Swarm centers around a quirky super-fan has an extreme obsession with the fictional pop star, Queen Ni’Jah, which leads her down a rocky path of self-discovery and murder.


Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.


Swarm centers around a quirky super-fan who has an extreme obsession with the fictional pop star, Queen Ni’Jah, which leads her down a rocky path of self-discovery and murder!

Network Prime Video
Created or Developed By Donald Glover, Janine Nabers
Based On An internet rumor that was discovered and transformed by Swarm’s creators.
Executive Produced By Janine Nabers
Genre(s) ThrillerYoung AdultLGBT+Satire, Comedy, Psychological
Noted Characters
Andrea Greene (Dre) Dominique Fishback
Loretta Greene Heather Simms
Khalid Damson Idris
Erica Karen Rodriguez
Hailey (Halsey) Paris Jackson
Reggie Atkins Estimond
Eva Billie Eilish
George Clemons Byron Bowers
Rashida Kiersey Clemons
Queen Ni’Jah Nirine S. Brown
Cache Stepehn Glover

Summary

“Swarm” starts off with the young superfan Andrea Greene, who goes by Dre, purchasing expensive concert tickets for herself and Marissa Jackson. Dre’s love for the pop idol Queen Ni’Jah grew in the foster home she was raised in alongside the bubbly Marissa Jackson. But, despite time spent in their childhood together, and attempts to live together as adults, as the pressures of young adulthood increased, money issues and irresponsibility weighed on the two, and they swiftly drift apart.

But, before they drifted apart, the two women cohabited in a grungy Houston apartment with a lingering boyfriend, which further strained the friendship. The infidel Khalid, Marissa’s unfaithful lover, pushed her to suicide and this major devastation makes Dre unhinged. She ultimately snaps, while dissociating and adopting homicidal tendencies and varying personas. After attending Marissa’s unwelcoming funeral, Dre shows up at Khalid’s home, asks a few questions, and uses a rock lamp to end him.

The once innocent Dre spirals into a murderous haze, seemingly confusing adoration for Marissa Jackson with her sacred love held for all things Queen Ni’Jah. Both Dre’s calculated and whim-based actions are all for her. Dre travels to various locations under differing aliases trying to survive and maintain. Some of her personas include a stripper in Tennessee and a cult member recruit near Bonnaroo, and in each location, she kills multiple people all in the name of her queen.

Dre seemingly settles down and relinquishes an addiction to the internet fandom that fuels her attacks after escaping cult leader Eva, becoming Tony, and courting a beautiful young girl named Rashida, whose upbringing is reminiscent of Dre’s foster sister, Marissa. But, the magical tunes of Queen Ni’Jah suck her back into a psychotic state of mind.

nijah tickets

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Watch This)Recommended

Notable Performances, Moments, or Episodes

Screen Shot 2023 05 08 at 12.28.16 PM
“Andrea Green (Dominique Fishback)” and her foster sister/roommate Marissa Jackson (Chloe Bailey), Swarm, directed by Donald Glover, 2023 (Amazon Prime, LLC)

A One-Sided Bond That Runs Deep

A formerly shared love of the award-studded Ni’Jah is the primary connection Dre strives to keep alive with Marissa. The premiere episode is set up in a dingy urban area with Marissa’s boyfriend Khalid featured often. His presence obviously makes Dre uncomfortable, but her closest confidant begrudgingly overlooks this despite desperate pleas. Marissa, leaving to be with her grimy boyfriend, puts Dre on a neurotic edge, and she dives into the all-engulfing music world for relief after a surprise drop from Queen Ni’Jah.

At this point in episode one, it has been detailed that Dre is strange and obsessed. Marissa had compassion and cared for Dre but still would talk about her odd behavior. Marissa told Khalid that Dre sucked her fingers, harshly criticized Dre when she showed up to work unkempt, and shut down Dre’s persistent attempt to kiss a self-harm scar. Not only is Dre wound up tightly with her idol, Queen Ni’Jah, but also with Marissa, who is actively trying to separate from her youth and waning interests in the pristine pop star. In this series, the figure Ni’Jah acts as an emblematic cornerstone for the powerful modern-day woman. The premiere episode is able to harshly convey the nonreciprocal emotional relationship between Dre and her subject of admiration whether it be Marissa or Queen Ni’Jah.

Screen Shot 2023 05 13 at 10.53.06 PM e1684298010552
“Andrea Green (Dominique Fishback)” and her co-workers, Swarm, directed by Donald Glover, 2023 (Amazon Prime, LLC)

Throw A Rock, Hide Your Hand

After moving on to new targets as a stripper in Tennessee, Dre finds herself traveling with some of the club’s crew to make money at a party. On the ride to their gig with a bunch of baseball players, the women discuss how unusual it is for their co-worker, Halsey, to miss out on money. Dre awkwardly agrees with them, knowing she killed her after also bludgeoning Halsey’s abusive leech of a boyfriend. It seemed like Dre did this to please or even help Halsey, but she could not handle the talk of a potential partnership while burying his body. She was not digging the Bonnie and Clyde ideas but instead mounting piles of dirt.

Magically, one of the people she wanted to harm, Reggie Wilkins, ends up fixing her car after a tire blowout on the way back from their outing. Dre intentionally pressures the man at his own home so that he would admit to the incredulous comments he made about Queen Ni’jah and Marissa Jackson posthumously. Dre tries to hit him over the head with a frying pan while his shower was running, but her plan goes awry. The girls she came with walked in on a scene where it seemed like the stripper Dre (who they referred to as Carmen) was being assaulted for no reason. Little did they know, Reggie was trying to defend himself and subdue the maniacal Dre.

This scene ends with Dre driving off in the car and leaving the women stranded after they saved her life and killed Reggie. The protagonist, or anti-hero, if you will, has now garnered unsolicited accomplices. This episode shines a light on how situations can easily be misconstrued, especially in favor of a certain group.

Screen Shot 2023 05 17 at 7.08.51 PM
“George Clemons (Byron Bowers), his skunk” and “Dre (Dominique Fishback),” Swarm, directed by Donald Glover, 2023 (Amazon Prime, LLC)

Forbidden Fruit

Still, in search of her next ticket to heaven, Dre seduces a man with a connection to Ni’Jah after breaking into his home with scratches on her face, convincing him an unruly partner is after her. He opens up about a former food addiction that she exacerbates while stuffing her face with junk food in his kitchen late-night. This DJ wants to show her his work on the Cache tour but Dre is much more fascinated by Queen Ni’Jah. Dre implores him to attend the sketchy after-party even though he divulges his distaste for these types of gatherings.

Of course, Dre was not having that, so she locked him in a walk-in refrigerater with a huge album-themed cake after they arrived at the venue. I can assure you, he definitely ate most of that sugary medley. This part of episode three hints at themes of addiction and self-control which we can see Dre severely lacks. After acquiring access, Dre attends the party, where she stares at Ni’Jah sparkling in the VIP section from afar. She daydreams that she is biting a juicy ripe plum but the creators make it apparent she actually bit Queen Ni’Jah. Dre runs out the back after people gasp and realize she was the culprit. An easter egg relating to who bit Beyonce is dropped by off-the-clock staff sitting out back and haphazardly observing the chaotic lives of celebrities.

Screen Shot 2023 05 15 at 1.03.59 AM
“Eva (Billie Eilish) ” and “Dre (Dominique Fishback),” Swarm, directed by Donald Glover, 2023 (Amazon Prime, LLC)

The Illusion of Safety

On a trip to see Queen Ni’Jah, Dre finds herself wrapped up in the welcoming arms of a cult losing time participating in ritualistic practices. Through a series of hypnotic sit-down sessions with the leader, Eva. Dre slowly reveals parts of her past. The audience learns Dre has committed violent acts at a young age, likely traumatizing her. While getting a better understanding of herself at the scenic compound she also is able to detach from the hive for a while. Dre seems comfortable in this all-female dwelling until the group becomes an obstacle set for annihilation via vehicular homicide. It was incredibly easy for the already sheep-minded Dre to be catapulted into this mess, but she still knows who her true idol is, and decidedly her attentions will not be deferred.

Screen Shot 2023 05 17 at 12.03.31 AM e1684297268178
“Loretta Greene (Heather Simms),” Swarm, directed by Donald Glover, 2023 (Amazon Prime, LLC)

The Devout Detective

Loretta Greene successfully pieces all the points of Andrea Greene’s murders. A dramatized telling shows how she became aware of the aliases Dre used and even highlighted motives being the subjects of worship in Dre’s life. Loretta is kind of sympathetic towards Dre while she divulges this touchy information to a filmmaker. She even seems to take offense to any severely negative portrayal of Dre, almost as if she wants to protect her image in a sense. Loretta reaches out to Dre’s mother, who resides in Houston, and receives concrete information about a gruesome past that got her removed from a foster home. Andrea Greene, who the audience knows as Dre, had killed Marissa’s friend while living together under the same roof.

Screen Shot 2023 04 15 at 10.43.00 AM 1 e1684364204544

Against The Odds

After a journey through tumult and madness, Dre refines herself enough to attract a classy type named Rashida. The pretty college graduate comes from a well-endowed family yet still attempts to maintain self-sufficiency, strangely enough, just like Marissa. The audience is not wholly sure of how Dre attains access to nice cars to impress her mate, but we can assume it is not through saintly means. Her whole identity shifts to meet the needs of this new girl until she realizes Rashida hates Ni’Jah and refuses to see her on their anniversary. Dre ends up harming her girlfriend and dragging her body to discard and she kills a ticket reseller in a parking garage when she remembers her own ticket being left in the now-dead Rashida’s jean jacket. When Dre jumps up on the stage, in her mind, to greet Ni’Jah, she is immediately apprehended and thrown into a car with cop lights flashing. In her imagination, Queen Ni’Jah comforts her with a hug and a strange CGI face of Marissa Jackson.

One might think, with all the struggles Dre has had, a nice young girl with a wonderful family would be enough to redirect her or at least protect her from being a victim. Unfortunately, to Dre, anyone who does not align stringently with her beliefs about Queen Ni’Jah should be eliminated. This scenario and many others like it within the season showcase her inability to think rationally or in her best interest. Repeatedly, themes of uncontrollable urges are displayed within “Swarm” that really encapsulate the bane of many characters’ fatal flaws; whether it be Ill-contrived tweets to sensitive truths and opinions that perhaps would have been better unsaid.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What does modern-day internet culture and fanaticism help us understand about this generation?
  2. Is Loretta related to Andrea in any way?

Collected Quote(s)

“It’s Ni’Jah, you have to make sacrifices.”
— Andrea Greene

“Those are not your friends, those are some crazy ass fans!”
— Marissa Jackson

What I Hope To See

Swarm is aesthetically pleasing through bright visual and auditory stimuli and sets an incredibly uneasy tone that sits with the audience for a prolonged period. The sequence of events is layered in a way that is rather unpredictable; this uncertainty also reverberates in the characters and the plot in general. A new season could extrapolate on the last by commenting further on uncomfortable cultural realities.

Screen Shot 2023 05 17 at 6.23.14 PM e1684366509272
Swarm (2023): Season 1 – Review
Overall
A great abstract piece that requires a little mental work to put together.
Highlights
Color Palette
Cinematogrpahy
Cultural Relevance
Niche character archetypes
Disputable
Awkward pacing
93
Sweet!

Listed Under Categories: , ,


Follow, Like and Subscribe


Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.