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Who died in the Season 2 finale of ‘The White Lotus’? Who was the cheater? Who took what? And what exactly does it all mean?

Spoiler warning! “Arrivederci,” the Season 2 finale of “The White Lotus,” is detailed below.

Everything is fair in love and war. Except that nothing is fair in either case.

The Season 2 finale of HBO’s Sicily-set satire “The White Lotus” landed with a startling thunk on the side of a boat on Sunday, as a bombastic episode of television with a murder spree that may not have even been the show’s most dramatic moment in its 80 minutes.

The “Lotus” finale comes together like a symphony, with each scene falling into place like a cascade of musical notes, both predictable and surprising. The exquisite finale was flawlessly acted and scripted, providing a fitting conclusion to a breathtaking story. It’s similar to the tragedy of Season 1’s finale, though Season 2 outperforms its predecessor in many ways.

While the first season was an excellent exploration of class in a five-star upstairs/downstairs drama, it was still a variation on a familiar story. Season 2’s creator, Mike White, crafted something uniquely his own, an examination of sexual politics and norms that have radically changed – but also depressingly remained the same – since the #MeToo movement. White, ever astute in his observations of modern life, offers no answers to the difficult questions, nor does he offer much hope for our stumbling attempts at human connection. He does, however, provide a ruthless mirror in which to examine ourselves, as well as a breathless desire for a third season.

Who died in the final scene of ‘The White Lotus’?

We learn at the end of the week in the stunning Sicilian resort that the body floating in the sea was Tanya’s (Jennifer Coolidge), who died after falling off the side of Quentin’s (Tom Hollander’s) yacht while attempting to escape what she thought was a murder-for-hire plot and leaving a trio of dead bodies in her wake. Tanya seemed trapped by every move Quentin and his compatriots made on his yacht, so it was a surprise, but it also felt inevitable.

At the start of the episode, Tanya’s assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) was stuck far away from Tanya, with Quentin’s fake nephew Jack (Leo Woodall), but the pair managed to speak on a brief phone call that convinces both that Tanya’s generous companions have been plotting her murder with Tanya’s husband Greg (Jon Gries).

Tanya attempts to save herself by exclaiming to the non-English speaking captain, delaying tactics, and eventually shooting her captors before falling to her death in an ill-conceived attempt to get from the yacht to a dinghy. These scenes ranged from slapstick to startling to violent, and Coolidge – who had already won an Emmy for this role in Season 1 – handled it all with ease and Tanya’s trademark haplessness.

Jack abandons Portia on the side of the road, scared and suspicious, but she follows his advice not to get involved. She learns of the deaths at the resort only after meeting Albie (Adam DiMarco) at the airport. After the terror Jack caused her, Portia is much more open to boring, safe Albie, asking for his phone number before boarding her flight.

Who was duped?

Albie and the other DiGrasso men (F. Murray Abraham and Michael Imperioli) didn’t appear to have learned much from their visit to their ancestral homeland. Lucia (Simona Tabasco) was ultimately duping Albie and was never beholden to a pimp or trapped in her life of sex work. She gets 50,000 euros out of him before leaving him alone in his hotel room to live with the fact that his father was correct; Albie was an easy mark.

Dominic (Imperioli), Albie’s father, eventually gets what he wants: an open line of communication with his estranged wife by placating his son rather than engaging in any meaningful acts of remorse or penance. And Nonno Bert (Abraham) remains the same old lecher he always was, unable to congratulate Mia (Beatrice Grann) on her new job as the new White Lotus lounge singer without mentioning his own arousal.

The DiGrasso men’s lack of growth is highlighted at the airport, where they’re in line for a budget airline, when they turn to leer in unison at another woman in a crop top.

Who was the cheater?

We may never know what happened between Cameron (Theo James) and Harper (Aubrey Plaza), though Harper tries to convince her husband Ethan (Will Sharpe) that all they did was kiss drunkenly.

Following his disagreement with Harper, an enraged Ethan confronts Cameron in the ocean, nearly killing his so-called college roommate and friend, before their fight is broken up by a bystander. Ethan eventually finds his way to Cameron’s wife Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and informs her of his concerns about their wives. In a 30-second silent reaction to Ethan’s revelation, Daphne runs through the stages of grief in rapid succession, Fahey establishes herself as the series’ star. Her cheerful, playful demeanour reappears, and she entices Ethan to a small island. It’s unclear what they do there, but when Ethan returns to Harper later, he unexpectedly reconnects sexually with his wife, all indiscretion forgiven.

Who received a happy ending?

At the end of the week, it’s just Lucia, Mia, and hotel manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) who are unabashedly happy at The White Lotus in Taormina.

Valentina is able to see other sexual harassment in her workplace after finally getting over her own sexual frustrations, if not that she herself was behaving inappropriately toward one of her employees. But it’s as if her entire body has relaxed since admitting she’s a lesbian, right down to her slightly unbuttoned blouse and frizzy hair.

Meanwhile, Mia and Lucia are 50,000 euros richer and strutting through town in the designer clothes they desired at the start of the season. They may have deceived, drugged, and conned their way to their new positions, but they did so to a slew of guests who were out to exploit them first.

The finale of “Lotus” raised as many questions as it answered, but the loose ends aren’t particularly bothersome. White is a master of creating satisfying ambiguity in his writing. There are whims and injustices in the chaotic worlds he creates, but the characters must simply move on or become trapped, just as in the real world.

Tanya, for example, will only depart from Sicily in a coffin.

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