White Lotus season 2 finale theories: Who dies?

Meghann Fahy as Daphe and Theo James as Cameron in White Lotus season 2
(Image credit: HBO)

Time to check out of The White Lotus season 2 — and for some guests, it's permanent because, well, they're dead. As seen in episode 1, multiple corpses are found in the ocean. Throughout the rest of the season, fans have come up with all sorts of theories about who is dead and who killed them. Now, the White Lotus season 2 finale will reveal all. 

The HBO Max mystery dramedy moved the action to Sicily in season 2. While the first installment explored themes of privilege and post-colonialism, White Lotus season 2 has shifted focus to sex, gender dynamics and power. Yet, an overarching similarity remains: Mike White loves mess. Perhaps nobody is better at blowing up the lives of Rich People With Problems. 

All the various threads will come together into what should be a gloriously bonkers finale. Here, I outline what I think will go down and who might end up dead. 

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the entirety of White Lotus season 2, through episode 6.

An image indicating spoilers are ahead.

Who isn't dead in the White Lotus season 2 finale?

First, let's rule out the people who definitely won't die in the White Lotus season 2 finale. The obvious one is Daphne (Meghann Fahy), who finds the dead body in the opening scene of episode 1. Recall that she is at the hotel beach on the last day of their vacation, which she mentions to two women who recently arrived (White's fellow Survivor alums Kara Kay and Angelina Keeley). She sprays herself with a lot of sunscreen, then goes for a swim in the ocean. 

Meghann Fahy as Daphne in White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

After Daphne finds the floating corpse and screams for help, the scene cuts to the hotel manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) showing up in a van. Hotel employee Rocco (Federico Ferrante) informs her, "One of the guests has drowned" and "Other bodies have been found." When she questions how many, he shrugs and says "a few."

So, neither Valentina nor Rocco are dead. One of the dead bodies is a guest, while the others are unknown in number or identity. "A few" points to at least three corpses. 

Now, let's talk about who is probably not dead: the three DiGrasso men. They can be seen in a brief snippet in a behind-the-scenes video released around the time of the premiere. Around the 32-second mark, Dominic (Michael Imperioli), Bert (F. Murray Abraham) and Albie (Adam DiMarco) eyeball a woman while standing in line for the EasyJet counter at the airport. 

This footage has not aired yet, so it's likely part of the finale. And it doesn't seem like a scene cut from episode 1, as they are wearing different clothes than they were on the boat at the beginning of their trip. 

Who is dead and who killed them?

With the likelihood that at least three people died, I present to you my top potential victims and killers. These candidates come from my own observations while watching the show, some off-screen considerations and the multitude of fan theories and clues found on Reddit and TikTok

1. Tanya

Jennifer Coolidge's lovably kooky character is the only holdover from season 1 and has seemed shadowed by misfortune from the jump. Her tarot card reading is very ominous and there's a mention of suicide. Quentin (Tom Hollander) is clearly scheming to get her money. He's talks about the enormous upkeep costs of his villa, his faux "nephew" Jack (Leo Woodall) alludes to Quentin coming into money soon, and Jack seems to deliberately separate assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) from her boss. Quentin lured Tanya to his villa, where he connected her to a handsome Italian drug dealer who plied her with cocaine and sex. 

Tom Hollander as Quentin kisses the cheek of Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya in White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

During Quentin's crazy house party, a coked-up Tanya saw a photo of young Quentin with a younger version of her husband, Greg (Jon Gries). Looks like Greg is the "cowboy" that Quentin fell in love with many years ago. The prevailing assumption among fans, including myself, is that Quentin is trying to get Tanya's money for Greg. The prenup might contain an infidelity clause. An eagle-eyed TikTok user (whose video is embedded below) spotted a red light, like that of a camera, in the room where Tanya hooks up with the Italian drug dealer.


♬ Intense Music(850540) - Pavel

One of the themes running through this season has been women being deceived, betrayed and ill-used. The story of the house on Isola Bella, the performance of Madame Butterfly, the head statue, allusions to Persephone and Hades, artwork like the painting Tarquin et Lucrèce ... all of them add up to something bad happening to one of the women in the show.

Another big reason I think Tanya will die has more to do with the mechanics of the series. HBO recently renewed The White Lotus for a third season. If Tanya survives, fans will expect (and want) her to appear in season 3. That paints White into a narrative corner. And as awesome as Coolidge is, I don't want Tanya to show up to yet another luxurious resort where more deaths occur. It would strain believability.

As to Tanya's killer, I actually don't think there is one. I highly doubt Quentin means to murder her, as she probably didn't leave all her money to Greg in her will (remember, she's already thinking about divorcing him). And despite references to suicide, I don't think she goes that route, either. My verdict: She dies in an accident, possibly by falling off Quentin's boat while high/drunk.

Haley Lu Richardson as Portia and Leo Woodall as Jack in White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

2. Portia

While it seems a bit much to kill off the boss and her assistant, several clues point to Portia's demise. First, the finale trailer shows Tanya wearing the dress previously seen on the mannequin at the Godfather-adjacent villa. If you recall, in episode 3, the DiGrasso men and Portia visit the place where the movie filmed Michael Corleone’s wife Apollonia dying in a car explosion meant for him. The villa has a recreation, featuring a mannequin in a floral dress. For whatever reason, Tanya is wearing that same dress in the finale.

In a different scene, Portia is wearing a Godfather shirt portraying that explosion. All that foreshadowing leads me to think she winds up accidentally dying when the true target is Tanya. 


♬ Renaissance (Main Title Theme) [from "The White Lotus: Season 2"] - Cristobal Tapia De Veer

Another piece of evidence (above) highlighted by a TikTok user shows that the body floating in the ocean has a smooth, hairless leg. That could indicate the corpse Daphne finds is female. 

Here's how I think it goes down: Portia manages to return from her captivity with Jack to warn Tanya about their shadiness, but Quentin manages to convince them to return to the hotel on his yacht. He tries to drug Tanya again for more infidelity footage, while Jack drugs Portia to keep her from interfering. Tanya goes overboard and drowns. When Portia inadvertently dies from an overdose, they dump her body. 

Theo James as Cameron in White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

3. Cameron

First of all, I do not think the body that Daphne finds in the ocean is Cameron (Theo James). The hairless leg appears to preclude that possibility. Plus, after Valentina arrives on the scene, the police remove the body bag from the beach. You can see Daphne (neck down) off to the left, hand on hip and the other hand seemingly covering her mouth. If the corpse was her husband, she would be hysterical — or at least act that way. Her pose, though, seems too casual for it to be someone she knows. That also eliminates Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and Ethan (Will Sharpe) as that particular body.

However, as Rocco mentions, other bodies were found in the ocean and I think Cameron is one of them. So much tension has built up between the foursome of Daphne, Cameron, Ethan and Harper. In episode 6, Ethan is tormented by the suspicion that Cam and Harper had sex. In the finale trailer, he seems to still be having a breakdown over it. In other previews, Ethan and Cameron are wrestling in a fight in the water, which hasn't aired yet. 

I know a lot of fans think Lucia (Simona Tabasco) will die at the hands of her pimp, Alessio. I don't subscribe to that speculation because I don't think he's her pimp!

These two "friends" have been engaged in a "who's better" standoff all season (I'd used a different term, but it's NSFW). My theory is that Ethan's anger and resent boils over, and he attacks Cameron. I don't think Ethan sets out to murder him, but something goes awry. Harper helps cover it up. 

My guess is that all of this happens while Daphne is going for her last swim because the big question is, where are the others? Their absence, on their final day in Sicily, is noteworthy. 

One last thing: I know a lot of fans think Lucia (Simona Tabasco) will die at the hands of her pimp, Alessio. I don't subscribe to that speculation because I don't think he's her pimp! If you go back and watch the beginning of the episode 1, Lucia and Mia (Beatrice Grannò) are walking to the boat so Lucia can scope out her client, Dominic. Along the way, Lucia bids Alessio a friendly, casual "ciao." They seem like friendly acquaintances more than a sex worker and a controlling handler. 

Will my White Lotus season 2 finale theories turn out to be accurate? I'll be watching, Negroni in hand, on Sunday night to find out.

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Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.