You can always tell it’s going to be an eventful vacation when it starts with the discovery of a body—sorry, bodies—during a carefree ocean meander, right? That’s where we started this season of Mike White’s celebrated resort mystery show, where there’s as much drama as there is Aperol (read: so much).
The first episode of the series set up the central mystery in the first scene, when Daphne (Meghann Fahy) giddily wades into the Ionian Sea on the final day of her vacation, only to bump right into the pale leg of a corpse, floating facedown in the water. Talk about a buzzkill.
Like the show’s first season, this isn’t just a whodunit but a who is it as well. In that same opening scene, we learn through conversation that “a few” hotel guests “have been killed,” not just the owner of that calf we spotted. Undisclosed number! Undisclosed identities! Talk about a PR crisis.
We’ve been following the lifestyles of the rich and the miserable on Still Watching all season as they vacation and absolutely hoover cocaine in Sicily, but all good things must come to an end. With the season finale looming on Sunday, here are the VF staff’s theories on who’s going to bite the big one on The White Lotus, and how.
Maybe the most boring possibility, but it still feels true. Greg (Jon Gries), who we now know to be apparently in cahoots with scheming Quentin (Tom Hollander), is still planning to return to Sicily. And though Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) is the one who is most obviously in danger, Mike White still doesn’t seem like the kind to willingly kill off Jennifer Coolidge. So we imagine that poor, hoodwinked Tanya gets her moment of redemption, pushes Greg off that giant cliff we saw in episode four, and rides off into the sunset…hopefully on her way to The White Lotus season three. —Katey Rich
I think Ethan (Will Sharpe) could take out Cameron (Theo James) in a deliberate Jet Ski collision. I think the hospitalized piano player (Federico Scribani) could return and, seeing he has been replaced by Mia (Beatrice Grannò), will spike her drink (she always seems to carry around a tall plastic cup with a straw), maybe even working in cahoots with the former front desk guy (who was moved poolside by Valentina, played by Sabrina Impacciatore). I think Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya, who always seems to shake out of her fog at the right moment, could well awaken to the scheme Greg, Quentin, Jack (Leo Woodall), and the new Romeo are all plotting—and, possibly with Portia’s (Haley Lu Richardson) help—deliberately or inadvertently kill whoever turns out to be Coolidge’s would-be assailant (either from a balcony or the back of the yacht). Assailant overboard!
And maybe Dominic’s wife (Laura Dern) shows up and surprises the Di Grassos—or, in a coda, the Di Grassos return home to LA, Lucia (Simona Tabasco) in tow—and Dern’s character knifes poor Dominic (with a blade similar to one we’ve seen in the murals in the show’s opening-credits sequence). —David Friend
If The White Lotus’s sophomore season has turned our masculinity crisis into a slow-motion car crash, then its ultimate victim must be someone who believes himself to be in the driver’s seat. Sure, Cameron, Ethan, and the Di Grasso men are suffering, but, at the end of the day, they have their place within the system. Quentin, however, does not. His likely ties to Tanya’s husband—and “relationship” with Jack—belie a character who desperately wants a power he’s without. Wouldn’t it be fitting to see that blow up in his face? Whatever Quentin and Greg have planned, Portia will return in time to save her boss from the worst-possible outcome. In the process, Jack will accidentally kill the man who once rescued him. Daphne will discover his corpse in the water. And, though Portia will want to help him, Jack, a man with no goals, will allow himself to be arrested for his crimes. —Tyler Breitfeller
Let’s zoom out for a moment, shall we? He’s a pompous, entitled jerk with apparent money troubles and a passion for adultery. He hits on Harper (Aubrey Plaza), even as he tries to siphon an investment out of Ethan, and he doesn’t pay Mia and Lucia when it’s time to settle up, even though they know where he’s staying. He’s right on the verge of pushing the wrong person too far, landing him squarely in the dead-body pileup mentioned in the first episode. Even Daphne, his smiley wife (and iconic series breakout), has her reasons to want him gone. Who’s to say she isn’t using this trip as a sun-soaked chance to put him out to pasture, skitter back home, and collect his life insurance? She’s a self-professed Dateline obsessive who has already done some chilling stuff. (Kidnapping Harper in Noto? The casual trainer/baby daddy reveal??) She’s also laid the groundwork for a strong alibi, from that dramatic opening beach scene in the first episode, to letting slip to Harper that Cameron’s coworkers are evil psychopaths. Either way: Cameron’s spent their entire vacation making enemies. It’s only a matter of time before it blows up in his face. —Yohana Desta
I’m going to say there are four dead people, because Rocco says “a few,” which means more than two more (in addition to the one in the ocean), but probably not more than three more, which would be “a lot” or “molti.” And I am going to spread my bets on the manner: accidental, intentional, natural, and some combination of accident/intent.