Did you ever think you married the wrong person? You love her, of course, but not in the delirious, all-consuming way you imagined when you were both younger and in the early stages of romance.
It has become a marriage of comfort and companionship rather than passion. In the meantime, you know that your ideal partner – your perfect partner who you should rightly be living your life with – must be out there somewhere, perhaps in the same unsatisfactory situation as someone else.
Things could be so much different if only the two of you could meet. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a company that is solely dedicated to bringing people together who are an ideal match? Or maybe it wouldn’t be that great. Maybe it would be disastrous.
This is the requirement of Soul mate (Amazon Prime), made by the US broadcaster AMC. It’s a pretty intriguing concept, ideally suited to an episode of Black Mirror – if you will -.
It’s not a coincidence. Will Bridges, who co-created Soulmates with Brett Goldstein, wrote the Charlie Brookers series. Expanding the idea into a six-part anthology series is a different matter.
The weaknesses of such a narrow field of vision become evident in the first and second episodes of Soulmates, which are the only ones I’ve seen at this point.
About 15 years into the future, a company called Soul Connex discovered “the soul particle” (science is easily run over) and developed a test that could determine with 100 percent accuracy who you should be with most can.
Ideal for singletons looking for “The One”. Not so great, in the first and better of the two episodes, for wife and mother Nikki (Sarah Snook from Succession), whose 10-year marriage to the kind, dutiful, reliable and occasionally a bit boring Franklin (Kingsley Ben-Adir, recently as Barack Obama in The Comey Rule) has settled into cozy stasis.
Everywhere Nikki looks there are happy, loving couples holding hands, cuddling and smooching. Even her smug older brother Peter (Darren Boyd, one of several British actors with decent American accents) has found his perfect wife for life. It doesn’t matter that they keep arguing about stupid things, like who had the most sexual partners. Because they are the ideal couple, explains Peter, they will always sort things out without any consequences.
Nikki’s neighbor and close friend Jennifer (Dracula’s Dolly Wells, wasted in an undeveloped role) admits that she too took the test, found her soulmate, and plans to leave their stable marriage. This is going as well as you would expect from her husband, who tells her he is taking her children away.
Nikki was trying to keep her own FOMO in check. She eventually gives in and books a test, then pulls out at the last moment. She tells Franklin everything, then says to stay together and make their marriage work – although to the objective observer it seemed to work more or less well.
Unfortunately, Franklin reveals that he too has taken a test on the sly and will drop them to start a new life with his true soulmate.
Flash forward a few months and Nikki found a new partner too. As she prepares to take the children home after a weekend with her father, she and Franklin look downright unhappy in their bright new lives. “It is better this way?” Asks Franklin plaintively, which implies the two were soul mates the entire time but didn’t realize it.
Light as the episode feels, it’s a masterpiece compared to the second which is really weak.
David Costabile plays a somewhat creepy-looking college professor whose apparent soulmate (Sonya Cassidy) hacked into his private files and tracked him down, much to his discomfort.
It looks like it’s exploring some interesting avenues at first, before turning into a ridiculously exaggerated revenge story.