Warning: Spoilers for The White Lotus’ Season 2 finale follow. At long last, the frustrating love square between Harper, Ethan, Cameron, and Daphne came to an end in The White Lotus’ Season 2 finale, but the episode never explicitly clarified just how the entanglement, well, untangled. It was definitely heavily suggested that Ethan and Daphne hooked up on The White Lotus, and honestly, it seemed like the affair was just what Ethan and Harper needed to get their marriage back on track.
For a storyline so focused on infidelity, it was an interesting choice that The White Lotus kept the possible cheating between Harper, Cameron, Ethan, and Daphne vague. In the penultimate episode of the season, Ethan accused Harper of having sex with Cameron after the two retreated to their room together. In the finale, Harper confessed she kissed Cameron, but nothing more, which Ethan didn’t believe. Heartbroken, he shared his suspicions with Daphne, who taught a masterclass in subtle facial expressions and then led him to a private spot on a nearby island. Viewers didn’t get to see what happened on that island, but it seemed to fix things with Ethan and Harper, because afterward Ethan finally had sex with his wife and the spark was back in their relationship.
The obvious implication is that Daphne and Ethan got down and dirty together. It may have been an act of revenge for the two spurned partners, or possibly Ethan just got tired of always having to follow the rules — either way, the show left all the spicy details a mystery.
But viewers can pretty much read between the lines here. In an interview following the episode, showrunner Mike White revealed that something happened on that island that helped Ethan save his relationship with Harper. “Did they have some kind of little dalliance on the island, or whatever happened, it allows him to let go of the jealousy that’s been brewing with him,” White said. “And it kind of brings back that first sexual charge that happens in the beginning of relationships and sometimes fades away over time. In the end ... maybe what Ethan and Harper needed was a small dash of what Cameron and Daphne have.”
White didn’t outright confirm Ethan and Daphne hooked up on that island, but if you need any more convincing, there’s a particularly interesting frame in the opening credits that could hint at what happened.
A more interesting aspect to explore is why Daphne instigated the likely-hookup. Some fans assumed Daphne did it to get back at Cameron for cheating, but that may not totally add up, given that Daphne admitted to cheating and didn’t seem to care about Cameron sleeping around earlier in the season. The more convincing take is that Daphne was hurt by Harper’s betrayal, not Cameron’s. Earlier in the season, Daphne mentioned how she finds it hard to be friends with other women, but she clearly formed a strong bond with Harper. For Harper to betray that trust by possibly hooking up with her husband may have driven Daphne to do the same thing with Harper’s husband.
Both couples left Sicily with issues, but learning to be less rigid in their relationships seemed to help both grow closer. Who’d have thought this season’s message would be that cheating may actually help a relationship?