The Swarm – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

Episode 3

The bizarre trail of oceanic mishaps continues in episode 3 of The Swarm. A host of jellyfish surface all across Venice in the waters. Lehmann learns of Juno’s sinking and informs Rahim. He calls Charlie, who seems to be building quite a complicated relationship with Douglas. Both Rahim and Charlie are in shock. Although they do not know yet officially if someone made it out, they fear the worst.

Cecile investigates bloodwork from the chef, the helper, and the sous chef to arrive at a shocking conclusion. She deduces that vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium that produces toxins when it comes into contact with blood, is causing the infections. But what puzzles her is that human blood consumes the vibrio. The chances of fatality are next to none. It is clearly a case of a deadly mutation.

Sophie, who has been incredulously listening to Cecile, informs her that more people have been reported with the infection up the coast. The mussel sample that Leon took from the Mifune ship in the previous episode has also befuddled the scientists at the Vancouver Institute. Their rates of reproduction and unusual size and characteristics are cause for concern.

Leon takes graduates from Dr. Oliveira’s class to do a post-mortem on the dead orca. He wants to get to the bottom of the attacks by the humpbacks. Leon finds a strange fungus-like clot growing into the dead orca’s brain tissue. Oliveira takes on the responsibility to run tests on the orca.

The situation in France worsens as the number of infections grows at an alarming rate. Sophie suspects the lobster thrown into the garbage disposal has contaminated the water.

Cecile wants to immediately send the kids back to their father in their vacation house in Corbigny. Meanwhile, Sigur has a meeting set with Sato to exchange his findings on the ice worms with “something in return.” This could very well be a problem for Mifune Industries, who have vested interests in the shipping business.

Tina informs Sigur over dinner that Mifune will use this information to prop up his efforts in cleaning the ocean through his other scientific endeavours. But the professor is more interested in reigniting old flames with Tina, despite very well knowing she has a boyfriend. Tina tries to resist but ends up giving in to her feelings and cheating on her partner.

Charlie travels to the IMB in Germany to review the footage from Juno’s sinking. Leon recognizes that all the attacks and abnormalities till now have been in the migration path of the whales. He decides to come into action mode and get to the bottom of this conundrum.

Leon travels with Jack and Alicia Delaware to the middle of the ocean where the pod of whales he tracks are asleep. He dives down and places a camera on one of their backs. As he does so, they suddenly wake up and start acting strangely. Leon surfaces and the trio escapes the mayhem.

Sato shares information on what they found in the South China Sea and the Nankai Trough with Sigur. The ice worms have also surfaced there. More importantly, Sato suggests that Hovestad does not have an exploration license and implies that Tina lied to Sigur.

Sato also sends him a video that proves Hovestad’s ill intentions. Sigur does not disclose this information when he talks to Tina over the phone. He does emphasize the urgent need to go back out into the sea and survey other areas to determine the extent of the worms. Given their positioning on slopes, the worms can destabilize the marine ecosystem. Leon is alerted to the camera having been taken off by the whale and retrieves it from the middle of the ocean.

The episode ends with Charlie, Lehmann, and Rahim viewing the footage from Juno’s sinking and Leon’s whale footage playing parallell. The whales dive deeper than usual toward a mysterious illuminated entity in the depths of the ocean, something which is also seen clasping onto the Juno.


The Episode Review

There is arguably no tension in Episode 3 of The Swarm. The storytelling has been quite weak until now. It has lacked cohesion and granular purpose to make it murky like the waters the show explores. The episode makes many bad decisions that completely destroy character arcs and take away diminutiveness from them.

Have we seen Leon grieve even once for her partner who was literally killed by an orca? Have we seen any other characters in the subplots follow up on a tragedy in their lives with any real emotions? I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Charlie going about her business merrily in the next episode having completely gotten over Jess’ death.

The Swarm is giving off some serious documentary vibes with minimal creative effort. Although the shot of the whales sleeping was stunning, episode 3 did not present any other evidence to justify the show’s tag as the costliest European show of the year.

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You can read our full season 1 review of The Swarm here!
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