Episode 6 of Love, Death & Robots Season 3 starts with Dr Afriel being invited inside a strange alien nest, known collectively as Swarm. There, he meets a fellow human called Dr Galina Mirny, who has been living here. She explains that this huge swarm is divided into numerous different sub-species, including 15 unique symbiotic aliens living among the hundreds of specialized castes native to the swarm.
Various strains of nutrient-rich fungi appear to be the hive’s main food source. Using a giant Tunneller, the pair make their way inside the heart of the nest. There, the pair marvel at this genetic wonder; an incredible feat of automated ingenuity.
After being shown around, Dr Afriel admits why he’s really there. He intends to use (see: exploit) the nest and use this to try and sort out the rapid growth of human expansion. The Nest though has been there for millions of years, self-sustaining all this time. Humanity has been around for a blink of an eye, but Afriel’s arrogance sees him want to retrieve an egg so humanity can create their own nest. Essentially, he wants to create a slave race for their own greed.
Although these creatures are not living beings, it’s still an ethical dilemma. Mirny agrees to help but things take a turn for the worst when Afriel is attacked by the Warriors from the heart of the Nest. After being badly beaten, he’s taken to the Queen where Galina happens to be part of this nest. She’s actually another division of the Swarm, used to figure out what Afriel actually wants.
Apparently the Swarm have been well-equipped to deal with humanity’s threat and as such, Afriel is offered a choice. Either remain a living intelligent being or there will be ugly events in the future. “I accept your challenge” Afriel replies, determined to prove the Swarm wrong and show that humanity are not the parasites the Queen believes they are.
The Episode Review
Swarm is a fascinating chapter, exploring humanity’s purpose on this planet and the idea of a self-sustaining swarm within a nest. The whole chapter is set up so well to take advantage of the excellent visuals, and the ambiguous ending certainly leaves plenty of the table for a potential follow-up.
This third season so far had felt like a step up compared to last year, and this thematically rich chapter exudes just enough exposition to show what’s happening while also leaving the wider implication of the world and how humanity fits into it very much open to interpretation.
Swarm is a really solid chapter and arguably one of the best of the season, in what’s been an impressive collection of episodes so far.