The Ending of ‘Under Paris’ Suggests A Terrifying Future

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 5, 2024 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Under Paris Ending Explained - A Subversive Climax
Under Paris | Image via Netflix

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

Depending on who you are, the ending of Under Paris, in which an army of mutated mako sharks essentially take over the world, is a happy one. Humanity has done enough irreparable damage to marine life by this point that it’s about time they got their just desserts.

I’m kidding, obviously, and the environmental underpinnings of the Netflix movie aren’t strong enough to qualify as that much of a statement. They’re definitely there, though, and do factor into a climax which subverts expectations a little by revealing that it’s the humans, not the sharks, who have bitten off more than they can chew.

Why did Lilith end up in the Seine?

The shark in Under Paris has a name – Lilith – and a personal connection to our protagonist, marine scientist Sophia. See, Sophia and her team, including her husband, had been attempting to preserve the sea life in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch when Lilith went postal, killing Sophia’s husband and causing her to become disillusioned with the project.

Even then, Lilith was showing some worrying signs of gargantuan growth. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as it turns out. Three years later, Lilith has migrated to the freshwater Seine, having evolved the ability to survive there thanks to climate change and pollution.

As it turns out later, Lilith has also adapted the ability to reproduce via parthenogenesis – in other words, she and her shark offspring can have children without a male. Soon, the number of giant, mutant makos will increase exponentially.

Activism gets eaten alive

There are two big obstacles that Sophia has to surmount in Under Paris. The first is the Parisian government. There is due to be a triathlon that has cost a lot of money and is instrumental in France’s Olympics bid, so the mayor of Paris – very much a Shark Movie Mayor – refuses to take the threat seriously.

The second issue is the youth-driven activist group Save Our Seas, fronted by Mika and her partner Ben. Mika is determined to save Lilith, but her idealistic efforts lead to not just her own death but several of her friends and fellow activists present in the city’s catacombs after she had broadcast Lilith’s plight on social media.

This sequence, which is fantastic, is where Sophia realizes that Lilith has offspring. Later, she learns that even the offspring is pregnant, despite the apparent impossibility of this according to established marine biology. Lilith has evolved into a new, adapted species of mako shark.

Sophia and Adil’s plan

With the mayor still refusing to play ball – even going so far as to publicly denounce claims of sharks in the Seine so that the triathlon goes ahead – Sophia teams up with France’s most handsome police diver, Adil, to bomb Lilith’s nest.

This seems harsh, but given the parthenogenesis, it’s the only option – the sharks are breeding aggressively, and thanks to their genetic adaptations allowing them to live in unfavorable conditions, they will quickly take over the entire world’s oceans if they aren’t blown to kingdom come.

Under Paris Ending Explained - A Subversive Climax

Under Paris | Image via Netflix

An unhappy ending?

Unusually for movies of this type, the ending of Under Paris doesn’t feature the heroes saving the day by taking out the nasty sharks once and for all. Instead, quite subversively, everything goes completely wrong and the sharks get their way.

Lilith and her kids are able to make it out into the Seine, which is littered with swimmers, and start feasting on the locals. In the carnage, live shells start going off in the water, destroying bridges and infrastructure, and leading to mass flooding throughout Paris.

The movie ends with Paris underwater, Adil half-dead, and Sophia realizing the grim reality of their predicament. A map in the end credits shows how the sharks will spread all over the world, becoming the apex predator and potentially driving humanity to extinction by prohibiting their access to any body of water.

If Mika had survived, she’d probably be quite pleased with herself.


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