The Truth About Quentin and Greg's Scam on "The White Lotus"
The finale of "The White Lotus" season two has come and gone. It brings the dramatic storylines of the central two couples (Aubrey Plaza, Theo James, Will Sharpe, and Meghann Fahy) to a conclusion that, while satisfying, feels fragile, and it sees Albie (Adam DiMarco) and Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) come to terms with the fact that their hookups both had ulterior motives. But at the center of its dramatic conclusion is the nefarious plot set in motion by gay palazzo owner Quentin, which viewers first began to pick up on several episodes ago.
Viewers were introduced to the smarmy Quentin (Tom Hollander) halfway through the season, when he's spotted eyeing Jennifer Coolidge's Tanya across the White Lotus dining room. He quickly sweeps Tanya off her feet by comparing her to the tragic heroine of an Italian opera and easily manages to persuade her to come with him to his lavish villa in Palermo with her assistant, Portia, in tow.
From Quentin's first moments on screen, viewers were suspicious of his motives, and in the buildup to the finale, fans honed in on one theory about what Quentin was really up to. Eventually, Portia and Tanya figure it out, too, and tragedy ensues. Ahead, let's review the scam that leads to the show's bloody conclusion.
What Is Quentin's Scam on "The White Lotus"?
Halfway through the finale, Tanya figures out Quentin's plot: he's planning to kill her so he can take her money. Two major events tip her off. First, there's the fact that Portia calls her and tells her that Jack, Quentin's supposed "nephew," told her that his "uncle" nearly went broke after spending all his money on refurbishing the villa and throwing elaborate parties — but he's apparently coming into a lot of money soon.
Then, there's the fact that Tanya sees a photo of Quentin and someone who looks suspiciously like Greg in Quentin's room, first spotting it in episode six and then going back to confirm it's real in episode seven. She eventually connects the dots and figures out that Quentin's story about his first true love was actually about Greg. In episode five, Quentin asks Tanya if she'd be willing to "die for beauty" and tells her he's only ever been in love once — with a straight cowboy from Wyoming. Upon understanding that Greg — who we know works for the Bureau of Land Management — is that cowboy, Tanya realizes Greg must be conspiring with Quentin to kill her and take the money owed to him from their prenup. Along with his longtime love for Greg, Quentin's lack of money and his love for his beautiful villa and opulent lifestyle give him a pretty solid motive for pursuing Tanya's fortune.
The show has long been stoking suspicion about Greg, starting when Tanya overhears him describing her as clueless in a secretive phone call (though the fact that he has the nerve to criticize Tanya for eating too many macarons at the start of the show was also a major red flag for many). Some fans even believe Greg had been plotting against Tanya from the moment he meets her in season one, when he tells her he's on vacation with a group of friends who go deep-sea fishing every year. We never actually see the friends, though, and he seems immediately taken with Tanya, whose room just so happens to be next to his. Greg is also the one who insists on going to Sicily, though he departs from his vacation early after claiming he has urgent work business back in the United States. He promises to be back in two days — which is a very unrealistic timeline, though Tanya doesn't seem to notice.
Finally, Tanya learns that Quentin is planning on having Niccoló, the Italian man who Quentin set her up with the night before, take her back to shore in a boat. After rifling through Niccoló's bag, Tanya finds a rope, duct tape, and a gun, confirming her suspicions, and she then takes matters into her own hands, going on a shooting spree that ends with a lot of dead bodies — and eventually, her own.
There were always signs that something was up with Quentin. There's the fact that his supposed "nephew," Jack, definitely isn't his nephew — as Tanya finds out at the end of episode five when she catches them having sex in Quentin's bedroom. Instead, Jack is a sex worker and an employee of Quentin's, and his nascent relationship with Portia is an effort to distract her from watching out for her boss. In the finale, Jack drops Portia off at the airport and tells her to leave town, and some fans believe Jack is actually supposed to kill Portia but decides to save her life at the last minute. Tanya herself first warned Portia about Jack in a roundabout way, telling her, "When you're empty inside, and you have no direction, you'll end up in some crazy places, but you'll still be lost" — though she doesn't realize she may as well be speaking about herself.
Prior to the finale, some fans thought Greg may have hired Quentin to swindle Tanya out of her vast fortune by persuading her to cheat so their prenup might be annulled by a potential infidelity clause, but that didn't appear to be the case. At the end of episode six, Quentin does successfully get Tanya to cheat by setting her up with Niccoló and a lot of white powder, but it seems their whole relationship was an extremely elaborate ruse meant to guide her into a watery grave.
Tanya's dark fate is heavily foreshadowed from the beginning of the show, starting with her ominous dream in the first episode and an even more ominous tarot reading from the local fortune teller. Ultimately, like so many other White Lotus guests, Tanya's thirst for love and beauty — and the distraction they offer from her own inner emptiness — lead her into a trap. Of course, in classic Tanya fashion, her own lack of foresight and a bit of bad luck eventually cause her literal downfall.
The finale of "The White Lotus" season two is now streaming on HBO Max.