‘The White Lotus’: Murray Bartlett Wasn’t Told Armond’s Poop Scene Would Be ‘That Explicit’
The White Lotus came, it saw, it conquered. The HBO series delivered its shocking season 1 finale on Aug. 15. And among the many surprising decisions The White Lotus characters made, Armond’s is the most unforgettable. Yes, The White Lotus poop scene is already infamous. But did Armond actor Murray Bartlett know just how much would be shown when filming? Not at all! He and creator Mike White shared their feelings on the suitcase scene and why, while graphic, it was a perfect moment.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for The White Lotus Season 1 Episode 6, “Departures.”]
‘The White Lotus’ finale recap: Who is in the coffin?
All season long, fans have been theorizing about who dies in The White Lotus. Sadly, viewers learned that it was Armond. The hotel manager and Jake Lacy’s insufferable Shane Patton sparred all season long. And it came to the ultimate conclusion in The White Lotus Episode 6.
Earlier in the episode, Shane finally got a hold of Armond’s boss. Knowing he was getting fired the next day, Armond went on an intense bender. He got high off of Paula’s medications with his hotel staff again. And in an act of revenge, Armond snuck into the Pineapple Suite and pooped in Shane’s suitcase. Shane was already on edge after learning of the Mossbacher robbery, so he had put a knife on his bedside table for protection. He and Rachel were also experiencing newlywed strife, making him even more angry.
Shane returned to his room by himself and discovered the poop in his suitcase while Armond hid in the closet. Armond tried to escape, but he and Shane turned the same corner simultaneously, resulting in Shane stabbing Armond in self-defense. While it wasn’t hard to imagine Shane being capable of violence throughout season 1 (many thought Shane might kill Rachel), the stabbing itself was an accident. It was a tragic ending to this dynamic, which was defined by Shane’s immense privilege and horrible attitude from the start.
And at last, Shane watching the coffin being loaded onto the plane in The White Lotus opening scene made sense. It wasn’t Rachel or Shane’s mother who had died, rather the hotel manager he had harassed all throughout vacation and made pay the ultimate price. And of course, Shane got away with murder.
‘The White Lotus’ poop scene won’t soon be forgotten
Bartlett opened up about filming The White Lotus poop scene and Armond’s tragic demise in a recent interview. He told The Daily Beast that upon reading the script for the scene, he thought, “Oh, this isn’t going to be that bad.”
“And then when I saw it I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ I had no idea it was going to be that explicit,” he added.
White never told Bartlett the poop would actually be seen. In fact, he told him just the opposite! White told Entertainment Weekly:
“What’s funny is I think I told Murray that it would never be in the show. I was like, ‘We just need this just to set you. But we’re not going to actually use it.’ And I don’t think I’ve ever told him. I don’t know if he… I assume he’s seen it. He seems very happy. He’s definitely texting back and forth with me, but I never brought myself to tell him that we actually did show the whole action.”
Showing the whole action was shocking, indeed. And it made for intense whiplash when Armond immediately met fatal consequences after exacting his hilarious revenge. (The punishment didn’t fit the crime! Justice for Armond!) Despite the devastating consequences, Bartlett thinks the suitcase scene was perfectly effective.
“It’s got the kind of shock value that really works in the moment,” he said. “When I watched it, I wasn’t expecting it to be so one-shot. I got to feel what it is to experience that moment in shock. I love that Mike White will go there.”
And don’t worry, the poop was fake.
Armond’s ending in ‘The White Lotus’ explained by Murray Bartlett
While The White Lotus poop scene was hilarious, Bartlett did note how tragic Armond’s ending was and why Armond smiled as he died in the bathtub.
“Towards the I think he’s hurtling towards that moment of joy,” he said. “In that last moment, he’s finally released from the hell he’s been living. It’s a relief.” Barlett continued:
“It’s tragic that it has to end that way, but what’s brilliant about it is that it shows how Armond is a casualty of the societal system we have, where we treat people better at the top, and as you go down you treat people worse and worse. And when you do that you drive those people crazy because it’s so unfair and f–ked up. I feel like Armond is an expression of that frustration. He’s like, ‘I’m going to fly towards that moment.’ He obviously doesn’t know what will ultimately happen, but he has this cavalier sense of ‘F–k it.’ Knowing that he was heading there helped me.”
The White Lotus has been renewed for season 2. But nothing will be the same without Armond.