We have always had a lot of respect for content that doesn’t pander to the viewer and instead stays true to the story while challenging its audience to keep up. There is a certain honesty to such a narrative, one that reminds us of why we fell in love with cinema, to begin with. But the thing about this trope is that it needs to be done right; otherwise, it goes into the realm of the senseless. The plot holes left by the writers in “Mammals” season 1 make us think that it has suffered that fate. It started out very promising, but we soon understood that the series was a little confused about its treatment. It might be argued that it will gather itself more in “Mammals” Season 2, which must happen, but we refuse to accept that as an explanation for Season 1. Let us try to make sense of the events as they unfold in the series.
Jaime’s Inner Turmoil As He Deals With His Wife’s Infidelity
“Mammals” Season 1 starts with Jamie and Amandine, a happily married couple who are expecting a child together, on a getaway near the ocean. They look like the perfect couple to anyone who sees them. Jamie and Amandine have good chemistry, comfort, and understanding. What could go wrong after all? Turns out, the next day, just as Jamie spots a whale and Tom Jones, Amandine suffers a miscarriage. Jamie rushes her to the hospital and spends a distressing night praying for her to be safe. His prayers are answered, and Amandine is okay. She gives him her phone and asks him to tell their friends and family about what has happened. It is a difficult and gut-wrenching task, but Jamie is the ever-dutiful husband, and he does as is required. But his shocks are far from over when he sees a message on her phone from a certain “Paul” that indicates that she has been having an affair with him. Jamie is devastated and at a loss as to what to do. A few days later, he and Amandine hold a service for their unborn child, where she proclaims her love and commitment to him once again.
As the both of them get back to their daily lives, Jamie is busy with the opening of his new restaurant, and Amandine is trying to immerse herself in getting over her loss. One particular day, Jamie follows her and sees her meet a man, whom he assumes is Pual. He stalks Paul for a few days and gathers all the information on him. He meets him and tells him that he wants him to stop meeting his wife; otherwise, he will reveal the affair to his fiancé. The man agrees but reveals that his name is Dave and not Paul. Jamie is shocked, as this means that his wife has been having an affair with two men. He confides in his brother-in-law Jeff about this matter, who promises to help him track down the culprit. While Jeff is doing that, the couple has started grief counseling, and Amandine wants to quit her job so that she can find her passion. While initially reluctant, Jamie agrees to support her on this. But it doesn’t go well for him because Amandine starts learning how to play the violin, and her teacher Dan is rather good-looking, and calls her Ammy, much to Jamie’s irritation. After one of Dan’s concerts, Amandine wants to spend some more time with him, so she asks Jamie to go back home alone. That proves to be quite a straw for him, and he angrily smashes the violin. Luckily, it was insured. Anyway, he blames it on a burglary to hide his tracks. In the meantime, Jeff shows Jamie footage of Amandine with another man by the name of Jason Burke, who has now passed away. All of this indicates to Jamie that his wife has been having numerous affairs and that their marriage might be a complete sham. His grief therapist, Siobhan, asks him whether he worries that he is not good enough for Amandine. While we don’t hear his answer, we know that it could be the reason he has refused to confront his wife so far. Meanwhile, Amandine discovers a broken piece of the violin in the house and deduces what might have happened. She doesn’t say anything to Jamie about this, but it is obvious that the wheels in her head are turning.
Jamie’s restaurant opening, which he has named Amandine, is passing off regular truffles as Savinis. He’s on edge, and when the time comes for him to give his speech, he ends up announcing in front of the whole room that his wife has been sleeping with three men. It’s a disastrous day, which ends with the couple going their separate ways.
In the next episode, we get a glimpse of how the two of them came to be. Amandine was dating a billionaire’s son, Jack. They were on a yacht with their friends, and Amandine realized that her fiancé was taking her for granted. One particular night, after Jamie had a tough day with his boss and Amandine was upset with Jack, they ended up spending some time together on the deck and spotted a whale. The next day, Jamie is fired for “coming on” to the client’s fiancé. He is angry but determined and gives Amandine his card before he leaves. When he hears back from her, she asks to meet him at a hotel. Jamie is dating someone at that time but goes anyway. Amandine tells him that the two of them meeting is a sign, and they end up spending the night together. Later, she catches Jack in a lie about his cheating and ends up leaving him. She and Jamie have very little money between them, but they decide to make it work. She tells him that she is pregnant with Jack’s child. This was seven years ago.
In the current day, apart from what is happening with Jamie and Amandine, Lue and Jeff are going through troubles of their own. It looks like Lue has depression, and she imagines herself in the world of Coco Chanel as a crutch to escape from her reality. While Jeff looks alright for the most part, in one of the last episodes, we notice that he himself is a little unhinged. Amandine goes to her therapy alone, where she tells the therapist that she was not “caught” by her husband. At the same time, Jamie figures out that Paul is none other than Jeff, and Lue admits in one of her dreams that she knows some of the terrible things done by Jeff. Is she referring to the affair or something else? There is something wrong with him for sure, and it is far more than the guilt of the affair. It was something that prompted him to try and kill himself and shoot the stag when that came in the way. What remains to be seen.
‘Mammals’ Season 1: Ending Explained – Why Does Amandine Cheat On Jamie?
In one of the earlier scenes, Jack tells Jamie that if Amandine is cheating, she must have a reason. Jack and Amandine are co-parenting; therefore, they are still in touch. However, it looks like he knows a lot more than he lets on. In the car, there is a certain look on his face as he sees what his daughter has scribbled on the notebook. Our guess is that Jack has a greater role to play in the next season.
Amandine and Jamie meet up, and he is silent and furious. These are moments when you wonder exactly what is going on in Amandine’s head because she looks like she is punishing him. She goes on to describe in detail how good being with Dave and Jason was. She admits to feeling guilty for Jeff but says that it had somehow made her experience better. Throughout it all, we get the vague sense that she is punishing Jamie for something, especially when she goes into a monologue about how humans are not meant for monogamy. Jack is dumbfounded, but it all makes perfect sense when she shows him a video recording. She was burning the manifesto they had come up with and proceeded to record Jamie on a hotel room balcony with a woman with whom he was clearly having an affair. Everything starts making sense to him, and it also dawns on the audience that Jamie is far from the victim he has been portraying himself as. As he rushes out into the street due to a commotion, he sees a whale right in the middle of the road. It was dying, having somehow come out of the water and bang in the middle of a city. Behind him, his wife winks at him and leaves in a limousine (taxi), indicating that she might be together with Jack again. “Mammals” Season 1 ends with Jamie telling Jeff that they need to talk.
What Did ‘The Whale’ Symbolize?
The whale makes a total of three appearances in “Mammals” Season 1. If we go by the chronological order, the first time would be on the deck of the yacht when Jamie and Amandine met for the first time. Amandine had understood that to be a sign of their possible bond and had said as much to Jamie when trying to tell him why they should be together. The second time the whale appeared was when the couple was on their getaway. Jamie was the only one who saw the whale. Looking back at things now, we can assume that it probably meant that he was in the marriage alone, with Amandine having checked out a long time ago. The third time they see the whale is in the middle of the streets as it is dying. This has to mean the death of the marriage of Jamie and Amandine, and nothing could salvage it anymore.
The whale is one of the largest mammals on the planet. It is repeated throughout the series that they come to the surface once in a while for a breath of air. When you compare this to Amandine’s monologue about how cheating is a break from the suffocation of marriage, you can draw the comparison that when they try to get too much air, they end up out of their ecosystem and close to extinction, much like the whale. The symbolism is a little vague, but when you think about it, it’s actually quite brilliant and expertly questions the interplay between freedom and relationships. Truly, one of the more intelligent, if not a little too abstract metaphors of the series.
What Can We Expect From ‘Mammals’ Season 2?
Some answers would be nice. While we are guessing that Amandine started cheating on Jamie after she caught him, we would still like a clarification on that. Also, it looks like she has planned some sort of elaborate revenge, and we would like to know if getting back at her husband was her sole motivation for that. Also, what is wrong with Jeff and Lue? What terrible thing has Jeff done that Lue knows about? We find it hard to believe that it is just an affair. There seems to be something else there, and we want to know what it is. We feel Lue has great potential as a character, which must be explored in relation to the events of the series rather than as an independent arc of her own. And when did Amandine decide to start her revenge plan? Was her pregnancy a part of it? If these questions are not answered properly, we are going to consider the show very sloppily written. But we have faith, and we must point out the positive aspects of it. For one, the representation of Lue’s depression was very sensitively handled and quite on point. Amandine’s chic French girl fashion and makeup were flawless, and our penchant for roses makes us appreciate the beautiful cinematography. The actors were excellent as their characters, so it really boils down to how good a script the writers can come up with for the next season. We are keeping our fingers crossed while we pray that it makes us happy.
“Mammals” is a 2022 Drama Comedy series created by James Richardson.