Imagine a world where dating apps prove to be unnecessary and blind dates are a thing of the past. Instead, every person can find their perfect “soulmate” with just a sample of DNA. Netflix’s new sci-fi series “The One” gives us a glimpse into this futuristic way of finding a happily ever after.
This eight-episode series is based on John Marrs’s 2017 novel of the same name, but more closely resembles AMC’s 2020 anthological series “Soulmates.” In this version of Marrs’s story, a brilliant researcher named Rebecca Webb (Hannah Ware, “The Angel”) discovers a way to match individuals with their true love using DNA. Although a seemingly picturesque idea, she is faced with immense controversy regarding the ethics behind her matchmaking strategy.
The pilot starts off with Webb giving a TED Talk regarding her scientific research. She speaks to the idea that dating is much like rolling a die, but more often than not, the roll results in threes or maybe a four. Her matchmaking service, however, gifts everyone with a six, this being their one true love.
For decades, society has fostered an unrealistic image of true love, one that implies that everyone has a soulmate. It is this idea that motivates people to endure countless dates, disastrous relationships and inevitable heartbreaks. So, imagine that with just one strand of hair or swab of saliva, these prerequisites for finding love can be skipped over completely. However, this instant gratification may not be enough to justify the turmoil that results from this implausible concept: Every individual can have only one person who is perfect for them, even if they are currently in love with someone else.
The issues that result from Webb’s DNA matchmaking begin to unravel throughout the episode. While some people benefit from it, others — who were previously satisfied with their love lives — are tortured by the unknowing. Eventually, the emotional distress overwhelms and the matchmaking system wins. As a result, once happily-married couples end up divorced, others remain matchless for life and some are forced to face the fact that their perfect person is actually far from perfect.
Finding love is no easy task in today’s society, especially during a pandemic. For one, swiping right on Tinder to match with a stranger is not exactly the most ideal first step toward the rest of your life. If anything, it’s just a useful way to receive affirmation, or possibly a casual “hello” from someone you will probably never meet (or want to meet) in person.
With that being said, being genetically paired with your person is enticing, so enticing that, at least for me, an opportunity like the one in the show would be hard to pass up. In “The One,” it is this overpowering desire and undeniable curiosity that Webb profits from. Yet, what seemed like a good idea at the time to many may prove to be the worst decision of their lives; once a person is matched, it is nearly impossible to return to the way things were before.
Throughout the episode, we are introduced to numerous people whose lives are being manipulated and dominated by Webb’s business. This includes those casually dating as well as couples that have been married for years. Regardless, each person is affected by the idea that they have a soulmate out there, and the need to know who that person is becomes too difficult to overcome.
With each new storyline, the audience begins to question whether DNA matchmaking is a blessing or a curse. Is there really such a thing as a perfect match? It’s hard to believe that, with over seven billion people on this planet, we are only compatible with one. Not only is this basically unattainable, but it’s problematic. In fact, “The One” is slowly proving that science and love may not be a match made in heaven.
Daily Arts Molly Hirsch can be reached at email@example.com.