In an interview with The Ringer, Mike White elaborated on his method of directing the ending moments of “The White Lotus” season 2 finale, when Coolidge’s character recognizes she’s been abducted to be killed. Before leaving the yacht with her escort, Tanya grabs the suspicious-looking bag and runs into a room … only to learn that it contains a rope, tape, and gun, which does not bode well for her fate. In a panicked, terrified frenzy, she bursts out of the room, shooting at everyone. The camera focuses on her expression throughout — Tanya doesn’t open her eyes for a second. We see and hear her shoot multiple bullets, and moments later the crime scene is revealed: Tanya has managed to kill everyone in her path. We don’t know if anyone tried to save themselves or stop Tanya because we only see her throughout the scene.
Mike White feared that the shoot-out scene would dial up on the “campiness” and make it intolerant — the writer didn’t want the sequence to come across as “goofy.” It was serious; it was Tanya saving her life even though she stepped foot into a grave of her own making later on. Staying with Tanya as she acted out of fear created suspense and an atmosphere of uncertainty, and we know White is terrific at developing that.