What is Chekhov's Gun? White Lotus fans think they've spotted it again

Eve Edwards December 5, 2022
What is Chekhov's Gun? White Lotus fans think they've spotted it again

Featured

Ahead of the finale episode of The White Lotus season 2, fans think they’ve spotted Chekhov’s Gun.

WARNING: Spoilers from The White Lotus season 2 episode 6 ahead

This season of The White Lotus uproots the action from the beachy vibes of Hawaii to the stunning scenes of Sicily, Italy. With a whole new cast of characters and mystery at hand, the sophomore season of Mike White’s drama brings fans a different take on the first season.

But tensions are rising and the presence of a potential Chekhov’s Gun has some viewers wondering how this season will resolve.

1860-1904

The White Lotus fans think Chekhov’s Gun is in play

There are seven episode of The White Lotus season 2, with the finale airing on Sunday, December 11, 2022.

In the penultimate episode (December 4), eagle-eyed fans spotted what they thought to be Chekhov’s Gun. Quentin invites Nicolo over to set him up with Tanya (played by comedy queen Jennifer Coolidge). At the party, where a number of illicit substances are consumed, Tanya notices a gun in Nicolo’s bag and picks it up.

“That was 100% Chekhov’s Gun on tonight’s White Lotus. Bank on it,” one fan tweeted.

“Not The White Lotus whipping out a literal Chekhov’s Gun,” another added.

What is Chekhov’s Gun?

Chekhov’s Gun is not a plot device, but a dramatic principle used in theater and by playwrights to shape the action. Chekhov’s Gun suggests that details within a story will contribute to the overall narrative. It encourages writers to not include extemporaneous details that will not be relevant in the final act.

It takes its name from Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, who dictated the dramatic principle. “Remove everything that has no relevance to the story,” Chekhov wrote. “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” 

This is why the principle centers on a gun, although it is about any detail included in storytelling.

How Chekhov’s Gun will come into play in The White Lotus

The central mystery of The White Lotus revolves around who is the mysterious body floating in the ocean. Just as in the first season, viewers are aware that one of the characters will die, but not who until the final episode.

We know from last season that The White Lotus writers subscribe to the Chekhov’s Gun principle. So, when a gun popped up in season 2 episode 6, it made it quite clear that this could be the murder weapon. But who wields the gun in the final episode is still unclear.

Rocco (Federico Ferrante) tells Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) that “one of the guests has drowned.” Rocco adds that “Salvatore says other bodies have been found… Other guests have been killed.” Valentina asks, “Rocco, how many dead guests are there?” He replies, “I don’t know… a few?” So, at least one of the guests has been killed.

Last season also had a Chekhov’s Gun

It’s not just the second season of The White Lotus that has a Chekhov’s Gun floating around, as there was one in the last.

In the first season, viewers glimpsed a pineapple coring knife and instantly thought that this would be the murder weapon. Following the Chekhov’s Gun principle, the pineapple knife did become central to the story.

“So, far as I can tell, The White Lotus is what happens when you get 10 writers a room, each having an obsession with Chekhov’s gun,” one viewer tweeted.

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.