Ever since fans finished marathoning the Season 2 finale, theories about what happened to Ellie on YOU began running rampant. In one of the episode’s final scenes, Ellie (Jenna Ortega) learned from Joe (Penn Badgley) that the Quinn family had apparently been behind her sister Delilah’s sudden disappearance. To ensure her safety, Joe encouraged the streetwise 15-year-old to take his cash and hop on a train headed east of Los Angeles. Ellie departed his company with some harsh words that included a couple f-bombs, along with a fiery "burn in hell."
Officially, YOU left viewers with the assumption that Ellie eventually ended up in Florida, but there will likely be more to the story, come Season 3. Because Ellie wasn’t a character in Caroline Kepnes’ 2014 novel or its 2016 sequel, Hidden Bodies, anything is possible. If Ellie does return for the next installment of the Netflix series, however, Ortega has some ideas about the effects her presence could cause.
"Ellie is already a powerful character, but I want her to come back even stronger after dealing with tragedy and it being Joe’s fault," the actor mused to People in a Jan. 2020-published interview. "I want her to pressure Joe and stress him out a little bit because he is such a terrible person! As much as people love him, he deserves that pressure, he deserves to feel in trouble."
Hers is just one of many hypotheticals that have been floating around, of course, and you can read some others below.
1. Ellie Isn’t Really In Florida
Viewers saw Joe receive Ellie’s postcard from Florida telling him where to send her more money. What they didn’t see, however, is Ellie actually leaving L.A. — or any visual evidence of the teen being in Florida at all, for that matter. So, assuming Ellie didn’t actually leave town (or is possibly located somewhere closer than the Sunshine State), her leading Joe to believe she is elsewhere could mean she has some nefarious plans for him in YOU‘s third season.
2. Ellie Could Return To Murder Love
Ortega told People she believes Ellie knows Delilah was murdered, but the actor "wouldn’t say she immediately pins it on Joe" because Ellie "doesn’t look at him like a killer." For once, Joe actually wasn’t the killer, though; it was his girlfriend Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). With him essentially pinning Delilah’s murder on the Quinns — and Forty (James Scully) already out of the way — Love could very well be the target of Ellie’s revenge. Some fans have even predicted that Ellie will kill Love when she discovers she murdered her sister.
3. Ellie Could Actually Be The One To Die
As far as fans know, Ellie has never murdered anyone, and seems unlikely to rack up any sort of body count. Love, on the other hand, has already killed several times. Should Ellie return to L.A. to investigate her sister’s death, some Reddit users have guessed that the aforementioned scenario will be flipped, and that Love will kill Ellie. A further possible motivation, one fan surmised, is that the mother-to-be will feel threatened by Joe’s fatherly relationship with Ellie.
4. Ellie’s Mom Could Be Joe & Love’s New Neighbor
There has been much speculation about the YOU mystery neighbor’s identity. Once Badgley debunked a popular theory, telling Bustle that she’s "definitely not" Joe’s mom, however, that left the door wide open for new possibilities. As some fans have suggested based on the woman’s perceived age, the neighbor could be the mother Ellie had previously told Love she hates. And, hey, whatever had led Ellie to feel that way could’ve been enough motivation for Joe’s habitual quests to protect his young neighbors. That could explain his new obsession anyway — making Ellie a central part of Season 3.
5. Ellie Teamed Up With The Original Will Bettelheim
At the same time Joe collected his postcard from "E" at the post office, he’d also received a handwritten note from the original Will Bettelheim (Robin Lord Taylor), whom fans last saw enjoying life in Manila with his fiancée, Gigi. It appeared the men had fallen out of touch, however, with OG Will writing, "Haven’t heard from you for a while. Everything OK?" Could it have just been a friendly check-in? Perhaps. Given the timing — and similar-looking postcards — however, maybe he and Ellie will somehow work together to exact revenge on the murdering sociopath.
6. Ellie Could Return To L.A. To Become A Successful Filmmaker
Ortega, in a Dec. 2019 Teen Vogue interview, also expressed her hope that Ellie will return to be "an even bigger badass," who considers Joe a non-factor of sorts. Plus, she’s got that burgeoning film career that so clearly suits her. "It would be amazing to see Ellie come back and take control of her life," she explained to the magazine. "She has so much potential and so much talent that she shouldn’t waste because of him."
Of course, Ellie’s fate in YOU Season 3 is anyone’s guess at this point, however, so fans will have to stay tuned to find out what really happened to Joe/Will’s ex-neighbor. It seems safe to say, however, that she could really shake things up for Joe, regardless.
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