The White Lotus season 2 theories: Who could die in the series finale?

Will the reveal be left until the finale's closing moments?

Simona Tabasco as Lucia & Beatrice Grannó as Mia in The White Lotus season 2
(Image credit: HBO/Future)

Who was that floating in the sea when The White Lotus season 2 teased a death in the opening episode? We have some theories about it.

The White Lotus has made an excellent job of coming back for its difficult second season - there was always the fear it would never live up to the greatness of season 1. However, it hasn't just returned with a bang (leading to a White Lotus season 3 announcement (opens in new tab)), its smashed everything out of the park, and should really be clearing space on the awards shelf in preparation for sweeping the board again. With the exception of Jennifer Coolidge, whom we could easily watch playing Tanya for the rest of her days, season 2 has an entirely new White Lotus cast (opens in new tab). Yet the stars aligned once more to gel the newcomers together and produce something magical. The season 2 finale is creeping up on us, and fans are quite morbidly eager to know which character bites the dust. We weigh in on the theories about who was dead in the sea in the first episode, who had the audacity to float into Daphne.

For viewers yet to devour the series, apart from major spoilers ahead, we have the lowdown on where to watch The White Lotus in the UK and US (opens in new tab). The White Lotus filmed (opens in new tab) its second outing in a beautiful hotel, and we reveal exactly where the entire series was shot. For more upcoming dark comedy, Sheridan Smith is set to star in Rosie Molloy Gives up Everything (opens in new tab) - can a woman with many vices really give them all up?

The White Lotus season 2 theories: Who could die in the season finale?

HBO made the decision not to screen The White Lotus season 2 finale for critics, to keep the death a secret until the final moments. However, we know that it's definitely not Daphne, Rocco, or Valentina. 

Daphne discovers the body, so it can't be her. She then runs to tell hotel employee Rocco of her discovery, who tells an also very much alive Valentina about the unfortunate situation. It could also be said that the body can't be Cameron either - as much as he's done a lot to deserve it throughout the series so far, Daphne would surely have recognised him, even if she couldn't see his face. You would've thought so, anyway. 

According to Men's Health, Albie could be the murderer. Nobody can be that nice can they, especially with a family like his? He gets a little too close to women he latches onto, for comfort. He's already made Portia feel a bit uncomfortable with his lost puppy act, and now he's latched onto the volatile Lucia. When she made a mysterious exit from the car they were travelling in to meet a man she'd been seen looking at in a previous episode, it appears she could owe him money. 

Could Albie kill the man Lucia meets, if he feels he's a threat to her? There's only so long he can be nice for, and a darkness for him could be lurking. Albie now also knows Cameron and Ethan owe Lucia money from the debaucherous night they had together. Although it looks like Cameron stays alive, Albie could always kill Ethan for revenge. Or, in the most likely turn of events, Albie could go after Cameron and Ethan - also armed with the knowledge of what they did while their wives were absent - try and get the money from them, and they kill him instead. That feels like the sort of thing controlling and abusive Cameron could do.

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Although we need Jennifer Coolidge not to die, the body in the sea could be hers. There's a theory that Quentin didn't just happen to be having a drink at The White Lotus, but planned to be there to make a move on the loaded Tanya. He's lavished her with the attention she craves, and his “nephew” who definitely doesn't seem to be his nephew, seems only around to keep Portia away from Tanya. Could Quentin have fooled Tanya into bequeathing him some money, only to kill her and get instant access to it while her husband has disappeared? Twitter believes Quentin could even be working with Greg - a framed photo of Quentin pictured him with someone bearing a striking resemblance to Tanya's husband. The men could be a couple, performing a long con on Tanya that's been in the works since season 1.

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The body could also easily be long-suffering Portia. Already having spent the majority of the season dodging an angry Greg and Tanya, she's now in deep with the apparently dangerous Jack. Jack's already gotten drunk and spilled a few too many beans about some sort of plan being afoot, while he's been keeping Portia and Tanya apart. He could decide she knows too much, and dispatch her. A firm fan favourite, there's bound to be outrage if Portia is found face down in the sea. 

Not doing the rounds quite so much, is the idea that Ethan could kill Harper or Cameron (although we've already suggested why we don't think Cameron is dead). The guy is becoming angrier by the second, and increasingly paranoid. His marriage has been under scrutiny since he and Harper arrived at The White Lotus, and its no secret their sex life is suffering. Now he believes his wife is carrying on with Cameron, could his anger extend to killing her? Probably not, but you really never know. 

Aubrey Plaza, Meghann Fahy, Theo James, Will Sharpe in The White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO)

Daphne could kill Cameron - pretending to be shocked by the body she finds could absolutely be a ruse. Or Harper could kill Ethan. In the very first episode when the two couples were being shown their rooms, they ask about the statue in Harper and Ethan's room with the "Testa di Moro" Italian folklore backstory. Rocco tells them "The story is a Moor came here a long time ago and seduced a local girl. But then she found out that he had a wife and children back home. So, because he lied to her, she cut his head off."

Cameron laughingly responds with "If you come into my house, don’t fuck my wife," and Daphne is quick to retort "It’s a warning to husbands, babe. Screw around and you’ll end up buried in the garden." She knows about her husband's ongoing infidelity, but will finding out about Lucia and Mia push her over the edge? Daphne has now made the very calm and collected Harper paranoid. Either woman could snap and kill their husband. Or they both could - didn't Rocco tell Valentina about more than one death in episode 1? We can't wait to find out which theory proves to be correct. 

Sabrina Impacciatore as Valentina

(Image credit: Sky)

How many episodes in The White Lotus season 2?

The White Lotus season 2 has a total of 7 episodes, which is one more than featured in season 1. The episodes are named as follows:

  • Episode 1 – 'Ciao'
  • Episode 2 – 'Italian Dream'
  • Episode 3 – 'Bull Elephants'
  • Episode 4 – 'In the Sandbox'
  • Episode 5 – 'That's Amore'
  • Episode 6 – 'Abductions'
  • Episode 7 – 'Arrivederci'

Aubrey Plaza as Harper Spiller in The White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

When is The White Lotus season finale?

The White Lotus season 2 finale is on Monday, December 12 in the UK. An exciting trailer for the the final episode has been released, and appears to consolidate every theory around, about who will die and who could have done it.  

The clip shows Ethan even more agitated - if that's possible. He is seen punching Cameron, possibly implicating him in the death in some way, or simply offering yet another red herring. At Quentin’s villa, Tanya is worried about Portia's whereabouts, and Portia is seen trying desperately to get back to the hotel. She tells somebody ominously on the phone “I feel like something bad is happening.”

The White Lotus season 2: Cast

  • Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, Legally Blonde) as Tanya McQuoid-Hunt
  • Theo James (The Time Traveler's Wife, Downton Abbey) as Cameron Babcock
  • Tom Hollander (Bird Box, The Ipcress File) as Quentin
  • Meghann Fahy (The Good Wife, Blue Bloods) as Daphne Sullivan
  • Haley Lu Richardson (Ravenswood, Split) as Portia
  • Sabrina Impacciatore (18 Years Later, There's No Place Like Home) as Valentina
  • F Murray Abraham (Amadeus, Scarface) as Bert Di Grasso
  • Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos, Bad Boys) as Dominic Di Grasso
  • Adam DiMarco (Charmed, The Good Doctor) as Albie Di Grasso
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation, Legion) as Harper Spiller
  • Will Sharpe (Flowers, W1A) as Ethan Spiller
  • Beatrice Grannò (The Time of Indifference, Zero) as Mia
  • Simona Tabasco (Luna Park, The Ties) as Lucia
  • Jon Gries (Seinfeld, Lost) as Greg
  • Leo Woodall (Vampire Academy, Holby City) as Jack

Haley Lu Richardson as Portia in The White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

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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.