Prime Video’s Swarm Ending Explained- Did Dre Really Meet Ni’Jah, Or Did She Get Caught?
Swarm is a slippery story. Prime Video’s horror series is a hallucinogenic fever dream of obsession, mental illness, and delusion. Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of Swarm, whether Dre gets caught, and if she ever met Ni’Jah.
Dre is a seriously troubled young woman. It would be easy to say she was deranged, and the entirety of Swarm is just an obsession story. Beneath all the layers of subtext, though, there is more going on. Like Donald Glover and Janine Nabers’ series Atlanta, critique of fan culture, fame, societal injustice, and true crime fanatics are explored.
Dominque Fishback’s Dre is a young woman with seemingly one love, mega popstar Ni’jah, an obvious stand-in for Beyonce. She lives with her good friend Marissa and works at the mall when she leaves the comfort of her Ni’jah sanctuary. When tragedy strikes, it sets her on a course of destructive behavior, self and otherwise, across several states. The first half of the season is pretty straightforward. Dre hits the road after killing Marissa’s boyfriends and then kills anyone who makes the mistake of not loving Ni’Jah. She cleans up the mess, steals their snacks and car, and sets off for the next city.
She’s a mess and very dangerous. Unfortunately, she appears sweet, if quiet, until she doesn’t. In her desperation to meet and befriend Ni’Jah, she bit her while hallucinating she was a plum and was forced to run. Following her to a music festival, a group of white women in a flimsy feminist cult invites her to join their tribe. The group is the kind of new-age Instagram spiritualists that could only exist right now. Things go well for a while, and despite the obviously dangerous psychotherapy and cult programming, Dre was stable. Until the leader stole her phone, and Dre realized she was missing the concert. Predictably this doesn’t end well for the women. Swarm Episode 4 is very important because Dre begins confusing herself, Ni’Jah, and Marissa. It also is the first time her fascination with Ni’Jah unravels.
The group leader used psychotherapy techniques to get Dre to reveal everything about herself. The woman should have been scared, but she was convinced she could control Dre. During one of the sessions, Dre talks about her grandmother asking her about spilled milk. She also remembered bloody hands. This later was echoed when the detective was investigating. This is what Dre’s fixation with Ni’Jah is really about.
Over two years, Dre goes through a lot of changes. However, she always had a violent streak, as we found out in Swarm Episode 6. The poor girl was likely abused by her grandmother early in life. Either her grandmother died, surrendered her to the state, or had her taken away. Dre went into foster care, where Marissa’s parents, the Jacksons, took her in.
Dre’s obsession was never really about Ni’Jah. It was always about Marissa. This is why she confused her face with Ni’Jah and her own. This is also why she lied to her friend when she returned to Houston in Swarm Episode 5. The thing is with Dre that she so believes her own stories they become real to her. She wasn’t lying when she told the story about becoming a makeup artist and meeting Ni’Jah’s mother and later her. This was what Marissa’s life should have been; thus, it became Dre’s.
Dre’s love and fixation on Ni’Jah started when she and Marissa were young. Ni’Jah represented a time when the two were the closest; for Dre, she is the living embodiment of that love. Things are further complicated by Dre’s sexuality. Likely Dre’s love for Marissa goes beyond platonic, and she never was allowed to acknowledge it.
At first, things were good, but Harris began to suspect the girls had an unhealthy attachment to each other, and Dre was moved into the attic to keep her away from Marissa. Unfortunately, this only exacerbated her mental illness, and Dre stabbed another girl who she thought was hurting Marissa at a sleepover. Not long after this, the Jacksons sent her back to foster care. However, Marissa and Dre remained friends, which is how they found themselves living together at the beginning of the pilot.
By the time Swarm Season 7 starts, Dre has drastically changed her appearance and is going by Tony. The police are searching for her in three states thanks to the true crime podcaster. Dre living as Tony, meets Rashida, and they start an affair. She meets Rashida’s lovely parents, and Dre is happy and nonhomicidal for an entire year before things unravel on the night of their first anniversary. Just like Dre did in Swarm Episode 1, Dre used a ridiculous sum of money she didn’t have to purchase Ni’Jah tickets. Rashida was hurt because Dre knew she didn’t like Ni’Jah, and they couldn’t afford to waste the money.
Rashida ranted at Dre that she was selfish and delusional, and she snapped and strangled her to death and burned her body. Ironically, the Nijah tickets were in Rashida’s pocket when she set her on fire. She can’t replace the tickets because they are in Rashida’s name, so she kills a scalper and takes the tickets from him. She then calmly walks into the concert venue and pushes to the front of the stage, where she tries to climb onto the stage with her. Before the guards drag her away, Ni’Jah asks her to sing for the crowd. The crowd goes wild, and we next see Ni’Jah and Dre getting into a limo together. Ni’Jah hugs her as Dre sings one of her songs and cries.
What did the ending of Swarm mean?
Only God Makes Happy Endings is flashed on the screen as the credits roll. Likely, everything, after the guards grabbed her, was in her mind. Dre has a habit of losing herself in the moment and creating fantasies so intense they are real to her. The unstable woman has nothing but her delusions. Her best friend Marissa is dead, and she feels so guilty for not answering the phone. Her partner is dead after she killed her, and there is no one else Dre feels connected to. At the end of Swarm Episode 6, Loretta says the police are holding Dre after she tried to run on stage at a Ni’Jah concert. This nonlinear episode confirms that Dre did not go in a limo with Ni’Jah. Instead, she went for a ride in the back of a squad car.
Everything that Dre does is to find the same love she had for Marissa. She was a discarded and abused child who found a home with Marissa. By extension, she became obsessed with Ni’Jah because of who she associated her with. Presumably, Dre will be held at the police station until Loretta gets there, and DNA evidence will prove she killed all those people. There is also the slim possibility that Dre will be released before anyone realizes she is a serial killer. Swarm Season 2 will focus on Loretta chasing Dre across the country. I could watch a whole season of Loretta. Find our Swarm SXSW review here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.