MADE FOR LOVE (2021) Season 1, Episode 4 - 6
Episode 4 continues to fill in the gaps of Hazel and Byron’s past, showing us how the pair met, and just how Hazel ended up in her current predicament. The episode doesn’t propel the show forward in massive ways, but allowing us to learn more about Byron and Hazel’s initial meeting and delve in to the kind of person Hazel was before entering the cube is necessary to keep us invested. The Hazel we know in the current timeline is hard to match with the Hazel we knew in The Hub, so navigating the couple’s past
Episodes 5 & 6 push the show forward with 5 acting as a clear defining chapter in the 8-episode arc, pushing the characters and plot into darker potential timelines, however it still treads on the side of comedy, never going full force into the sci-fi horror that it could quickly become. We get more background in to not just what goes on in the Gogol hub, but also how the Made for Love chip came to be and the complicity behind it.
Noma Dumezweni’s Fiffany is still the question mark in the show. She mentions that Byron is a hack and a fraud, whilst having some delicious scenes as she starts out to betray him – but it’s still not quite clear even by the end of these three episodes if she is friend or foe.
The show continues to utilise technology to its advantage, though this is done best in the small moments – anonymous phone calls, social media exposures, rather than the heavy CGI used in episode 4.
Cristin Milioti’s ability to switch up personas between episodes excels – down on her luck student, desperate escapee, dream wife – the show knows her power and makes sure to use it to its full extent. Whilst Milioti is the clear star, it’s real smoking gun is it’s supporting cast who are able to come out from the shadows in these episodes.
Ray Romano shines in episodes 5&6 as he is able to show compassion for his daughter. The plot sees him finally removed himself from his sex doll partner and allows him to be a full fleshed character. Milioti and Romano are a good pair, and it’s nice to finally see them share the screen in equal measure. The episodes start to address the relationship between Hazel and Herb and the complexities – her disappearance and his complicitness in allowing her to leave.
We’re also introduced to another figure from Hazel’s past, best friend Bangles played by Patti Harrison who matches Cristin Milioti’s charm instantly and adds some much-needed levity and silliness to Hazel’s outside The Hub storyline. She only appears in episodes 4 & 5, but I hope to see her return in the final two episodes.
Of the whole cast, it’s clear Billy Magnussen is having the time of his life playing the utterly bonkers Byron, hamming it up for huge comedic affect. It is however difficult at times to equate this performance with the menace who is chasing Hazel down. We see the darker side to him come through by the end of episode 5 but this is better showcased through his actions to Hazel in the real world rather than by what we see in Magnussen’s performance of a crazed genius. This is the show’s only real flaw, finding the line between evil genius and eccentric weirdo – it’s not quite decided which Byron is yet.
That being said, with only 2 episodes left and a clear path to destruction still not set by the end of episode 6, I’ll be watching eagerly to see where the eccentric bunch of characters end up.