The White Lotus Season 1 Episode 6 Recap and Ending Explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 16, 2021 (Last updated: December 12, 2023)
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The White Lotus episode 6 recap - the finale/ending explained


“Departures” delivers a perfect end to The White Lotus, proving that the very worst of us get to leave their problems — and their victims — behind.

This recap of The White Lotus Season 1 Episode 6, “Departures”, contains spoilers. We also discuss the White Lotus ending.

And in the end, the very worst of them got away with everything.

I’m not talking about murder. Not really, anyway, although the first season (the second has already been confirmed) of The White Lotus was built on the promise of someone’s death, and the finale, “Departures”, finally reveals who kicked the bucket. But the rich, white clientele of this titular resort is guilty of much more than someone’s death, accidental or otherwise. They’re guilty of exploiting a woman’s dreams; trampling over the natives; attempting to ruin a man’s life for a petty slight. They’re guilty of perpetuating a culture of exploitation, of profiting from misery, of vacationing on someone’s home. Given how the show has been since it started, there was never really a chance that any of the resort’s guests would be made to answer for any of this.

The White Lotus Season 1 Episode 6 Recap

Armond’s death – of course it was Armond – arrives so late it’s barely felt, just one more indignity he must suffer at the moisturized hands of Shane Patton, whose luggage he at least got time to take a dump in before he was fatally skewered with a pineapple knife. After a career spent kowtowing to people like Shane, a career that was coming to an end anyway because of Shane, death probably felt like a welcome release. Or, more likely, he was too high to have felt anything at all.

Armond died as he lived – blotto, which one assumes is the only way he could cope with these people. And yet he was one of the few characters in this show who wasn’t completely numb. The only other candidate is, weirdly, Quinn, who is so excited at the prospect of being treated like a human being that he resolves to stay in Maui and paddle a h?k?le?a to Polynesia. “Departures”, and thus the season, ends with a parting shot of him, having fled from his family when their backs were turned to sail towards a sun-dappled horizon with the locals who did him the courtesy of acknowledging his existence.

That’s all it takes, I suppose, just an acknowledgment that you’re there, that you matter. Rachel didn’t get that – Shane was too busy obsessing over Armond’s personal and professional destruction to worry about his new wife – which is she why she finally resolved to tell her husband that she made a mistake in marrying him. Alexandra Daddario is great at selling the moment of catharsis that the script didn’t give her. I was expecting a big speech, and I think she was too, but instead, she stammered something vague and took the first opportunity to call Shane a baby when he predictably lashed out. It wasn’t the first-pump comeuppance I was hoping for Shane, but real life tends not to work in the grandiose way on-screen break-ups do. It was enough just to see the realization settle on his face.

That isn’t the only realization in “Departures”. Liv has one of her own when Armond tells the Mossbachers that their belongings have been recovered from the unlikely thief, a nice-guy hotel employee named Kai. She puts together that Paula put him up to it and gave him the code for the room’s safe, but it’s hard to put a finger on which aspect of this whole thing she’s especially annoyed about. Was it the betrayal? Was it Paula’s accusation that Olivia is no different from the parents she pretends to be disgusted by? Or was it that Paula finally got to have her own little story that Liv couldn’t control? Either way, we don’t even glimpse Kai, see him get caught, or learn what punishment he might face. The story is resolved from Paula’s perspective, and she’s as horrified as we are to learn that it’s the same perspective as the Mossbachers, who leave missing one son they never paid much attention to anyway, but with all their real valuables intact.

The White Lotus Season 1 Ending Explained

This is grim, but it’s somehow less shameless than Tanya, who predictably reneges on her promised investment in Belinda’s wellness center by explaining how Belinda has allowed her to break the pattern of transactional relationships that have been damaging her all these years. So, not only did Tanya not invest in her “friend’s” dream, which she has promised to do all season, but she blamed her friend for not doing so. Belinda breaks down in tears, but not over the lost opportunity, since she slides the conciliatory envelope full of cash that Tanya gives her into a desk drawer like it might explode at any minute. She’s crying at having believed, however briefly, that even one of these awful people could have been different. By the time Rachel is calling her, trying to unburden herself of her marital woes, Belinda is all out of advice. Who could blame her?

It’s only right that Armond’s death, the one The White Lotus has been building up to all this time, is basically a suicide. Having learned that the big boss is on his way to fire him, he resolves to go out in a blaze of glory, crushing and snorting all his remaining pills with as many waiters as he can find, smilingly directing dinner service like he’s conducting a symphony, and then breaking into the Pineapple Suite for his final act of revenge. He didn’t anticipate Shane, having been abandoned by his wife, returning to the room early. Nor did he anticipate Shane arming himself with the knife he had earlier placed by his bedside to defend his hot trophy wife against the dangerous jewel thief who was roaming the hotel. But when the moment comes, Armond walks right into it. Shane is too much of a privileged man-baby to actually stab someone, after all.

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