What would you do if your town had a Morpho machine? Would you let it dictate your destiny or not? As soon as it asked for my social security number, I know I’d have peaced out. But fortunately for us, the viewers of THE BIG DOOR PRIZE, the folks in Deerfield never seemed to think of that, and drama and comedy have ensued. 

This isn’t the first time a work of fiction has laid out a society where people are meant to be one thing or the other. Thoughts of GATTACA or THE HUNGER GAME series come to mind. But here, in this new series from Apple TV, folks have a choice if they want to play along or not, and that question of choice vs. destiny drives the narrative throughout the series so far. 

It shouldn’t be a spoiler to mention that Trina, the titular character of E5, is the daughter of Chris O’Doud’s Dusty and Gabrielle Dennis’s Cass. Played to perfection by up & coming actress Djouliet Amara, the story didn’t quite serve the character as well as it should have. There’s an interesting platform in Trina’s life to springboard what could be a very compelling and complex story of love and loss. Instead, Dusty and Cass’s trip away from their daughter takes too much time, resulting in some silly yet largely unimportant side plots. I love the idea that each episode intends to focus on one character. E4 on Father Reuben was perfect in that regard, as he was really the center of it all. But Trina’s time to shine still put her as a backup character behind her parents and various other residents of Deerfield. 

If you’ve spent any time on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, you’re probably familiar with quizzes & lenses that tell you who you’re going to marry or what your potential career choice is, etc. In the era of those, it seems surprising to me that so many in THE BIG DOOR PRIZE have put so much importance on what the Morpho machine gave them. Perhaps if the show took place 20-30 years ago, I’d buy it more, but in 2023 it just doesn’t seem feasible. That being said, I also accept that peer pressure is a real thing, and when one person does it, everyone wants to try it too. Yet, aren’t we, as modern humans, just a tad too sophisticated to let an arcade game rule our life? One look at the news, and maybe not, but at times here, it feels like the writers of THE BIG DOOR PRIZE don’t think too highly of most of their characters. 

THE BIG DOOR PRIZE streams Wednesdays on AppleTV+.  

Jami Losurdo

When not writing film and tv reviews, Jami is expanding her collection of colorful sunglasses, lifting weights, and working her day job as a Digital Advertising Director. An alumnus of NYU Tisch for Film/TV, Jami made Los Angeles her home in the early 2000s and continues her quest to find the very BEST tacos of all time.

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