Mike White always knew how it would end.
He called it a few months before filming began on the second season of HBO’s “The White Lotus,” which ended Sunday night in a murderous finale (if you haven’t seen that finale yet, it’s time to stop reading). Actress Jennifer Coolidge, his friend and longtime collaborator. Coolidge’s Tanya, a plump-lipped heiress with a tenuous connection to observable reality, is one of only two characters from the first season set in a five-star hotel in Hawaii, until now, to be set on a sister property. Sicily.
“Jennifer,” he told her. “I’m sorry. You’re dying.
In the finale, Coolidge’s Tanya misjudges the distance from the deck to a dinghy, shooting her way through a boat full of “high gay men” intent on assassinating her, as even the most fanatical fan would not predict. stumbles and falls to her death. In a filmed post-episode interview, White described the death as an intentional “derby”.
In a season focused on desire and its consequences, the finale also saw the rekindling of romance between unhappily married Ethan (Will Sharp) and Harper (Aubrey Plaza); A New Understanding Among Three Generations of De Grasso Men (F. Murray Abraham, Michael Imperioli, Adam DeMarco); and success for local young women Mia and Lucia (Beatrice Grano and Simona Tabasco). Mostly unchanged: Tanya’s assistant Portia (Haley Le Richardson), still producing Questionable fashion choicesand Cameron (Theo James) and Daphne (Megan Fahy), happily married young.
On Sunday night, at Coolidge’s house, she and White watched the finale together. On Monday morning, everyone logged in to discuss Tanya’s injury, tragic passing, and where the series, which has already been renewed for a third season, might go from here. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
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