The White Lotus season 2 episode 5: A whirlwind recap and that mind-blowing plot twist explained

The White Lotus season 2 episode 5 ended on a truly shocking note as Tanya saw something she wasn't meant to...

The White Lotus season 2 episode 5 explained, seen here are Jon Gries as Greg & Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya McQuoid
(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO Copyright © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.)

The White Lotus season 2 episode 5 ended with an unforgettable twist and saw some guests gain the upper hand with secret information about the others’ indiscretions. 

From the moment The White Lotus season 2 was announced, excited fans were left anticipating what could top the intriguing scenes and stunning scenery we’ve come to expect from this hit anthology show. Switching-up its setting to Italy, The White Lotus season 2 filming location is every bit as beautiful and the brand new characters have a whole host of gripping secrets as tension simmers beneath the surface. The White Lotus season 2 episode 5 ended on a particularly dramatic note with a shock twist that few people likely saw coming. 

Here we have you covered with a The White Lotus episode 5 recap including unpacking the shocking final moments of the ending…

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

The White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO Copyright © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.)

The White Lotus season 2 episode 5 recap  

Aptly titled “Amore” (Italian for love), the fifth installment of The White Lotus had all the passion and drama of the best romantic movies and saw Ethan finally finding the condom wrapper left out by Harper. Confronted by Harper and desperate, Ethan quickly folds and reveals that Cameron had slept with Lucia and that he had taken molly. Furious at her husband’s admission, Ethan’s attempts to apologize to Harper fall on deaf ears. 

But she now knows far more than he might’ve wanted her to and later flaunts her newfound knowledge in front of Cameron, hinting about his indiscretions. 

Obviously, Harper isn’t the only one to know what went down that night as Lucia is also aware and still wants the money she says Cameron owes her. She also demands money from Albie for having sex with him, claiming that the time they spent together was business rather than pleasure. As a bewildered Albie announced he needed to go to the bank, however, his father Dominic stepped in to tell Lucia to stay away from him.

Only, Dominic had his own dalliance with Lucia to hide and plead with her not to tell Albie about what *they’d* done. She has all the power here and it’s intriguing to think what these secrets might lead her to do during the remaining The White Lotus season 2 episodes. 

Michael Imperioli as Dominic Di Grasso

(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO Copyright © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.)

Dominic later told Albie to keep away from Lucia too and so ensued a conversation about sex work, prompted by his father Bert who very nearly revealed everything. Later on in the episode Lucia had dinner with Albie and had changed her tune dramatically, saying she no longer wants money as Dominic and Bert reflect on their own infidelities. 

But it’s not just the Lucia/Albie/Dominic drama that might have led some fans to be seeking a The White Lotus episode 5 recap as the Harper/Ethan/Cameron/Daphne plotline continued to deliver plenty of shocking scenes. Armed with what she knows, Harper began to stir things between Cameron and Ethan too, asking if they’d ever slept with the same woman which saw serious bitterness emerge on Ethan’s part as he said that whenever he liked someone, Cameron would swoop in first. 

Cameron was also more than a little annoyed to discover that Ethan had caved and told Harper about Lucia. 

Meghann Fahy as Daphne Babcock & Aubrey Plaza as Harper Spiller

(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO© 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.)

We also saw Daphne and Harper chat about infidelity and Daphne seemed unfazed, telling Harper that she has to do what makes her feel better and talking about her attractive blond trainer, before finding a photo of him. Only the photo she showed Harper was actually one of her children. Whether this was a simple mistake or whether she was hinting that her trainer was her children’s biological father remains to be seen. 

Meanwhile, who could forget Tanya? Played by the brilliant Jennifer Coolidge and a The White Lotus season 1 character, Tanya had befriended Quentin who is on vacation in Italy with his nephew Jack and friends. Her assistant Portia and Jack had hit it off big time and Tanya and Portia had been invited to spend time with Quentin and his group. 

Tom Hollander and Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.)

Quentin ended up taking Tanya to watch the classic Italian opera, Madame Butterfly whilst Jack and Portia went on a date. Later on, however, Jack left Portia to go and “do something” for his uncle. It’s only later we discovered what this is as The White Lotus episode 5 ending entered its final stages…

The White Lotus season 2 episode 5 ending explained 

As the only returning character from The White Lotus season 1 it’s perhaps fitting that Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya McQuoid-Hunt was the one to witness one of the most shocking moments in season 2 so far. The White Lotus episode 5 ending saw Tanya struggle to get to sleep and make the ultimately disastrous decision to go wandering around Quentin's place to combat her restlessness. 

This leads the unwitting Tanya to walk in one something that she - and probably many viewers at home - likely won’t forget in a hurry: Quentin having sex with Jack. Yes, Jack - his nephew, although given what transpires between them ahead of episode 6 their relationship might not be as it first appears. 

Tom Hollander as Quentin

(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO Copyright © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.)

Although they’ve claimed to be uncle and nephew so far throughout The White Lotus season 2, it could possibly be that Quentin and Jack have constructed this backstory as a lie and are actually lovers. Or, of course, it could be just as it appears - the two have an incestuous relationship and now Tanya is the only other guest who knows.

Tanya is friends with Quentin and her assistant Portia would likely be shocked to discover the truth about Jack, especially after enjoying their night of passion. So what exactly is going on here? Well, whilst we’ll just have to wait until The White Lotus episode 6 to discover how Tanya will react to what she’s seen between Quentin and Jack, if there’s one thing that The White Lotus has shown is that people with information often look to use it to their own advantage. 

Episodes 1-5 of The White Lotus season 2 is available to watch now via HBO Max in the US and Sky in the UK.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.