Spoilers below for the latest episodes of The White Lotus, so be warned if you aren’t yet caught up through the most current episode.
Thankfully for everyone with HBO and HBO Max subscriptions, Mike White’s The White Lotus remains as strong and compelling in Season 2 as it did with its initial outing. From the gorgeous, envy-inducing locations to the wildly talented ensemble to the big mystery surrounding the unidentified dead bodies discovered in the premiere’s flash-forward, viewers have more than enough to pay attention to with each new episode. (Even just with the clue-filled opening credits.) And while fans certainly have theories about some of those locations — beware any islands tied to famed local murders — and certain characters’ dynamics, the biggest conversations are obviously populated by theories about whose body Daphne discovered, and what other main characters may be doomed to end their vacations in a rather sudden fashion. (And check back in future weeks to see updated theories.)
The White Lotus Season 2, Episode 5 "That's Amore"
With its fifth episode, The White Lotus really turned on the heat for pretty much all of its central couples, while still making room for even more potential pairings before Season 2 sails through a sea of bloated bodies and into the sunset. (Quentin probably wouldn’t think that sentence had enough beauty to it.) And from Harper pulling a drunken 180-degree spin to Tanya’s shocking-but-not-that-shocking discovery with Jack and his ‘uncle,’ the episode “That’s Amore” provided some new theory routes to jog down while trying to determine whose fate was already sealed in the premiere. So let’s borrow Ethan’s sweatbands and get to jogging.
In many ways, Tanya’s story feels like the least urgent one playing out in front of audiences, with it largely hinging on her audibly self-realizing how her life sucks. But Episode 205 set up some dark possibilities for her, with more hints that Quentin & Co. may be medium-conning Tayna and Portia, presumably for financial gain. (Jack not having his wallet definitely plays into those suspicions.) But when Jennifer Coolidge’s vacationer identified with the lead character in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for choosing seppuku as an exit strategy, she became a far more likely option for the impending reveal. If she’s dealt the 1-2-3 combo of Greg leaving her for another woman, Portia dumping her for a different life, and a gaggle of gay men feining friendship for financial gain, Tanya could very well hit the kind of rock bottom she won’t return from by taking an extended swim.
On the flip side, it could be that Quentin is getting ready to sleep with the fishes, so to speak. While it would be easy to view Tanya as only the victim she constantly paints herself as — going so far to question whether or not she was cursed by Season 1’s spa manager Belinda — she could just as easily react to future turmoil in vengefully heightened ways, and she might not be alone. If Greg shows back up in Italy without any nefarious twists to announce, and catches wind that his wife is being used and teased by erudite swindlers, I wouldn’t put it past him to have a physical response, with or without Tanya sharing in his more violent urges. But even if Greg doesn’t get involved, Portia could also make the choice to step up for her boss in the most brutal way possible. However it goes, if Quentin is guilty of something, he’ll probably pay dearly.
I didn't have Ethan on my list at all before this week's episode, in part because he'd be one of the most recognizable people at the resort to Daphne, but also because he didn't yet seem destined for extremes. But then along came drunk and candid Harper, who shook up the group's entire dynamic with her line of questions and admissions. Ethan calling Cameron out for a history of coveting other people's desires added some necessary context to the latter's uncloaked advances on Harper, and it wouldn't be a stretch at this point for that particular slice of infidelity to go down. And I could see Ethan feeling the ultimate form of betrayal, considering his biggest sin during this trip was lying for Cameron's sake (which is a pretty dumb thing to do). I don't necessarily see him going the suicidal route suggested earlier with Tanya, but more of a "getting too fucked up and going jet-skiing during a thunderstorm" kind of situation. Or attempting to take a swing at Cameron and falling off a cliff.
Michael Imperioli’s Dom continues to be the most miserable person in Eden whose name doesn’t rhyme with “lasagna,” and his situation as both a father and husband is growing all the more complex as Albie falls harder for Lucia. Despite Dom’s warning, Lucia continued her tryst, and seemingly upped the ante through an aggressive and money-seeking pimp named Alessio (who may or may not be in on whatever scheme Lucia may be pulling). So for as much as Dom fucked things up at home with his wife, it would be a wholly different can of worms for him to deal with Albie being bilked out of money, or being beaten up in lieu of paying up. (Dom also called his dad out for being the worst influence ever when it comes to relationships, so that bridge isn’t so strong either.) I could see a situation where his fatherly instincts took over, thus putting Dom in mortal danger while in the midst of protecting Albie.
For this week's wild card option, I'll offer up Eleonora Romandini's front desk receptionist Isabella, who is the one noteworthy White Lotus employee who wasn't seen or mentioned during the Season 2 premiere opening, as opposed to Valentina, Rocco, and the newly introduced Salvatore. This episode also marked arguably Isabella's first moment of pure unhappiness, with Valentina having scuttled Rocco off to the Beach Club to kill his and Isabella's chemistry and friendship. Now, Mia managed to draw the manager's lustful attention with her trade offer of sex for the temporary piano gig, which almost necessarily means someone is about to get caught in the act. Possibly Isabella will catch Valentina and Mia, thus squashing the manager's chances that likely weren't there to begin with, or Valentina will walk in on Rocco and Isaballa getting dirty, and will have a time-stunted reaction that goes fatally wrong for the receptionist.
Below are my theories from Episode 204.
The White Lotus Season 2, Episode 4 "In The Sandbox"
Here are my top candidates for the mysterious premiere corpses following Episode 4, “In the Sandbox,”, at least based on my own sporadic logic and topsy-turvy theorizing.
This might feel like something of a downer beat to start off on, but considering F. Murray Abraham’s Bert is one of the few main characters who seems to genuinely be having a nice, comfortable experience from one day to the next — with Meghann Fahy’s Daphne a little lower on that list — TV common sense would lead one to believe he’s likely destined for dark days ahead, and it’s hard to imagine any in-story turns that would play so negatively for him outside of his own death. What, he walks in on two fully clothed women standing in his room instead of half-naked ones?
The White Lotus’ aspirational sex worker initially came across as an alluring foil meant to connect each of the characters stories, and a potential femme fatale. But her seemingly genuine connection with the mentally rebounding Albie — assuming Episode 5 doesn’t immediately begin with her seeking post-blowjob fundage — furthers her confident attempts to brute-force her way into a higher social status. The fact that Simona Tabasco’s Lucia and Beatrice Grannò’s Mia have been so successful with their intra-hotel runarounds makes me think her luck may soon run out in a most extreme way.
Making this list more out of situational circumstances than any strong underlying beliefs, Federico Scribiani’s piano-playing Giuseppe is the one White Lotus character who has faced an active medical emergency of sorts. It doesn’t take a ton of imaginative speculation to think whatever pills Mia gave him could lead to additional issues if he attempts to strain his system too much again (i.e. tries to get all up in someone on deconsecrated grounds) to the point of no return. Pianist Plays Swan Song, the headlines would read…
I’m definitely not the only White Lotus fan who detects something amiss and potentially dangerous when it comes to Leo Woodall’s brashly charming Jack, who seems like he could share an occupation with Lucia, but with far more of a con artist aura. For someone who supposedly only hangs around with old hags and slightly less old gay dudes, his attention was instantly directed at Haley Lu Richardson’s Portia as soon as he appeared, as opposed to any other women at the resort. (At least, that we know of.) So my guess is that his schemes will run afoul of the smitten Portia, whose impulsive reaction will send Jack to his fuckboi demise.
What better juke and jive for The White Lotus to pull off than to kill off a character who was originally introduced as already being in the vicinity of death’s door? Not to mention the idea that viewers are possibly meant to push Greg out of mind as a possible corpse candidate during this span when he’s not around, only to have his intentions to return to Tanya get fatally thwarted in one way or another. I’d also be willing to go down the theoretical path that Greg is a spy/hitman for the CIA, but that’s for another article.
From the beginning, I’d ruled Theo James’ Cameron out to be the dead body Daphne found (as I’m sure many others did), since her reaction to finding the body did not indicate she was intimately familiar with the person, making it seem like it would be a total stranger from elsewhere at the resort. But after seeing Aubrey Plaza’s Harper get lost in a suspicious abyss after finding that condom wrapper, I’m willing to believe she’d be capable of getting vengeance on him in a way that would leave him completely unrecognizable to the woman with whom he’d spent most of his adult life.
Abby Di Grasso
I’m stepping outside the island-box for this one, seeing as how viewers have not yet laid our eyes on Abby, the put-upon wife that Michael Imperioli’s Dom is so eager to try and win back with his words, if not his actions. But Episode 4 had him buying her expensive jewelry that Bert approved of, followed by Albie stepping up and calling Dom out on his bullshit, and creator Mike White & Co. are clearly driving this long-distance marriage to some kind of a conclusion. So could it be possible that Dom will somehow convince his wife to travel out there for the vacation that she initially backed out of, only for her to realize too late that she really should have stayed home? It really would be a hilarious F.U. to fans of Laura Dern, who voiced Abby during a phone call earlier this season, to only have her show up in person as a dead body.
While it does me no good to just blurt things out here, I’m also back-pocket theorizing that all of Tonya’s new friends will comprise the body count after whatever excursions they go on. As well, I’m coin-pocket theorizing that it’ll be one or more Season 1 characters revealed to be the resort’s big cadaver influx, which would be a bold way to address some fans’ concerns about not having enough connective tissue beyond the ones that Tanya cries into.
The White Lotus airs new episodes on HBO every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET, and the second season will sadly be over before we know it. Head to our 2022 TV schedule and our 2023 premiere guide to see all the major new and returning shows