Some viewers aren’t quite ready to check out of The White Lotus. Following the Sunday, December 11, finale, creator Mike White is addressing burning questions about how season 2 wrapped up.
As fans know — spoiler alert — Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya met her fate after discovering that her husband, Greg (Jon Gries), hired a group of gay men to kill her so he would inherit her money after signing a prenup.
“In the end of last season, Tanya is sitting with Greg in the last episode and he’s talking about his health issues and she says, ‘I’ve had every kind of treatment over the years, death is the last immersive experience I haven’t tried,’ and I was thinking, it’d be so fun to bring Tanya back because she’s such a great character, but maybe that’s the journey for her, the journey to death,” White said in HBO Max’s Unpacking S2 E7 featurette. “Not that I really wanted to kill Tanya because I love her as a character and obviously love Jennifer, but we’re going to Italy, she’s such a diva, a larger-than-life female archetype, it felt maybe we could devise our own operatic conclusion to her life and story.”
White wanted to make sure Tanya had her moment before she died, however.
“I just think her dying at the hands of someone else felt too tragic,” he continued. “It felt like she needed to give her best fight back and that she, in a way, had some kind of victory over whoever was conspiring to get rid of her. It just made me laugh to think, like, she would, like, take out this cabal of killers and after she successfully does that and she just dies this derpy death and that’s so Tanya.”
While many are reeling over Tanya’s death, other fans are still shocked that Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and Ethan (Will Sharpe) and Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and Cameron (Theo James) are all leaving Italy with their marriages still intact.
“By the end you’re like, ‘Well, maybe what Ethan and Harper needed [was] just a small dash of what Cameron and Daphne have.’ It feels like Cameron, to me, is one of those guys that’s not really going to change,” White said. “Some of the unspoken things between them, you wonder if that’s going to ultimately catch up with them. It is somewhat of a happy ending although there’s dark clouds on the horizon too.”
As for whether Harper was telling the truth about only kissing Cameron, James thinks more went down. “I think she feels oddly attracted to this monster that is Cameron, but she’s also trying to use the incident to wake Ethan from his existential and sexual reverie,” the actor told Vulture. “In terms of what specifically happened, though, it was probably more than she let on by half. Maybe not the most extreme version of that scenario, but there was something else.”
Another theory going into the finale was that Cameron had financial issues, but viewers saw him pay his debt to Lucia (Simona Tabasco) on Sunday’s episode.
“It’s a deep insecurity. He’s spiraling a bit. His place in the world is being fractured. His very basis is wealth and social and economic position, and now he’s in a place where, in his mind, doing less is a trend, just like having less confidence and social standing and prowess with women. Also now Ethan’s a very wealthy man, more wealthy and more successful than Cameron, so Cameron needs to reestablish his own identity,” James said. “When Mia and Lucia say, ‘It’s going to be expensive,’ Cameron says, ‘I’ve got money. That’s the one thing I do have.’ For Cameron, that’s a tiny admission but also quite an illuminating one. He believes there’s something lacking in him, so without money and power, he doesn’t know what he is. That’s why he’s trying to demean his friend. He’s trying to control him. He’s trying to own his friend and own his wife in a search for control.”
White, who weighs in on whether Ethan and Daphne had their own tryst during the finale below, is also looking ahead at season 3. While some fans picked up on Daphne declaring that the group should go to the Maldives next year, it hasn’t been revealed whether any characters are set to return.
“The first season kind of highlighted money, and then the second season is sex,” the Survivor alum said. “I think the third season would be maybe a satirical and funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality. It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus.”
Sign up for Us Weekly's free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
Scroll through for more answers to season 2’s burning questions: