Swarm Episode 6 Explained
Swarm is the rare episodic experience that reveals its true chronological ending before the show itself actually ends. That end comes in the series’ sixth and second-to-last installment “Fallin’ Through the Cracks.” Like several Atlanta episodes before it (see: “B.A.N.” and “The Goof Who Sat By the Door”), “Fallin’ Through the Cracks” is a meta show within a show. In this case, the show is Falling Through the Cracks (note the added “g” rather than the apostrophe, adding to the unreality of the experience) – a true crime documentary featuring Memphis PD detective Loretta Greene (Heather Simms).
“Fallin’ Through the Cracks”/Falling Through the Cracks follows Loretta as she uncovers the reality of a serial killer working her way throughout the south. Loretta is able to use her status as the rare Black woman detective in the police department and her in-depth knowledge of social media to work out what absolutely no one else can. This string of crimes – from the murder Khalid Woods in Houston (which we see in episode 1) to the bludgeoning of a genial mechanic in Tennessee (which we see in episode 2) – are all connected and all involve a Ni’Jah (though the name is always bleeped out) stan.
Loretta even uncovers a likely-related case that viewers never get to see in any of Swarm‘s seven episodes: the bloody killing of Tiffany Long in Nashville. In fact, Tiffany’s murder represents the beginning of Loretta’s larger investigation as she notices that Tiffany was critical of Ni’Jah online and also notes the presence of Hot Cheetos in the home (“I never met a white woman who ate hot Cheetos.”).
Ultimately, this episode serves as not only a helpful rundown of Dre’s cascading crimes but also an explanation for them. Loretta’s search for the killer brings her to Marissa Jackson’s (Chloe Bailey) family in Houston. Though we just saw Marissa’s father, Harris, alive and well when Dre paid them an ominous visit in episode 5, now he has been dead since May, leaving Marissa’s mother Patricia as a widow.
In Houston, Loretta discovers that Andrea “Dre” Greene was adopted by the Jacksons as a child, making her Marissa’s step-sister. Much like she would one day come to be with Ni’Jah, Dre was completely obsessed with her stepsister. Also like with Ni’Jah, Dre’s obsession with Marissa would eventually turn violent. When a girl named Gwen Guillroy attempts to play a prank on Marissa during a sleepover, Dre reacts with animalistic fury, attacking and ultimately stabbing Gwen. This is the “spilling milk” moment that Dre reveals under hypnosis to Eva (Billie Eilish) in episode 4.
If all episode 6 did was reveal the origins of Dre’s penchant for violent obsession, it would be a landmark installment of the series. But episode 6 does more than that even. Like a nesting doll of meta realities, episode 6 seeks to present the really real story behind everything Swarm has depicted thus far. This means that none of the actors who have previously depicted the show’s characters appear here. Dre is not played by Dominique Fishback but rather London Rose. Additionally, the final moments of the episode feature a red carpet interview from Donald Glover himself in which he mentions his excitement for directing an upcoming Amazon series starring Dominique Fishback, Chloe Bailey, and Damson Idris i.e. this very show that we are now watching.