‘The White Lotus’ Star Jennifer Coolidge Talks Season 2 Finale Shock – Deadline

SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains details from the Season 2 finale of HBO’s The White Lotus.

The White Lotus star Jennifer Coolidge was just as surprised as everyone else when she learned of Tanya McQuoid’s checkout from the hit HBO series.

Her response when creator Mike White first told her his plans for her heiress character? “What? What? Oh, come on, Mike. Really?”

In a conversation with Deadline on Monday, Coolidge shared that White first approached her about returning for Season 2 maybe “a month before he even weighted up” a concrete idea for the new installment’s story. She wasn’t aware at the time that Tanya would die in the finale, which aired last night, though that revelation would come during a second call while she was in New York filming Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series The Watcher. “He said, ‘Sicily is incredible. That’s where we’re going to film White Lotus 2. You’re going to lose your mind, Jennifer. It’s so beautiful here,’” she recalled. “And then he goes, ‘Oh yeah, one other thing. You’re going to die.’”

Coolidge would have to wait even longer to find out precisely how Tanya meets her end. But while the prospect of exiting The White Lotus remains bittersweet for the actress, she also feels Tanya’s dramatic death makes sense given the “operatic” nature of the show itself, and her character’s tendency of being her “own worst enemy.”

One of only two original White Lotus characters to return for Season 2, Tanya dies accidentally following a clumsy fall from the side of a yacht to a tethered motorboat. She was contemplating a leap in a panic, after realizing the group of gay men she’s been vacationing with in Italy are going to kill her so that her fortune falls into the possession of her husband, Greg (Jon Gries).

“I have to say, I liked my part,” said Coolidge. “I mean, I know people had high hopes for her when she left with this guy that seemed to really like her from White Lotus 1 after her very sad tale of having to bury her mother, not really recovering…But I liked that we started White Lotus 2 really thinking some cool stuff was going to happen for her…I got quite a cool part, and…there were so many cool scenes that I got to play.”

Coolidge’s character gets some form of justice for herself before dying clumsily through her own actions, as she guns down almost everyone on board the yacht with the weapon intended to end her own life. Coolidge is fairly certain, though, that Greg will get his hands on “all” of Tanya’s money, with Quentin (Tom Hollander) and his friends out of the picture.

She hopes, at the same time, that Greg will get his comeuppance, regardless of whether it’s depicted in The White Lotus Season 3. “My hope for Greg is that he ends up in some horrific jail somewhere. I think dying would be just too good, too easy for him,” said Coolidge. “He’s a really creepy guy and was plotting this woman’s murder. From the beginning, he saw a woman with a lot of money and wanted to take it from her, and take her life. So, I think he deserves a terrible fate.”

For the uninitiated, The White Lotus is a dark satire that examines the intersecting lives of guests and employees at a series of luxury resorts, as a means of speaking to issues of power and sexual politics, among other topics. Coolidge this morning landed her second consecutive Golden Globe nomination for her turn as Tanya, having won her first Emmy for the part in September. The actress was joined in the Globes’ category of Actress in a Supporting Role on Television by Season 2 cast member Aubrey Plaza, with co-star F. Murray Abraham and the show itself also landing names.

White hinted in a brief post-show interview airing last night that The White Lotus‘ likely Asia-set third season will explore “death in Eastern religion and spirituality.” The show written, directed and exec produced by White had been picked up for a third go-round in November.

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