The White Lotus Kill or Be Killed Report: Guilt Trip

The only thing she’s guilty of is being the greatest. Photo: Fabio Lovino/HBO

Did everybody wake up this morning with that post-vacation depression? We’ve left behind glowing Sicily and Palermo’s palazzi and the Ionian Sea, whose turquoise waves are full of fresh corpses. Dreamy! Now that we know how our predictions shook out, it’s time to ask those deeper questions: Who is really culpable for the misery, mayhem, and murder(s) that went down at, or in close proximity to, the White Lotus Sicily? Let’s make like Mia and Lucia having a late-onset spate of Catholic energy and talk about guilt.



I can’t say I was expecting Tanya to multiple-homicide her way out of a corner, but it’s very funny that a scary mafioso met his match in this delusional, hapless figure who ends up accidentally offing herself by tripping off the edge of a yacht. (Subtle!) We must not let our collective adoration of Jennifer Coolidge distract us from the fact that if we ever met Tanya — if we were, say, in her employ or married to her — we would probably hate her. (Anybody who says something like “I have bad luck with assistants” is a nightmare.) I don’t think she deserved to die, but we’re not exactly talking about some Good Samaritan. Also, I’m sorry, but she had a phone, and she was spitting distance from the hotel and needed to be rescued, and it did not occur to her to just … call the hotel for a boat ride back? Why even be a Blossom member if you aren’t going to avail yourself of all its services?

Still, it’s pretty fucked up that, once he decided he couldn’t deal with her anymore but didn’t want to have to support himself, Greg wrangled his old buddy and hatched this elaborate plot to have Tanya killed on vacation. (I have to wonder: How did Greg afford his friend’s services? I can’t believe the mob would do a hit on spec.)

How guilty is she? I mean, she deserved better than that! I was almost rooting for her until she stood over Quentin and, as blood seeped from his mouth, demanded to know if Greg was having an affair. Girl, priorities! She’s not not guilty.



I’ll just say it: She’s a terrible assistant. And her survival instincts are not great. Like, I don’t want to tell someone how to be abducted, but I sure wouldn’t do my big confrontation after I was trapped in a car with my assailant. That she makes it out alive really makes no sense, except I guess Jack has terrible hang-xiety and can’t live with the guilt of offing her. But great line reading of “Yeah? So you fuck your uncle?” Her attempts at disguise acquisition at the airport make her only more conspicuous. Also, not to be a jerk about this, but do we really believe Portia knew Tanya’s phone number by heart? It’s not as if Jack had it saved in his phone.

How guilty is she? Sigh. Only of crimes against fashion and logical behavior.



It’s hilarious that The White Lotus is basically an advertisement for infidelity as a means of salvaging your sexless marriage. (It’s also very funny to me that, in his wildest dreams about what his wife and best friend are getting up to, they’re just … having missionary sex. Not that they don’t look like they’re having a great time, but that’s the craziest thing he could think of?) I do like that he has his little pseudo–Talented Mr. Ripley moment when he (nearly) kills his best friend in the sea on a Mediterranean vacation.

How guilty is he? I know it takes two to fuck up a marriage, but I’m going to go ahead and say he is absolutely at fault for creating a dynamic in which Harper had no choice but to seek validation and fun from his hot friend.



Meghann Fahy’s performance in that scene in which Ethan tells her he thinks something happened between their spouses (the way she says, “I’m a mystery to myself, honestly. I surprise myself all the time”) — wow. Erect monuments to this woman! Put them in all the palazzi! I know we are supposed to be intrigued by whatever may have gone down between these two, but I actually don’t care about that because I believe Daphne should have and do whatever she wants. Take me to the Maldives with you!

How guilty is she? Of being the greatest? Very. Of infidelity? I do not care. As far as I’m concerned, Daphne’s conscience is clear.



He’s the worst, but whatever makes Daphne happy is fine by me! I know there are theories that their kids are too blond to be his, and I feel obligated to remind you that many white children are blond in infancy and that their hair darkens around puberty. It would not be shocking at all to learn Theo James has fair hair in his baby pics. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed his toast at dinner, and even though he is a dirtbag, he’s the dirtbag Harper and Ethan needed, is he not?

How guilty is he? Well, he definitely hooked up with Harper. He did also cheat on his wife (an angel!) with Lucia. And there was a moment during his underwater wrestling match when it looked as if he might be trying to kill Ethan. But mostly he’s guilty of being a sort of obsolete type of guy who can’t find his way in this new “woke” world and doesn’t have quite as much money as he thinks he needs. Basically, he’s really just guilty of being a bit pathetic.



I love the way she calls Cameron an idiot even though it outs them as having had sex. (I don’t believe her “It was only a kiss” confession, do you?) But I have a hard time with this whole thing where Ethan, with very little evidence, gets to have the moral high ground, while Harper, who found the condom wrapper, is scrambling to regain his trust. I also find her panicking at the potential implosion of her relationship awfully out of character since she is the one who has been saying this whole time that her husband’s nonexistent attraction to her is making her miserable. She wants out! I suppose I am happy for her that her husband finally fucked her properly and they can return to America with their noses nuzzled in each other’s necks as if they never spent literal years barely touching or connecting in a meaningful way, even if I think the real solution to their problems is to either (a) just have an open marriage already or (b) break up.

How guilty is she? Harper cheated and lied about it, which, okay, not great, though given my allegiances here I’m actually more upset about what that means for her friendship with Daphne than her bond with Ethan. I’ll say when it comes down to what matters, Harper is mainly guilty of settling for a guy who is only turned on by her when he feels threatened by someone else.



Albie is so dumb it is hard to feel bad for him, so I won’t! As soon as he told Lucia, “You should come to L.A.!” I wrote in my notes “This fuckin dope deserves whatever he gets,” and by that decree he is lucky to make it out alive just to exchange numbers with Portia, whom he will obviously never see again. The audacity of this child to ask his dad for fifty (!) thousand (!!) euros (!!!) when he has known Lucia for, like, four days … and then to frame it as a “karmic payment”?! How is throwing money at this Italian stranger at all compensating for Dominic’s adultery? Imagine if Albie’s mom found out about that. (I guess Dominic has some funds of which she’s unaware so she’s not going to notice that absolutely massive withdrawal?) When Dominic asks, “How are you going to make it in life if you’re this big a mark?” I cheered. The speed with which Albie transferred the money to Lucia’s account is totally implausible (he just had her routing number??) but the fact that he was so eager to do it, and not even in installments, made me write “He actually deserves to die for the crime of being such an idiot.” It’s also funny that he is so bent on being a good person who helps a damsel in distress that he could not recognize the actual vulnerability of Portia (going to an island with her psychotic boss and a drunk she’d never met) because he was too distracted by the over-the-top performance of helplessness Lucia put on for his benefit.

Is he guilty? You know what? Yes! Not just of being a sucker but also of being so devoted to his suckerdom that he straight-up lied to his mother about his father’s supposed growth, just so he could coerce his dad into funding his investment.



I wish we spent more time with him! I personally could’ve used a whole lot less “Mia plays the piano” and significantly more Michael Imperioli. Yet again The White Lotus offers genuinely absurd but amazing marital advice: This time, it’s “hire a sex worker for vacation, say nothing as this sex worker seduces and grifts your son, and your son will ultimately come to your defense with your wife/his mother, whom you have flagrantly and repeatedly cheated on.” By the time he gets to the airport and his wandering eyes spot another beautiful young woman, we already know he is going to go right back to his old ways. (Also, it’s sort of distracting that his wife in the photos isn’t Laura Dern, since we know that’s her voice on the phone.)

How guilty is he? I think he knew that Albie was getting scammed and just wanted to play the magnanimous dad and force his son to lose that smug moral-superiority thing he’s had going this whole trip. But in my book, he is mostly guilty of being a lousy husband and not booking a translator for this vacation, thus rendering the entire point of the journey totally moot.



Also could have used more time with him and less elsewhere, but these are the highs and lows of ensemble shows. And I could’ve happily gone my whole life without hearing the phrase “Achilles cock.” He seemed to have a really lovely time on this trip, didn’t he?

Is he guilty? Well, according to Dominic, Bert is guilty of setting the mold of womanizing and delinquent husbandry that has doomed generations of men in this family to misery. So not murder, but not great.



I genuinely cannot tell if we are supposed to believe that Lucia had a big plan in motion all along and was just pretending to be an idiot or if she is, in fact, very dumb, but also opportunistic and lucky. She does finally get her payment from Cameron, but before that she was, what, just trusting a payday was forthcoming? Some of you have pointed out that in the premiere she cheerfully greeted Alessio, the supposedly scary pimp, suggesting they were all in on an elaborate con together, which seems to be confirmed by Allesio’s reappearance in the finale, now as a friendly-seeming hotel doorman. Again, if we had any reason to believe Lucia were intelligent, I would buy this more, but instead we are getting wildly inconsistent evidence re: her ability to manage her business and life, so, I find it hard to believe she’s thinking that far ahead here.

How guilty is she? I say she is quite guilty of two cardinal sins: scamming her client-slash-fake-boyfriend and being annoying to me personally.



Sorry, but this character never clicked! I guess it’s good for her that she gets to be the piano girl at what is apparently the only hotel in all of Sicily? Did she ever work out a payment arrangement, or is she just living off vibes and pro bono trysts? Is Bert slipping her a $50 for that hug?

How guilty is she? Frankly, the eyeshadow alone is criminal, along with that giant necklace. Her dress is awful. Also, it was pretty messed up of her to almost accidentally manslaughter Giuseppe. Decently guilty, I’d say. 



Congratulations on your sexual awakening. As it appears no one actually died on White Lotus property and the only guest who was killed actually did it to herself, it would seem that Valentina is emerging from this whole situation unscathed, unless Giuseppe the piano man comes back to make her regret replacing him with Mia.

How guilty is she? Valentina is only guilty of poorly managing her hotel.



Our scary scammer extraordinaire! Do we think he was always pretending to be drunk? Was any of it real? Also, this is a small thing, but it’s sort of douchey that he didn’t just drive Portia all the way to the airport and instead abandoned her on the side of the road.

How guilty is he? Umm, very! Of kidnapping/abducting Portia, aiding and abetting Tanya’s murder-that-turned-out-to-be-an-accidental-suicide, of “uncle”-fucking, and also of running out on that check that time, which is rude.



Who will tend to his palazzo now, I wonder?

How guilty is he? Oh, extremely. 



Though Niccoló didn’t get a chance to finish the job, he sure came prepared with a nice little murder kit.

How guilty is he? Not to kick a man while he’s down/dead, but he was 1,000 percent going to kill Tanya for some palazzo-related payout, so very, very guilty, straight to jail, do not pass “go,” do not collect $200, etc. 



WOOOOOW, GREG. I am curious how diabolical we all think Greg is: Did he ever love (or even like) Tanya? Or has he been plotting this since the day they signed their prenup? And if he knew he was having her killed, would it have killed him to be nicer to her during her fantasy Monica Vitti day??

How guilty is he? The guiltiest of all! I wonder if we’ll be seeing him at a White Lotus property next year …

The White Lotus Kill or Be Killed Report: Guilt Trip