The Swarm (2023–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - Episode #1.1 - full transcript

Charlie Wagner, a young marine biologist, is assigned to a remote outpost in the Shetland Islands. During a survey, Charlie discovers large amounts of methane ice on the water surface, which is usually only found at great depths o...

Let's go! Let's go!

How's the Rock?

Full of mice.

- It's only for a few weeks.
- And it's freezing.

How's Professor Lehmann?

Good mood, bad mood?

- Depends who she's talking to.
- Probably better that it's not me, then.

Which is why I'm
calling, not her.

So what's up?

She just revised the section
of the seabed she wants mapped.

- I'll send you the new specs.
- Okay.


She wants readings with the AUV running
at 25 meters above the seafloor,

before it runs at ten.

Rahim, that's hundreds
of kilometers.

- I know.
- I'll be stuck here all summer!

- I know.
- Why do I have to start at 25 meters?

So you don't run
the AUV aground.

- Like you did...
- Last time, I know.

So no short-cuts, okay?


- We missed you last night!
- Last night?

I have a very sloppy text
from you at five this morning.

Did you even go to bed?

I can sleep on the flight.

- Anything you need?
- Where do I start?

If you think of
anything, let me know.

Something strange is
happening, I've got to go.



Best we can figure, it washed
up on the beach an hour ago.

Came in with the high tide.

A dog walker spotted it.

Said it was already dead.


- What?
- He's a male.

Was part of a pod that migrated
to Vancouver Island every year.

Haven't seen him
since last season.

Wind direction is
north, north-westerly.

He's not been dead much more
than two, maybe three hours.

- So that would put him about...
- Murray Cove.

Let's see what they have to say.

Can you cordon this off? Someone from
the Institute will be down to cover him.

You think they're bite marks?

What's gonna bite an orca?

- Leon.
- How are you, Kit?

- Jack.
- Kit.

- It's been a while.
- Too long.

Kit, did you hear
anything about the orca

that washed up on the
beach this morning?

Finish up for me, I'll
be back in a minute.


I'll show you something.

You're saying an orca did this?

I spoke to the guys. It happened
early hours this morning.

Swam close to the
boat a couple times.

They thought it was just being curious
until it started to get aggressive.

They tried to push it aside,
but it just kept coming,

smashing into the side of
the boat, acting all crazy.

A whale that big,
in a boat this size?

They had no choice but to fight
back with billhooks, blades.

- Anything that came to hand.
- No choice?

Do you really think they'd
fight an orca for a few fish?

Catches are dropping off.

Put an animal between a man
and the object of his attention

and you'd be surprised
what he'll do.

Nobody around here would
want to see an orca hurt.

If the guys say it attacked,

then it did.

I gotta get back.

- I'll see you around, Leon.
- See you around.


Welcome to the Rock.

- How long can you stay?
- We can't.

We have to get to the Juno and the
chopper back to base by tonight.

Can you guys give
me a hand here?

Nice to see you too, Tomas.

- What happened?
- No idea.

It lost propulsion. I picked
it up and brought it back.

The insulation looks
like it's melted.

- You checked it before you launched it?
- Of course I checked it.

There were no frayed
or loose wires?

I know how to run a pre-launch
check on an AUV, Tomas.

Then how do you explain this?

I can't. I told you, it
just lost propulsion.

Are you sure you
didn't cause it?

- What's he saying?
- I'm saying she's covering her ass.

- Just leave the parts, okay? I'll do it.
- I'll do it, yeah?

If you burn out another one,
it's my ass on the line.

So when do you sail?

Tomorrow, from Húsavík.

It'll be good to get out of the
lab. Spend some time in the field.

It'll be great.

I wish you were coming.

And miss all this?

Work is important, you know.

The data the AUVs
collect is important.

But operating them is a job
for a first-year student.

We both know why I'm here.

I'll do the job, stick to the
rules, and all will be forgiven.

Until next time.


- A whiskey.
- We have a lot of that.

Any one in particular?

- A good one.
- Can't go wrong with a MacNally.


Make it two, Iona.

So what did you do, then?


The guy here last summer,
up at the station...


- That's the one.
- What about him?

He told me, back in
Germany, he started a fire.

Aye, almost burnt the lab down.

I didn't start a fire, if
that's what you're asking.

So what was it then?

I like doing things my own way.

How does that go down
with your bosses?

Faculty advisor.

Not well.

So when you're not getting up
their noses, what do you do?

Trying to finish my PhD.


I don't want to bore you.

Try me.

Monitoring tidal fluctuation and other
possible stressors on the ecosystem

like overfishing,
water pollution...


That's a controversial
term around here.

Well, stocks are on
the edge of collapse.

I'd call that
overfishing, wouldn't you?

Or men trying to
feed their families.

Not if the fish run out.

So what do you do?

I'm a fisherman.

Of course you are.

Douglas McKinnon.

- That's Iona.
- Hi.

Charlie Wagner.

So if you ever want any fresh fish,
I go by the station most mornings.

I don't eat fish.

Of course you don't.

I'm not usually so abrasive,
not on first meeting, anyway.

Thanks for the warning.

So, drinks on me?


Well, thank you very much.

- You can come again.
- Aye. She can.

Thanks for getting back to me.

No, I'm actually looking at the effect
of seismic surveys on marine animals.

And I read your report on geological
studies and oil exploration.

Yes, I'm from the World
Oceanographic Commission.

It'd be wonderful if we could
schedule a proper interview.

Well, I'm based in
Canada for another month.

Yeah, a video call would work.

It's Alicia Delaware.
Yes, like the state.

At ""

I appreciate it.

Talk to you then.

I heard about the orca.

First whale of the season,
and it washes up dead.


What do you think is going on?

- They've been late before.
- Not this late.

I'm sorry, you've kind of
caught me at a bad time.

Okay. Sorry.

I'll catch you later.

I guess there's a
first for everything.

- I usually do the ducking out.
- This must be new for you.

I'm a big boy. I can handle it.

If you pull the door,
it locks on the inside.

And there's coffee
over there if you want.

Believe it or not,

I was going to invite
you to breakfast.

I'm not a breakfast person.


I need to launch
some equipment, so...

- It won't take long.
- There's a storm blowing in.

- It could be dangerous out there.
- I'll be back in no time.

Is there anything I can say
to persuade you otherwise?

Thought as much.

- What are you doing?
- Coming with you.

- I know what I'm doing.
- Oh, I don't doubt that.

But even I wouldn't go
out there on my own.

- Not even going to shower?
- Would you wait for me?

- No.
- There you go then.

Alright. On three.

One, two, three...

- Okay.
- Good.

Hey, do you see that?

What the hell is that?

Pass me that hook?

Thank you.


Do you have a lighter?

Thank you.


It's methane hydrate.

"Fire ice."

Dead algae sink,

and get buried in the seabed.

When they break apart, they release
methane, which then freezes.

Sometimes pieces break free
and float to the surface.

Looks like a hell of a lot.

More than just a few pieces.


You've got a few minutes,
just setting up the call.

Hi, guys.

Charlie, we got the footage.

I have a very important
question for you:

Who's the dude on the boat?

- His name is Douglas.
- We have a name!

He's a friend, just a friend.

- Now will you all kindly fuck off?
- She's here.

Let's get started.

And this was limited
to this spot?

I'm going to go back out
and check a few other areas,

see how widespread it is.

- How deep is the water there?
- About 800 meters.

But I checked the tidal flow,
temperature and water pressure,

and I think the hydrates would've
broken free of the seabed

at a depth of 600 meters.

Put the ADCP in
downward-looking mode on the AUV

to measure the currents.

See if you can
confirm the location.

- Will do.
- Send me the data.

Without my having to remind you.

Of course.

Let's schedule another call
for the end of the week.

Jess, Tomas, can you stay on?

- I'll sign off...
- No, no, hold on.

Who's the man on the boat?

He was helping me out.

The seas can get pretty
fierce around here.

Next time, you'll ask me.

In the event of an accident,
there are liability issues,

insurance issues
for non-employees.

I'm sorry, I should
have checked.

I've no problem with your
asking for someone's help.

But when you go out again,
I expect everyone on board

to be wearing life jackets.

You know the rules and I
expect you to follow them.

It won't happen again.

Looks like you've come
a long way for nothing.

I was hoping the whales
would stick to my schedule,

but it seems they
have other ideas.

So how does an Italian get
named after an American state?


I like to think the
state was named after me.

But you'd have to ask
my father, the American.

He doesn't live in
Delaware, does he?

Last I heard, he was in Ohio.

Tell me, how did you
end up in Canada?

Dishonorable discharge.

- You were military?
- U.S. Navy.

I was a trainer.
Dolphins, mostly.

We used them to clear
mines in the Persian Gulf

and the invasion
of Iraq in 2003.

When they were retired
from active service,

they didn't know
what to do with them.

They didn't think that
they were fit for the wild,

said they were worried
they wouldn't survive,

so they kept them in captivity.

In pens. Too small to swim.

Kept alive just to die.

So I freed 'em. Got caught.
Got thrown out of the Navy.

Kicked around for a few years.

But a dishonorable
discharge in your record

doesn't exactly inspire
confidence in people.

Folks up here at the Institute
were a little more sympathetic.

- Lizzie, they're back, whales are back.
- I know!

The reports are just
starting to filter in.

Not just here, there've been
sightings up and down the coast.

Everywhere? At the same time?

Listen, I gotta go. I wanna
be the first boat out there.

Hey. Thank you.

- Thank you.
- Thanks.

Welcome aboard.

- Thanks.
- Hi.


Are you ready to see
one of these for real?

There you go.

Glad we stayed in town.

Despite some protests.

- I'm so excited.
- Me too.

So, are you guys excited?

Hey, glad you made it.

I didn't think I would
get a chance to see them.

You're not the only one.

There are some ponchos
next to the life jackets.


Alright, landlubbers.
Everybody on board.

There are pods of whales
which are residents

to the Vancouver Island area.

However, our most exciting visitors are
the whales that migrated south last year

and are only arriving
back just now.

- Do you know what kind of whale this is?
- No.

- Orca.
- Orca.

Do you know that Brian uses this
part to navigate? Like on a ship.

There's a rudder on a ship, and you turn
it like this, and it gives a direction.

That is what this is for.

Well, hello!

Looks like we've got
our first visitor!

An adult humpback can
reach fifteen meters

and weigh up to thirty tons.

They're bigger than Godzilla.

- Where is it?
- It's gone.

Lizzie, come in!

- Whoa! Where'd it go?
- Where did it go?

Lady Wexham. This
is Zodiac, come in.

Lizzie, do you copy?
This is Zodiac, come in.

Get ready. Here comes
another soaking!

My daughter!

- Where's my daughter?
- This is Zodiac. We need help.

I repeat: We need help now!

Get out of the water!


- Mommy!
- Come on!


Come on!

Grab my hand.

Hurry up!

- Mommy!
- Get on the boat!

- Mommy!
- Get on the boat!

Get up.

- Hey!
- Lizzie!


Lizzie, come on!

- Lizzie.
- Leon.

Lizzie, no!