Emma In Netflix’s ‘One Day’ Explained: Is Emma Dead?


It’s the season of love, and Netflix has dropped the perfect show for those who have nothing to do and would like a bit of a cry. The British series One Day revolves around Emma and Dex, two doe-eyed younglings who find each other on the day of their graduation from the University of Edinburgh. The year is 1988, and it is the 15th of July, St. Swithin’s Day, as Dex likes to remind us more than once. The folklore goes that if it rains on St. Swithin’s Day, it will rain for the rest of the summer. I suppose these two ended up raining down on each other for the rest of their lives (yikes, cringe). So, after a near one-night stand, the two become friends because Emma’s one for talking and Dex hasn’t met anyone like her before. Emma Morley is a vivacious nerd who happens to be very keen on changing the world when she first meets Dexter. She’s got many plans for the future, and she’s going to make a change one play at a time. Emma’s got everything figured out at the start. Even Dex, it seems.

The Northern girl from Leeds, who is inadvertently rude, very straightforward, and has a larger-than-life personality, is somehow massively insecure too. I suppose this is why being around Dex is something that helps boost her morale so much. As a 22-year-old, Emma’s fearless; she’s got her whole life ahead of her, and she knows exactly what she wants from it, but as time passes, this facade slowly shatters and leaves her naked in the sand, while Dex swims away to live a successful life. Of course, there are many pros when two people are the complete opposite of each other; however, when it comes to how wealthy one is, it makes a deep cut. I don’t just mean wealthy in terms of finances, though. From the get-go, we know that Dex is known for his looks, his charm, and his playboy lifestyle, while Emma, on the other hand, is a more “ordinary” woman in comparison (societally, you know?). I suppose this is also why Dex can live so frivolously, talking about fancy things like “travel” for future plans, while Emma sits and ponders about how she can rent a house and where the cheapest place to live is.

But this doesn’t stop Emma and Dex from being best friends, even if it causes a small rift between them. There’s a conversation the two of them have a little while after Dex’s mom dies and Dex loses himself in alcohol and drugs. At this point, Emma is in a stable relationship with Ian, (who, btw, hates Dex for no reason at all. I kid, of course he hates Dex), who cares for her and doesn’t take her for granted. On the other hand, there’s Dex, who asks her out to dinner and ignores her for the most part, reminding her that he’s just a pompous guy who can do whatever he likes with his life with no consequences. In this conversation, after Emma storms out of the dinner because Dex is too busy trying to do drugs or something, she tells him that their friendship used to be fantastic because they could talk. At this point, she has so much to say to him, but she can’t because he keeps walking away or finding excuses to ignore her, even if it is unintentional. This is the first time Emma puts herself first when it comes to Dex, but later she’s the one who regrets the decision to walk away from him because she realizes he was that way because he lost his mother. When Emma and Dex first met, she seemed like the kind of girl who could never regret any life decision, but I suppose that’s the whole point of this show—do it before you regret it.

Emma’s got a big heart. She’s generous and immensely loyal. I’d honestly want her to be my best friend. But she’s also got to be validated. It’s interesting because in that same conversation, Dex, in his vulnerable position (I’ll cut him just a little slack), calls Emma jealous. He tells her that he’s the one who achieved his goals, while she moped around doing nothing about her own dream of “changing the world,” and so she envied him. This is what happens when you become a successful kid. Given the circumstances, Emma walked away, which was the right thing for her to do, but it also gave them less time together by the end. All Emma needed at the time was for him to pick up on the fact that she was down. Emma mentions that she used to enjoy being with Dex because he made her feel good about herself. As much as you love yourself, there are days you need to hear it from other people. Dex used to be that person for Emma, but at this point in time, he decided to leave all that behind for debauchery.

Does Emma change the world?

I’m under the impression that teachers (the good ones, of course) are changing the world every day. So, my answer to that question is that yes, Emma did make an impact on the world, no matter how minute it was. This is the 90s we’re talking about; everyone’s contribution counts! Jokes aside, Emma’s brilliant at her job, and she actually enjoys it. She’s got the knack for teaching, and this is probably what carries on into her children’s novels as well. Of course, Emma’s novels also made a difference to the readers, and eventually, she did become successful in her own right. But, leaving the big picture aside, Emma impacted Dex’s life too. She helped him grow as a person; she taught him how to love deeply.

Eventually, Emma and Dex get some time together, finally realizing that there’s no one else for them except the other. I suppose, in many ways, it’s a good thing they didn’t get pregnant because when Emma died, Dex wouldn’t have been able to look after a child. We all know how he reacts when he’s bereaved. At the end of One Day, we go back in time to the moment when Dex left Emma with her phone number, and the scene extends a little bit so Dex can come back to Emma and kiss her. I reckon this didn’t actually happen, but it’s Dex’s biggest regret, realizing that he never got enough time with Emma and that things would’ve been hugely different if he had listened to his heart on that day. But I believe Emma wouldn’t have changed a thing.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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