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The White Lotus finale: That ending explained, and your questions answered

The White Lotus finale: That ending explained, and your questions answered

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Armond (Murray Barlett) gives revenge a whole new scent in the finale of The White Lotus. 


Mario Perez/HBO

Viewers knew from the first scene of HBO’s summer hit The White Lotus there’d been an unexpected death at the pricey Hawaiian resort where wealthy, entitled guests mingle with the employees who serve them. And while the six-part limited series about privileged tourists on vacation ends up being far less a big-twist murder mystery than a biting social satire, viewers nonetheless filled social media feeds and internet forums with theories on who dies at the idyllic White Lotus alive, and why. 

So who’s in the casket being loaded onto the airplane in the first episode? Close your suitcases, folks. We’re diving in to answer whodunnit and other lingering questions from Sunday’s finale of Mike White’s tragicomedy. 

Beware, major spoilers ahead. 

Who dies on The White Lotus finale? 

It’s Armond (Murray Bartlett), the outwardly accommodating and inwardly seething resort manager who comes increasingly unhinged from the stress of having to cater to demanding guests with lots of money and little aloha spirit. Chief among them is insufferable honeymooner Shane (Jake Lacy), who ends up stabbing Armond to death.

Did Shane kill Armond on purpose? 

Shane definitely harbored murderous rage toward Armond for not booking him in the correct room (and other perceived missteps), but in the end the manager’s death is an accident. After finding out Shane’s responsible for getting him fired, a drug-addled but determined Armond sneaks into Shane’s room, crouches over his open suitcase and drops an unwelcome gift or two. 

When Shane returns to his room to discover the stinky souvenir, he grabs the knife he had by his bed to protect his trophy wife in the event of an intruder, rounds a corner, startles at seeing Armond and fatally stabs him in the chest. More than anything, Armond’s a victim of the upstairs-downstairs inequities he faces day after day. 

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Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy play a not-so-happy couple on The White Lotus. Well, she’s not happy (not that he’s noticed). 


Mario Perez/HBO

Why is Armond smiling as he dies?  

Only Armond knows for sure. The smile could be glee at exacting such messy revenge on Shane and his preppy, perfectly folded clothes. Or the the grin could indicate Armond’s satisfaction that the stabbing could finally bring the arrogant Shane down. But does it? Well… 

Are there any consequences for Shane? 

Nope, he’s boarding an airplane at the end, and the rude way he interacts with friendly fellow tourists asking him about his trip in the first episode suggests he’s just as obnoxious as before he thrust a knife into another human’s flesh. His briefly estranged wife Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) even comes back to him at the end, though the emptiness in her eyes shows suggests she’s doing it out of defeat. It appears terrible Shane comes out of the whole honeymoon death adventure unscathed, though he will have to live with Rachel’s unhappiness (if he even notices it). So there’s that. 

More questions and observations

** Love that Shane spends his vacation reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, a book all about intuitive judgment, clearly not one of Shane’s strong points. Does Shane have any strong points?  

** It was nice to see bratty Olivia Mossbacher (Sydney Sweeney) finally show a shred of humanity. The gesture of empathy she extends to Paula (Brittany O’Grady) despite her friend’s misstep suggests Olivia might actually be on the path to being more than just fake-woke. 

** Jennifer Coolidge out-Jennifer-Coolidges herself playing painfully needy and insecure Tanya McQuoid, who’s brought her mother’s ashes to Hawaii to scatter. Coolidge always manages to bring bring pathos to her kooky characters. Of course Tanya predictably disappoints spa manager Belinda (Natasha Rothwell). Can we start a GoFundMe campaign and help the kind and generous Belinda open that wellness center she so deserves? 

Will there be another season of The White Lotus? 

Get ready for another return to paradise. In August 2021, The White Lotus was renewed for a second season. But since travelers come and go, the second season will focus on different travelers and another White Lotus property. Problems will undoubtedly ensue.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper contributed to this report. 

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