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I've been anxiously awaiting the premiere of The One ever since I saw the trailer. The series, based on a John Marrs novel of the same name, feels like it belongs in the Black Mirror universe. It focuses on a woman named Rebecca Webb (Hannah Ware), the founder and CEO of a company that is capable of finding someone's perfect match...with only a strand of their DNA.
As someone who has grown tired of downloading dating apps, the plot is highly intriguing. Instead of having to fruitlessly swipe through Tinder, these characters are able to find their soulmate according to their genes (an idea that really puts eHarmony to shame). However, the concept is even more interesting for how it plays into the ever-increasing trend of corporations acquiring our personal information (in a world where our living room speakers are already listening to our conversations).
Of course I had to watch when it premiered this week—already landing on Netflix's top ten list in the number two spot I might add. So, does it stand up to all the hype? Read on for my candid review (without spoilers).
1. What is ‘The One’ About?
The series begins with the protagonist, Rebecca Webb, giving a TED Talk-like speech to an audience. Webb promotes her matching system, called The One, which uses biochemical information in the brain to help people to find their true love. She uses her personal success story of finding her partner, Ethan, while comparing it to the failure of her parents' marriage. "No one has to settle anymore. I have loaded the dice. Everyone gets to roll a six," she promises the audience.
Webb's programming has helped over ten million people to find their perfect match, but with a cost. Due to the promise of The One, marriages start crumbling at an alarming rate, because spouses are taking the test and realizing they've been devoted to the "wrong person." Meanwhile, government officials begin debating whether it is ethical for companies, like The One, to have access to everyone's genetic material.
As all of this unfolds, Webb discovers that her old friend and flatmate, Ben, has just been found at the bottom of the Thames River. After disappearing over a year ago, police are investigating the mystery behind Ben's disappearance, and it seems like Webb might be connected somehow.
2. Who's In It?
In addition to Hannah Ware (who starred in the ABC series Betrayal ), the cast features Dimitri Leonidas ( Riviera ), Stephen Campbell Moore ( Downton Abbey ), Wilf Scolding ( Game of Thrones ), Diarmaid Murtagh ( The Monuments Men ), Zoë Tapper (Demons) and Lois Chimimba ( Trust Me ).
3. Is It Worth The Watch?
In short: yes! By the time I finished the first episode, I found myself anxious for more. While the idea that our brains could predict our soulmates is something I haven't stopped thinking about, the most compelling aspect of The One is its star, Hannah Ware. In the role of Rebecca Webb, Ware joins a growing collection of anti-heroes that have been dominating television ever since Tony Soprano and Walter White appeared on our screens back in the early aughts. However, while most of these roles are often filled by men, it is refreshing to see a complex female character join the ranks of characters we love to hate.
That being said, one of the only downfalls of the series is its tendency to get lost in the melodramatic. It seems like every show these days, from Élite to Tiny Pretty Things (two shows I quickly binged) is required to have some sort of murder mystery that is gradually solved throughout the season. And while this is often a gripping premise, The One was already intriguing for its dissection of the modern dating scene and privacy concerns in a digital age.
Nevertheless, the series offers a tense, binge-worthy mystery, where I was never sure which characters I could trust. But perhaps the most thought-provoking element of The One is the way it made me question what I root for in fictional relationships.
4 stars. The One will certainly pull you in, and while it could probably explore some of its ideas a little deeper, you'll still be thinking about it the next time you consider using 23andMe. It also made me realize that I should probably be asking deeper questions on Tinder.
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