Donald Glover and Janine Nabers have paired together for their latest project, the Prime Video series Swarm, which follows a young woman named Andrea “Dre” Greene, who is a huge fan of the world-famous pop diva Ni’Jah. Her devotion has gotten so bad that she’s been observed getting aggressive in her support of the musician.
Dre’s narrative begins with sorrow, as her best friend and foster sister Marissa dies in episode one of Swarm, leading to Dre going off the rails in later episodes. However, considering Dre’s untrustworthiness, many people have been left wondering what precisely happened to Marissa and how she died.
Marissa’s Death in Swarm
Dre and her former foster sister, Marissa, begin Swarm by living and working together. The two are nearly close and have shared a fondness for the music artist Ni’Jah, whom real-life pop singer Beyoncé has inspired since childhood.
Dre buys the couple extortionately costly tickets to see the singer for Marissa’s birthday despite the fact that neither of them can afford it. Their friendship is hampered by Marissa’s boyfriend, Khalid, who frequently criticizes Dre for being odd or for not having lost her virginity.
As the episode develops, Dre and Marissa argue when Ris confesses that she will be unable to accept the Ni’Jah gig because Khalid has already asked her to go to Atlanta.
That night, Ni’Jah unexpectedly releases her latest album, Festival, and after seemingly losing herself in the music, Dre goes out to a club, where she meets and has s*x with a young man.
The next morning, she finds a slew of texts from Marissa, claiming that she and Khalid had an altercation about him cheating on her. When Dre returns to their apartment, she discovers Marissa’s body on the bed.
The finding appears to flip a switch in Dre’s head, causing her to go on a brutal killing spree that begins with Khalid over the next few episodes.
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In Swarm, What Happened to Marissa and How Did She Die?
We learn as an audience that Marissa perished after committing suicide in Swarm. This is stated repeatedly in the program, most notably in episode 1 when Dre goes through social media, and fans think that Marissa committed herself after the release of Ni’Jah’s latest album, believing it to match her predicament with Khalid.
The assumption that Marissa committed herself reappears in episode 6 when the show morphs into a true-crime documentary, following a detective named Loretta Greene as she attempts to solve Dre’s murders.
However, the story of Marissa Jackson in Swarm takes an unexpected turn here, as the fictitious character is based on a young woman of the same name who allegedly committed suicide in the real world after the release of Beyoncé’s Lemonade album.
The story went viral on social media, but it was soon shown to be a fake by the satirical news site Empire Herald, and the real Marissa Jackson never existed at all. Instead, Donald Glover and Janine Nabers were inspired by the false news report and rumors surrounding it when they created Swarm.
According to One Theory, Dre May Have Murdered Marissa
All of this points to the possibility that Dre was all along responsible for Marissa’s death. According to Reddit user lezzymcguire1, Dre killed Marissa after the two battled about not going to visit Ni’Jah, and a lot of situations in episode 1 hint at Dre attempting to cover up her guilt.
In one scene in particular, Dre—who is often shy and reserved—goes out to a nightclub alone. She enters the club with confidence, passes right past the line of people waiting to enter, and starts flirting with the first man she sees. Later, she has s*x with him.
This is very out of character and suggests that the entire incident was a delusion to provide Dre with an alibi for what she was really doing.
Dre subsequently discovers Marissa’s phone plugged in to charge in the corridor outside their apartment. The phone is discovered buried beneath a blood-splattered bag from the convenience shop where Dre had injured her hand, implying that she placed it there herself.
If this is the case, she might have grabbed Marissa’s phone and sent the texts that appeared to be from Marissa herself, intending to conceal what she had done.
One thing we can learn from Swarm’s seven episodes is that Dre is an extremely untrustworthy narrator, as the events we see don’t necessarily correspond to reality.
In episode 7, when Dre storms the stage at a Ni’Jah performance, the singer requests the security guards to let her go; this is exemplified. When she approaches Dre, Ni’Jah’s face is actually Marissa’s, and the two leave together.
There’s no way this happened, and it’s worth noting that the episode is titled ‘Only God Makes Happy Endings,’ after all.
The actuality of the scene is exposed in episode 6 when Loretta discovers that Dre was imprisoned for storming the stage and informs the documentary crew that she intends to go over there to ask Dre about the deaths.
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Don’t Be Taken in by Marissa’s Scar
The scar on Marissa’s wrist is the final piece of evidence pointing to Dre as the murderer. We’re originally led to assume that Marissa’s scar is the consequence of self-harm, but in episode 6, we’re told about a sleepover that took a violent turn when Marissa and Dre were children.
Marissa and her pals had been playing a game developed by her friend Gwen when Dre misinterpreted the situation and attacked, stabbing Gwen in a fit of wrath.
Marissa would almost certainly have been wounded if she had attempted to drag Dre off Gwen. This is probably certainly why Dre kisses Marissa’s wrist scar in episode 1: because she feels bad about injuring her sister, not because she self-harmed.
Who’s to say that if Dre has already injured Marissa, she won’t do it again? Swarm is now accessible on Prime Video after being released on Friday, March 17, 2023.