Donald Glover’s black comedy series “Swarm” on Amazon Prime opens with a warning that this is not a work of fiction and it’s been created to draw intentional parallels to people living and dead. It serves as an eye-opener about just how vicious the crazed fans, or “stans,” as they’re called after rapper Eminem’s music video of the same name, can be to defend their idol and the extent to which they’ll go to ensure their role models aren’t disrespected. The biggest clue is that the fans of the idol of this series, Ni’Jah (Nirine S. Brown), are based on those of Beyoncé, one of the most popular singers at present with a severely toxic fan base. What’s more, the fans of Beyoncé call themselves the Beyhive—much like how Ni’Jah’s fans called themselves the bees defending their queen. Although most of Ni’Jah’s fans have a psychotic online personality when it comes to defending their idol, one particular fan takes the craziness to the next level and starts murdering anyone who posts anything remotely disrespectful about Ni’Jah.
Dre (Dominique Fishback) is a young black woman who has been a fan of Ni’Jah since her childhood, along with her “sister” Marissa (Chloe Bailey), and together they’ve been worshipping their idol. When a tragedy strikes Dre, she finds solace in Ni’Jah, and just like a swarm of bees attacking the victim, she hears the buzzing in her head before she commits a crime. Based on actual events, “Swarm” explores the toxic fan culture of worshipping people and deifying them and the nature of insane fans taking it upon themselves to dish out punishment to the ones they decide are guilty of offending the queen. Here’s a detailed recap of all 7 episodes of Amazon Prime’s “Swarm,” along with an explanation of the strange cliffhanger ending.
Tragedy Strikes Dre
The first time we see the character of Andrea “Dre” Greene, she’s an obsessed fan of a singer named Ni’Jah and is buying tickets for the star’s concert for herself and her roommate. With Dre’s entire room adorned with pictures of the “Goddess,” as her fans call her, she walks out of the room to find her roommate making love with her boyfriend Khalid, as Dre stares at the couple. Later, Khalid keeps making inappropriate comments to Dre and watches with awkwardness as they begin stuffing themselves with the food that she bought. When Marissa asks Dre to cover for her shift, Khalid walks in and takes her away to find a gift for Marissa. He tries making a move on her, but she refuses. Upon returning to the stall, she finds it robbed, and Marissa shouts at Dre for ruining things for her. The obsessed fan tries reminding her roommate that Khalid tried kissing her, and the disgusted Marissa walks out. Dre decides to go partying and sleeps with a random guy (Rory Culkin), and the next morning she finds several texts and missed video calls from Marissa telling him Khalid cheated on her. When Dre returns home, she finds Marissa dead—she took her own life—and spends the entire day crying. At the funeral, Dre is turned out by Marissa’s family, and while scrolling Twitter through her Ni’Jah stan account, she finds a man named Reggie Wilkins making derogatory comments about Marissa’s death as well as Ni’Jah. Dre arrives at Khalid’s home, and when his back is turned, she hits him on the head with a hard object and proceeds to bash his head in before stuffing her mouth with food from the fridge and cackling maniacally before escaping.
It’s 2017, and Dre is dancing at a strip club in Fayetteville, TN, and the other women tell her she won’t last long if she keeps up dancing to such sad songs by the singer called Ni’Jah. A white woman named Halsey, however, encourages her, and Dre later finds Halsey having an ugly fight with her boyfriend. Halsey arrives at the place where Dre is living, and they go out to eat on Halsey’s request. Afterwards she pleads with Dre to come with her to her boyfriend’s place, even agreeing to pay the girl so that Halsey’s boyfriend doesn’t suspect her. Once more, Halsey’s boyfriend, Sir, and she get into a fight, and Halsey turns up at Dre’s place. With the new guest sleeping soundly, Dre sneaks out and murders yet another abusive boyfriend with blunt force trauma, and while she’s dragging his body to the backyard, Halsey arrives and starts kicking the dead body. With a surge of excitement running through her body, Halsey keeps talking incessantly about all the things the two women could do together now that the abusive boyfriend is dead, and the irritated Dre turns and shoots Halsey in the throat with Sir’s Glock. The other dancers at the club ask Dre to join them at a party hosted by the college baseball team as their driver, and on their way back, the car breaks down. The person who stops to help them is none other than Reggie Wilkins, and Dre immediately agrees to go back to his home to get the car fixed. At his place, Dre questions him about Ni’Jah, and the other dancers ask her to stop making things weird for a while. When Reggie is fixing her car outside, she walks up to him and mentions the comments he made about Marissa, and Reggie can’t wait to get away from this weird girl. As the women are getting ready to leave, Dre hears the buzzing sound in her head once more—like she does every time before she commits some terrible crime—and goes back to the house with the excuse of using the washroom. Thinking Reggie is in the shower, she sprays mace in the shower and waits for him with a frying pan, but Reggie comes up from behind. She hits him in the head, but a big man like him quickly overpowers her and starts choking her until the women intervene and start hitting him, and one woman shoots him twice with her gun. While they try to decide the next course of action, Dre rushes out and flees in her car while the other dancers try to run after her.
The First Bite
“Swarm” Episode 3 begins with an iPhone video of Marissa feeling ecstatic after watching a concert by Ni’Jah and swearing violence at anyone who makes any disparaging comments about the singer. A man arrives at his posh residence and hears some disturbance, and while trying to check out the source, he’s hit on the leg with a sledgehammer by Dre, who interrogates him about his favorite singer before battering him to death with the weapon. She then casually sweeps the pool of blood while dancing to Ni’Jah’s song and stealing all sorts of junk food from his pantry. She then picks her next target to be Alice Dudley, a white MAGA supporter who’s an ardent hater of Ni’Jah, and thanks to the crazy Beehive that Ni’Jah stans have on Twitter, Dre is able to locate Alice’s house. She follows her and sneaks into the health club to murder her but leaves when she finds a man named George wearing the jacket that lists all of Ni’Jah’s concerts and a backstage pass. Dre sneaks into George’s house and quickly poses as a victim of domestic abuse. She stays in his house and even makes him binge on junk food after learning that he’s been living clean for months now. Later, at a party, she learns that Ni’Jah and her husband Cache will be at the after-party, and she locks George in a room and goes into the party. While walking around, Dre spots Ni’Jah in the corner, and in a trance-like state, she walks towards her idol with her mouth open, and we see her passionately biting a black fruit. The trance breaks, and people are staring at her weirdly because they can’t believe some random girl has bit Ni’Jah. Dre immediately flees from the scene as people chase after her, and we don’t get to see a reaction from Ni’Jah.
Who Is Dre?
The internet is in a furor after some crazed fan had the gall to bite the Goddess Ni’Jah, and people are coming out in droves in a virtual witch hunt for the mad biter. When Dre almost falls asleep behind the wheel, a cop catches up to her, and after confirming she’s heading to Ni’Jah’s concert at Bonnaroo, he starts tagging along after her. At a gas stop, a woman named Cricket befriends Dre and shoos the cop away, threatening to put him on social media for harassing a black woman. Cricket then invites Dre to a place where a few more women like her are resting, and Dre is introduced to Eva (Billie Eilish), a sort of spiritual leader of the group, and she quickly takes a liking to Dre. The next day, the women go on a hiking trip with Dre, and at night, she’s asked to have a counseling session with Eva. The strange woman, with her hypnotic eyes, breaks through Dre—who’s taken on the name Kayla—and makes her expose many of her secrets. The next night when the woman sits around the campfire and meditates, Dre hears music and realizes she is totally oblivious to Ni’Jah’s concert. She freaks out, screams at the women, and tries driving away, but Eva has her phone. She forces the woman to give her phone back, but Eva stands before her car, hoping Dre will come to her senses. Instead, like the psychotic and insane murderer that Dre is, she runs over Eva and hits another girl on her way out, killing her. One woman who had perched on the top of Dre’s car is thrown off balance, and Dre then proceeds to beat the woman to death with a rod. When she finally reaches Bonnaroo, the concert is over, and she can’t believe her luck. Left without an option, Dre watches the video of her idol on her phone with tears in her eyes.
When Dre walks into an iPhone store and asks the clerk to turn her phone on, the clerk says it’s under the name of Marissa Jackson and is set to be deactivated by Harris Jackson. Freaking out, Dre offers to bribe the clerk to switch the phone on, but the clerk starts feeling uneasy and makes Dre leave. She then sneaks into the Jackson family home, and while walking through the empty home, she spots a dog named Otis and cuddles him. Dre proceeds to take a gun out of the drawer, make herself food, take a shower, and fall asleep. When Harris and Patricia Jackson come home later at night, Dre sneaks up on Patricia and asks her to turn the phone back on, pointing the gun at her. But Harris arrives with a shotgun and chases her to the attic, swearing to end her life and saying that Dre has destroyed his family. By the time Harris breaks in, Dre leaps off the balcony, twists her ankle, and has to limp away, as the shotgun-wielding father of Marissa vows to blow her head off if she ever steps foot in the Jackson residence again.
True Crime Documentary
“Swarm” Episode 6 is filmed from a different perspective, where a detective, Loretta Greene, is a working mom who arrives at a crime scene where a woman named Tiffany Long has been murdered. The whole investigation is being filmed as a true crime documentary, and Greene is often talking to the cameraman to explain the workings of the case. Upon checking the victim’s social media, she noticed Tiffany was not a fan of a particular celebrity, and the documentary blurs the name. Based on the murder pattern, Det. Greene determines that the killer might be a black woman who has developed a pattern and can be classified as a serial killer. To understand the mentality of the members of Beehive, the documentary interviews a fan, and their unhinged behavior, along with frantic obsession to hurt anyone who opens their mouth against their idol, exposes just how twisted and vicious these fans can be. Greene follows up on a case in Houston, Dre’s hometown, where she learns a girl named Marissa Jackson died a week before her boyfriend was murdered after talking to Khalid’s brother. Upon checking the girl’s social media, she sees a picture of Dre and realizes she needs to speak to the Jacksons.
An undisclosed amount of time has passed, and by the time Greene visits Patricia, she has a lot more gray hair, and her husband Harris has died from prostate cancer. Patricia reveals that Andrea was a foster child they’d taken in as a companion for their daughter Marissa, but Andrea was never one who could mix well with others, and things really got out of hand after a sleepover. From the account of a former classmate of Marissa and Dre, Gwen Gilroy, Greene learns that when Marissa fell asleep at the sleepover, the girls tried slumbering her, and Gwen was attacked by Dre. She pulled her down and stabbed her in the neck, and tried strangling her until the other girls and Harris got the maniacal Dre away from her. Dre was returned later to the services she had been taken in from, and Patricia breaks down, saying she’s ashamed that she let Dre go. When the detective visits Dre’s caseworker, the woman gets furious and vehemently defends the girl, refusing to share any details and constantly arguing that the girl did nothing wrong. With the case going stale, Greene wishes she could speak to Dre when a call informs her that Dre has been arrested in Atlanta after running into Ni’Jah’s concert.
The World Of Fantasies
The season finale of “Swarm” shows Dre having cut her hair short and living as a man in Atlanta, where she meets a girl named Rashida by chance, and they start dating. Rashida accepts her with open arms, but she always has one stipulation—she vehemently dislikes Ni’Jah. Dre and Rashida start dating, and the Atlanta-based girl takes Dre to meet her parents, and Dre watches what a loving family can be like. Rashida’s mother gives Dre food for the road, and her father tells stories about Rashida’s childhood—their household has the element Dre never received: love. At their anniversary, Dre chooses to surprise Rashida by giving her two tickets to Ni’Jah’s concert, and the girl proceeds to scream at Dre for wasting money on a singer Dre knows Rashida hates.
After being pushed to tears by Rashida’s words, Dre proceeds to strangle her, saying she wants to love her and share Ni’Jah with her, as life slips out of the girl’s body. After falling asleep with Rashida’s body, Dre burns the corpse in her backyard until she has the sudden realization that Rashida had put the tickets in her pockets, and now they’re burnt. Dre rushes to the ticket counter, but without any way to prove her identity, she doesn’t get access to the concert. So she goes back to the car of a ticket scalper, only to kill him and take his tickets. She then arrives at the concert, but upon seeing Ni’Jah, she can’t control herself and rushes to the stage, and when the security is shooing her away, Ni’Jah stops the security and asks Dre to sing. She then escorts Dre to her car, ignoring all the paparazzi, and lets Dre rest her head on Ni’Jah’s chest as Dre continues weeping.
‘Swarm’ Ending Explained – Does Dre Finally Get To Meet Her Idol?
“Swarm” Episode 6 showcases that while Det. Loretta Greene is following the clues left by the black serial killer woman; a show is being developed by Amazon Prime to showcase Dre’s life, to be directed by Donald Glover. Childish Gambino, aka Glover, is saying that he’s talking to Dominique Fishback about being the lead role in his series while real pictures and videos of Dre are presented. Based on the news that Greene receives, Dre had been arrested when she jumped onto Ni’Jah’s stage and was being held in custody, but we saw Dre being escorted out by Ni’Jah herself, who allows her fan to let her rest her head on the singer’s chest as she consoles her. This is the final proof that Dre is insane, and the entire scenario after being arrested was in her head.
Ni’Jah wouldn’t remotely want to have anything to do with the insane fan who leaped onto her stage, let alone be responsible for consoling her. We’ve previously seen just how unhinged Dre can be when it comes to her idol, and when she sees the woman she considers a goddess in person, her mind breaks, and she’s transported to her own reality. Every moment from Dre being escorted by Ni’Jah to her being consoled inside the car is a distorted version of what actually happened. In reality, it was the police that was escorting her as all the lights and glimmers were camera flashes of the reporters that took her picture. Dre being consoled inside the car was her being shoved inside a police car and having to stay there as she’s driven to the police station, while she keeps imagining it’s her idol hugging her. Actually, though, she’s in a jail cell in Atlanta, where she awaits Det. Greene, who plans to speak with her.
“Swarm” Season 1 ends with a cliffhanger where Dre is lost in her own fairy-tale world, not bothering that she’s a serial killer, having murdered at least 8 people and destroyed countless more lives. When Greene finally gets to speak to Dre in “Swarm” Season 2, will her crimes come out in the open, and she is made to face the law as a maniacal psychopath, or will her case once again fall through the crevices of the law where black serial killer women are barely given a second thought in the USA?