The White Lotus Season 2: Theories and Unanswered Questions Before the Final Two Episodes

Harper and Ethan are not seeing eye to eye
Courtesy of HBO

The beauty of both this current season and the first season of The White Lotus is we know the destination at the end of the long road. The body bags are coming by the end of Episode 7, but the journey to get there and the characters we develop are what make the show worth watching.

With just two episodes left and plenty of mysteries still left to unravel, what are some of the most pressing questions and popular theories about our favorite Sicilian vacationers?

Are Quentin and Cameron Actually Broke?

One of the most popular theories running through the White Lotus rumor mill would explain both the motivations and intentions of two of the season’s most mysterious characters. Based on several clues each has dropped over the last couple of episodes, many believe that neither Quentin nor Cameron do, in fact, have the wealth they are flaunting in Sicily.

Things might not be so great for Daphne and Cameron
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

Throughout the season, Cameron is seen charging all of his purchases. We saw him pressure Ethan in Episode 3 about really wanting Ethan to invest some of his newfound wealth with him. And most alarmingly, in Episode 5 when Lucia confronts Cameron about the money he owes for their own little “Night in Noto,” he is unable to pay her, but instead tells her “$1,300 Euros is nothing, I just need to get to a bank.” But in the same breath, he mentions three times that he is there with his wife and Lucia can’t be making a scene like that. If he doesn’t want her making a scene in front of Daphne, why doesn’t he just pay her off and be done with it?

Harper was right about Cameron from the very beginning, that there was a financial motivation behind inviting them on this trip, but could the reason to invite them be much more immediate and dire for Cameron? Is he trying to make a quick score with Ethan so he can keep their financial troubles from Daphne? We know from an earlier admission that Daphne likes to drunk-spend on almost anything and that she spends “all the money” when she does.

The case for Quentin is a bit more transparent since he shows up immediately after Greg leaves town, fawning over an incredibly wealthy, but incredibly disturbed middle-aged woman. We sure hope after the Quentin-Jack cliffhanger in Episode 5 that they are not uncle and nephew. HBO likes to save the incest for House of the Dragon anyway.

So who, then, is Jack? Perhaps some kind of hanger-on or man-servant that is under Quentin’s employ? Has Quentin tasked Jack with keeping Portia occupied and fulfilled so he can work on getting access to Tanya’s money? Jack dined and dashed in Episode 5, claiming he forgot his wallet at the hotel. That seems like a strange part of their story to tell if it didn’t have larger ramifications later on.

Quentin may have ulterior motives with Tanya
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

And then there is the conversation Quentin and Tanya have about beauty towards the end of Episode 5. After Quentin tells Tanya about his own Brokeback Mountain moment in Wyoming, and they both agree that they live for beauty, but Quentin takes it one step further, asking Tanya if she would die for beauty. That a “world without beauty is not a world I want to be in.” If the clues Quentin dropped earlier about the difficulties of paying for their Palermo estate are true, is Quentin digging to find out if Tanya would give up everything in order to save the “beautiful life” she believes Quentin has?

Is Cameron Actually the Father of Daphne’s Kids?

In a moment where Harper is trying to protect and empathize with her new friend over Cameron’s perceived infidelity, Daphne admits to Harper, “I’m sure whatever happened, wasn’t a big deal, and if anything did ever happen you do what you have to do to make yourself feel better about it.”

It’s a line that echoes similar things Daphne tells Harper in Episodes 3 and 4. But the reality hits Harper in that moment that this must have happened many times before. Daphne then immediately jumps from “you do what you have to do” to a story about her personal trainer back in the city. He’s apparently very handsome, with “blond hair and these big blue eyes.” Daphne is sure Harper wants to see a picture of him, so she finds one on her phone and tosses it to Harper.

Daphne drops a bombshell on Harper
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

What Harper sees on the phone certainly is a boy with blond hair and the biggest blue eyes you’ve ever seen. But the picture is of Daphne’s son, not some trainer. The message Daphne sends is about as subtle as one of Lucia’s advances to the Di Grasso men. That little boy clearly is not Cameron’s, and Daphne can use that as a weapon anytime she chooses.

Daphne’s parting advice to Harper to help her deal with the stress and worry? “You should get yourself a trainer.”

Do Cameron and Harper Hook Up?

After Harper went on the offensive in Episode 5, publicly prying into every detail of Cameron and Ethan’s sex lives, Cameron launches a counterattack. At the dinner table as Harper tries to recreate the former roommates’ sexual flow chart, Cameron begins caressing her leg, out of view of Daphne and Ethan.

Harper from Episodes 2 or 3 would have put Cameron in his place faster than you can say “prego,” but in this instance, she gives him more of an inquisitive, “why not?” look. After unsuccessfully recruiting Daphne to her cause about what might have happened with the boys the night that the ladies went to Noto, there is no doubt that Harper feels utterly alone.

Is she slowly beginning to accept that the price of admission for being uber-wealthy is to play the part and behave like Cameron and Daphne? Harper didn’t look away when Cameron changed clothes in front of her all the way back in the beginning of the season, and now it seems she is actively considering what her own version of “don’t let yourself be the victim” actually means.

Does Laura Dern Show Up in the Last Two Episodes?

After Dom’s disturbing phone call with his wife in Episode 1, the White Lotus sleuths came out in full force to investigate who actually was the familiar voice on the other end of that call. It didn’t take long to discover that Laura Dern plays (the voice of) Dom’s disgruntled and jilted wife whom he continues to screw over literally and figuratively.

Dom’s multi-layered personal tension throughout this season has been masterfully played by Michael Imperioli as he battles a number of forces in his attempt to reconcile with his wife and his daughter. He is fighting against his sex addiction urges early in the season as prostitutes Lucia and Mia try to finagle their way into free perks and privileges at the resort. He is fighting his son who seemed to initially be on the verge of an innocent Italian summer romance, only to now fall head over heels for the same prostitute that Dom wants out of the way.

He is desperately fighting the nature versus nurture battle as he actually wants to fall far from his father’s tree after Bert irreparably damaged the relationship with Dom’s mother over and over again. Dom tells his dad in Episode 5 that “you never taught me how to love a woman,” understanding at least part of whom Dom has become was burned into his brain after watching years of his father’s philandering.

Dom tells Bert he knows what he did to his mother
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

But why would Laura Dern even show up if she is as furious with Dom as she portrayed on the phone? To do a spot-check on him? To pull the old Major League Baseball “random drug test” move on her estranged husband? We have been waiting patiently for the Season 2 version of Season 1’s Molly Shannon cameo, and Dern would certainly fit the bill if she were to find a flight over to Sicily.

Dom better just get Lucia and Mia moved out of the room before she gets there or Dom and Bert might both find themselves in a watery grave.

Who is Dead by the End of the Season…?

Based on the opening scene of the season, the only people we can rule out who don’t turn up face-down in the ocean are Daphne (who discovers the bodies), and Valentina and Rocco who go into damage control mode when they learn the news.

If we are setting betting lines, the heavy favorite to wind up dead in the water might have to be Cameron. He has by far the most enemies in this season. Daphne could be tired of having to be the one on the receiving end of his deception. Why not kill him and fake like you just found him in the water?

If Lucia continues to go unpaid, does she send her “pimp” after Cameron, forcing him to pay? Do Harper or Ethan just straight snap after the brazen, two-faced horror Cameron introduced to them this week? Does golden boy Albie stand up for Lucia and take things too far if there is another confrontation about unpaid overnight-stay bills?

What is Daphne trying to say in the opening scene of the series
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

My next vote would be for Dom. I don’t believe his death would come at the hands of his son, his father, or any of the women who may react like they want to murder him. But his struggle in these five episodes has been so pronounced and internal, if his wife permanently dismisses him, he may lose the will to live.

If we are to assume that Tanya is the through-line of the White Lotus seasons and she survives, heaven help us if Portia is one of the dead bodies by the end of the season. Could she find out too much about the lives of Quentin and his traveling queer circus? Does Portia threaten to expose it all? I pray they don’t take away this national treasure from us, but I worry about what Jack could do if backed into a corner.

Other characters such as Lucia, Harper, and even Greg all have cases to wind up in the water by the season’s end. But one thing is certain: the White Lotus resort has a serious PR problem on its hands.

…And Who is the Killer?

Almost as intriguing as the “Who?” question about the dead bodies is the “How?” which all must be uncovered in just two short episodes.

The more I think about it, the more I believe Daphne is involved somehow. Her comments from the very first scene of the season drop some pretty potent foreshadowing bombshells as she greets some new guests to the resort:

Daphne (alone on the beach): “Italy is just so romantic. You’re going to die. They’re going to have to drag you out of here.”

New guests: “We can’t wait!”

Daphne (looking resigned): “Well, I’m going to get in the water one last time.”

It certainly was the one last time at The White Lotus for at least some of our guests. And we are all in for quite a ride over the last two episodes to find out how we get to the end.

Written by Ryan Kirksey

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