The One
Hannah Ware in 'The One'
| Credit: Netflix

Welcome to the future, where the pain of dating isn't necessary and your DNA will instantly match you to your perfect soulmate. Can you imagine it? No more awkward dates spent forcing small talk. No more dating apps, no more ghosting, no more bad sex. Instead, all you have to do is pluck a strand of hair from your head, send it to a lab, and they'll match you with your one true love.

That's the premise of Netflix's The One, a show that's both a relationship drama and a murder mystery set in a futuristic world not too unlike our own. In this future, your love can be found through DNA, but making that choice is complicated. The One follows a few different threads, showing us how different relationships might change in a society where love can be determined by DNA, while also rolling out a murder mystery that leans on the tropes of procedural television. It's an interesting if flawed series, and we're here to recap all eight episodes (updating throughout the weekend) while you binge it. So let's dive right in.

'Episode 1'

We meet Rebecca Webb (Hannah Ware), founder and CEO of The One. Her company, which got its start after some research about ants and their behavior, claims to be able to match people to the person they're supposed to spend their life with, with 10 million successful matches so far. But is everything as it seems? Can the science be trusted? Can Rebecca be trusted? What's hiding in her past?

At the top of the episode, Rebecca is giving a TED Talk-type speech in an auditorium, telling everyone that they don't have to settle anymore, that love and great sex are out there. She hauls out her handsome match, Ethan (Wilf Scolding), to underscore her point, embracing him in a steamy kiss before rapturous applause. All seems well and good, except for the skull that's found underwater in the first minute of the episode. No way that doesn't mean bad news is around the corner.

The first episode of The One is your pretty standard Netflix drama premiere. It spreads itself thin checking in with all the main characters, and only really offers up genuine (though predictable) intrigue in the closing minutes. We meet a politician who's eager to regulate commercial DNA use and therefore throttle the success of The One, a move which puts Rebecca on the offensive, and she eventually gets the politician to stand down by threatening to give her daughter a bad match (a weird bit of blackmail that, even though she's lying about it, you think would just expose the corruption of The One, but nevertheless). We're introduced to Damien (Stephen Campbell Moore), an investor in The One who also thinks Rebecca is reckless and seems to know a secret about how her company got started.

Then there are the various people orbiting around The One. Hannah (Lois Chimimba) and Mark (Eric Kofi-Abrefa) seem happy as can be, and they love to criticize the people they know who've chosen to get matched. Mark is a reporter writing a profile about Rebecca and The One, which he calls a "cult." But Hannah is harboring uncertain feelings, lured by the temptation of knowing her match for sure. By the end of the episode she's pulling out her hair to send to The One for a match.

She's not the only one hit with a moral conundrum. Kate (Zoë Tapper), a detective who ends up in Rebecca's orbit when the skull found in the water ends up belonging to Rebecca's former flatmate Ben (Amir El-Masry), who's been missing for a year, ends up matched with a woman in Barcelona named Sophia (Jana Pérez). Kate already feels in love, and is excited that Sophia is flying to visit her in a few days. When that day comes, she sits in a bar alone for hours, seemingly stood up. Then she calls Sophia's phone and gets the bad news: Sophia was hit by a car while looking the wrong way crossing the road. 

Kate rushes to the hospital and learns her match has a traumatic brain injury, and the show doesn't have to spell it all out. Will Kate's feelings remain? Or will this woman she never met be tossed aside now that she's possibly incapable of a "normal" relationship? What does it mean to know you're supposed to love somebody, but then never get the chance to explore it for real?

Some of these musings on the complexity of relationships are interesting, but I get the sense that most of that will take a back seat to the investigation into Ben's death. By the end of the episode it's clear that Rebecca and her former lab partner James (Dimitri Leonidas) have either killed Ben themselves or are in some way responsible for his death. Now Kate is looking into things, and Rebecca is asking James to meet with her to get their story straight. A decent enough premiere, but I have more than my fair share of reservations.

'Episode 2'

With Ben's body identified, Rebecca has to be on the offensive. She's working hard to cover something up, and that means meeting with James, who also knows her secret about how Ben died. She's friendly for awhile, but before long she's asking leading questions, trying to get him to reminisce about the night Ben was killed. James discovers she's wearing a wire, and he once again understands that he can't trust her.

The second episode of The One confirms that this show is going to follow the pretty typical Netflix formula. There are going to be a lot of story lines that meander for way too long, but every episode we'll get two or three surprises that shift our understanding of the plot. The first of those surprises is the fact that Hannah, seen filling out a matchmaking test at the end of the premiere, was actually looking to find Mark's match, not her own. She simply couldn't stand the idea that he might have a soulmate out there, and she wanted to meet her.

She gets Mark matched unbeknown to him and goes to meet said match, Megan, for coffee. When that date is interrupted by Hannah's close friend Lucy, she has to explain herself to her friend. Lucy knows this is all going to go south pretty quick, that Hannah's meddling can't have a happy ending. Now Lucy has to hide that knowledge from Mark, and the lies will start to pile up.

The One
Albano Jerónimo and Hannah Ware in 'The One'
| Credit: Netflix

This story with Hannah underscores some of my thoughts from the first episode, which is that The One is going to struggle to balance its tones. It's trying to be many things at once. Hannah's interactions with Megan, including a dinner at her flat where she snoops through her stuff, are meant to be funny and awkward, which is a stark contrast to not only the murder mystery driving the plot, but also Kate's own "love story." In this episode, Kate talks to a friend about Sophia and how she really does love her and feels attracted to her despite having never met in person before the car accident that put Sophia in a coma. But there's a twist, because of course there is. When Kate goes back to the hospital, she finds Sophia's wife sitting by her bedside. Kate tries to lie but ends up admitting that Sophia is her match.

So The One is trying to embrace speculative fiction, imagining the various ripple effects of a DNA-driven matchmaking service being introduced into society. What would that mean for marriages? For dating? What are the moral and ethical obligations when it comes to messing with something as inexplicable as love? The problem is, The One only has so much space to explore those ideas because it has to keep moving its various mysteries along. So not only is the investigation into Ben's death in full swing, we also learn that Ethan is not in fact Rebecca's match. When she and James first started the DNA matching, by going behind Ben's back and using his laptop to steal DNA from a database, Rebecca was matched with a man named Matheus (Albano Jerónimo), a sun-tinged surf instructor and bartender who she immediately fell for. But what happened to him? Why is she with Ethan, a man who seems to understand that his relationship role is entirely fictional? Netflix loves to roll out plot in this way, but I'm already worried the payoff will be a letdown. Through two episodes, the relationship dynamics remain the most interesting and potentially fruitful part of the show, while the mysteries leave a lot to be desired.

'Episode 3'

We're in Spain, where Rebecca and Matheus are madly in love. Rebecca is so assured of her love, and therefore the formula that she and James will use for The One, that she's considering staying in Spain to be with her soulmate. The problem is that she's also eager to go back to London and continue her work, to build The One and make a boatload of money. Thus, a problem with the very idea of The One is revealed: Just because someone is your genetic match doesn't mean the other parts of your life that bring you joy and passion and fulfillment suddenly disappear.

At the beginning of the latest episode, we learn more about Rebecca's relationship with Matheus and how The One went from a company trying to do something idealistic to a company whose CEO is asking her bodyguard to shoot her old friends. This episode clarifies some character motivations for Rebecca, which is a nice touch, but it's still way too heavy on the mystery of Ben's death, which remains incredibly flat and uninteresting for a story that's meant to provide the series' dramatic heft.

Rebecca asks Matheus to move to London with her. He says he can't leave his younger brother Fabio (Miguel Amorim), who's struggling to get his life together and stay out of trouble. She tells him to bring Fabio too. But Fabio won't go, and he thinks Matheus is insane for wanting to leave their beautiful waterfront town for the dreary streets of London.

The One
Lois Chimimba and Eric Kofi-Abrefa in 'The One'
| Credit: Netflix

So Rebecca goes back to London without Matheus. She's angry, and completely sure that if she'd told Matheus about being a match and her whole DNA program that he'd have chosen her. As James points out, she could have given up her work and stayed in Spain and lived a beautiful life with him, but she chose not to. It's an interesting bit of character work that tells us that despite what Rebecca may say about true love and helping people find happiness, The One is more about her need to avoid uncertainty. She wants to be in control at all times. She wants power.

That means Rebecca is now more ruthless than ever since she's being backed into a corner. Damien and Charlotte are trying to force her out as CEO, and she quickly blackmails Charlotte to keep her power. Then, when James texts her a picture of the bloody shirt he kept from the night Ben died, a shirt she wore, she goes to his house when he's not there and has Connor (Diarmaid Murtagh), her bodyguard, ransack the place. When James comes home, things escalate. He refuses to give up the location of the shirt, and Rebecca tells Connor to shoot him in the knee to send a message, and then shoot him in the other knee if he still doesn't cooperate. Connor refuses, and we're meant to understand that Rebecca is really starting to go too far. 

Again, most of this stuff with Rebecca is incredibly dull. Her relationship with Matheus and how that influenced the way she runs The One is fascinating, but all this procedural/murder/cop stuff is bogging down the good parts of the show. It's trendy these days to do this flashback/flashforward style of TV where we know that Ben dies but we're only given a few details of how each episode, but for my money it's bad, gimmicky storytelling. The plot ends up dragging, and the mystery of how Ben dies just isn't as interesting as the show thinks.

"Episode 3" is a little more entertaining elsewhere, though. Kate's love for Sophia remains baffling, especially after she's learned about all her lies — she comes to a truce with the wife here, and learns that Sophia has cheated on her multiple times, and that she has a brother despite saying she had no family — but I'm enjoying the story of Hannah, Mark, and Megan.

In this episode, Mark sneaks into Hannah's phone to invite her new friend Megan to her surprise birthday party. Of course, Mark doesn't know that Megan is his match, the one Hannah just had to find out about. When they all meet at the party, Mark and Megan share a clear connection, and Hannah can't help but freak out about what she's put in motion. She ends up telling Mark that Megan is gay, that Megan hit on her and she thinks it'd be weird to stay friends with her, all in an attempt to keep her away from Mark.

I'm definitely curious to see how that relationship plays out, and I want to learn more about Matheus finally choosing to come to London with Fabio, but boy do I still not care one bit about how it all connects to Ben's death.

'Episode 4'

We're halfway through this eight-episode season, and I'm still not sure exactly what The One wants to be, or how it wants us to feel about Rebecca, or why it's making some narrative choices, as evidenced by the opening scene here.

The beginning of this episode flashes back to 12 months earlier than the current timeline. The One has launched, they've made 1 million matches, and as James mockingly says, he and Rebecca are "killing it." But all is not well. Ben has been fired because of a "security breach" on his laptop, which we know is the result of Rebecca accessing the NHS database to steal DNA to get The One up and running. James feels horrible about it and seems ready to tell Ben the truth so that he doesn't lose his job. But Rebecca is completely ready to ruin his life to keep herself out of jail and to keep The One going.

And this is what I mean by strange choices and how we should feel about Rebecca. There are scenes here where The One is clearly trying to elicit sympathy for Rebecca, as if she's a woman pulled between her romanticism and pragmatism. But the show never does any of the work to back it up. Instead, we end up watching a show about how one sociopathic person destroys those around her. Which is fine, if that's what you want your show to be! But The One is slacking on character motivations and in balancing its tones.

The One
Hannah Ware and Zoë Tapper in 'The One'
| Credit: Netflix

So to me, it's difficult to understand why she'd be so willing to sacrifice Ben, who she's supposedly very close to, for her goals. Did all this mess, leading to murder, really start because Rebecca was worried about jail time for accessing the NHS database? Does that really seem like enough? Even stranger is the scene where we learn that she pushed Ben off a rooftop, making her the one who killed him, and then returned to her room with Matheus, crying and upset, again as if we're meant to sympathize with, or at least understand, her struggle. It all just falls flat, and continues the show's baffling insistence on being so grim and self-serious.

Much like the previous episode, the relationship story lines are a bit more interesting, but even those are losing some of their initial appeal. Kate learns that Sophia actually has a family. Her mother died in a car accident, that much was true, but Sophia has a brother and father she hasn't seen in years. The brother suggests that their father may have abused Sophia in the wake of his wife's death when he started drinking heavily. More twists in the plot that I'm not sure amount to much of anything. Sophia isn't a character we can really care about, and I don't know that this whole story line with Sophia being her match is even telling us anything relevant about Kate.

As much as I'm not enjoying the murder mystery elements here, it is satisfying to see Rebecca get some comeuppance in this episode (a feeling that's mostly achieved because she's such a one-dimensional villain, which is another problem with The One). Ben's family is holding a funeral now that his body has been discovered, and Kate uses that opportunity to put pressure on Rebecca. Kate tells Ben's sister that he was dead before he was put in the river, that he was likely murdered, and that Rebecca, his last known contact, is evading any talk with the police. The sister confronts Rebecca at the funeral, and it's at least nice to see some of this facade come crashing down around her.

Rebecca hits back, though, sending a sex tape Kate filmed with her first boyfriend to all her family and co-workers. It's such a silly, contrived, ludicrous plot move, but that's where we're at now. The tape doesn't do a thing, Kate takes it in stride, and I guess we're meant to think, "Oh right, Rebecca is evil," again.

The best parts of this episode involve Hannah, Megan, and Mark, but even this story is losing steam as the season rolls on. Much like in Rebecca's life, Hannah finds her lies catching up to her. Megan asks to see Mark after Hannah tries to blow off their friendship in a nasty way. Mark finds out that Megan isn't gay, and confronts his wife about her lying. She eventually reveals the truth, that Hannah did the DNA test using his hair and that Megan is his match. He's livid. He was already in love and happy with Hannah, and now she's betrayed him and lied to him.

If The One focused more energy on this story line, or tried to dig into Kate's personal life a bit more, things would be a lot more engaging. Instead, the end of the episode sees Fabio in London, calling Rebecca to blackmail her because he knows about the night Ben died.

'Episode 5'

After the late-night phone call that ended the previous episode, Rebecca meets with Fabio. She needs to get rid of him quickly, so she immediately agrees to pay him the 2 million euros he demands. Before long he'll be on a plane back to Spain (where the rain falls mainly on the plain) and Rebecca will continue trying to keep The One from coming under fire during the investigation into Ben's death.

Of course, things don't go quite as planned. Fabio has to be a more consequential character, he's not simply going to go away. Instead, he ends up overdosing in his flat, and when Connor and Rebecca show up, she decides it's best to let him die. "There's no going back from this," says Connor, and Rebecca goes ahead with the plan.

Here's what's frustrating: Pretty much this entire episode is delivered in a way that paints this moment as some sort or moral crisis for Rebecca, that letting Fabio die is a bridge too far. But how is that possible? Ruining and then taking Ben's life wasn't a problem? Simply because Fabio is the brother of her one true love means that this decision has more weight? It's laughable. Seriously, I found myself laughing during the scene where Rebecca runs on the treadmill, Connor covering up their presence at Fabio's apartment, Rebecca running faster and faster with this pained look on her face as if she can't believe what she's just done.

The One
Diarmaid Murtagh in 'The One'
| Credit: Netflix

This is where the shoddy characterization has gotten us. The One is trying desperately to portray Rebecca as a woman who got caught up in her ambitions and ended up a criminal. The show is trying to go all Breaking Bad (morally disgusting overdose death included!), but the problem is the show started from a place where Rebecca was purely evil, and is now trying to sprinkle her story with bits of humanity. It's not working. When, late in the episode, Matheus shows up at her place asking about Fabio, and the two reconnect and make love, the scene is shot to suggest that Rebecca regrets all this, that part of her wishes she'd stayed in Spain when she first met Matheus. It's meant to be romantic and heartbreaking, but there's just no way the show has earned that level of sympathy for Rebecca.

It's a problem throughout the show, though, this shoddy characterization where it's difficult to connect with the characters or feel invested in their struggles. Sophia wakes up in this episode, and Kate is ecstatic. Like every other match, they seem to be truly in love. But it's hard to care because there's no meaningful character development here. Instead, the show spends a lot of time trying to keep its secrets, so rather than exploring Kate and Sophia's connection, the show is forcing us to think about why Sophia doesn't want her family in her life, or why she lies so much, none of which contributes to any sort of stakes. Even Mark and Hannah's marriage, which I was initially invested in, feels limp at this point. The show only gives them maybe 15 percent of the runtime in each episode, and that means this story is really starting to feel sluggish. 

There are only three episodes left, and the walls are closing in on Rebecca. Kate and her partner Nick have investigated the site of The One's "1 Millionth Match Party" and think they've found where Ben was killed and dumped in the river. Plus, Damien has gone to see James and has secured his vote as a shareholder to oust Rebecca as CEO. I guess that counts as things picking up?

'Episode 6'

Hoo boy, where to start? Above this episode recap you'll find five more that spend some time talking about bad character development and contrived plotting, and I'm sad to say I have to do it again. But c'mon, take a look at that opening scene! Nick shows up at James' house and arrests him for Ben's murder. James immediately says Rebecca was the one who did it, and that he can prove it. Nick takes James to retrieve the bloody shirt that's proof of the murder, only to then turn said shirt over to Rebecca and Connor, who've paid Nick handsomely to execute this trick.

But I have to ask who's really being tricked here, because it feels like we are. All that buildup about the shirt, about Rebecca trying to stay ahead of the investigation, about James knowing her secret, and literally no character development when it comes to who Nick is, and we're just supposed to be satisfied that this major plot point gets swept away in the span of a three-minute scene? The One has been pretty lazy all along, but as the murder mystery gets closer to its end, the contrivances and narrative conveniences are really piling up.

The problem all along has been that The One prioritizes surprises and moments over actual storytelling. So, is it shocking to see Nick be bought by Rebecca? I guess! But because we don't know anything about Nick — is he a corrupt cop? Has he taken bribes before? Does he need the money, or is it just too much to turn down? — there's no heft to this reveal. Walter White leaving Jane to die of an overdose on Breaking Bad hit so hard because of everything we knew about Walter before that fateful moment. You need character development to make your Big Moments land. The One is simply rolling them out.

The One
Eric Kofi-Abrefa in 'The One'
| Credit: Netflix

The same thing happens with Kate's not-so-blossoming romance with Sophia. They continue to have these boring conversations where Kate tries to extricate details about her past, only to come up against a wall and walk away frustrated. Then, while having dinner with Sophia's brother, Sebastian (Eduardo Lloveras) kisses her, saying he's never felt so drawn to someone before (DNA, get it?!). Kate is confused and anguished, and the emotions just don't land. Very few emotional moments on this show manage to feel earned or consequential, which is a bit of a detriment when you're working with a premise about true love.

Back to Rebecca being a villain who The One is trying desperately to complicate: With James losing his leverage over her, he sees no choice but to use his vote on the board to keep her as CEO of The One, thwarting Damien's plan. On top of that, Rebecca has gone ahead and found his match: a Somalian refugee with a 3-year-old daughter, who Rebecca has safely brought to London. "I just want you to be happy," she says, as we all collectively roll our eyes.

Meanwhile, Mark is conflicted about what to do with his marriage and his new match. Hannah goes to stay with her mom for a while to give him space, and when he sees Megan he's genuinely torn. He's clearly drawn to her, but there's part of him that doesn't fully believe this is all just fate determined by DNA; there's a human aspect you can't account for. After getting a mysterious letter from a clinic, Mark asks to meet with Hannah, and we've got another mystery here, folks.

The episode ends with Kate coming closer to solving Ben's murder. After a former co-worker of Ben's reaches out to the police and tells them about Ben getting fired, and then months later him asking this friend to look into the DNA of a man named Matheus Silva, Kate starts to put it all together (while Nick warns Rebecca, because he's a bad guy now). When Fabio's body finally turns up in a morgue, Kate's there to use his cellphone to call Matheus, who Rebecca is desperately trying to hide. The truth is on the way.

'Episode 7'

With Fabio dead and Kate starting to piece everything together, it's only a matter of time before Rebecca's entire life falls apart. Her fake relationship with Ethan, the way The One was started, the murder of Ben — it's all so close to being revealed. The show seems to be headed in two possible directions: Either Rebecca will be exposed for who she truly is and she'll go to prison for murdering Ben, or David (Paul Brennen), the man with the "A Match Made in Hell" placard who's been shoehorned into the show's plot at the last minute, will kill her, getting revenge for The One breaking up his family.

But we're not quite there yet! In the season's penultimate episode, Matheus is devastated to hear that Fabio has died, and wonders if he could have done more to save him. When he goes to the morgue to identify the body, Kate is waiting to ask him questions about Ben and Rebecca. Matheus evades the questions, but what Kate says is enough to make him suspicious of Rebecca. Kate follows him to a meeting with Rebecca and watches them embrace.

Then, Kate meets with Damien, who's eager to see Rebecca pay for whatever secrets she's keeping ever since she leaked to the media that he pays for sex. He tells Kate that Ben was at the "Millionth Match" party, and also that Rebecca was matched before the company launched. He doesn't know how she made that happen, but he knows she's hiding it for a reason.

The One
Albano Jerónimo in 'The One'
| Credit: Netflix

While Rebecca begins work on constructing a cancer research lab and offers James the role of leading the research team — another example of the show trying to add some redeeming qualities to a character it's portrayed as an outsize villain — Kate manages to track down Sophia. She finally gets the truth from her. The car accident that killed her mother? It was her fault. Sophia was arguing with her mother about seeing her friends and pulled the steering wheel, causing them to veer into oncoming traffic. Kate convinces her to tell her family the truth and start to heal their relationship, which seems to work.

Big moment, right? Well, again, it falls completely flat for a number of reasons. First, it's hard to really care about Sophia because she's spent nearly the whole season in a coma. So her finally admitting her feelings and reuniting with her family just doesn't feel all that important. It's nice, I guess? Hardly moving, though. Second, the lack of emotions felt here underlines an inherent problem in The One's premise: If people are in love based purely on their DNA, there's no reason to explore the reasons why they're in love. There's no need for relationship building or moments of insecurity and uncertainty because the premise instantly tells us they're supposed to be together. That's not exactly a premise that makes for good drama or compelling character relationships. "Why do Kate and Sophia love each other so much?," we ask. "Because of their DNA," the show answers. Not so satisfying, right?

Elsewhere, Mark has decided that he's ready to forgive Hannah and commit to their marriage after he gets tested for cancer and gets negative results, which causes him to realize that he only ever wants Hannah to be by his side. But then he meets with Megan to break things off and ask for space and they end up having sex in a restaurant bathroom. Again, the very premise of The One robs this moment of any real impact. If Mark and Megan are supposed to be together — and The One does pretty much explicitly lay out that the DNA matching does work — then I guess that's it!

Back to Rebecca and Kate. The One waves off Nick's corruption and involvement in the murder case by suddenly giving him a newborn baby and some paternity leave — reader, I couldn't have rolled my eyes any further without them falling out of my skull — so Kate goes through Fabio's phone records on her own, and discovers Rebecca's number. Then she literally googles "Rebecca Webb" and finds out she's accepting an award at a gala that night.

Kate goes to the gala and watches Rebecca over CCTV cameras. She sees Rebecca and Ethan backstage on their phones. She watches them walk out on stage and play the loving couple, and then immediately depart from each other once they're backstage again. It all makes sense to Kate now, and she confronts Rebecca. She says she's figured it all out: that Matheus is her match, and that she stole DNA from the database using Ben's laptop. She can't prove it just yet, but we're on to the finale!

'Episode 8'

It's finale time, and Rebecca is making a big decision. She's bringing The One public, and once the IPO is complete she's going to step down as CEO. She says she'll donate money to get the medical research lab up and running, and then spend the rest of her life quietly living with her true love. She's finally ready to give everything up and go live with Matheus, her romantic side winning out for once.

That's the setup for a truly laughable finale, though a finale that fits all the nonsense that's come before. Much like the previous seven episodes, "Episode 8" makes a number of baffling choices, switches tones with no sense of balance, and fails to establish what The One is all about. This is a show lacking any sort of identity, and it makes it difficult to enjoy.

If I had to boil this whole season down and describe what The One was trying to do, and if I was being generous with that description, I'd say the show was trying to show how Rebecca Webb went from being someone who was ambitious and forward-thinking and passionate about her work to someone who would literally do anything to keep her status, including murdering people herself or having them killed. I mentioned it above, but The One is attempting some sort of Breaking Bad-style of story, where we see the moments that made Rebecca the sociopath that she is.

The One
Hanna Ware in 'The One'
| Credit: Netflix

There's a bevy of problems with that, though, and this finale really underscores those issues. The biggest problem is the storytelling structure. The only way Rebecca's turn to pure evil works is if we're introduced to her softer, more sympathetic version first and then build from there. The One instead starts with the murder of Ben, shows us how ruthless and unforgiving Rebecca is, and then tries to sprinkle in the sympathy via clunky flashbacks. That's no way to build a complicated villain.

What ends up happening is that The One builds its entire season around the mystery of what really happened the night Ben was murdered, and there's just no way to make that interesting. We know Ben dies. We know Rebecca pushed him off the roof. There are very few satisfying places for the story to go when, from the very beginning, we know almost everything. So what's the big reveal here? It's that the fall didn't kill Ben. Rather, both James and Rebecca think he's dead, and when she tells James to go back to the car while she dumps him in the river, he coughs a few times. So he's alive, and she then makes the decision to kill him.

The finale plays it like this big aha moment, but again, we already know Rebecca will do anything to protect herself. We already watched her let Fabio die, and we already watched her push her supposed friend off a roof. The fact that the fall didn't kill him and she finished the job later doesn't exactly make for a compelling revelation.

The entire finale is ludicrous and unsatisfying; I laughed more than a few times, which isn't great when your show is meant to be dark and contemplative. As bad as the reveal about Ben's death is, even worse is the immediate follow-up. You see, Rebecca is telling the truth about Ben's death to Matheus in an attempt to gain his trust again. But Matheus wants to hear it because he's secretly recording her for Kate. Then when Matheus has everything he needs on the recording and sees Rebecca for who she truly is, David shows up and tries to stab Rebecca, and Matheus shields her and ends up dead. Rebecca erases the recording, her true love is dead, and Kate still doesn't have the evidence she needs to lock Rebecca up. 

The finale also tries to keep options open for a second season — please, Netflix, don't make me watch more of this — which means there's not a lot of resolution here. Mark tells Megan that he's choosing to stay with Hannah. Megan is livid. When Hannah goes to meet her and clear the air, knowing that Megan has decided she's moving back to Australia, Megan steals some of her hair in order to do her match test as payback. As for Kate and her complicated relationships, she asks James if someone can have more than one match, because she's definitely attracted to Sophia's brother, Sebastian. He says no, but he's lying. He and Rebecca, who have seemingly mended all fences — "you think you're a bad person, but you're not," he says to the woman who he spent most of the season insisting was a sociopath, the same woman who had him beaten and nearly shot by Connor — discuss how having multiple matches just wasn't a very marketable idea, so of course they had to lie.

I'm not really sure what else there is to say. Rebecca doesn't get any comeuppance — she has David murdered in prison, killing another potential lead for Kate — and the season ends with a few cheesy grace notes, like Hannah being pregnant and James meeting his match. In the end, The One attempts a story about a woman who takes her need to be powerful too far, but never manages to rise above its shoddy storytelling, limp premise, mixed tones, and true lack of narrative intrigue.

Related content:

Comments have been disabled on this post