The White Lotus season 2 ending explained: Who died in the series finale?

Viewers have been dying to find out

Meghann Fahy as Daphne Babcock & Theo James as Cameron in The White Lotus season 2
(Image credit: HBO/Future)

The big reveal is finally here, and we know this time around more than one person died. We break down The White Lotus season 2 ending, with who kicked the bucket out of The White Lotus cast (opens in new tab) and who lives to see another day.

It's taken seven episodes and a a lot of internet theorising over who could die (opens in new tab) , but the moment has finally arrived - the big The White Lotus season 2 deaths reveal. Yes, that's "deaths", plural. For anyone not paying close attention in episode one, when Daphne brushed against a dead body in the water, Alessio ran to inform Valentina that more than one person had died. This sent fans into a tailspin, after season 1 only saw one shocking death, albeit immediately following on from one of TV's funniest ever acts of revenge. Social media has been awash with theories over the final death toll and who the bodies would belong to - some bordering on crazy. Without further ado, lets dive into exactly who died in The White Lotus season 2 finale, and where that left the other characters.

The White Lotus season 2 filmed (opens in new tab) in Italy for its second outing, and we break down exactly where the cast and crew were spied in the beautiful country. For those who want to watch The White Lotus (opens in new tab) season 1 and haven't so far, never fear, it can be viewed as a standalone series - we have everything to know about it and how to watch it. We also have news about The White Lotus season 3 (opens in new tab), including possible filming location and potential cast details - let the season 3 excitement commence.

The White Lotus season 2 ending explained: Who died?

Tanya, Quentin, Didier, and Niccoló all die in The White Lotus season 2 finale. 

Quentin takes Tanya to Taormina on his yacht, telling her she will be taken back to the hotel, using his "nephew" Jack to distract Portia from a murderous plot. Fans had previously theorised that Tanya's husband Greg, and Quentin, were plotting to kill Tanya. This all came from Tanya spying a framed photo of two cowboys in Quentin's palazzo when she had been partying hard during episode 6, and seeing Quentin pictured with a man looking suspiciously like Greg. Dismissing the picture at the time, she picks it up again during the season finale while fresh and alert, with Quentin admitting the cowboy pictured with was the love of his life and called Steve - he says he doesn't know what happened to him. 

It turns out that Greg and Quentin do know each other and have stayed in touch, forming a plot between themselves to get their hands on Tanya's money. In His prenup agreement with Tanya, Greg isn't allowed access to her fortune if they divorce. However if she dies, Greg will be entitled to it all. It was Greg who had wanted to holiday in Sicily, and when he left abruptly he told Tanya it was for work purposes, although it appeared he left to continue an affair. This left a vulnerable Tanya alone to be befriended by Quentin, where he planned to take out a hit on her using mob affiliated Niccoló to carry out the job - Greg offered Quentin him part of Tanya's fortune for his role in her demise. 

Portia started to work out things were going horribly wrong, when a drunken Jack told her Quentin was actually broke. He also let slip they were about to come into some money, and that he sometimes engaged in sexual activity with Quentin. With this, that cat is definitely out of the bag - by the time an increasingly concerned Portia gets hold of Tanya to impart the information she's finally realised Jack and Quentin aren't who the say they are, Tanya is already trapped on Quentin's yacht. 

Losing her phone trying to call for help, Tanya even pleads with the yacht driver for help, saying “These gays, they’re trying to murder me.” When he offers no help, Tanya spies the black bag Niccoló has brought aboard, and grabs it before locking herself in the bathroom. Finding suitable kidnap and murder materials in the bag, she knows her fate is sealed. Still not ready to give up, she finds a gun in the bag, and when Niccoló, Didier and Quentin try to overpower her, she goes on a mass shooting spree. Shooting with abandon, she kills Niccoló and Didier, before getting a felling Quentin in the back. Hugo escapes by diving into the water, while Tanya tries to get Quentin to admit Greg was having an affair - he dies before he can reveal the truth. 

With everyone gone, and realising she is stuck on the yacht, Tanya spies the dinghy attached. Questioning whether she can make the jump to it, she tells herself “You’ve got this,” before taking the plunge. Unfortunately, our season 1 and 2 comic hero hits her head on the way down, her death scene playing out to Puccini. In the floral dress she was wearing at the time of her untimely death, viewers see it's her body that Daphne brushed up against all that time ago in episode 1. The other dead guests referred to are not in fact hotel guests, but the bodies from the yacht - all other The White Lotus hotel guests survived. 

Jon Gries as Greg & Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya McQuoid in The White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO)

The White Lotus season 2 ending explained: What happened to Portia?

Jack drops Portia off at an airport, telling her not to return to the hotel or ask any questions - a terrified Portia is happy to oblige. 

She drapes a scarf around herself in an attempt to disguise herself, and no doubt wants to get away from Italy as fast as she can. While waiting her her plane, she reconnects with Albie - who really was the nice guy she should've gone with instead of dumping him for the double crossing Jack. Portia asks for his number and the pair agree to stay in touch - it's about the only nice thing that happens to any of the characters. 

Haley Lu Richardson as Portia in The White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

The White Lotus season 2 ending explained: Did Harper cheat on Ethan?

The White Lotus season 2 finale left it unclear whether Harper and Cameron slept together, or if Daphne and Ethan slept together.

Ethan confronts Harper about cheating on him with Cameron. Harper admits she kissed Cameron, but dismisses the act as a silly mistake that meant nothing. Ethan still doesn't believe her, storming off to confront Cameron in the sea and almost drowning him in the process. Unbelievably still not content with what he's been told, a paranoid Ethan speaks to Daphne about his suspicions. Daphne, used to hearing such things about her husband, tells him "You just do whatever you have to do not to feel like a victim of life," just before the pair are seen on their way to Isola Bella alone - there's an unconfirmed implication they got together. 

Later, Ethan and Harper have sex for the first time in the entire holiday, again with the implication that Ethan did something with Daphne that finally put him in the mood to sleep with his wife. Harper is relieved, but suspicious. A relationship that needs affairs to keep the sex alive, will turn into a relationship like Daphne and Cameron's - Cameron has multiple affairs, while the couple's children are actually biologically Daphne's personal trainer's. There has been no real resolution in the relationship status for any of this foursome. 

Theo James as Cameron & Will Sharpe as Ethan

(Image credit: HBO)

The White Lotus ending explained: What happened to Lucia and Mia?

Lucia has been pulling a long con on the Di Grasso's all along, duping Albie for 50,000 euros. Mia gets given a permanent job at the hotel, singing and playing the piano. 

Lucia asks Albie for the money, telling him Alessio is her pimp and threatening her if she doesn't give him 50,000 euros. Albie uses emotional manipulation to get the money out of his father, promising to tell his mother on their return home that Dom behaved like an angel the entire time they were away. After Dom stumps up the cash, Lucia bolts and has the last laugh. When Albie meets Portia at the airport, he even tells her exactly what went down with Lucia.

After a sweet romance, Valentina embraces her sexuality as well as offering Mia a permanent job as the hotel's pianist. When he returns from hospital, Valentina fires existing pianist Giuseppe, and Mia sees the start of realising her dream of becoming a singer and musician. She is also responsible for reuniting fellow front desk employee Isabella with fiancé Rocco, in one of the only other happy endings to come from this darkly brilliant series. 

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Lucy Wigley
TV writer - contributing

Lucy is a multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ experience writing about entertainment, parenting and family life. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and telling you why you should watch them.