Starring: Dominique Fishback
Creators: Donald Glover and Janine Nabers
Up until the final episode, Swarm had my full attention because it is a spot-on critique and representation of toxic fandom and internet culture. I cannot praise Dominique Fishback’s performance enough, and she is both entertaining and terrifying the whole way through. However, all the goodwill I had for Swarm fell apart in the final moments as this seemingly bold and profound show limps its way across the finish line. The showrunners claim they were striving for ambiguity, but truthfully, it feels like they were afraid to make a truly bold statement.
Despite Donald Glover’s involvement, flashes of brilliance, and surreal vibes reminiscent of Atlanta, Swarm isn’t as strong as the sum of its parts. Truthfully, it’s almost too ambitious, and since it’s based on multiple true stories combined to make a composite character in Dre (Dominique Fishback), it feels very disjointed. Also…and this isn’t Fishback’s fault…but Dre, who says very little while carrying a mostly deadpan expression, is simply too dull to root for as an anti-hero or to recoil from as a villain. Lastly, the ending undercuts the messaging about toxic fandom. Still, it generally held my interest, though I wouldn’t exactly recommend it.
How do I put this? …Swarm is a very odd show, and not the good kind of odd. This series takes some bold and heightened swings on toxic fandom that, personally, don’t stick the landing. Our lead, Dominique Fishback, gives a tremendous performance, but other than that, the series really has nothing else going for it. It’s honestly kind of cringe worthy and a bloody bore. As huge a fan I am of the creator, Donald Glover, I'm sad to say his work on this series goes off the rails, crashes, and burns.