It’s back! It’s been a while, but today I’m bringing back my insane Normal People fangirl blog. Yes, I’m aware that the world has essentially moved on since then, and that many have moved onto Bridgerton now, but not me. Yes, before you ask, I’m still watching it. Well, I got the DVD for Christmas so I have to break it in. And at least now the BBC won’t have the iPlayer stats on how many Thirsty Thursday events I’ve had in recent months.
So, we’re back today with my take on episodes three and four, which documents Marianne and Connell’s final days at school and their first term at college. For those who don’t know what I’m banging on about, this is a series that celebrates my love of Normal People (and Paul Mescal…), where I share my thoughts on each episode (it’s not me thirsting over Paul, I promise), my favourite scenes, and my favourite music featured.
As you may or may not be aware, there are some spoilers in these posts!
IMDB Synopsis: “Connell betrays Marianne by making a cowardly choice. Marianne withdraws from school, causing Connell intense guilt.”
The episode starts off with Marianne getting ready for the Debs fundraiser, going “all out” as her mother puts it. How gorgeous does Daisy Edgar-Jones look for starters? Yes, you still get hints of that “nerdy girl gets a makeover” trope, but the confidence she brings to the table when dealing with her mother and Alan, and the girls when she meets them in the nightclub adds something a little different. She’s clearly feeling uneasy about it, but she doesn’t necessarily show it.
I won’t lie, I hated Rachel in this episode. Her general attitude of “you’ve certainly gone all out” when Marianne arrives and when she berates her for spending too much time on the dancefloor instead of selling tickets just puts me in mind of some of the girls I went to school with. The ones who thought they were better than you just because they were pretty and more confident.
We have to talk about the situation with Pat, who is most certainly, a dickhead. In what world is a smarmy twat grabbing a girl’s tit okay? How did all of them (aside from Karen and Connell) see that as funny? I guess that was the point, but it just made me a bit lairy. Can we just have a shout out to Karen though? She’s lovely. I like Karen. She’s a good egg. Every school needs a Karen. She runs out after Marianne and makes sure she’s okay, and even stands up for Marianne the next day when the rest of the group are making fun of her. You’ve then got that part where Connell does what we’re all thinking and tells Rachel to fuck off. Finally. He got even hotter in those few seconds.
So the next scene is quite emosh where Marianne confides in Connell about her Dad being abusive to her mother, and he promises he’ll never hurt her and tells her that he loves her. It genuinely gets more emotional each time. I also love the little light-hearted moment the next morning where Lorraine walks in as Marianne’s leaving and she just ends up laughing at the whole thing. She’s not like a regular mom, she’s a cool mom.
Okay, so I get the whole idea is that Connell just wants to fit in and be liked, and the grief he gets from his friends following the events at the nightclub sends his anxiety spiking. I get it. But fuck me, what he does to Marianne in the next few scenes is just awful. The more I watch the scene where he breaks the news to her that he asked Rachel to the Debs, the more upsetting it is, I’m not being dramatic, but I don’t think I’ll ever be over it. I just wanted to give Marianne a hug.
Going back to Lorraine – how awesome is she? That entire scene with her and Connell in the car where she confronts him to the point of even shouting “YOU’RE FUCKING HER” at him is just gold. It’s not the typical thing you’d expect from the mother character, but Lorraine’s cool. Lorraine’s team Marianne and I love it. She even tells Marianne that Connell doesn’t deserve her – I love her.
So we then move onto the Debs scene and you’ve got the whole exchange between Connell, Rachel and her parents which is just awkward AF. The Debs scene as well is a little painful to watch, especially when Rob passes round dirty pictures of his girlfriend. Then Eric admits to Connell that everyone knew about his relationship with Marianne all along. FFS CONNELL. What follows is an emotional phone-call to Marianne where Connell sobs down the phone to her that he loves her and he misses her, ultimately realising his mistake. Unfortunately, Marianne’s asleep and her phone’s on silent, leaving Connell to drunkenly sob in the street. Not a particularly cheery ending, but bloody hell, so much went down in this episode. He also looks pretty damn fine in that suit too.
Favourite Scene: It has to be the exchange between Lorraine and Marianne after Marianne drops out of school. You’d think the fact Marianne’s been ignoring Connell’s messages would make things awkward, but not when Lorraine’s involved. Instead, she tells Marianne that she’s too good for Connell and gives her a hug. I love her.
Music Highlights: I loved the song that plays during the closing credits, which is Only You by Yazoo. It’s just so perfectly paired with the scene and the situation.
IMDB Synopsis: “Connell finds college lonely; Marianne finds instant popularity. After running into each other, they decide to be friends.”
The early part of episode 4 documents Connell’s first few weeks at Trinity, and to be fair, I completely got him. Aside from the housing situation, I know exactly how he felt when it came to meeting people, making friends, and not knowing what to say in those absolutely bullshit seminars. Not surprisingly, I took an instant disliking to Gareth – he just has that general demeanor of a massive wanker. The shirt is constantly unbuttoned (like WTF?!) and the whole cocky, smarmy thing he has going on. Nah mate. He needs a slap. I really felt for Connell in the scene where he goes to Gareth’s party – the way they take pity on him when they find out he’s sharing a room just makes me want to punch them. Then you’ve got the part where Gareth leads Connell outside to meet people (one of whom turns out to be Marianne, Gareth’s girlfriend) and he says “great party, right?” to Connell. WHO THE FUCK SAYS THAT?! Shove your party up your arse, Gareth.
I love the scene where Connell and Marianne catch up with each other – how good does Marianne look?! – and you just instantly see how their roles have been reversed. Marianne is now the popular one, while Connell is lonely and isolated. The exchange between them is just gold though. The spark between them is still there, and Marianne makes a few jibes about what went down between them in school. You’ve got an indication that she’s not forgiven him just yet – and rightly so. But bloody hell, he knows how to charm…I’d have dropped my pants then and there if he said the below to me tbh. Too much? We’re all friends on this blog. It’s a safe space.
We then start to see Marianne’s life at Trinity – she’s popular, she seems to know what she’s doing with her life, and she’s got a beautiful flat (courtesy of Denise). What I don’t understand though is the whole sophisticated dinner party thing her and her friends have going on. Granted, I didn’t have many friends at uni (scrap that, I didn’t have ANY friends until my second year), so I don’t really know a great deal, but who TF has dinner parties like that?! Like I never had a group of friends at uni, so maybe I can’t judge, but hearing from my friends who you know, weren’t social outcasts at uni and moved into halls and made friends, it wasn’t dinner parties you did in the evening. It was going out and getting shit-faced on 80p vodka cokes. But then, Peggy’s seen doing a few lines of coke so…call it even?! I don’t know. I clearly don’t have that sort of experience to comment. Let’s just say it certainly wasn’t what went down of an evening at the University of Northampton.
Favourite Scene: I loved the scene where Connell and Marianne first run into each other. I can’t quite pinpoint why, but I love the newfound confidence that Marianne has, and considering what happened between them, it’s not quite as awkward as you’d expect.
Music Highlights: My favourite piece of music from the episode was Undertow by Lisa Hannigan, which plays at the very end of the episode and over the closing credits. The song itself has a dark feel to it, and when placed over the final scene of Marianne messaging Connell, it just works.
Of course, fans of the show will know that episodes 5 and 6 get rather…graphic. I’m pleased to say they’ll be arriving on the blog soon!
What did you think of episodes 3 and 4? Let me know in the comments!