To heart dating

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It’s smart and even kind to promise those of us trying not to drown that there may be hope for love in such a dystopia as ours—and that that hope can exist somewhere between the 100% human and the 100% mathematical.But the story’s optimistic conclusion can’t quite bury the despair encoded in its DNA. From the inauguration of a president who has confessed on tape to sexual predation, to the explosion of harassment and assault allegations that began this fall, women’s confidence in men has reached unprecedented lows—which poses a not-insignificant issue among those who date them.Not that things were all that much better in 2016, or the year before that; Gamergate and the wave of campus assault reporting in recent years certainly didn’t get many women in the mood, either.But when they escape, the world waiting for them isn’t a desolate wasteland.It’s the shocking truth: they have been in a Matrix, but are also part of it—one of precisely 1,000 Frank-and-Amy simulations that collate overhead to total 998 rebellions against the System.“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’s into this landscape that dystopian anthology series has dropped its fourth season.Frank and Amy’s shared uncertainty about the System——mirrors our own skepticism about our own proto-System, those costly online services whose big promises we must blindly trust to reap romantic success.Though their System is intentionally depressing for us as an audience, it’s marketed to them as a solution to the problems that plagued single people of yesteryear—that is, the problems that plague us, today.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.

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