Dre starts off her journey in “Swarm” as a hardcore fan of the pop star modeled after Beyoncé, called Ni’Jah, and an emotionally dependent stepsister to Marissa. But one day, Dre finds out that Marissa is moving out with her boyfriend, Khalid because she can’t tolerate Dre’s immaturity anymore. This prompts her to go out for a night of partying and ignoring Marissa’s calls. Later on, she finds out that Marissa needs her because she has been in a fight with Khalid. And since Dre doesn’t get to her in time, Marissa dies by suicide. Dre mourns for a bit, as most humans do. However, after being kicked out of Marissa’s funeral because of her tiff with her adoptive family, Dre commences her killing spree. Since most of the supporting characters in “Swarm” last between one and two episodes, let’s talk about how they are killed off and why.
Major Spoilers Ahead
After attending the funeral, Dre went up to Khalid’s house. She learned that he and Marissa had a massive argument, which eventually led to her death. When Khalid got up to make tea for Dre, she picked up a lamp and bludgeoned him until he stopped breathing. Now, this meant that Dre killed to avenge her stepsister’s passing. Ever since she died, Dre has blamed herself for Marissa’s demise. However, the real reason was Khalid. Dre needed someone to vent her anger on, and Khalid was the perfect candidate for that. If you dig a little deeper, Dre considered herself to be Marissa’s closest companion. When she saw Khalid take that spot, she felt angry. So, that could’ve been another reason for Dre to do something so drastic. That said, the final and most important reason was that Khalid didn’t think Ni’Jah was anything special. Although the notion of a fan killing a non-fan for their opinions is a stretch, in Dre’s case, it wasn’t, and she proved that she could go to any lengths to “protect” Ni’Jah.
Hailey and Sir
While working as a stripper, Dre came across Hailey and Hailey’s abusive boyfriend, Sir. The reason behind Sir’s death was pretty simple. Dre wanted one less offensive man in this world, so she did what was necessary. But the reason behind killing Hailey can be twofold. One is that Dre found her to be way too annoying. As a Black woman, Dre probably couldn’t digest the fact that a woman who was White as hell was identifying as Black just because she could without facing the repercussions of being a Black person in America. And the second reason is that Dre simply didn’t want to leave any loose ends. Usually, when Dre killed someone, there were no witnesses around. However, in Sir’s case, Hailey had seen Dre as a killer. I think Dre wanted Hailey to find out about Sir’s death in some other way and not so directly. Since that didn’t happen, she had to take care of her because she could yap about all of it to the concerned authorities and get Dre arrested.
Dre pretty much spelled out the reason for killing Reggie. He continuously ridiculed Ni’Jah online and probably mocked Marissa’s death. So Dre decided to kill him. But things didn’t go according to plan because Dre assumed that he was in the bathroom when he wasn’t. Reggie got the better of Dre and almost choked her to death. That was when Dre’s stripper friends, who were waiting for her in the car, entered the scene, and one of them straight-up shot Reggie in the chest. Dre likely realized that it’d be nearly impossible to kill all the strippers to cover up any evidence of her existence in Reggie’s house. Instead, she bailed on the strippers in the hopes that they’d be framed for killing Reggie and taken to jail.
A Social Media Influencer
Dre broke into the house of a social media influencer. She hid in his closet, and as soon as he walked in there, she hit him on the leg with a sledgehammer. Then she asked him about his favorite singer. When he didn’t say Ni’Jah’s name, she started to berate him. As he got more and more confused about the whole situation, Dre pulled out her phone and made it clear that he was guilty of making misogynistic statements against Ni’Jah. With that out of the way, she proceeded to bash his head in. I think there’s some commentary about so-called creators going after other creators. It’s not necessarily about being more popular or less influential. It’s about respecting the fact that you are in the same field, and you shouldn’t pull each other down with nonsensical statements. Constructive criticism was, is, and always will be fair. Digs at one’s personal life just won’t pass. That said, killing someone for a horrible insult is certainly taking things too far.
As you can see, prior to this point, Dre’s killings were kind of justified. She was taking on pretentious White people and misogynistic men. And she was on her way to do more of the same when she saw Alice Dudley, a M.A.G.A. supporter, going after Ni’Jah. Dudley had the nerve to accuse Ni’Jah of police brutality while having a blue-gray-and-white flag on her Twitter bio, which was essentially a person’s way of supporting the police and giving a “thumbs up” to actual police brutality. The titular Swarm obviously doxxed Dudley, and Dre went after her. She was actually about to kill Dudley with a kettlebell. But then she got distracted by a staff member of Ni’Jah and Caché’s concert named George. She stalked him, broke into his house, and then got romantically involved with him over their shared love for food. However, after getting a hold of George’s staff member card, which would have allowed Dre to get into a private party with Ni’Jah, she locked him in a freezer. Now, we actually don’t see him die. I am guessing, though, that if he stayed in the freezer for too long, he was bound to die. You can say that someone must have come to unlock the freezer to get the cake in there that was meant for Caché and Ni’Jah. There’s a good chance that he overdosed on that cake after years of tackling obesity and keeping his health in check.
Eva and Her Cult
Cricket, Salem, Grace, Janine, Audrey, Isis, and Eva essentially saved Dre from a potentially racist encounter with a police officer, provided a place to live, and promised to give her passes to Ni’Jah’s performance, that too for free. In exchange, Dre had to partake in their rituals and lower her phone screen time. Since Eva figured out that Dre had a lot of baggage and was using the phone to cope with it, she decided to perform a kind of hypnotherapy on her to force her to confront the truth and also hid her phone from her. What Eva probably didn’t anticipate was that Dre’s truth involved murder and that she was using the phone to keep her relationship with Marissa alive and taking them away from her so suddenly could lead to a violent reaction. When Dre felt that she was being held captive by Eva, she did what she always does: resort to murder. She ran over Eva with her car. She crushed Cricket’s head. And she killed either Audrey or Janine (it was difficult to say in the dark) with a spanner.
I think this was the point of no return for Dre. Because, other than really disliking Ni’Jah, Rashida didn’t have a bad bone in her body. She was a genuinely nice and caring person who saw the good in Dre. Dre probably reciprocated that in her own way. But it was eventually insensitive because Dre was imposing her lifestyle onto Rashida without incorporating any of Rashida’s likes and dislikes into her life. When Rashida confronted Dre about her insensitivity, she choked her to death and then burned her body. I think this was the moment in the show where I had a physical reaction because that was how repulsed I was by Dre’s actions. The stupid (and intentional) expressions on Dre’s face, the cold way in which she killed Rashida—it was all very infuriating. And I’d like to say that that was the case because the writing, the direction, and the performances were so good. However, I suppose I was also angry about the fact that that act of Dre’s cemented the “murderous lesbian” stereotype. Years of work by LGBTQ+ activists and filmmakers who have fought against this time of writing just went down the drain.
I’d love to say that Dre killing the ticket scalper selling tickets to Ni’Jah’s concert illegally was a statement against, well, illegal ticket selling. But at the end of the day, she used that very ticket to get into the concert. Yes, you can say that the ticket scalper didn’t value the ticket he had, and it ended up in the hands of someone who did, i.e., Dre. However, by doing so, we’ll be assigning too much meaning to a senseless murder.
Has Dre Killed Anyone Offscreen?
I am incredibly sure that Dre has killed a ton of people offscreen. The blood on the backseat of her old car, the multiple credit cards, the multiple cars, etc., must have come from somewhere. The only time Dre was earning anything was when she was working as a stripper. After that, I don’t think she earned a single dime. So, in order to maintain her lifestyle, I think she killed some people. I am going to assume that the people she murdered weren’t innocent and that she went after those who were speaking against Ni’Jah. But that’s a load of wishful thinking because we all know that, although Dre kills when she has a valid reason, sometimes she doesn’t really need a whole lot of reason to kill someone. In episode 6, two names come up: Tiffany Long and Dorothy Daye. Detective Loretta Greene linked them to Dre’s serial killings because they were talking trash about Ni’Jah. I don’t think we see these deaths on the screen, which further fuels the theory that the people that we see being killed by Dre are just the tip of the blood-soaked iceberg.