Lou on Netflix: Ending Explained and will there be a sequel?

Everything that went down, and what it means

Allison Janney as Lou and Jurnee Smollett as Hannah in Netflix's Lou
(Image credit: Netflix/Future)

There are a lot of questions left up in the air - we have answered them all for you here.

The simply titled Lou on Netflix, has a complicated plot that belies the straightforward title. The titular Lou lives in a fairly isolated retirement. She is considering taking her own life when her neighbour Hannah visits in a panic to say her daughter Vee has been abducted. Recruiting Lou to help look for her, the two battle a relentless storm to find the missing girl. During their search, it becomes clear that Lou has left behind a secretive and dangerous past, and could even be connected to the man who took Vee. The film’s ambiguous ending has left viewers with a lot of questions, and we are here to bring some answers. Read on for the Lou ending explained, along with other burning questions cleared up and everything we know about a possible sequel. 

Also on Netflix, The Crown is seeing a huge surge in popularity following recent events, and viewers are wondering did the Queen watch The Crown? We weigh in on Royal family reactions to the show. With the crew unable to use real locations in the series, we’ve covered every location The Crown filmed at throughout seasons 1 - 5. With an ever changing cast representing the Royals throughout the ages, we also have a handy guide to The Crown cast throughout every season so far.  

Lou on Netflix: Ending explained 

The biggest twist in Lou’s ending is that Philip is actually Lou’s son. Lou was aware throughout the entire hunt for Vee that she had been abducted by her own son whom she knew was Hannah’s ex-husband, but this was not revealed until the film’s ending. While an undercover agent with the CIA, Lou was sent on a mission to get close to a dangerous man. However, in a shocking twist she became pregnant by her target, and the resulting baby - Philip, was taken away from her and given to his dangerous father. This resulted in the mental health troubles that led to him being abusive to Hannah and Vee as an adult.

Philip had left deliberate clues leading Lou to the lighthouse, where he’d planned to blow her and Hannah up. However, using the supposed arthritis-easing copper bracelet given to her by Sheriff Rankin that she’d initially scoffed at, Lou uses it to free them. She fashions it into an antenna and uses it along with Hannah’s radio to delay the detonation. This allows them time to escape, and Lou then sets off the explosion later to grab the attention of the circling CIA helicopter. Presumably Lou hopes the helicopter crew will shoot Philip dead. 

In the dramatic finale fight scene beneath the menacing helicopter, Lou and Philip fight to the death. Philip stabs Lou, and both take a shower of bullets from the helicopter. Sinking into the water, both are presumed dead. It appears Hannah and Vee will be safe to live a life of safety, free from the pursuit of Philip. Hannah inherits Lou’s house and money, and denies ever knowing about Lou’s real identity or past when asked by officials. Hannah can be seen taking a ferry for a new life in Seattle, accompanied by Vee and Lou’s faithful dog Jax.

Is Lou alive at the end of Lou?

Yes, Lou is actually alive at the end of Lou. Although she is presumed dead after being seen sinking into the ocean under a shower of bullets, she actually survived.

In the final scene where Hannah, Vee and Jax head to Seattle for their new life, Jax becomes increasingly interested in a mysterious figure watching them through binoculars. Miraculously, Lou survived the bullets, and other injuries she sustained, to escape the water and hide out in the woods. Secretly maintaining a watchful eye over Hannah and Vee, a new copper bracelet seen on her wrist implies possible Sheriff Rankin involvement in keeping her alive and hidden. With her hair dyed brown and wearing glasses, Lou is maintaining a disguise while she remains a fugitive.  

Lou managed to apologise to Philip before he went under the water, and this appears to have given her some closure around the guilt she felt at the person he became. Instead of the suicidal Lou at the beginning of the film, she appears determined to keep her family at the forefront of her actions, while still dealing with the repercussions of her former life. 

Allison Janney as Lou in Netflix's Lou

(Image credit: Netflix)

Is Philip dead at the end of Lou?

This remains ambiguous as Philip does appear in any follow up scenes in the way Lou does. However, his dead body is never seen either. 

It has been speculated that the reason Lou is following Hannah and Vee so closely, is that she suspects her son might not be dead. This appears plausible, as she has no other reason to fear for their safety and wouldn’t otherwise need to follow them like she does. 

However, Lou is still a fugitive and although Hannah has denied to authorities she knows anything about Lou’s former life, Lou could still believe Hannah could be targeted by them in a bid to track her down if they find out she is still alive. She could also be following them for this reason, not because she believes Philip is alive. This one remains up in the air. 

Logan Marshall-Green as Philip

(Image credit: Netflix)

Lou 2: Will there be a sequel? 

Netflix has not made an official announcement about a sequel to Lou. However, there are certainly enough plot threads available to continue the franchise and make another instalment.

Speaking to Today, actress Jurnee Smollett who plays Hannah, didn’t rule out the possibility of a sequel. Also acting as executive producer for Lou, Smollett said “Without giving too much away, I think Lou is such a fascinating story. It's really about the right pieces coming together”

She continued “I had such an incredible time collaborating with (producer) JJ Abrams and Bad Robot and Hannah Minghella. They brought me on as an executive producer, and it was my first time, and I learned so much from JJ and the whole team. I would trust if they felt there was more story to tell”. 

Allison Janney as Lou, Ridley Asha Bateman as Vee, and Jurnee Smollett as Hannah in Netflix's Vee

(Image credit: Netflix)

Lou: Rotten Tomatoes 

Review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes has collated Lou reviews and it currently has a critic score of 67%, and an audience score of 65%.

Noel Murray from the Los Angeles Times said “The mystery of who Lou is and why she takes an interest in Hannah isn’t as surprising as the movie makes it out to be; but Janney is so commanding as an unlikely action hero that the picture still works”.

Adam Graham from the Detroit News was full of praise for the nostalgic 80’s setting for the film. He added “Plays like an '80s action thriller, with Janney in a brooding role that might have then been played by tough dudes Schwarzenegger or Stallone”.

Brian Tallerico from Roger Ebert was not impressed by the film at all. He said “Allison Janney proves with Lou that she could carry an action movie. If only she got one worth carrying”.

Echoing these sentiments, Erik Childress from Movie Madness Podcast said “Allison Janney getting to flex into action hero is kinda fun but she is surrounded by a profoundly silly screenplay and convoluted backstory that warrants better exploration to have a rooting interest in anyone”. 

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.