The Swarm – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

Episode 4

The list of oceanic mishaps grows stronger with yet another freak event in South Africa. A couple getting cozy on the beach is taken aback by an ocean of crabs that emerge out of nowhere and intrude on the city’s streets.

Rahim and Charlie are still reeling from Juno’s drowning. It is certainly not easy to lose a friend and they have lost two in such tragic circumstances. What is worse for them and the others who knew the people on Juno is that no bodies have been found, yet.

Lehmann takes on the difficult task of telling Jess’ parents about the tragedy when Charlie comes to say farewell. She is going back to the station in Scotland to pack up. Lehmann, who has been critical of Charlie till now, expresses her support.

At the Vancouver Institute, Leon is repeatedly going over the video retrieved from the whale. No one has been able to make heads or tails of what they saw in the depths of the ocean.

There is no source of bioluminescence capable of creating such a continuous glow in the ocean. Jack lays in with his conspiracy theory. He feels it might be a secret government project gone wrong. The sovereign institutions have never been averse to such notoriety, and it sends a chill down Alicia’s spine, who is sitting with them.

Sophie and Cecile reveal their findings to the government for appropriate action. But shutting down such widespread water systems might be an economic disaster, points out a government official. 

The Thoruldsson is back in the sea after Sigur expressed the urgent need to figure out the spread of the ice worms. Tina is among those who are watching the screen as an explorer is sent deep. She is struck by what the screen shows: absolutely no life. That is when Sigur tells Tina that Hovestad has lied to her and in the guise of laying pipes, they have breached the terms of their permit. 

Sigur reveals the same to Lehmann, who does not rule out the possibility that Tina might be involved. We saw her completely shocked when she saw the images so that is arguably not the case. She also discourages Sigur from taking the story public as Hovestad will find a way around the accusations. If they don’t, they will find someone to blame. And it could very well be Tina, who suggested bringing Sigur on. How will Sigur resolve this ethical dilemma?

Cecile watches a news clip which reports that the crab invasion has also been seen in other places like Rio, India, and Tangier. The reason for the same is the rise in sea temperatures. Dr Oliveira has studied the mussel samples found across four different regions in the sea. Surprisingly, they all belong to the same genetic barcode. This has never happened before. She asks Leon to bring another sample from Mifune’s Barrier Queen since the first one got ruined.

But Leon isn’t allowed back into the premises. He breaks and enters but is eventually caught by the guards. Leon is put in front of Sato and presents his case. If they decide to press charges against him, he could be in a host of trouble. Sato is convinced by Leon’s explanation and frankly, a little concerned when he learns about the new species of mussels. They agree to exchange information to understand the worrying pattern of the phenomenon. 

Charlie returns to Scotland and Douglas visits her house. She has his emotional support, and their closeness should keep her afloat for now. Alicia suggests to Leon that they should check the sound surveillance system with the WOC to learn more about this new entity. He gives her Samantha Crowe’s contact, the astrophysicist whom he met in the last episode.

The episode ends with yet more evidence of the glowing entity being close to an accident as Charlie finds Jess’ final video message on her laptop where she sees it in the background. 

The Episode Review

Episode 4 repeats the failings of the previous episode in places but steadies the ship well with decent storytelling. It still remains bereft of spark and attachment, however.

Having such a huge ensemble makes it difficult for creatives to really invest audiences into character lines. And that is hurting The Swarm big time. In the absence of any explosive answers and reveals – which might be lined up in the later episodes – the show is toothless.

There isn’t much for us to play around with while waiting for the “swarm” to pick up. Episode 4 made an attempt to rectify that, spending considerable time with Charlie and Rahim grieving Jess. This stands in contrast to how Leon reacted when he lost his partner – like he hardly even registered it. But even so, I feel the emotional pitch wasn’t so strong as to make us empathize.

Sigur and Tina’s uneven equation saddled episode 4 with unnecessary baggage. Although Hovestad’s inclusion in the narrative is as important as Mifune’s, the writers should have eased them onto the playing field in a more accessible way. All these details are just thrown out on the screen, with the expectation that we’ll go on the internet every other minute to scramble the pieces together. 

The answers about the swarm are keeping us going – also, the hopes of seeing more aquatic animals and their strange behavior. But perhaps that shouldn’t be the case…

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