What – and I cannot express this enough – the fuck? I’ve been trying to find the words to start this piece about The White Lotus finale and I just – oh my god.
Please, please, please – if you haven’t watched the series yet, go away. Just click on anything else, I don’t care. I don’t want to ruin this beautiful, frustrating, masterful series for you. If I could watch it for the first time and experience it all again, I would. So don’t let me spoil it for you.
This is my last spoiler warning. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
For six episodes, you and I have been sitting in front of our screens, trying to figure out who dies. But The White Lotus is much more than a murder mystery, it’s a brilliant satire about classism, the lure of elitism, and the subtle exploits of the employees and guests at the White Lotus hotel.
Instead of recapping the finale in a traditional sense, I thought I’d take things easy (because I’m still trying to process what I just watched) by going through what happened to each character. And maybe I’ll go off on rant in-between. It’s highly likely.
Let us begin.
Kai (Kekoa Kekumano) done did fucked up when he agreed to break into the Mossbacher’s room and steal their jewellery.
In episode 6, we learned his fate: Kai is in custody and the jewellery has been returned. It was all for nothing. We didn’t find out the details of Kai’s arrest, we didn’t even see him in the episode.
I hate that this was how his story ended. Because now he’s screwed, he has a record. What is he supposed to do now?
Paula and Olivia
Paula (Brittany O’Grady) could have partially redeemed herself, right? She could have put her hand up and said, “It was also my fault, I pushed Kai into robbing my toxic friend’s family because I thought it’d make me feel better about being aligned with them.” She would’ve been fucked, but so is Kai!
Paula could’ve chosen which side she wanted to be on, but… well it’s easier to be “rebel” Olivia’s non-white friend than charged with a felony. She was, after all, on a free trip to a luxury hotel.
So she didn’t choose Kai, she threw the necklace he made her into the ocean. And she didn’t tell Olivia (Sydney Sweeney) to go fuck herself, like she did in my dreams. She chose her and her “tribe” instead.
It was just the easier choice.
As for Olivia, she figured out Paula’s secret fast. But she didn’t tell her parents because she enjoys holding power over Paula, so their twisted relationship continues.
I shuddered when the pair were in bed and Olivia comforted Paula – she hugged her as Paula cried over her decision – as if to say Paula’s actions have linked them forever.
We knew this was coming. We knew Belinda (Natasha Rothwell) wasn’t going to end up with the wellness centre of her dreams. Still, that didn’t make this scene any easier to watch.
Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) farewelled Belinda by handing her a thick envelope of cash over the counter at the spa. She also told Belinda that, while she apparently “jumpstarted” her life, she couldn’t invest in another “transactional relationship” because that would be bad for her.
Belinda was devastated and couldn’t hold back her tears, so Tanya awkwardly left her… before she returned seconds later because she forgot her sunglasses on the counter.
Belinda’s final scene in The White Lotus saw her welcoming a brand new boatload of very rich, most likely white tourist to the hotel, a saccharine smile plastered on her face.
The scene is almost identical to the one at the beginning of the series.
Well, Tanya left the White Lotus in better form than she arrived. She took advantage of Belinda’s kindness to better herself, she found herself a man, and she parted with her mother’s ashes in the ocean.
I don’t think I can express how insulting it was for Tanya to hand Belinda that envelope of cash – how completely condescending it was to display such power with so little care to someone who was at her mercy.
She didn’t even have the fucking decency to be straight with Belinda. Tanya told Belinda that she’d call her. We know she’s not going to call her.
Greg (Jon Gries) is the man Tanya left the White Lotus with. When we last saw them, they were on their way to Honolulu for the weekend. And then after that? Maybe Aspen for a few months – Tanya said she could rent a house there.
When Tanya told Belinda she couldn’t invest in her, she said it was because she didn’t want to “latch onto somebody” and then “use my money to control them.” I’m pretty sure she’s doing that with Greg now, but what do I know.
And that cough Greg has? Yeah, turns out he has a terminal disease – as in, he’ll just “drop dead” one day.
But Greg has made peace with his mortality and so has Tanya.
Nicole and Mark
Nicole (Connie Britton) and Mark (Steve Zahn) fuck for the first time in ages after he sAvEs her from Kai. They’re happy, they’re even forward planning for their next future trips away from the city. At the family’s final dinner at the hotel, Mark suggested they buy a boat to become one with nature.
Camping isn’t really Nicole’s thing.
Oh, Armond (Murray Bartlett).
I didn’t think he was going to die, I really didn’t. I had my money on Quinn (Fred Hechinger), sorry Quinn.
Armond’s demise came at the hands of that absolute bastard, Shane (Jake Lacy) – I’ll get to him – who stabs him in the fucking Pineapple Suite.
What happened was Shane kept a knife beside his bed after hearing about the Mossbachers being burgled. Armond, off his face on drugs and alcohol, didn’t know about this when he slipped into Shane and Rachel’s empty room to do a whole-ass shit in one of Shane’s suitcases.
You see, Shane was eventually successful in getting Armond fired, so the hotel manager decided to go on one final bender, which included his revenge on Shane.
Unfortunately, Shane returned to his room right after Armond took the dump. He found the shit and promptly lost his shit. And then what happened? Armond tried to hide, but Shane suspected someone was still in the room and, believing the burglar was targeting him, wielded the knife and accidentally stabbed Armond… right in the chest.
The hotel manager bled to death in a jacuzzi in the Pineapple Suite.
After realising she didn’t want to be married to Shane anymore, Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) attempted to break up with her husband. For a hot second she did, she even called Shane a huge baby for being coddled by his mother (who crashed their honeymoon) and for acting like an even bigger child over the whole room fiasco.
I hissed “Yeeeeeeees” at my screen.
But in the end, Rachel couldn’t do it. Maybe if she wasn’t at a resort, far away from her family, she could’ve gone through with it. But she was alone and the only person who made herself available for support and advice was Belinda.
By that point, however, Belinda was understandably done giving advice to white women.
“You want my advice? I am all out,” Belinda told her.
So, Rachel reunited with Shane at the airport terminal and told him: “Everything’s fine. I’m happy. I’ll be happy.”
She won’t be, though.
But can you blame her? She’s a freelance journalist, which isn’t the highest-paying job, married to a fuck-off rich white man. Security and stability or… what, exactly?
In no surprise whatsoever, Shane faced no consequences for Armond’s death. The show didn’t quite explain what happened here, but I’m sure the hotel apologised to him on the behalf of Armond (RIP) for walking into his knife. And then he reunited with Rachel.
The rich white man won. He was an awful, awful person who killed a man and he still won.
So, Quinn didn’t die!
His character went through so much positive change throughout the six episodes that I literally ranked him as the #1 most likely to die last week. I just thought his genuine happiness was so misplaced in the series.
Quinn went from being addicted to his phone and Switch to pledging his commitment to doing a Hōkūleʻa with the local men he bonded with. He was the only guest we saw at the White Lotus who actually stepped beyond the resort grounds in a way that wasn’t still related to it (like scuba diving).
It was… nice.
And when his parents refused to let him stay on the island, Quinn took things into his own hands and abandoned his family at the airport. Instead of boarding, he waited until his family were on the plane before he took off back to the beach.
I guess the natural conclusion to come to is that Quinn – being the only one who showed any growth beyond the life he knew – was the only character capable of leaving his old life behind.
But that felt off to me, because when you’re the son of rich white parents, running away doesn’t have consequences. I doubt Nicole would just let him be, you know?
Quinn has his parents to fall back on and they will look after him. He’s not Rachel or Paula – if these two broke free from the people around them, what would they have?
But Quinn? Well, he has a brand new phone waiting for him when he comes home. And maybe a boat and more trips out of the city – he’s set.
All episodes of The White Lotus are streaming now on Binge.