In a sense, ‘Swarm’ (Swarm) could have been a kind of spin-off of ‘Atlanta’. Not only because this new Amazon Prime Video miniseries has donald glover as co-creator with the also writer of the independent comedy Janine Nabersbut because it could perfectly happen in that same universe.
And it is that this story of a girl (Dominique Fishback) obsessed by Ni’Jah, a singer type Beyonce (similar that are not hidden at all), it could perfectly be something that was left to be told in those self-conclusive episodes that we enjoy so much, with a certain touch of humor and even some surrealism included in what Dre’s macabre experiences unfold.
The first episode of the miniseries it puts us fully into the life of this young girl, who shares a flat with her sister Marissa (Chloe Bailey). She and Ni’Jah —and her swarm (wink to the Hive)— are the reasons for our protagonist’s life. And, without getting into spoilers (although you can already imagine that there are murders involved), the events will take us on a journey through the southern United States.
The Hive Spirit of Vengeance
I recognize that it is somewhat complicated to talk about ‘Swarm’ as a whole without getting into plot reveal grounds because there are things, especially towards the end, that define Dre much more and what is happening in general than the first few bars of the series. There’s also another factor in mind: you’ll never know what’s going to happen in the next episode.
Glover and Nabers make ‘Swarm’ a series of self-conclusive episodes where practically the only thing in common is the twisted protagonist. There is a whole range of genres through which we move: without leaving behind comedy, there are horror chapters, others closer to thrillers and true crime, others with a surreal touch, there is even a meta exercise, etc.
In this aspect, I think that, and returning to the comparison with ‘Atlanta’, that experimental factor and metamorphic fluidity that existed in the FX series toIt doesn’t work so well here, precisely because of the presence of a plot continued. The writers are so in favor of breaking expectations from one episode to the next that their final act (so to speak) suffers.
It’s not that it’s a bad ending, and in fact if you think about it it’s even coherent, but it does seem like they have gone from the crumbs they have left along the way and released a flock of birds so that we forget about it.
Remarkable, but somewhat disappointing
Where it fails the most is when it comes to knowing exactly what Glover and Nabers want to say. The scriptwriter has never been a friend of explaining and exposing the themes that he explores and we don’t ask him to, but when handling certain satire sometimes something of a broad brush is noticeable at times when something more of a fine brushstroke is requested. Thus, it runs the risk of remaining a satire of “Stan”, of the fan who is not only obsessed but also toxic, and loses some characterization.
Which is not the fault, at all, of Dominique Fishback (who already dazzled in ‘The Deuce’), who plays an outstanding role throughout the little less than four hours that this miniseries lasts, with a changing character, too, from episode to episode. She navigates between negative sensations, her few reliefs, and the buzzing of the swarm.
The protagonist is the main (but not the only) virtue of a miniseries that, although it is quite remarkable, it is somewhat disappointing due to its irregularity and lack of depth. Even so, ‘Swarm’ is a twisted, comic, bloody and entertaining journey and sometimes you don’t need more.
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