In their renewed partnership and blissful cohabitation, we glimpse both those infinitesimal sparks of hope and the relatable moments of digital desperation that keep us renewing accounts or restoring Ok Cupid profiles ad nauseam.
With a Sigur Rós-esque score to rival ’s soul-rending, almost abusive deployment of Album Leaf’s song “The Light,” the tenderness between them is enhanced, their delicate chemistry ever vulnerable to annihilation by algorithm.
I’ll admit, as a single millennial particularly invested in speculative fiction ( and much the targeted audience for an episode like this.
Frank and Amy’s chemistry on their first date is electric—awkward and sweet, it’s the kind of encounter one might hope for with a Tinder match—until they discover their relationship has a 12-hour shelf life.
Palpably disappointed but obedient to the process, they part ways after a night spent holding hands on top of the covers.
“Hang the DJ”’s twist is admittedly clever, and for a moment at least, that final flourish gives audiences like me, still stuck in a 2017 hellscape, a moment of respite.
It turns our misery on its head, making our growing suspicion that algorithms may never be able to “solve” the perfectly human inconveniences of partnership without also eliminating human intuition and choice the solution rather than the problem—the app determines compatibility by observing our tendency toward resistance.
On the surface, the pair appreciates its simplicity, wondering how anyone could have lived with such guesswork and discomfort in the same way we marvel at how our grandmothers simply married the next-door neighbor’s kid at 18.
(Frank does have a point about choice paralysis; it’s a legitimate, if recent, dating woe; the System’s customizable consent settings are also undeniably enviable.)One night, an insecure Frank finally breaks and checks their countdown without telling Amy.
In fact, the past five or so years of dating men might best be described by involved parties as bleak.
It’s into this landscape that dystopian anthology series has dropped its fourth season.
Over the past few months, not a day has passed without yet another reminder of how unsafe it is simply to exist in public with men, working and socializing, let alone seeking out sexual or romantic relationships.