‘The White Lotus’ Season 2 Finale Opening Credits Clues Explained

HBO comedy-drama The white lotus has quickly laid claim to having some of the best opening credits out there. Along with the provocative Renaissance-style imagery that makes up Season 2’s title sequence, Emmy-winning composer Cristobal Tapia de Vere is back with a remix of Season 1’s eclectic earworm. (Check his The soundtrack to the 2013 British series Utopia for more electrifying tunes.)

Season 2’s decadent yet increasingly sinister opening credits were created by Katrina Crawford and Mark Bashore, who also do the show’s Season 1 credits. The pair didn’t plant obvious clues to the many deaths this season, instead drawing symbolic meanings to each character’s journey. Let’s dissect those meanings based on all seven episodes of Season 2, including that one brilliant unexpected finale.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The traditional lovers

We see the first picture in season 2 opening credits shows a man bowing to a curmudgeonly woman — a scene of what appears to be traditional Renaissance lovers (the art style that originated in Italy in the late 14th century). Here, the titles Crawford and Bashore set up the themes of the second season of Sicily: Where season 1 focused on privilege and colonialism, season 2 explores themes of male heterosexuality. In an interview they also revealed that the concurring image when an actor’s name comes up reflects their character traits and journey. Actor F. Murray Abraham’s name appears here — he plays Bert Di Grasso, Dominic’s elderly, womanizing father.

In the lower left corner, a shield shows two rings connected by healthy branches. In the second: two wedding rings running through a dagger. These rings seem to represent the two central marriages of Season 2: the crumbling solidarity between Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and Ethan (Will Sharpe) and the accepted duplicity of Cameron (Theo James) and Daphne (Meghann Fahy).

Then the camera zooms in to reveal a woman spying on the lovers. This could be another sign of infidelity (in episode 3, Cameron sleeps with the sex worker Lucia), as well as reflecting Harper’s interest in the secrets behind Cameron and Daphne’s loving front (also in episode 3, Daphne reveals that she is aware of Cameron’s infidelity).

Four vacationers stand on a boat and clink wine glasses

And everything started so well.

Fabio Lovino/HBO

The Woman and the Chained Monkey

The camera pans up to show a blonde woman holding a chain attached to a monkey. This could be interpreted a couple of ways — if the woman is meant to represent Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge’s name appears in this section of the credits), then the monkey could be her husband Greg (Joe Gries), who feels indebted to Tanya after she paid for his medical bills and essentially saved his life. The monkey could also be a symbol for Tanya’s assistant Portia (Hayley Lu Richardson), who is forced to go on vacation with her boss.

The Innocent Man, the Babies and the Sphinx

The next scene shows a man playing music for a woman with a happy dog ​​nearby. Here actor Adam DiMarco’s name appears – DiMarco plays the sincere and naive Stanford graduate Albie, who was determined to act like a gentleman towards women, unlike his father, and even believed he saved the sex worker Lucia from her oppressive acts .

Next, we see actress Meghann Fahy’s name appear above an ornate image of two naked baby boys. When not on vacation, Fahy’s character Daphne is a stay-at-home mom. In episode 5, it is revealed that these boys may not be Cameron’s children, but those of the personal trainer Daphne sees while Cameron is tied up at work.

Then actress Beatrice Grannò’s name appears with a gold sphinx — her character Mia, an aspiring singer, resists her friend Lucia’s attempts to introduce her to sex work… until episode 4, when she chooses to have sex with pianist Giuseppe to move on his musical career. In Greek mythology, the riddle of the sphinx refers to three stages of man: baby, adult and old. It is not difficult to deduce which three men are referred to here in The White Lotus — the Di Grassos. Mia and her friend Lucia have many encounters with all three Di Grasso men.

A young woman in a red top talks to an older man at a piano

Mia accepts Giuseppe’s proposal.


The donkey and the lovers

Actor Jon Gries’ name next appears above an image of a man and a woman riding a donkey – a donkey that looks almost alternately over its shoulder at us. This could symbolize that Gries’ character Greg is cheating on his wife Tanya with another woman – or another man, as we see when he appears in an old photo with British expat Quentin. In episode 2, Greg leaves Tanya alone at the resort, saying he has to fly back to Denver for work. In the finale, Tanya deduces that it was because he wanted an alibi, while Quentin and his men had her killed.

We then see the names of actors Tom Hollander and Sabrina Impacciatore above men and women separated on either side of a room. This seems to point to how Hollander’s character Quentin, a wealthy, gay British expat, is apparently on holiday with his large group of friends. Meanwhile, Impacciatore’s character Valentina, the resort’s manager, reveals feelings for the receptionist Isabella (Eleonora Romandini) in episode 4, and later has a sexual awakening with the help of Mia in episode 6.

The cracked fresco, a giant statue and fighting birds

In an exciting fresco on the water, we see a man bowing to a younger man and a woman dropping a necklace into the sea. Actor Michael Imperioli’s name appears here – his character Dominic, a sex addict and father to Albie, has been desperate for forgiveness from both his son and wife, who are disgusted by his affairs and betrayal. In episode 4, he buys his wife a piece of jewelry as a gift, and in the finale, he is willing to pay 50,000 euros in exchange for his son putting in a good word for him with his wife.

Next, we see actor Theo James’ name above a giant nude statue of a man — in episode 1, James’ character Cameron deliberately undresses and exposes himself to Harper. Here we also see a dog urinating on the statue – a show of disrespect for everything it represents.

Above we see two birds at war with each other along with the name of the actor Aubrey Plaza. The light and dark-colored woodpeckers could represent Plaza’s character Harper’s dueling intentions. In episode 6, Harper appears to be considering cheating on her husband Ethan with Cameron after suspecting Ethan lied to her about what he and Cameron were really up to while she and Daphne were away at the fancy palace in Noto . In the finale, Harper confirms that Cameron kissed her, although it is now Ethan who suspects that there is more going on that she is unwilling to admit.

Three generations of men stand on a boat in front of a hotel manager

The three generations of Di Grasso men.

Fabio Lovino/HBO

The sacrificial lamb and the sacrifice

In the next scene, along with actress Haley Lu Richardson’s name, we see what looks like a lamb and a maid sitting on the ground. Richardson’s character Portia is at the behest of her boss Tanya, so the maid probably represents her low status. The maid also seems to have turned her back on the lamb — the lamb could represent Albie, the man Portia found far too gentle, innocent and unexciting compared to Quentin’s charismatic and brash nephew Jack (Leo Woodall).

The next scene is a bit confusing – it shows a man making an offer to a regal-looking woman by the name of actor Will Sharpe. Is this Sharpe’s character, Ethan, serving Harper an excuse? Or is this to represent his newfound wealth that he shares with her?

The cat and the aggressive men

Next: a small cat with leopard spots and a small bird in its mouth, prowling around a pillar. Actress Simona Tabasco’s name appears here — she plays local hustler and sex worker Lucia, who in episode 4 exclaims that she turned her former conservative friend Mia into a monster. Maybe Mia’s innocence should be the little dead bird in the cat’s mouth. In the later episodes, Lucia also seems to become more and more fond of the impressionable Albie. Perhaps his innocence is also represented by the dead bird, which she takes full advantage of in the finale, extorting him for 50,000 euros.

Actor Leo Woodall’s name then appears alongside an image of a man standing over another. On the one hand, it looks like a threatening situation: the former’s foot is placed in a rather dangerous position between the latter’s legs. This could represent Woodall’s character Jack being forced to work for Quentin and do things he doesn’t want to do. This scene may also have a more sexual implication: we learn in episode 5 that Jack is involved in sexual acts with his “uncle” Quentin.

The burning building and the white swan

As the beat of the music increases, the images become even more explicit. Shows:

  • A hotel-like building burning in the distance — no prizes for guessing the meaning behind this one (things metaphorically go up in flames at The White Lotus).
  • Two men were involved in sexual activity on a beach.
  • Goats also engaged in a sexual act.
  • Three circular holes in the side of a wall — which could represent the three generations of Di Grasso men and their behavior towards women following a circular pattern.
  • General scenes of violence and blood.
  • A woman seduced by a swan — this appears to be a reference to the story of Leda and the swan in Greek mythology, where the god Zeus transforms into a swan and rapes Leda, the queen of Sparta. It is not entirely clear if this explicitly refers to a single character in the show. Perhaps the woman should be Tanya, Portia, Isabella, Daphne – any of the women that a man exploits.
  • A fountain rises — a phallic image.

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