The Final White Lotus Review – An Absolute TV Chef’s Kiss | Television & radio
Jhere may be a tendency for TV shows — particularly popular, much-discussed, endlessly memes — to hedge their bets in order to protect the franchise. Often, when a drama becomes a bona fide hit, it’s less likely to develop to a definite ending. Wanting to preserve the magic for another season, he pulls out just enough to satisfy while dangling a carrot for the next round. It’s safe to say The White Lotus (Sky Atlantic) has no qualms about picking a side.
What an ending it was. He concluded his storylines with decreasing levels of subtlety, from Albie being “played” by Lucia, through the resilience of Daphne’s determined denial, rising to Tanya the Destroyer, and ultimately destroying him. Did you see it coming? Tanya was still in danger – “These gays! They are trying to kill me! – but it was a leader’s kiss to make her nearly run away, having fought her way through her enemies, only to be undone by her own evil aim, and perhaps the fact that she didn’t did not remove his heels before jumping.
Tanya’s final flourishes – asking the dying Quentin if her husband Greg was having an affair, as if that was what mattered most, and giving each other the briefest of pep talks with “you get it” before snuggling up. collapsing over the side of the boat – were exceptional. The White Lotus likes the least deserving to triumph, and Greg didn’t even need to appear on screen to be the winner here. He will surely inherit Tanya’s fortune, and he won’t even have to share it. I’m desperately disappointed not to have a third season of Tanya, if only because it robs us of Jennifer Coolidge in the role of her life. But it was impeccably done. When Martin McDonagh was promoting the brilliant The Banshees of Inisherin this year, he told the Observer that “no one really tries to make sad movies anymore”. I’m not sure The White Lotus is as sad as a tragic farce, but I kept thinking about what McDonagh has said throughout this season. It’s surprisingly invigorating to watch a drama and know it won’t end in easy resolution or bliss. RIP Tanya, you were one of the greatest.
There was a resolution, but like so many others in this series, it was transactional. The marriages of Ethan and Harper and Daphne and Cameron ultimately resulted in a kind of chosen, hard-earned contentment. We never quite found out what happened with Cameron and Harper, which made it all the more powerful, nor did we feel the need to make explicit what happened. passed between Ethan and Daphne, although we can guess a likely scenario. It was played beautifully by everyone involved, but there’s a particularly sweet moment for Meghann Fahy’s Daphne, when Ethan tells her he thinks something happened between Harper and Cam. She says nothing, but in a brief look conjures up a woman breaking apart before reassembling and crafting the next move. “You just do what you have to do so you don’t feel like a victim in life,” she says before leading Ethan away. Similarly, there’s a fleeting moment when Daphne calls Cam to come talk to their son — the son she hinted to Harper might not be Cameron’s after all. We see him swallow his disgust, before leaving the bathroom a smiling and loving husband and father.
It would be hard to walk away feeling aggrieved by all of this. Jack became the villain he was always going to be, and it was scary and tense, though perhaps his warning to Portia, to run away and not ask questions, was a kind of kindness. (So many lines in this finale will end up as memes, and “So you fucking your uncle?” is surely destined to be one of them.) Dominic will probably get another chance with his wife, thanks to Albie, who was of course being robbed by Lucia, and made a convoluted deal to “save” her, though he didn’t seem too surprised to find out it was a scam all along. And I would happily watch a spin-off series involving Lucia and Mia taking Valentina to a big party, in real time, for several glorious hours.
It was a fabulous entertainment to end the year. It’s smart, funny, over-the-top television that plays to the crowd and refuses to sing the classics the way they’re meant to be, preferring to do its own versions instead. The only question that remains unanswered is: who will be transferred to season 3 of The White Lotus, now that “the new diva of Palermo” has had her last buffet breakfast?