Sourced from USA Today This limited series is an emotional exploration into the complicated friendship between Emma (Ambika Mod) and Dexter (Leo Woodall).

Based on the novel by David Nicholls, Netflix’s limited series “One Day” (2024) follows Emma Morley (Ambika Mod) and Dexter ‘Dex’ Mayhew (Leo Woodall) over the course of nearly two decades as they slip in and out of each other’s lives.

The two first meet on the night of July 15, 1988, when they find themselves at the same graduation party, celebrating their leave from the University of Edinburgh. When their eyes meet on the dance floor, one can be left wondering how their relationship will progress.

That same night, Dex goes back to Emma’s place, and while they do make out, the extent of their hookup stops there. They end up talking late into the night, which, for Dexter, is something he doesn’t do, but he finds himself enjoying Emma’s company.

They spend the early hours of the morning together, where Emma takes him to Arthur’s Seat — a hill in Scotland. This scene serves as an intimate moment. No one else surrounds them and their view looks out onto the city, reminding them that their lives are just beginning.

When they part ways in the last few minutes of the first episode, it remains uncertain when and where they will meet again. With Dex planning to travel around Europe and Emma looking for work, the story hints at their paths beginning to separate.

It is from here that each successive episode, save for the last two which includes multiple years, takes place exactly one year apart from each other and is a snapshot of the same day — July 15.

This form of linear progression shows not only growth, but also regression in the characters. Emma and Dex go through a whirlwind of changes involving their careers and relationships as the years go by. In 1990, while Emma is working in a restaurant to make ends meet, Dex slowly gains fame and money as he begins hosting game shows.

When Dex’s mom dies from cancer in 1992, he spirals and quickly turns to drugs and alcohol, which he holds onto as a crutch throughout his late 20s. All the while, Emma is making strides in her teaching career and attempting to write her own work whenever she can.

The constant ebb and flow these characters experience with not only each other, but with the world around them, is what makes this show so compelling. Through letters and phone calls, they attempt to stay connected, but Emma can feel Dex drifting away as he continues to immerse himself in his bad habits.

In episode seven, the year is 1994 and Dex takes Emma to an uncomfortably over-the-top restaurant, hoping to impress her into his lavish lifestyle. Throughout the episode, there is tension simmering between Dex’s incessant arrogance toward Emma and the ways in which she begins to realize that she does not recognize who he has become.

Both Mod and Woodall perform some of their best acting in this episode. The tension that had been building up during the episode finally comes to fruition in the fight scene between Emma and Dex, and this is what eventually severs their friendship for the foreseeable future.

Dex, who is drunk out of his mind, takes Emma for granted, not believing that she wants to end their six year friendship. While Emma, who is hurt beyond belief, does what she has to and walks away.

It is not until three years later, in 1997, when they reunite at a mutual friend’s wedding, that they begin to talk again and try to mend the wounds of the past.

As the two walk around a maze located on the grounds of the venue, they attempt to catch up on each other’s lives. Emma begins softening up to him, noticing that he seems like his old self. But this feeling of familiarity quickly fades when he tells her that he’s engaged and expecting a baby.

Emma, who feels like she’s lost him all over again, is uncertain whether they could maintain their friendship, knowing Dex will naturally get busy with married life. This intimate confession leads him to reassure her that nothing will change and in the heat of the moment, they share a kiss so soft one could miss it.

Again two years pass, and it’s 1999 when Emma and Dex are officially together.

While it’s only been 11 episodes, one can feel the passage of time between each one. It’s like an exhale when both characters admit their feelings for each other. It feels well-earned and the relationship begins at a time when both characters have grown enough on their own that when they come together, it just fits.

But similarly to the BBC Three show “Normal People,” “One Day” ends in absolute heartbreak as Emma tragically dies in a bike accident on July 15, 2002.

The story ends with an exploration into Dex’s grief between the years 2003, 2004 and 2007. In those first two years, he heavily drinks, isolating himself as he finds it unbearable to live life without Emma.

It’s not until four years go by that we see Dex beginning to heal and celebrating Emma’s life by revisiting the places they experienced together on the first day they met. It’s a bittersweet ending as time has softened the hurt within Dex, but Emma’s absence will always be felt.

Rating: 4.5/5