Made for Love Season 1, Episode 1 recap: User One

Made for Love Season 1, Episode 1 - Photograph by John P. Johnson / HBO Max
Made for Love Season 1, Episode 1 - Photograph by John P. Johnson / HBO Max /

Made for Love is the newest HBO Max series. Starring Cristin Milioti and Billy Magnusson, the dark comedy is based on the novel of the same name by Alyssa Nutting. Made For Love Episode 1 introduces us to billionaire tech mogul Byron Gogol (Magnusson) and his captive wife desperate for escape, Hazel (Milioti).

The first three episodes of the HBO Max series premiered on the streaming service today, which is great since the show is highly bingeable. It’s short, hilarious and the story is intriguing. Black Mirror fans and science fiction lovers, in particular, will love Made for Love.

Made for Love Episode 1 opens with a commercial for Gogol tech. In it, Byron and Hazel seem like the perfect happy couple. But then we immediately transition to Hazel looking much worse for the wear as she emerges from a trap door in the middle of the desert, miles away from the Gogol Hub she’s been living in for more than a decade.

Before we can find out why Hazel escaped and how the episode skips back 24 hours, Hazel and Byron’s entire life is scheduled, run and maintained by Gogol tech devices. Little metallic rooster statues are situated through the house to watch and monitor everything they do, tell them when to take naps, watch them have sex and beyond. It’s incredibly intrusive.

Hazel is never truly alone, but she believes she knows how to navigate the hub, having lived there for so long. Despite being unhappy and tired of living with Byron and his methodical tech, she does her best to fake it and mostly appears to succeed. Whether she’s reviewing her orgasms, watching Byron swim with their dolphin Zelda or putting on a big smile to impress Byron’s tech partners and fans, Hazel negotiates her life within the confines of these technical ramifications.

At least, that’s what she thinks.

Made for Love Episode 1
Made for Love Episode 1 – Photograph by John P. Johnson / HBO Max /

Made for Love Episode 1 recap: Byron unveils his new device.

Then Byron hosts a big party to unveil his highly-anticipated new tech called “Made for Love.” The Made for Love device is a brain chip that gets inserted into a couple so they can be 100% in-tuned to each other’s every thought, emotion and otherwise. Byron prematurely announces to the group that Made for Love is ready and that he and Hazel will be the first couple to undergo the procedure.

His tech partners Fiffany (Noma Dumezweni)  and Herringbone (Dan Bakkedahl) are shocked that Byron would move forward and announce the device because, according to them, once the chips are synchronized, one of them will die. It’s not ready for market. Zelda is fitted with the chip, and thus far, all they can do is see through her eyes. It’s basically a certified spy cam at this point.

Hazel is shocked at Byron’s plans for her and decides enough is enough. She refuses to get implanted with a chip and makes a run for it. She puts on the green dress we see her wearing initially, ditches her wedding rings and then piles up all the rooster statues into a bag and wraps it around herself. Hazel sinks into the pool and seemingly finds an escape hatch that empties into an underground tunnel that leads into the desert.

Made for Love Episode 1
Made for Love Episode 1 – Photograph by John P. Johnson / HBO Max /

Made for Love Episode 1 recap: Hazel finds out the horrific truth.

Once free, Hazel immediately hitches a ride with a local radio host who happens to be driving by. He takes Hazel into a nearby town, where she infiltrates a strip club and finds a change of clothes. Here, Herringbone catches up to her somehow, stalking her through the club. Herringbone claims he’s on her side and won’t make her go home to Byron, but Hazel doesn’t believe him and threatens him with a fire ax.

She actually buries it in his hand and cuts off a finger! Forced on the run again, Hazel slips out the back and flags down another driver who takes her to Twin Sands, where her father Herbert (Ray Romano) lives.

Hazal assumes that once she’s in Twin Sands, she’ll finally be safe. But then the payphone rings before she puts a quarter in it, and car alarms are triggered everywhere she turns. A stranger flags her down, claiming he’s got Byron Gogol on the phone for her. Byron tells Hazel that he knows where she is. He can see her because she’s Made for Love. She’s already Made for Love. Byron put the chip in her brain without her knowing!

Desperate and terrified, Hazel frantically rushes to her dad’s house and walks in on him having sex with his synthetic girlfriend just before she passes out.

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What did you think about Made for Love Episode 1? Will you keep watching? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The first three episodes of Made for Love are now streaming on HBO Max. New episodes release on Thursday.