The following story contains spoilers for The White Lotus Season 1 finale.
We knew from the very first scene in The White Lotus that Shane Patton (Jake Lacy) would be the last man standing. Or, well, maybe not the last man standing, but certainly a last man standing. That opening airport-set scene—in which he mentions a body being loaded onto a departing airplane—set the tone for what The White Lotus would become: a darkly satirical look into wealthy, out-of-touch guests of a tropical resort, and the working people who make a living tending to their wants and needs.
As a result of that opening, it was clear that Shane was the one person safe from the question quietly hanging over the entire series: who dies at The White Lotus? In a show full of privileged, and, to put it bluntly, bad people, there was no shortage of real candidates.
We saw the answer to that question play out in the show’s final episode, when Armond (Murray Bartlett), The White Lotus’s soon-to-be-fired resort manager, was getting his sweet revenge on Shane by leaving a high-as-a-kite fecal surprise in his suitcase. But he mistimed one thing—being alone in the oft-mentioned Pineapple Suite.
There was only so much sneaking around that Armond could do once Shane returned and grabbed Chekhov’s Pineapple Knife. Within a few moments, Shane impulsively stabbed Armond right in the chest, rightfully believing there was an intruder in his room (and would have been particularly on guard after what happened in the Mossbachers’ room). It did legitimately seem like murder was…not his real intention. But that was all she wrote for Armond.
When we spoke with Lacy a few weeks prior to the finale’s airing on HBO, we couldn’t possibly resist bringing up this deliciously wild ending, and the actor was more than game. In the following conversation, Lacy gets into some of the key moments, talking Shane’s future (doesn’t sound like he’s got much of a chance to appear in Season 2), and breaking down The White Lotus‘ Season 1 finale.
So, let’s talk about this ending.
One quick logical question first. Why is Armond being put on a plane if he presumably lived in Hawaii?
Well, my assumption would be that he’s Australian, and is just going to be buried, or that his family preferred to have the service in Australia or something like that.
That makes sense.
But that is a good point. It would be [LAUGHING] harder to sell the mystery of it if you opened with, like, Shane at his grave in Hawaii, and it says Armond.
You’d be like, “Well, I guess Armond dies.” Or Shane, like, drops the knife and is like, “Fuck you.” And walks… You know? No mystery there. But yeah, my assumption in the world we’ve created is that his body is being sent back to Australia.
So, what happens to Shane after what we see in the show?
The story I tell myself is that he serves no time. It’s self-defense. He’s found not guilty. But that paranoia that he has—never knowing if people are treating you a certain way because of something you’ve done, or what they think you are, or they see you’ve got money—never knowing if it’s because of you or because of what they think of you. That that only escalates.
Now, any club he tries to join, or any business opportunity, or any promotion—any of that is continually shrouded in this feeling of people whispering, like, “That’s the guy—that’s the guy who killed the guy.” And that that just haunts him. Not because he feels guilt and shame, but because he desperately needs acceptance and approval, and now that’s even further from his grasp.
And he probably eventually kills himself, to be honest. [CHUCKLES] That’s my bleak take. Or he just drinks himself into oblivion deep in his 40s. Succumbs to Cirrhosis. So, that’s my bright, shiny ending, long-term for Shane. But I like that he doesn’t learn lessons.
I like the idea that he’s not like, “Wow, I really messed up here.” But is, like, “Everyone’s against me.” He remains in that place.
I think it really makes you think back about that opening scene again, and how he talked to those people in the airport. Was it almost like he was bragging?
I think he’s just, like, a man at sea at that point. His wife’s gone. He’s allowed to leave the island, but probably because—if they even brought him into the station—he made bail, and left. And he’s just like, “Whether or not I go to jail, my world is over.” And these two fucking idiots are prying about “Where’s your wife, and whatcha doin’?”
It’s just like…he doesn’t have any decency left—if he had any to begin with—to handle that in a more polite way. I didn’t think of it as bragging as much as it was just that these people won’t stop trying to have a conversation. So he’s like, “You want to have a conversation? Here’s a very real conversation. There’s a dead body out there. Do you want to keep talking, or are we done here?”
He’s like, “Let’s get right to the root of this thing.” Probably for the first time in a long time, if ever.
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