Dre In ‘Swarm,’ Explained: Unpacking Dre’s Love For Ni’Jah, Her Bloodlust, Her Queerness, And More


“Swarm,” which has been created by Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, tells the story of Dre. She’s one of the biggest fans of Ni’Jah, and she lives with her stepsister, Marissa. But on one fatal day, she messes up her relationship with Marissa and goes on a night of merrymaking to drown her sorrows. Since Marissa’s plans to leave Dre and go away with Khalid don’t exactly pan out, in a fit of rage, confusion, and sadness, she kills herself. The following day, Dre finds out that Marissa has died by suicide, and she completely loses her cool. And she begins a journey full of murder and mayhem that is supposed to end with her meeting her idol, Ni’Jah.

Major Spoilers Ahead

Dre Is A Superfan Of Nijah 

Despite existing on this planet for around 30 years, I’ve never really felt the urge to dedicate my life to a celebrity. I love films, and I adore a lot of actors, actresses, directors, writers, etc. But to go absolutely feral when someone says anything against my favorites is a sentiment I can’t relate to. So, seeing hordes of fans thronging to a celeb’s house or at a public appearance absolutely boggles my mind. If you single out a person from that sea and ask them to elucidate their obsession, the reasons will range from “The star’s work saved my life” to “I deeply resonate with what this star does.” However, there are a select few who have developed this need to protect this star, which then causes them to act out violently on the internet or in real life. Dre’s love for Nijah isn’t unreal. In fact, it looks and feels pretty realistic. What she does when she’s online is similar to what a lot of fans do. The murdering is a little extreme. The rest isn’t. And it’s weird how she thinks that a global icon, who has millions of fans and tons of bodyguards around her, needs to be protected from criticism of any kind. At the same time, her love manifests in an absurd fashion when she takes a bite of Ni’Jah after getting really close to her. If she really wants to “protect” her, why does she physically harm her? It can be chalked up to “cute aggression” and a very extreme form of desire where Dre wants to consume Ni’Jah so that she can belong to her and her only.

Dre’s Love For Murder Increases With Every Kill

Technically speaking, Khalid is the first person that Dre murders. But her bloodlust apparently began when she was just a kid, when she went after one of her classmates at a slumber party. She even picked up this tendency of disassociating with the act of violence by seeing the blood as milk. In real life, milk is seen as a sign of purity and nutrition. However, in the hands of a villain, it becomes a symbol of overpowering the innocent. During her adulthood, we see that she doesn’t even need to do that after killing a person. When she kills Khalid, she seems to panic a lot. She literally relishes killing Eva and her cult. She does show remorse when she realizes that she has to kill Rashida. She even cries while burning her body, which shows that her humane side was finally coming to the surface, but it has been buried again. That’s why when she stabs the guy selling tickets to Ni’Jah’s concert illegally, she shows no emotion at all because her focus is on reaching Ni’Jah. Although the crime drama, reality TV-esque episode tries to assign a reason to Dre’s methods, it immediately pulls back and asks us to introspect about why we’re so fascinated with such a topic. Because maybe there’s no reason behind it. Maybe she simply loves to kill and is using Ni’Jah or Marissa as an excuse to satiate her thirst for blood.

Dre, Marissa, Rashida, And Queerness In ‘Swarm’

Whenever a person is head-over-heels in love with a star that belongs to the same gender as them, it’s generally assumed that there’s some sexual attraction hidden underneath all that adoration. Since Dre is so in love with Ni’Jah, it’s not a stretch to assume that she swings both ways. We see Dre watching Khalid and Marissa pound each other, thereby hinting at the fact that she’s fascinated by the act and probably wants to be in between them. During the reality TV-esque episode, the topic of Dre’s relationship with Marissa is questioned, as the interviewer wonders if they were romantically involved despite being stepsisters. Dre kills a lot of men and shows some kind of physical attraction in only two separate incidents. But by the time we reach the final episode, we see that Dre clearly identifies as a lesbian, as she starts hitting on Rashida and then enters a year-long relationship with her. In that process, though, her appearance and her dressing sense completely change, as she takes on the role of “the man” in that dynamic. It could’ve been her way of countering all the subservience she has displayed over the years. Or maybe she just felt more comfortable in her Tony persona. That said, showing a person to be unnaturally violent and then revealing that she’s queer kind of reverses all the work that LGBTQ+ activists have done against stereotypical fictional depictions. And I don’t think that’s a good thing in terms of representation.

Dre’s Need To Lie All The Time

Dre is a pathological liar. Even when she doesn’t need to lie, she doesn’t tell the truth. The only thing she’s truthful about is her love for Ni’Jah. Everything else that comes out of her can be absolutely fabricated. She keeps changing her name. She keeps changing her appearance. When Erica asks her about what she has been doing for the past few months or weeks, she goes on this insane rant about her association with Ni’Jah and her sister and even gets emotional about it because she gets involved in this fictional story that she’s telling about herself. She even lies to herself by pretending that the deceased Marissa is texting her from her phone, whereas in reality, it’s just Dre talking to Dre from two different phones. The only person who notices that Dre is blatantly lying from the get-go is Eva, and she compels Dre to tell her true name by hypnotizing her. Although we don’t see how much Dre has divulged to Eva, we get a hint that she has said things to her that nobody else knows. And the possible reason behind her need to lie all the time can stem from her hatred for the reality she lives in. She is so far away from her dreams that she needs to invent a completely fictional scenario and then momentarily submerge herself into it to tolerate life in general. And when she has to return to her truth, it’s shocking. Hence the reaction is so erratic.

What’s Next For Dre?

I have a theory that the ending of Season 1 of “Swarm” is a complete sham. I think Ni’Jah didn’t welcome Dre with open arms and then whisked her away into her car. I think something very terrible has happened, and what we see at the end of the final episode is a mixture of her love for Ni’Jah, her bloodlust, and her ability to lie to herself. So, if “Swarm” gets picked up for a second season, in my opinion, we are going to see her face the consequences of her actions. She spent Season 1 running away from the aftereffects of the murders she committed. But if Detective Greene and the various police departments finally catch up to her, she’ll have nowhere to go. And, sooner than later, she has to confront the fact that she isn’t just some devoted fan. She is a serial killer. Now, whether she’ll choose the path of retribution or she’ll come up with new tactics to dissociate from reality will be her and the showrunners’ choice.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

Must Read

DMT Guide

More Like This