Under Paris Ending, Explained: Is Lilith Dead or Alive?

Directed by Xavier Gens, Netflix’s French film ‘Under Paris’ dives into shark-infested waters as Paris awaits a long-anticipated Triathlon competition to kick off in the Seine River. Told through the eyes of Sophia, a climate activist bogged down by a traumatic past, the film, ripe with bloody kills bubbling in watery depths, portrays a horror adventure involving a violent shark. As circumstances get dire, Sophia teams up with Mika, an activist working for the Save Our Seas organization, and Adil, a river police officer, to end the rampage. However, things are complicated with the local authority’s reluctance to abandon the Triathlon plans as political agendas come into play amid an ecological crisis.

As its heightened action horror narrative kicks into gear, viewers witness various gruesome sequences featuring a massive shark named Lilith that is certain to strike prehistoric terror into one’s heart. Balancing themes of environmental pollution, evolution, and political irresponsibility, ‘Under Paris’ is a journey full of high jinks and terror that intensifies as it progresses. The story reaches a natural crescendo and peaks in its high-octane delivery at the very end, where the narrative arrives at an atypical ending with a puzzling conclusion. Most will be left intrigued over Sophia and Adil’s fates— and whether the shark Lilith makes it past the finale! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Under Paris Plot Synopsis

In the North Pacific, a team of environmentalists focuses on saving aquatic life on a plastic waste island covering a considerable portion of the ocean. Sophia Assalas, one of its members, records a video to promote awareness regarding the situation when the team gets an alert about a shark helplessly lodged under the debris island. Four divers move in to rescue the shark while Sophia monitors onboard. Soon after they begin their rescue operation, the team is alerted to the presence of a much bigger shark they call Lilith or Beacon 7, referring to its marker number. However, in the face of their rescue, Lilith attacks the crew and rips them to pieces. Desperate, Sophia plunges into the ocean to salvage what she can but barely makes it out alive when Lilith attacks her.

Three years later, Sophia remains scarred from losing her crew, including her husband. Working to raise awareness about ocean life, she meets Mika, a climate activist like Sophia, who runs Save Our Seas. Mika looks up to Sophia’s achievements and is aware of her traumatic past as she asks her to join her organization. The SOS team has located the Beacon 7 marker from Lilith after all this time. Sophia engages in the team’s operation as she pursues an investigation of her own upon realizing that Lilith is much closer to Paris than she previously thought. The tracker shows Lilith swimming in the waters of the River Seine, which causes Sophia to look for signs of her presence on the banks of the river.

Meanwhile, the Paris police discover bomb shells in the River Seine, which leads to complications. After a nightly excursion in the Parisian river where Mika is attempting to discern the presence of Lilith for herself, the police arrest her, leading to an interrogation with Officer Adil. Adil, a policeman with a tragic past in the military, questions Mika about her motives, but she remains tight-lipped. The next day, Adil and his men discover massacred bodies on the riverbanks, and Sophia is called in. Sophia and Mika become convinced it’s the actions of Lilith. Still, Adil and his superiors refuse to believe it. Consequently, the police crew dives into the Seine to confirm the truth, and during their time underwater, they sense the shark’s presence.

Despite the mission’s apparent success, Adil and Sophia come to blows over it. Tired of the authority’s inability to take action, Mika records a video urging everybody willing to join her in a plan to save Lilith from her perceived entrapment in the River Seine. Adil and Sophia reconcile after Adil becomes aware of Sophia’s tragic past in the North Pacific. They meet with the mayor, who makes it abundantly clear that they must take care of the shark in any way they can. With the unveiling of the Olympics on the agenda, the mayor needs the soon-to-start Triathlon competition to succeed. Sophia plans to sedate Lilith with Adil and his officers, and the crew takes off, aware that Mika and her activists have something similar in their cards.

Nonetheless, Mika’s plans to save Lilith take a horrible turn. As the group of activists and police filters into the underwater reservoir of Paris, where Lilith is hiding, Mika dives into the water to lure the shark to her. While this works initially, Sophia urges Mika to step out of the water since the reservoir is Lilith’s nest and where she has been reproducing. Mika, desperate to prove Lilith’s docile nature, doesn’t heed Sophia’s warning and gets eaten by the massive shark. A massacre ensues where the sharks begin feeding on the people who run helter-skelter toward safety. Ultimately, twelve people lost their lives in the tragedy. Still, the mayor doesn’t halt the triathlon competition. Meanwhile, Sophia recovers from the trauma and performs a post-mortem on a dead shark, which reveals the truth behind Lilith’s nature. As it turns out, Lilith can asexually reproduce, allowing her infinite opportunity for reproduction. Despite the revelations’ horrifying implications, Paris prepares for the triathlon day competition.

Under Paris Ending: Does Lilith Survive?

For a large chunk of the film, Sophia believes Lilith to be a mako shark. As a result, her migration into the freshwater reservoirs of the River Seine remains perplexing. Lilith is an open-water creature, but her behavioral patterns display other attributes that are previously unexplained. However, after performing the post-mortem on the dead shark, Sophia learns Lilith has changed from her original species through evolution and adaptation. She can reproduce independently using parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction where a male isn’t required. As such, several sharks infest the Parisian river soon after Lilith’s arrival. As suggested by Mika earlier in the film, the rise in pollution has changed her into a much tougher and more resilient creature capable of surviving and thriving anywhere.

For the same reason, with the Triathlon Championship taking off, Sophia and Adil attempt to defeat Lilith by detonating an explosion in the underwater reservoir where Lilith has made her nest. The same proves futile, as the bombing allows Lilith and her offspring to find their way into the Seine, where a catalog of swimmers compete in the triathlon event. While a massive gunfight and explosive finale occur, Lilith showcases her superior physical abilities. She is fast, nimble, and extremely powerful in gliding and avoiding everything directed at her. Her mutation has changed her not only through its effects on her reproduction but also her physical capabilities. Thus proving the danger she poses as an adversary.

The bombshells left at the bottom of the Seine also provide Lilith with an advantage. As the military fires into the river, the shells explode, causing a massive disruption in the water flow. Sophia and Adil watch from nearby as the military and police combined fail to take down Lilith. After a chain of explosions destroys a couple of bridges in the city, a vast flood unleashes across Paris. The subsequent tidal wave submerges everything, including the fear-stricken mayor and her staff. In turn, Sophia and Adil, pulled into the wave’s power,  make it to shore, which happens to be the roof of a small pavilion. The entirety of Paris lies underwater as Lilith’s offspring roam the waters, free from any obstruction.

With everything lying in ruin, Paris faces a doomed fate. Sophia and Adil lie on the pavilion, beaten, as sharks surround them on all sides. However, this doesn’t mean their end, as they have survived multiple shark attacks thus far. Both characters are survivors of harrowing tragedies, and as a result, they are formidable creatures like Lilith, who has evolved to get through difficult situations. Likewise, because they have previously learned to avoid attacks from Lilith’s offspring, it will only help them get out of their precarious position in the water. Yet, even if they survive, the world they would step into would be bleak as the sharks are now in charge—the foremost of them all being the monstrous Lilith.

As Lilith couldn’t be killed by a host of military and police firepower, her mutations would have enabled her to survive the apocalyptic ending— a paradise for sharks— pretty easily. Afterward, she would have likely assumed her place as the leader among her offspring as they ruled over a submerged Paris. With the city’s habitat serving Lilith more than the humans, the shark can make Paris into her nest and spread her species through her fast reproductive abilities. The ending title sequence also suggests this, as her species takes over other major cities worldwide. In many ways, this conclusion mirrors the film’s beginning when Sophia discovers the plastic waste island covering the ocean. Lilith has visited a similar plight upon the humans who have destroyed her home. The ending is her moment of retribution brought on by the cycle of nature rather than her own intentions.

Read more: Are Sophia and Mika Based on Real Climate Activists? Is SOS a Real Organization?