‘The White Lotus’ Finale: Alexandra Daddario on Rachel’s Big Decision
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The White Lotus, Season 1, Episode 6, “Departures.”]
As she went through a post-wedding identity crisis, deciding if her whiny husband Shane (Jake Lacy) was one of her biggest mistakes ever, Rachel ends up making the surprising, if not concerning, decision to stay with him. The worst part? It doesn’t even take Shane accidentally stabbing hotel manager Armond (Murray Bartlett) to steer Rachel clear of the toxic man’s path.
Below, Daddario opens up about her feelings regarding Rachel’s finale ending, character motivations, and more.
How do you feel about Rachel’s journey and overall arc by the finale’s end?
Alexandra Daddario: I think for me the ending is… you can’t use the word satisfying. And that’s the story Mike is trying to tell. This is her life, this is her world and I just wanted to live true to that and this confusion over feeling completely trapped and having no sense of how to get out of it. I took some of my own experiences and I think that Rachel has been through some stuff that has dampened her ability to really follow her instincts.
Do you think Rachel’s decision to stay with Shane was motivated by fear? Do you think she’s nervous he killed Armond on purpose?
No, I don’t think that she thinks that he is that kind of a person, but I think that she feels very foolish. She’s realizing the [she] got caught up in this fantasy. She’s only half admitting to herself, how much she actually enjoyed the money and the attention. That was sort of what was driving her through. I think that’s why she feels so trapped and foolish. She married the guy, she’s on her honeymoon, and she’s having these feelings. Part of it is disappointment in herself. She doesn’t feel like she has freedom because she doesn’t have money [or] a career, that is all fear-based. [She’s] in her 30s saying, “wow, what have I made of my life? I thought I was somewhat different and I guess I’m really not.”
Is Rachel giving up her dreams for herself by staying with Shane or will she continue to push for her independence?
I think from my experience, people and dynamics don’t change. It’s possible, but I think that the dynamic will stay the same. She can sit back and be accepting. She says, “I’ll be happy, I promise.” I think that’s the decision she’d made, but in my experience, I don’t think that’s something that she’s going to be able to follow through on. The dynamics and the interactions between her and Shane are going to remain the same and she can sit there and suffer in silence and not be able to express how she really feels.
The other thing is, as the show points out, she’s not really that great at her job, or if she is, then she’s not what she says. She also doesn’t really believe in herself. I think that’s pretty soul-crushing. So it remains to be seen, but I never thought it was a happy ending [for her].
Was Rachel unfairly treated by Belinda (Natasha Rothwell)? She finally made her cry for help loud enough for someone to hear only to be turned down by the spa manager.
My problem is, “oh, should I stay married to this rich man or go back to work?” It’s not the biggest problem in the world. And Belinda’s dealing with a lot more than that in her life. And she’s not crying to anyone, she’s listening to all these people come in and have their problems. I don’t think that Rachel’s alone. There are people she can turn to, but it’s all gone wrong. It’s not Belinda’s responsibility to take care of her.
The season was filled with so many outrageous moments. Was there any scene or moment that was a personal favorite?
The scripts are very funny, I’m trying to think of a specific thing where I laughed out loud. Maybe the boat scene with [Jennifer] Coolidge? The amazing thing about her, you look back and every single scene that you’re in with her, and you couldn’t keep a straight face she’s just so funny. That stuff read funny on the page and then Coolidge makes it even funnier. I think it was the pandemic… it just felt like, “what are all these people worrying about? These people are just not focused on the right things.” There’s so much humor and just their obsession was the things that don’t matter.
Considering the circumstances under which the production took place, how did COVID impact your performance or experience?
Yeah. I think for me, you do your work but when it comes from [reality]. It’s like you’re trapped and struggling and you’re coming out of quarantine. So there’s a heightened emotional state that I was just in any way that I didn’t have to reach for as much, it’s just there. Hopefully, your emotions are at your fingertips, but a lot of it was just there.
The show has been renewed for Season 2, should you be asked to return as Rachel, would you consider coming back?
I’m really excited for Mike that it was renewed and just to be part of it for one season is great. I’d love to work with Mike on anything. He’s absolutely wonderful and an incredible filmmaker, but I’m just happy to be part of it at all.
The White Lotus, Season 2, TBA, HBO