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Haley Lu Richardson talks ‘White Lotus’ Season 2 finale: ‘It’s maniacal’

Richardson said she was "evil laughing" while reading the script for the show's last episode.

At the beginning of the first episode of "The White Lotus" Season Two, Daphne (Meghann Fahy) discovers a body (or, bodies) in the water at a Sicilian beach, and runs out screaming.

So prompts the question propelling this season, and last season, of the HBO Max show: Who dies in the end?

"I actually just heard a theory that they think Daphne is the one who dies," Haley Lu Richardson tells, laughing. "Which is like, the one person who can't die."

In Season Two of "The White Lotus," Richardson plays Portia, the assistant to Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge, the only cast member to return from the anthology show's first season).

Portia accompanies Tanya on a trip to Sicily with her husband, Greg (John Greis). When Greg suddenly returns to the U.S. for "business," Portia is left to carry Tanya's emotional baggage.

With the release of each weekly episode, fans voice theories and opinions about the show's characters and their often questionable actions. Portia, with her flaky personality and divisive fashoin sense, is no exception.

During the season, Portia has a short-lived and awkward romance with fellow vacationer, Albie (Adam DiMarco), and then gets involved with Jack (Leo Woodall), an Essex bloke who screams "bad news." She also follows Tanya to an Englishman's palazzo, where their lives may be in danger.

Portia and Tanya in 'The White Lotus.'
Portia and Tanya in 'The White Lotus.'Fabio Lovino / HBO

Richardson says that, like the rest of us, she's trawling the internet for theories. While doing so, she encountered some, uh, heated opinions about her character. "I saw a lot of people saying she was insufferable and obnoxious, or that they couldn't even watch her," she says.

But she also heard from equally loud contingent of viewers who are firmly Team Portia.

"I've heard from some people that they think Portia is the only redeemable character on the show of the rest of the guests," she tells us. "She's still at this point in her life where she hasn't really committed to the manipulation or the screwed up-ness."

As for where she falls? Richardson thinks there's hope for Portia after returning from the White Lotus — but not without some introspection. Even Tanya — a character without a shred of self-awareness — calls Portia out for her lack of common sense in Episode Six.

"Portia needs to spend time alone, and with a therapist," Richardson says. "Hopefully the therapist can get Portia to wake up to the fact that she is, in fact, part of her own problems."

Richardson wore her own shorts in the show

Directionless and impressionable, Portia grapples with the universal problems of youth — but looks like a classic Gen Z persona while doing so. (Think: an e-girl hair-wearing, Y2K quirky fashion-loving, popular music-listening kind of girlie.)

Costume designer on "The White Lotus" Alex Bovaird said that Portia's outfits are intentional.

"She’s young, she doesn’t really know who she is, and she’s trying on different ideas. Sometimes she dresses more dainty, and sometimes she dresses like a boy. She did bring a couple of nice dresses because she knew she was going to dinner, but the price point is $100 to $200, or cheaper. Lots of vintage and thrift store finds," she said in an interview with Variety.

Basically, if it looks like it could've been found in a thrift store or an Instagram storefront, Portia is probably wearing it.

"I'm scared to say this because everyone thinks Portia's clothes are ugly," she says, "but I brought a pair of my own Levi's shorts that I thrifted and wore on the show."

Haley Lu Richardson loves the early 2000s top she got to wear in episode 3.
Haley Lu Richardson loves the early 2000s top she got to wear in episode 3.Fabio Lovino / HBO

As for an outfit of Portia's she would wear herself? "I really like that early 2000s top that has all of the faces on it. It actually was a dress, but the dress version looked bad on me. So we sewed it into a shirt!"

What happens in the 'White Lotus' Season 2 finale?

After six action-packed episodes, fans are gearing up for the release of the finale on Sunday, Dec. 9 — and are staying busy until then.

There's a substantial community of TikTokers and Redditors who are deep (and we mean deep) into "White Lotus" lore, theorizing about who will wind up dead.

As much as the general public has begged her to spill on how the season will conclude, Richardson (who says she's notoriously bad at keeping secrets) keeps mum.

Although she can't give big details away, she tells that, when she first read the finale episode, her jaw dropped.

"I was shocked. My jaw kept dropping — but it was so fun to read," she says. "I was evil laughing the whole time I was reading it. It's maniacal and convoluted."

And, even though the second season is sadly coming to an end this weekend, there is already a Season Three of the show confirmed.

Richardson notes that, if she had a hand in casting, she'd love to tap "Knives Out" star and Hollywood legend Jamie Lee Curtis for the job. "I feel like she would just be so chaotic," Richardson says, laughing.

And as for Richardson's own future, post "White Lotus"? She says she would gladly sign on to be Jennifer Coolidge's assistant IRL. "Hire me, Jennifer," Richardson says, deadpan.