograph of Quentin and Jack in cowboy hats. Yes, Greg, who whined about his prenup, is likely in cahoots with Quentin and Co. to steal Tanya’s money. Remember how Greg was in Sicily before Tanya arrived? And how he was furious that she brought Portia? That’s because he was setting up the plan, and because Portia throws a wrench in it. Enter: Jack, who has likely been brought in last minute to distract Portia and isolate Tanya during the big party, where the scheme will be carried out.
This season has certainly been hinting at Tanya’s death (the tarot reading, the comparisons to “Madama Butterfly”), but we predict that she’ll actually get out alive with the help of Portia, who will save her, thus giving her a purpose in life. While it could be intentionally misleading, there is a brief shot in the Season 2 trailer of “The White Lotus” in which Tanya appears to discover a gun and duct tape — leading us to believe she will get ahead of the plot and make it out of Sicily alive. She already knows Quentin is a shady dude, but right now she’s too coked up to do anything about it.
Quentin will extort Tanya by secretly filming her having sex
As we reported Monday, the “red light” mystery ignited Reddit with theories that the means of Quentin’s con on Tanya is blackmail via sex tape. As “arm candy” Niccoló (Stefano Gianino) seduces Tanya, a red light blinks in the background of a frame, indicating a camera is taping them. We know Tanya and Greg have a prenup which protects her vast wealth. But is there an infidelity clause which nullifies part of it or has a penalty? Could it be used to blackmail Tanya for part of her half-a-billion dollar fortune?
Lucia is pulling a long con on the Di Grassos
One of the many lessons of “The White Lotus” is not to judge a book by its cover – a prime example being Lucia (Simona Tabasco), an enterprising sex worker who provides her services to hotel guests Dominic (Michael Imperioli), Cameron and Dominic’s son, Albie (Adam DiMarco). From the start, we know that Lucia has big dreams, including one day moving to California, and only sees her current profession as a means to an end. So after she and self-professed nice guy Albie have sex without him realizing her line of work, Lucia realizes he might be more naïve than she thought, telling Albie that she likes him and suggesting they meet up again. Is this really a budding romance, or a way for Lucia to ensure her dreams come true?
As Lucia and Albie get to know each other better, she opens up to him about Alessio — whom the audience is led to believe is her pimp — and how he has been threatening her to give him more money. This sparks sympathy from savior Albie, who can’t resist helping this wounded bird (just his type, as he says in Episode 2). When the two pass Alessio on the street while getting ice cream, he pulls Lucia away aggressively, yelling at her in Italian (which isn’t translated for the audience), making the matter seem even more urgent. And in Episode 6, when Lucia seemingly gets followed and abducted by Alessio, it’s apparent that Albie wants nothing more than to get her out of this situation.
But, if you look back at the first episode of the season, you’ll notice we see Alessio when we first meet Lucia and Mia, as the two are walking toward the hotel to see the guests’ boat arrive. Back then, Alessio and Lucia share a friendly exchange, with no signs of bad blood. Also in that scene, Lucia tells Mia how she discovered she could make a lot of money selling feet pics online and met Dom through an online profile, so it doesn’t seem like any third party is involved. All of this raises the question: Is Alessio a different kind of business partner, who is simply putting up a front to help Lucia scam the Di Grassos? He could be a boyfriend, or maybe even her brother, as one TikTok user predicted. Only time will tell…
Daphne is an evil mastermind
While everyone else is experiencing a big Sicilian breakdown, Daphne is living her best life. Do not mistake these actions for ignorance — our unbothered queen contains multitudes. Take the night in Noto, when Daphne tricked Harper into joining her for a night away from the hotel in hopes of “keeping things interesting” with her husband. Later, Daphne spills her reasoning behind this decision in the pool: “I want Cam to think that we had so much fun that we wanted to stay. He has intense FOMO and abandonment issues.” When people tell you who they are, listen! Things get even more interesting when Harper asks Daphne point blank if she knows that Cameron cheats on her. “Maybe just once, that I know about,” Daphne says. “Don’t feel bad for me, I figured out how to handle it. Like today, I do what I want, so I’m not resentful.” This is not some wine-soaked housewife; this is a mastermind who uses the insecurities of her loved ones against them.
Cameron and Ethan’s night with the escorts is not shocking to Daphne, who calls Cam’s friends “monsters,” but Harper is clearly distraught. Daphne’s advice on handling infidelities is… troubling. “If anything ever did happen you just do what you have to do to make yourself feel better about it,” she says while revealing her coping mechanism: Lawrence, her cute trainer in the city with “blonde hair and big blue eyes.” Daphne goes to show Harper a photo of him but instead displays an image of her two children, one with blonde hair and blue eyes, a stark difference from her husband’s features. This is where things get tricky, as Daphne is either doing one of two things. One, the picture reveal was merely a Freudian slip. Drunk from the day and comfortable with her first lady friend, Daphne overshares with one damning image. But this calculated woman who’s never lost her luggage, always looks stunning and planned a whole secret Noto night to make her husband jealous doesn’t really seem like the type of person to make an errant comment. Which leaves us with the other option: She did it on purpose.
“Maybe you should get a trainer,” Daphne says without sentiment. Was she giving Harper her keys to navigating life as a wealthy man’s wife, or was she planting the seed? Cheat Harper, we all do it. But why does she want Harper to cheat — and with whom? If you’re a long-suffering wife sick of your spouse’s wandering eye, perhaps an Italian vacation is the perfect place to make a change? Will Cameron’s “mimetic desire” make for the perfect occasion for Daphne to finally rid herself of this problematic partner, luring Harper to Cameron to stoke a fire in Ethan? Maybe everyone’s a pawn in Daphne’s game of chess.
Bring this all full circle to the start of the series. There’s Daphne, alone on the beach aggressively inserting herself into a stranger’s conversation by yelling, “DID YOU GUYS JUST GET HERE?” Is she an overly chatty tourist or someone looking for an alibi? It’s all too convenient that she just then happens to find the remains of a dead hotel guest. Another set up? We’ve seen Daphne consume bottles of wine and calmly reveal that her life is a lie, Cameron is a cheater and her children are perhaps not her husband’s. Is cheerily talking about how great Italy is while your husband lies dead in the water that much of a stretch?
And by the way… that massage was definitely a lie. How coincidental that there is only one massage available! When Daphne returns, she beams about her masseuse — a Timothée Chalamet-type with muscles — but the mark of a liar is details. She kills her husband, and Harper and Ethan are just fall guys for her master plan. If true, give Meghann Fahy all the Emmys.
Cameron planted the condom wrapper in Ethan’s couch
Cameron and Ethan (Will Sharpe) have a weird friendship, and Harper ends up being right by predicting the reason they were invited on vacation was so Cameron could make Ethan a business proposition. Things go awry when Cameron invites hookers to party with the boys while the wives are in Noto. While Ethan remains faithful to Harper, Cameron has no issue having sex with Lucia on his couch. But when Harper discovers a condom wrapper lodged under the cushion the next day, she becomes untrusting of her husband, despite his repeated pleas for her to believe him. Cameron apologizes to Ethan for the blunder, but what if it wasn’t a slip-up after all? Cameron and Daphne are more complicated than initially meets the eye, and their interactions with Ethan and Harper seem calculated. Getting naked in front of Harper… the “spontaneous” night in Noto… showing Harper a picture of her kids instead of her trainer? It must be part of a bigger plan.
Giuseppe kills Mia in an act of revenge
The resort’s piano player Giuseppe (Federico Scribiani) has been infatuated with aspiring singer Mia (Beatrice Grannò) since he first locked eyes with her. But it has only led to humiliation and pain, ranging from a drink thrown in his face to a near-death experience involving a pill Mia mistook for Viagra. Now that Giuseppe’s in the hospital, Mia takes advantage of the opportunity and convinces Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) to let her serenade guests in his absence. Now, not every plot has to mirror the 1995 cult favorite “Showgirls,” but there’s a lot of sexual mentor-protégée energy between Giuseppe and Mia, and there’s no way the former takes her ascension lightly. Prediction: Giuseppe is rendered unable to perform due to the medicine mix-up, drowns his sorrows at the bar, gets jealous while Mia is playing, confronts her down at the beach and chokes her to death, silencing them both. It would be grim, but it’s an irony that makes sense in the “Careful What You Wish For” world of “The White Lotus.”
Bert kills Lucia to protect the family
Out of all three Di Grasso men, F. Murray Abraham’s Bert Di Grasso appears to be the most fragile, at least physically. Bert wanted to go to Sicily to find his Italian relatives, driven by a sentimentality borne from the notion that he’s near the end of his life. Early in the series, he falls down the stairs; he also hits his head. But even as he positions himself as an old man who needs to be taken care of, he wields his power as the patriarch of the three men — and is least subtle about his misogyny. He believes that grandson Albie has been brainwashed at Stanford and disapproves of son Dom’s broken marriage and dealings with sex workers Lucia and Mia. Furthermore, he claims that his own marriage was idyllic, despite his own admission that he cheated on his wife. But the most telling moment occurs in Episode 3, when he, Albie, Dominic and Portia eat lunch at the place where Francis Ford Coppola shot the car bombing scene in “The Godfather,” in which Michael Corleone’s wife Apollonia dies in an explosion. Bert calls the film the “greatest American movie ever made” and tells his son and grandson that the film fulfills a “normal male fantasy.” As physically unwell as Bert might be, he is still undoubtedly the leader of the group and has a desire to keep his family “intact” — plausibly at any cost. After being spurned by the women he believes are his distant cousins and witnessing Lucia maneuver closer to his son and grandson, Bert could fulfill his “normal male fantasy” and quietly murder Lucia in an effort to salvage Dom’s marriage and protect Albie.
Albie isn’t a nice guy after all
Albie presents himself as a “nice guy.” He seems to show respect for women and acknowledge boundaries — but it’s not that simple. During his dinner with Portia in the second episode, he remarks, “Girls always complain that guys aren’t nice, but then if they find a nice guy, they’re not always interested.” That phrase immediately sounds the alarm that he may be nothing more than a fedora-tipping jerk. Some of Twitter has labeled Albie as an “incel,” but it’s worth noting that he does have a sexual relationship with Lucia in the show, voiding that label. All three of the Di Grasso men seem to represent different shades of toxic masculinity. Bert’s incessant propositioning of women and insistence that his marital indiscretions were acceptable harkens back to a classic patriarchal structure. Meanwhile, his son Dom isn’t as overt and hides his transgressions, showing a sense of superiority that he wasn’t flagrant like his father before him. Meanwhile, Albie has over-corrected, as demonstrated by his assumption that Lucia is surely being coerced into being a sex worker, and his savior complex in trying to be a hero to women going through something. If Albie’s heart is broken again, might he show a darker side in the season finale?
Albie kills Ethan, mistaking him for Lucia’s pimp
Perhaps Albie’s dark side results in a horrible accident. Since Alessio tails the Di Grassos in Testa dell’Acqua, Albie has become increasingly protective over Lucia. Regardless of whether she is actually in danger (it’s unlikely), Lucia implies to Albie that Alessio is her pimp, and she owes him money. Meanwhile, Cameron still hasn’t fully paid Lucia and Mia, who confront an unknowing Ethan in Episode 6 about the debt. There’s a world in which Ethan, who has had to repeatedly explain himself to Harper about what really happened with the sex workers, confronts Lucia by the cliffs in a fit of rage over the downfall of his marriage. Perhaps he gets aggressive with her and Albie, seeing him only from behind and mistaking him for Alessio, comes to Lucia’s rescue and pushes Ethan from behind, causing him to fall to his death.
Bert will die — but it won’t be a murder
When we first meet Bert, his age is immediately a topic of discussion. Mia and Lucia chat about it as they scan the dock, and Valentina immediately remarks, “I’m impressed that you’re even here… it’s a long trip from Los Angeles, and you’re quite old, no?” Also in the first episode, Bert falls by the pool, and Albie expresses concern that he may have a concussion. That’s not the only time Bert injures himself, though. In the fifth episode, he sports a large bandage on top of his head. He dismisses the injury as a “little scratch,” explaining that he banged his head on the corner of the nightstand while looking for the remote. However, in the same conversation, he jokes, “I can’t be responsible for everything I say, I’m concussed!” Could there be truth to this and cause for actual concern about his health? Perhaps Bert knows he’s nearing the end, and he came to Italy with the intention of connecting with his roots before he dies.
A murderous manager
Perhaps the person behind the murder(s) could be the one lording over them all: Valentina. As we’ve seen thus far, Valentina is a complicated character with a hard exterior. But in Episode 6, she loosens up when Mia gives her the gift of birthday sex. While the moment itself was actually quite innocent and sweet, for Mia, it’s somewhat transactional — she wants to keep singing and playing piano down at the hotel bar. It’s possible that playing with Valentina’s heart could cause the hotel manager to truly lose her cool, once and for all. Maybe she and Mia are caught by another guest and she kills them out of fear of losing her job, or perhaps she murders Mia out of anger for breaking her heart. Either way, from her appearance in the beginning of the first episode, we know that if she is the killer, she hasn’t been caught yet — and who better to cover up a few hotel murders than the manager herself?