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An Ominous ‘The White Lotus’ Vibe Had Everyone Anxious During This Week’s ‘Penultimate’ Episode

(Spoilers for The White Lotus will be found below.)

No one knew what to expect from The White Lotus going in, but that first season body bag clued everyone into a murder that would eventually be afoot. By the second season’s launch, we knew the game, and that means that at least one of these miserable vacationers won’t be leaving alive. There’s some potentially life-threatening stuff going on for sure. The question, of course, is this: who will be the murder victim?

Let’s just say that I didn’t expect to be so worried about Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya this year. She’s the connecting thread between seasons, after all, and I expected that she’d be around for Season 3. Yet wouldn’t that be a great unexpected twist from Mike White if she died? I’d be very upset if this happened, and that would be doubly the case if “the gays” were the ones who took her out. A woman should be able to count on them!

Ahhh, it’s the perfect cover. And White told Variety that he “wanted to make gay sex transgressive again,” so why turn all societal (Carrie Bradshaw/Stanford Blatch-esque) expectations upside down as well? Last week, it appeared that — possibly — Tanya’s husband could be setting her up in cahoots with Quentin and his “nephew,” Jack, and this week, Jack conveniently carts Tanya’s unhappy assistant, Portia, away for a day of “fun.” All the while, Quentin maintains unfettered access to Tanya, who’s been feeling vulnerable (she thinks her husband is simply cheating) and trusts her new pal.

Well, she probably should not trust him. That’s my gut feeling, and I’m not alone. She’s the guest of honor at Quentin’s party, and everyone’s kissing Tanya’s butt for no reason, so what gives? Even though Tanya’s loving the attention (and the coke), this can’t work out well. Could her earlier vision of Greg with “shark eyes” next to men with “effeminate hairstyles” mean that he shows up in the finale and dies, or will it be Tanya who goes out? The momentum for this theory grew stronger over the past week, and people went into this episode feeling very tense:

The episode’s only getting started. Keep watching for more Tanya developments and try not to grip that remote control too hard.

HBO’s The White Lotus airs on Sunday nights.