The One - Ep. 1

Selene

netflix dating-app



Netflix has been my most loyal friend during the lockdown. I watched most of the series that were on my kilometre long to-watch list and I've also found a few new interesting and original shows like ‘The One’.

Netflix's

‘The One’ is a British sci-fi drama set in London and based on John Marrs’ psychological thriller. It explores the  dating world under a whole new perspective and it revolves around the concept that  if there was a scientific way to find your true love, would you give it a try? The title chosen for the Italian version, ‘The almost perfect couple’ (La coppia quasi perfetta), makes us think that maybe all that glitters is not gold.

Episode 1

In the first episode we see how MatchDNA (the company that developed the app) was founded and how The One was developed. Everything started with Rebecca Webb and James Whiting - played by Hannah Ware and Dimitri Leonidas - two friends who completed a PhD in biology and bioinformatics. During a relaxing evening at the pub, James and Rebecca start talking about James’ research on the biological behaviour of fire ants, highlighting how incredible it is that similar DNA creates irresistible bonds. ‘Particular gene variations produce particular chemical profiles’. This is how it works for fire ants but would it work in the same way for humans since they have many other ways to communicate (speech, body language, etc.) and influence each other?
Rebecca is thrilled by this idea and together they start working on an app based on DNA matching.

'To truly love and be loved. Isn’t that what we all want?'

As one might imagine, The One app quickly becomes the hot new thing. In a short period of time it gained 10s of millions of users craving to find their soulmates. It seems to be acting with the best intentions. ‘We deserve the fairytale. No one has to settle anymore’ says Rebecca Webb. All you need to do is to provide a sample of your hair and wait to be matched with the person ‘you are genetically guaranteed to fall in love with’. Despite the apparent altruistic nature of the app, it nevertheless sowed the seeds of doubt in many relationships.It destabilised the institution of marriage to the point that the number of divorces reached a rate never seen before. Everyone started thinking “What if I’m in the wrong relationship? What if there’s someone better out there waiting for me?”. This makes us think that maybe those couples weren’t as stable as they thought if they’re thinking of taking the test ‘out of curiosity’ to see what happens. 

The One: Netflix's new DNA-based matchmaking drama lacks subtlety, suspense  | Stuff.co.nz

Several companies don’t wholly trust the ethics behind MatchDNA and start questioning its methods. An example is a man holding a sign with ‘A match made in hell’ written on it, who appears twice during one episode. This sign makes me think of the ad created by Ryan Raynolds in collaboration with Match.com. I wonder if there’s any link to it?! Anyway!

Well, something stinks here...

It turns out that there’s something suspicious behind the creation of the company. That’s why Rebecca meets and threatens an MP to drop every type of accusation and investigation against MatchDNA. Meanwhile, police officers Kate Saunders (who is using the app and has been matched with a woman from Barcelona, Spain) and Nick Gedny start investigating a body found in the river Thames. The episode ends with Rebecca and James  talking together after a long time (he left the company for some unknown reason) because they find out that the body found in the Thames is Ben, a mutual friend of both Rebecca and James, who has been missing for over a year.

Interesting facts

The One is intriguing me so far. I can’t wait to know more about Ben, the reason why James left the company and what is going to happen to the people who have been matched. 

The idea of using DNA to find your true soulmate hit me hard. Will we ever be able to find THE ONE through our genes? Who knows! What I know for sure is that scientists tried to launch something similar in the past. The start-up Pheramor created a revolutionary app whose algorithm was based on 11 "attraction genes" taken from DNA samples. The company matched its users combining genetic and social information. This is how you could find the love of your life in your area. The Daily Mail reported that another attempt in this direction was done in 2014 by the  Singled Out app. People would send out a sample of saliva to be analysed. The information coming out of it would be able to indicate how likely a relationship will last.

We don't know if DNA matchmaking is really working but we're sure that there's already some technology out there. All we have to do is wait and see!

I’ll see you next week for the second episode!