Can true love be analyzed and dissected by science? That is the premise of the Netflix mini-series, The One. Entrepreneur Rebecca Webb (Hannah Ware), uses her own husband Ethan (Wilf Scolding) as living proof that genetic matchmaking can produce “the one” against all odds. Her own match is purportedly the perfect soulmate identified through algorithms and DNA analysis. Her message: “You’re not going to end up alone.”
As CEO of the start-up MatchDNA, Rebecca becomes unimaginably wealthy manipulating the human desire to find one’s perfect match. Through scientific datamining, MatchDNA promises to shortcut all the dating disappointments one usually experiences.
The backstory for Rebecca Webb, before she becomes a female version of Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg, involves the scientific brains of her friend and partner James Whiting (Dimitri Leonidas). His genetic research on ants’ teambuilding and mating leads to the breakthrough innovation of applying DNA data to the human mating game. James soon leaves the MatchDNA start-up about the time Rebecca’s apartment roommate Ben Naser (Amir El-Masry) is found dead, floating in the Thames.
Enter a local reporter Mark Bailey (Eric Kofi-Abrefa) who is quite happy with his wife Hannah (Lois Chimimba). But Hannah is curious, wondering if there is someone better out there for her and perhaps for him. FOMO. Tragedy soon reveals its ugly head.
The One becomes part sci-fi crime thriller and part ruthless corporate conspiracy. Several key players have motive to murder Ben. DCI Kate Saunders (Zoë Tapper), and her partner, DS Nick Gedny (Gregg Chillin) follow clues that eventually lead them to the main entrepreneurs behind MatchDNA and its lurid financing.
So many characters and subplots, The One reminds me of a number of Chinese melodramas replete with characters, murders, and suspects. Keeping track of all of them is not easy, and the second season, in development, may pull together some loose ends. The final episode was a cliffhanger!
Availability: Netflix streaming
Note: In “The Algorithm of the Marriage Pact” (New York Times, May 19, 2021) a Stanford student project and business plan– aptly named “The Marriage Pact”– exemplifies real life imitating fiction.