Major spoilers for Swarm aheadThe cryptic ending to Swarm and that final shot is explained by co-creator and showrunner Janine Nabers. Currently streaming on Prime Video, Swarm is led by Judas and the Black Messiah actor Dominique Fishback as Dre. A young woman obsessed with a fictional pop star named Ni'Jah (Nirine S. Brown), Dre is sent down the path of murder after experiencing a sudden and devastating loss. In the finale, and in the show's final shot, Dre shares a personal moment with Ni'Jah, who comforts her after Dre storms the stage at one of her concerts. It's unclear, though whether it's real or simply a hallucination.
Nabers, who co-created Swarm with Donald Glover, talked about the ending in an interview with TVLine. The showrunner explained that people will have different views about what's actually happening with Dre in those final moments, depending on the interpretation of the character. Nabers goes on to reaffirm the show's focus on Dre's grief after the loss of Marissa (Chloe Bailey), and how that sets her on her journey:
“I think people have different viewpoints on Dre. Whatever viewpoint you have with her at that moment is right. It’s all about her mindset and your interpretation of this character. At the end of the day, this is about a woman going through grief in her own way. What she sees in that moment is a manifestation of a lot of the things that she’s been dealing with, especially from the pilot, that set her on this journey to begin with.”
How Atlanta Season 4 Helps To Explain Swarm's Ending
Nabers talks about the Atlanta season 4 finale in the same interview. Glover, of course, created and starred in Atlanta, which had a similarly ambiguous ending, and Nabers was a writer on the FX series. Nabers says that, in both cases, the ambiguity of the ending is very much the point. The showrunner said in part: “I think some of the best films have this kind of open-endedness to it and so, we were really just interested in that feeling of, ‘What does this mean? How do I feel?’ — and inspiring conversation around it.” That open-endedness that Nabers describes serves different purposes in Atlanta and Swarm.
In the Atlanta series finale, the question of what Darius's last smile means vastly alters the series, depending on the answer. Either the weirdness of Atlanta is explained as an extension of Darius's dreams or Darius is smiling because he realizes and accepts the fact that he's with his loved ones and that they won't vanish. In Swarm, the answer to that final shot can reveal a lot: is Dre crying because she's finally achieved a sense of peace, thanks to the comfort of her idol, or is it just a continuous cycle of delusion and hallucination? Fishback's performance leaves room for several possibilities, and the actor shines in a tricky role that doesn't devolve into pure caricature.
On social media, it's been argued that Swarm should have released weekly episodes rather than dropping all at once because the series invites conversation exactly in the way that its co-creators intended. It deals with big themes, but the horror-thriller is also plainly hilarious in parts and has gone viral for a few of its scenes already. As it stands, however, hopefully, there can still be room to debate its ambiguity among those that have seen the finale. There's more than one right answer.
More: Atlanta Season 4 Ending Explained (In Detail)