Tanya McQuoid is the only character from “The White Lotus” Season 1 who returns a second time and plays a crucial role throughout the new season. The rich, lonely, middle-aged white woman found love while staying at the “White Lotus” in Hawaii. Greg worked at the Bureau of Land Management and was visiting Hawaii with his colleagues. They bonded during the vacation, but with time, she learned that Greg was suffering from a terminal illness. But we can assume that with the right treatment and medication, his life was back on track.
Tanya was a romantic; she longed for grand gestures and special treatment. She wanted her man to spoil her, and Greg had managed to win her heart. But with time, Tanya could sense the growing distance between them. She was terrified of being alone. Even though she knew that Greg would be with her on the Sicily trip, she chose to bring her assistant, Portia, along with her in case she needed someone else to talk to. Greg was disappointed when he noticed that she had brought Portia on the couple’s vacation. Portia was asked to lay low in her room and only make public appearances when Tanya approved.
Born into a wealthy family, Tanya never had to worry about staying afloat. She inherited her father’s fortune and had all the wealth and connections to take good care of herself; at this point, we can safely say she was terrible at doing the one job she had! She had a tendency to exploit people (particularly women), especially those who relied on her for money or connections. From Belinda to Portia, Tanya used women according to her whims and wishes, knowing that they could not say no to her because of her position. Belinda was a black masseuse, and Portia was a graduate desperate to gather job experience. Tanya knew their weaknesses and used them to her advantage.
She casually used a racial slur to describe the fortune teller she was looking for. Even though Portia warned her, she did not care to correct herself. While she believed that the fortune teller was as authentic as she could get, her opinion changed the moment the woman stated that her marriage would not last long and that there was someone else in her partner’s life. Tanya demanded the people around her repeat what she wanted to believe. The fortune teller’s lack of interest in consoling her bothered her to the extent that she asked the woman to leave immediately. She was not searching for the truth; she was simply looking for words of affirmation from an “authentic” source. When Tanya bonded with Quentin and his friends, she went ahead and discussed how women were mostly depressed, and hence, they were boring. Whereas men, particularly gay men, were far more celebratory and an overall fun crowd to be with. Tanya tended to seek validation from men; she valued their opinion far more than any women. Her gullibility with men, on the other hand, could be the source of her worst nightmare.
“The White Lotus” Season 2 hints at the possibility of Tanya’s death several times. At the very beginning of the season, when Tanya stepped into the breakfast lounge, she exclaimed, wondering if anyone had ever thought of jumping off the place. Not only that, Quentin compared her life to the tragic heroines in Puccini’s operas. He took her to one of Puccini’s operas, “Madama Butterfly,” where the female protagonist dies. The fact that Tanya decided to trust random strangers she met only because they complimented her style is quite a red flag. What makes it even more suspicious is how well-timed the exit of Greg and the entry of Quentin were. From the first episode itself, Greg seemed disinterested in Tanya. He gaslighted her and body-shamed her at any given moment. He seemed particularly dissatisfied with the prenup he had signed before marrying Tanya. He was visibly unhappy in the marriage, but he could not leave her for fear of financial damage. Therefore, the only way he could get out of the marriage was if Tanya was caught in a questionable position.
Clearly, Greg was Quentin’s first love, as shown in “The White Lotus,” episode 6. He mentioned how, even after thirty years, he would do anything for the American cowboy he fell head over heels for. The picture Tanya found of young Greg and Quentin confirms that they were indeed working together to ruin her life. Quentin needed money to afford his extravagant lifestyle, and Greg wanted to leave Tanya without losing his fortune. Even though Tanya had seen Quentin and Jake in an intimate position, she did not think much about it. At times, it almost seems as if Tanya chooses not to think about the unpleasant. She preferred to live in denial rather than face reality. Even when Quentin encouraged her to snort coke, she continued to believe that he simply wanted her to have fun. She never questioned why a group of men would suddenly be interested in entertaining her. Maybe she wanted to believe that she had the charm to attract people around her, and of course, their constant compliments made it almost impossible for her to analyze the situation.
At the end of Episode 6 of “The White Lotus” Season 2, Tanya proceeded to spend the night with Niccolo. Quentin introduced Niccolo as someone from a drug family who brought the drugs to his party, though we cannot trust Quentin’s words at the moment. Tanya had seen the picture of young Greg and Quentin, but she was too drugged to process it. She was hesitant at first, but she could not resist the charms of Niccolo. As Niccolo proceeded to kiss Tanya, a red light could be seen on top of the frame, indicating that they were being recorded. Not only that, as the camera tracked away from the couple, we could sense that they were being watched by others. After spending an eventful night with Niccolo, Tanya woke up to realize that Portia was missing. She cursed her luck for ending up with assistants who took advantage of her, though it was because of Tanya’s carelessness and desperation for attention that they ended up with a bunch of strangers in Palermo. She was ignorant enough to judge Quentin and his friends based on the wealth they possessed and went along with them to a villa without conducting any background checks. She did not care to think about Quentin’s intentions, even after realizing that he had lied about Jack.
Before leaving the villa, she felt the urgency to take a look at the picture of young Greg. Quentin lied about the identity of the man in the picture, and she was gullible enough to believe him even after noticing the uncanny resemblance. It was only when Portia called her and blatantly stated every detail, she deciphered from her conversation with Jack the previous night that she finally realized she was in trouble. She concluded that Greg wanted to murder her to inherit her fortune. She desperately searched for help, but it was impossible to get away from the danger in the middle of the sea. When it was time for her to leave the yacht and travel to the shore in a dinghy with Niccolo, she panicked. She grabbed hold of his bag and rushed into a room. The duct tape, ropes, and gun she found in his bag confirmed her fear. She held the gun closely, ready to shoot anyone who came in her way. In a state of haze, she shot Niccolo, Quentin, and his friends. As she watched Quentin slowly die, she asked him one last time if Greg was cheating on her. It was funny how Tanya cared about Greg’s loyalty even after knowing that the man orchestrated an elaborate plan to murder her for her money. Whether or not there was another person in his life should have been the least of her concerns, considering how little she knew about the man she married. One of Quentin’s friends jumped off the yacht while the rest were shot dead. Tanya struggled to figure out a way to escape. All her life, she had relied on others to help her out of misery, but in the end, she was left alone to take the most crucial decision of her life. She jumped off the yacht, intending to land in the dinghy, but instead, she banged her head into a rod and went straight into the water. Her death was comical and unglamorous, yet extremely fitting.
Only Tanya could have the courage to shoot every man down, but she lacked the intelligence to travel from the yacht to the shore. All her life, she steered clear of people she believed were after her money, but alas, judging people based on their wealth backfired. Tanya’s case was labeled as an unfortunate drowning incident, making it easier for Greg to inherit the wealth she possessed. If there had been any suspicion, the case would have been investigated, but Tanya left no room for it. Maybe it was the curse of the multiple innocent people she preyed on that led to her tragic yet comical death.