Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Our obsession with true love is always something that dating apps and companies will jump on to try and market. From speed dating and romantic chat rooms through to the explosive success of Tinder, dating is a lucrative – and constantly evolving – market.
So what would happen if there was an app out there that could instantly tell you with scientific precision who your true love is? Would people distrust the technology? Would it revolutionize dating? Inhibit human emotion and spontaneity? Or lead to a brand new world of romance? The possibilities are certainly endless.
Despite its lucrative title, The One is not the only one to explore this concept. Last year saw both The Feed and Osmosis release with a very similar concept. AMC added their fighter to the mix too, bringing in Soulmates to mixed acclaim. And that’s before even mentioning Black Mirror’s excellent episode, Hang The DJ.
Without even airing a single episode, The One has a pretty massive mountain to climb. Despite its best intentions, The One begins to ascend that steep ridge and immediately finds itself ill-equipped to handle the task ahead, resulting in a fumbling, stumbling show that just about makes it to the peak at the end.
The story here claims to be set 5 minutes in the future, as a brand new dating app called The One launches to the mainstream public. Only, CEO Rebecca Webb’s announcement is immediately overshadowed by damning news that a body has been found in the Thames.
This body belongs to a man named Ben Naver, someone heavily involved with The One until a year ago when he was declared missing. of course, what ensues is a whodunit, as police try to figure out what happened to him.
Alongside that are several other subplots that work to add a but more depth and showcase a different side to the app, predominantly from those seeking true love or happy in their current life. Unfortunately everything here falls into the dreaded Netflix cliffhanger trap at the end, with very little resolution to the stories we’re presented.
First up we have Mark and Hannah, who are happily married and seem to get along perfectly. Only, Hannah has actually conducted a Match test behind Mark’s back and learned who his true love is. As fate would have it, this girl happens to be living in London. So, naturally, Hannah decides to befriend this girl to figure out what she’s really like. As one would expect from this set-up, it completely backfires on her.
Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Kate Saunders finds herself torn between her personal and professional life. Professionally, she investigates Ben’s death and tries to figure out what’s happened. In her personal life though, she busies herself with a girl called Sophia, whom she happens to be matched with.
All of this builds up to a rather predictable and underwhelming finale where home truths are revealed… and then left on a tantalizing cliffhanger for a second season that may or may not arrive.
While it’s not a bad ending per-se (no spoilers here of course) it’s also a very predictable one. The fact that almost everyone will figure out what happened to Ben within the first 25 minutes of episode 1 is a pretty damning sign that the murder mystery element needs some tweaking.
This inevitably falls backs on the sci-fi and the drama elements to prop up the show. While the latter does manage to scratch that soapy melodramatic itch, the former just leaves you more itchy. In fact, if you even think about the science and morality behind this app too much, you’re bound to end up with a bit of a headache.
With a DNA sample, The One claims to find a match for absolutely everyone, and as more people are added to the database the easier that becomes. Now, given there are 7.7 billion people on this planet and the beginning sample Rebecca uses is 100,000, the odds of actually finding a match in that minute pool is pretty remote.
Of course, it’s best not to think too much about the science with this one – The One certainly doesn’t. Instead, the show plays out as a sort of medley of different genres, but not quite balancing them in a way that feels particularly organic.
There’s certainly enough to enjoy with The One but Netflix’s latest sci-fi drama just sort of seems to pop up with an indifferent shrug rather than a triumphant thump of the chest. This is certainly not the perfect match and it’s unlikely you’ll swipe through for a second season either.
The One launches on Netflix 12th March 2021 Worldwide!