Sunday was check-out day at The White Lotus. And, as teased in the premiere of HBO’s six-episode dramedy, it was also expiration day for one of the show’s central characters.
Before we dive into the recap, allow me to direct you to my post mortem with series creator Mike White. Read it now or after you’re finished with this recap. But definitely read it because there’s important stuff in there you need to know. Also, as a reminder, what you watched Sunday night was a season finale, not a series finale; the show was recently renewed for a second season at HBO (full details here).
OK, without further ado, read on as we take stock of where all of White Lotus‘ dysfunctional duos ended up at the conclusion of “Departures.”
RACHEL AND SHANE | In the aftermath of history’s most awkward early-morning spooning session with hubby Shane, Rachel paces around their hotel room for the umpteenth time, then gets a facial, and then paces around the hotel room some more before finally dumping his “baby-man” ass. Shocker: He does not take it well! “We are starting down a very dark road,” he warns her. “And you better be sure you really want to go there.”
OLIVIA AND PAULA | After spending much of the past 24 hours dancing around Braceletgate, Paula finally admits to her BFF (best friend f’never) that, yes, she was the mastermind behind the botched robbery and assault that landed her side piece Kai (presumably) behind bars. Olivia assures her that she has no plans to rat her out, but that does little to cut the tension between the two. “You think you’re, like, this rebel, but in the end this is your tribe,” Paula tells her. “Your family. The people here. Stop pretending to be my friend. I’m just some prop you use for some weird cred.” The aforementioned tension ultimately breaks when Paula later concedes that “I f—ed everything up” and Olivia responds by initiating history’s sweetest late-night spooning session. (Take note, Rachel and Shane!)
NICOLE AND MARK | Still swooning over her “Superman in a scuba suit,” Nicole officially welcomes Mark back into her marital good graces. The rekindled couple spend their final vacation day acting all schmoopiesh with each other.
QUINN | Nicole and Mark’s smart phone-deprived son announces that he will be staying put in Hawaii to start a new life and maybe “do a Hōkūleʻa through all of Polynesia” with his new local friends. His ‘rents put the immediate kibosh on his idealistic gambit, but the 16-year-old has the last laugh when, in the finale’s final moments, he jumps out of line while boarding the plane and races off to begin his Eat Pray Canoe journey.
TANYA AND GREG | Tanya’s fling-turned-romance with Greg was too good to be true: Turns out that nasty cough of his is a symptom of a serious-sounding underlying “health issue.” He stresses, however, that “death doesn’t have to ruin everything” — and the self-proclaimed insecure alcoholic is buying what he’s selling. She throws caution to the wind and invites him to join her in Aspen for an indefinite afterparty. As Tanya muses to her lover, “I’ve had every kind of treatment over the years. Death is the last immersive experience I haven’t tried.”
BELINDA | Tanya lowers the inevitable boom, informing Belinda that their business partnership is over before it begins because she needs to break out of “this pattern where I latch on to someone and then I use my money to control them.” She slips a heartbroken Belinda a wad of cash to ease her guilt and takes off. The Wellness magician copes with the rejection by running to the rescue of another tormented Caucasian woman (read: Rachel). But in the middle of talking Shane’s reluctant trophy wife off the ledge, Belinda decides she’s done playing the White Whisperer and utters the three words we’ve waited six hours to hear: “I’m all out.” Hallelujah!
ARMOND | Shane’s mission to get Armond fired finally succeeds, sending the soon-to-be-unemployed resort manager into a revenge spiral that climaxes with him breaking into his nemesis’ room and making a dung deposit in his luggage. Of course, this being the White Lotus, where no good burglary goes uninterrupted, Shane returns to his room before Armond can escape and discovers the stinky surprise in his suitcase. Suspecting the person who dealt it might still be smelling it nearby, he grabs the pineapple-cutting knife and, before you can say “coffin mystery solved,” he turns a corner and instinctively, self-defensively plunges the blade into the intruder’s chest. When he realizes the chest belongs to Armond, Shane panic-apologizes and runs to get help. But it’s too late. Armond tumbles backwards into the bathtub and takes his last breath. And with that, an instantly iconic television sequence is born.
From there, the action catches up to the airport-set flash-forward from the premiere, with Shane watching the crate containing Armond’s human remains being loaded onto the airplane. In the distance, he spies a wistful Rachel. He cautiously approaches her and, much to his relief, she informs him through gritted teeth, “Everything’s fine… I’ll be happy.” Heartbreaking!
The final shot we’re left with is of Quinn rowing off into the sunset with his new tribe in the wake of his Great Airport Escape.
OK, you know the drill: Make a break for the polls below to grade the finale as well as Season 1 overall, and then elaborate away in the comments.