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‘The One’ makes you question everything about love

Given that this pandemic has turned many of us touch-starved yearners of human beings, the Netflix show “The One” is a wonderful addition to the mix of today’s pop culture. This show, which now hovers at number eight for Netflix’s Top 10 Most Watched, is based on the novel of the same name by John Mars. While the show has been explained to be a bit different from the novel itself, the weaving of each of the storylines is still just intriguing to witness. 

The main story follows Rebecca Webb (Hannah Ware), the ambitious CEO of The One, a new company that just requires a single hair strand to match you up to the person you are genetically meant to fall in love with—“your Match.” However, despite Webb’s fairytale-esque promises, something insidious lies underneath. Told in a series of vague flashbacks that don’t make sense until the latter half of the series, the audience gets the creeping feeling that Webb got her success through morally questionable means. 

She has no issue with blackmail, manipulating the press and murder: all objectively bad things, and yet, there’s still something unbearably human about Rebecca. Her need to make a name for herself and to control the world around her will resonate with anyone who has perfectionist or control freak tendencies; her need to be successful and still obtain and keep love will resonate with any lonely soul who has ever wanted a companion in their self-made isolation lair. Every monster needs a companion, right? 

Which is interesting when the audience sees Rebecca with her own Match—Matheus Silva (Albano Jerónimo), who, unlike Rebecca, has a less questionable moral compass. Matheus is kind, a family man. He looks after his troubled brother Fabio (Miguel Amorim), and he trusts Rebecca—perhaps a little too much. However, for all their differences, Rebecca and Matheus’ scenes together are still touching. It’s clear that the two love each other, and even skeptics of the idea of soulmate-ism will hope that they have at least a somewhat happy ending…even if Rebecca’s need for power constantly gets in the way of things. 

Outside of Rebecca’s own storyline, “The One” also follows the lives of others who are struggling with the new phenomenon of being Matched—like that of the story between Hannah Bailey (Lois Chimimba) and her husband Mark (Eric Kofi Abrefa). While the two are happily married, things get complicated when Hannah, in a fit of curiosity, decides to find her husband’s Match without his consent. While Hannah’s feelings are understandable, she comes across as clingy and depicts all the pitfalls and bad things one can do when a love for a person becomes possessive and toxic. She refuses to find out about her own Match because she’s determined that she could never love someone as much as her husband. While that’s all fine and good on her end, that didn’t give her the right to try to find out about her husband’s Match either—especially when Mark himself insisted that he didn’t want to think about getting a Match.

When Hannah eventually finds her husband’s Match, Megan (Pallavi Sharda), things take an even messier turn, especially as Hannah does everything in her power—and ultimately fails—to keep Mark and Megan from meeting. Mark and Megan have undeniable chemistry with each other, which is sad and honestly comes with its own problems, but the show makes it unclear whether we’re supposed to root for Hannah or not. Mark is a good person, for the most part—he struggles with the fact that he has now been Matched, but ultimately, he wants to stay with his wife. If this show is renewed for a second season, it will be interesting to see how this love triangle situation winds up—and as a skeptic of love triangles, that’s saying a lot. 

There’s another storyline that this show follows about the phenomenon of being Matched, and it follows detective Kate Saunders (Zoe Trapper), who’s investigating the darker past behind Rebecca’s business. However, in the midst of that investigation, Kate herself finds herself Matched with Sophia Rodriguez (Jana Pérez), a seemingly lovely woman who later turns out to have a whole closet of skeletons. Of course, things only get even more stressful when Kate realizes she might not have one Match, but two Matches, once she realizes she also shares the same magical attraction with Sophia’s brother Sebastian (Eduardo Lloveras). Imagine having to deal with that stress while also trying to investigate a billionaire girlboss—I could never. The trickiest part of this love triangle too is that there’s nothing pulling viewers in one direction over the other. Kate has undeniable chemistry with both Sophia and Sebastian, and the idea of having some form of polyamory situation is slippery to say the least, considering that Sophia and Sebastian are siblings. There’s also something a little uneasy about having a bisexual character potentially cheat or be tempted to cheat on her Matches, considering the stereotype that bisexual people are more likely to cheat either way. “The One” answers this question about having these two attractions in some form or another in its season finale, although it certainly leaves room for more questions that will hopefully be answered in the next season. 

Ultimately, this show does a wonderful job of showing what exactly one does with love and how one uses love to bring them stability in some cases, accomplishment in the other. This show explores what kind of things people would do in the name of love, or what things people would do out of fear of love. It’s wild, it’s bonkers and both human and yet not. The idea of being genetically predetermined to love someone forever seems impossible, to say the least—and what if we found the one we thought we would love forever? The fear and complex feelings that come along with this strange phenomenon breathes life into this show—it makes this show just intriguing enough to hold on for this ride.  Granted, this show’s pacing is a little bit on the slower side, but the questions raised will leave you wanting a second season.  So if you want something interesting but not something that will add too much stress on you during midterm season, then “The One” is definitely a weekend show worth binging. 

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