will sharpe hbo 6 final

Happy ‘White Lotus’ Finale Day!

We're begging creator Mike White not to kill off Ethan, this season's obsession

Words by Chelsea Lin

What’s the opposite of a sophomore slump? Asking so I can try to explain The White Lotus, the HBO drama equal parts compelling and cringey about a group of complicated strangers whose lives intertwine at a luxury hotel, and whose second season is so good that I honestly want to cry a little knowing that the finale is tonight. I’ve heard it called “appointment television”—a phrase I’m unfamiliar with because I haven’t built my schedule around watching anything at the moment it airs since about 1998, but I get it here.

Anyhow, if you haven’t watched it, I’m not going to ruin anything for you; I also encourage you to drop everything and go pour over the previous six episodes before it wraps tonight, because otherwise the Internet will surely ruin the ending. Actually, grab yourself an Aperol spritz and a croissant (you’ll get the reference later), and prepare to become obsessed—especially with Ethan.

One of my highlights—perhaps the highlight—of the season has been getting to watch Japanese British smokeshow Will Sharpe bring Ethan to life, a character that embodies show creator Mike White’s unnerving ability to navigate the nuance of power, privilege, even race. Ethan, fresh off some kind of financial windfall for his tech company, finds himself at The White Lotus hotel in Sicily on a kind of celebratory couples’ getaway, with his wife Harper (played to perfection by Aubrey Plaza), his college roommate Cameron (Theo James) and wife Daphne (Meghann Fahy). He is a man of few words but a simmering (smoldering?) intensity revealing his inner turmoil, both in his marriage and in this so-called friendship with Cameron, who’s a colossal dick and the very picture of wealthy, white male entitlement. Sharpe’s Ethan is the opposite: all broody melodrama, defending his honesty, and difficulty navigating social dynamics, but with gorgeous hair and rock-hard abs.


I’m not the only American who’s fallen in love with Sharpe and wondered where he’s been my whole life. (The answer: mostly in England, winning BAFTA awards and writing/directing/acting in a bunch of stuff I’m excited to go watch now.) Social media fans have been trying to guess his role in the story arch since the beginning, have speculated on his history with Cameron, have erected altars to that shower scene. In anticipation of tonight’s finale, we give you a few thoughts on Ethan from around the Internet:

@hbo Ethan, you're trying me. #thewhitelotus ♬ original sound - HBO

Published on December 11, 2022

Words by Chelsea Lin

Chelsea Lin is JoySauce's Seattle-based managing editor and a lifelong storyteller (read: loudmouth). She loves memoirs, bold patterns and bright colors, travel (armchair or otherwise), and dessert—always dessert.