Home » ‘Swarm’: Empathy for the devil

‘Swarm’: Empathy for the devil

by The Grio

Dominique Fishback as Dre in “Swarm.” (Quantrell D. Colbert/Prime Video)

I loved Janine Nabers’ and Donald Glover’s new Amazon Prime series “Swarm” so much that — spoilers ahead — I couldn’t help but have a little empathy for Dre (Dominique Fishback). Like when Dre finally got to the gate of the Ni’jah concert, and it looked like she might not get in, I actually felt sad for her. I thought about how much that show meant to her and how much she had gone through to get to that moment. I mean, she had to kill a lot of people to get there. … Wait a minute. I know that sounds crazy, feeling sad for a serial killer, especially one who tends to murder people via blunt force trauma, i.e., whacking them in the head with something heavy. 

Dre’s vicious. Sometimes she kills for an understandable reason (like avenging her sister’s death or getting revenge on her friend’s violent boyfriend) but sometimes she kills for, uh, bad reasons (she kills the victim of the violent boyfriend because she just won’t stop talking, and she kills her girlfriend because she says she doesn’t like Ni’Jah’s music). She’s ice cold. But, still, at times, during the “Swarm” season, I felt bad for her. I don’t think she’s evil. I think she’s traumatized.

The inciting incident that launches Dre into this season and shapes her journey doesn’t happen when she buys the Ni’jah tickets. It begins when her sister Marissa (Chloe Bailey) kills herself. Dre feels guilty, thinking she could have saved her if only she had looked at her phone earlier. This is devastating because Marissa is the only person in the world who Dre can call family. Once Marissa dies, and Dre is left with immense guilt, something is unlocked in her that leads to her killing spree. She begins by killing Marissa’s boyfriend — who helped cause the suicide — but moves on to killing in the name of her other family — Ni’jah and the…

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