It’s time for another thirsty Normal People post! Let’s address the elephant in the room – at the time of writing, I’m STILL watching it, however, you’ll be pleased to know, I’ve cut back and am alternating with old school Grey’s Anatomy. Yes, I’m easing my current anxiety about a global health crisis by watching a highly dramatic medical show. Thankfully, I’m nowhere near the Covid season yet, so hopefully we’ll be back to some sort of normality by the time I reach it (for those who have no idea what I’m banging on about – Grey’s is currently on it’s 17th season that’s centred around the old panny-D. I’m currently on season 3, so I think I’ll be alright for a while). Anyway, I trailed off topic.
Episodes 5 and 6 of Normal People were certainly…spicy. They were the episodes that so many people regretted settling in to watch with their parents on the evenings it was aired on BBC One, and the episodes you’d sit there thinking “is this actually being aired on the BBC?” The GODDAMN BBC?! Severe thirsting over Paul Mescal aside, A LOT happens throughout both of these episodes, from Connell and Marianne deciding to be friends right up until their break-up before Connell moves back to Sligo for the summer. So, let’s crack on.
As always, if you don’t know what the point of this particular blog series is – I mean, what’s the point in me writing anything? – it’s this. I’m obsessed with Normal People (mainly Paul Mescal, but also, the series as a whole), so this collection of posts looks at some of my thoughts throughout each episode, along with my favourite scenes and music featured. You’ve probably seen the show already if you’re reading this, but just in case you haven’t, be warned that spoilers will feature throughout.
IMDB Synopsis: “Connell joins Marianne’s social circle but doesn’t fit in. He apologises for how he treated her; and she reconsiders her relationship with her new boyfriend, Gareth.”
The episode picks up immediately where the last one left off, with Connell and Marianne deciding to try out the friendship thing. We then see him heading to Marianne’s where she’s joined by Gareth, Peggy, Jamie and Joanna – it’s all a bit awkward. Also, can we just take a minute to acknowledge what a bunch of bellends Gareth and Jamie are. I know that’s the point, but jeez. I want to punch them both. Anyway, I love one of the next scenes where Marianne and Connell are in the smoking area at the pub discussing her friends, and you get the parallel with one of the earlier episodes where she tells him “at the end of the day, they’re my friends…it’s different for you.” BURN. Oh Marianne. The sooner you realise three out of four of them are dickheads, the better. However, she’s a little preoccupied when she hears that Connell goes home with their friend Teresa after the night at the pub. To be fair, I would be as well.
Anyway, we’ve then got the scene where Connell finally apologises to Marianne for how he treated her in school, revealing that no one was actually bothered about the two of them seeing each other. It’s quite a tense scene, especially when Marianne gets teary, but it was nice to see Connell own up to how much he hurt her. We then get to the scene most of us were waiting for, when Marianne breaks up with Gareth. Screw you Gareth. Just to give you an idea of how much Gareth got on my tits, this was a genuine Snapchat I sent my friends one night when I was watching the show drunk.
The next couple of scenes are gold. First of all, I’m totally here for Marianne’s look – I bloody love it and wish I could pull off a velvet dress as well as she does. The below exchange also has to be one of my favourites throughout the whole show:
I love how Marianne is already a bit tipsy as her and Connell make their way to Sophie’s party, especially when she pipes up “you’ve such a nice face.” That’s 100% me. Not gonna lie, drunk Marianne as a whole is me, especially when later on she tells Connell “I’ll give you drugs” when trying to persuade him to sleep with her. I’m that girl who would say stupid shit like that while all the while knowing I certainly do not have any drugs, and wouldn’t have a bloody clue where to get them. Can we also just take a minute to appreciate how much of a gentleman Connell is here too, when he simply tells her “not tonight, you’re wasted.” It’s nice to see that sort of attitude – in a lot of “teen” style telly shows and films, there’s the trope of the guy trying to sleep with the hot drunk girl, and we all know that there’s EVERYTHING wrong with that.
Now, moving on to the morning after, where, following an awkward exchange on the way home, Marianne and Connell bang. Sorry, I felt I had to just rip the band-aid off there. One observation of realism I have here is this – fair play to Marianne for still cracking on despite clearly being hungover to shit. Had I spent an evening drinking neat gin and red wine along with a puff of a joint, I would not be in a fit state to do anything more than be curled up on my bathroom floor waiting for death. Anyway, props again to how tasteful they’ve shot these sex scenes, they must have been awkward AF to film. I still couldn’t get over how graphic they were for a BBC show too – like, FULL PEEN on the BBC?! I mean I’m not complaining but still, the Beeb are known for being a bit prudeish when it comes to this sort of thing, so it was certainly unexpected.
Favourite Scene: For me, it has to be the scene where Marianne comes on to Connell at Sophie’s party – the tension can just be cut with a knife, and I remember the first time I watched it I was just sat there like “JUST KISS HER.” And bonus points because she touches the chain. Also, I just love the exchange of “Let’s go upstairs;” “We actually are upstairs, Marianne” followed by “I’ll give you drugs” line and Connell’s reaction to it.
Music Highlights: Again, for me it was another end credits number, with the version of Make You Feel My Love by Ann Brun. I read somewhere that they selected the song because even though (if you’ve read the book) you’d know what’s to come between Connell and Marianne, they wanted to signify a moment of happiness between the two of them, and it just fits the scene perfectly.
IMDB Synopsis: “Connell and Marianne are together, but when he loses his job and she has an upsetting trip home, they withdraw from each other.”
This is probably one of my favourite episodes, because it’s nice to see Marianne and Connell as a couple, even though they don’t really call it that. The opening scene is particularly adorable with the “Is he your best friend?” conversation, and let’s face it, Paul is just…holy shit.
You’ve then got the scene where Peggy suggests that they have a threesome with her – again, it’s not the sort of conversation you’d expect from casual drinks with a friend, but I suppose you have to give her credit for being ballsy enough to bring it up in the first place. We then get another little snippet of Connell’s anxiety after Peggy leaves and Marianne tells him she would have gone with it if he wanted her too, and the scene ends awkwardly, cutting to them in bed together the next morning. Can we just take a minute to acknowledge the fact that NO ONE looks as good when they wake up as Marianne does in this particular scene? I wake up in the morning and look like I’ve been dragged backwards through a hedge and then tossed in a skip. And that’s on a good day. Another thing about this scene is that for the second time, Connell tells Marianne he loves her, but she doesn’t say it back. Although it’s kind of nice to not have that typical sitcom/rom-com trope of one person saying “I love you” and it’s this whole big thing.
The scene where Marianne’s at home having dinner with her family is quite a difficult one to watch, but I guess that was the point. What’s worse though is the subsequent scene where Alan demonstrates what a massive prick he is yet again, but in contrast to the book, it’s slightly tamer. In this, he covers her in filthy washing-up water, but in the book he actually spits on her. Ugh. Wanker.
The scene where she’s back in Dublin with Connell is one of my favourites, and it just shows what a goddamn catch Connell is. She has her period and she’s teary, so he makes her tea and just cuddles her. YAAAS. Having said that, there’s a bit of tension shortly after when he gets pissy at Jamie touching Marianne’s leg during drinks at her flat – yes, it’s possessive, but the whole line of “they’ve always get their fucking hands over you” is also hot AF. Soz. I’m biased because I love Paul.
As Connell loses his job and is faced with asking Marianne to move in for a few weeks, the episode starts to become a little more frustrating to watch. There’s obvious tension between the two of them at Sophie’s party, and the entire time you’ll just be sitting there screaming at your TV “FFS CONNELL JUST ASK HER. IT’S FINE.” But of course it’s more complicated than that, and in a way I can see why he was reluctant to ask her.
The first time watching this episode I was incredibly confused at the final scene. Like one minute they’re all cosied up to one another at long last at Sophie’s party and then the next it cuts to Marianne crying in her kitchen and Connell leaving the flat. Obviously, everything that happened is explained in the next episode, but for anyone watching the first time round (and who hasn’t read the book), it was quite a frustrating and confusing end. JUST FUCKING TALK TO EACH OTHER.
Favourite Scene: It definitely has to be the first scene with the exchange between Connell and Marianne – it’s romantic and cute, but at the same time has the potential to be intensely hot (not that I’m biased but…Paul). Plus, it’s nice to see a moment where the two of them are happy together.
Music Highlights: This episode featured what eventually became my top played song of 2020 – yes, even coming above Taylor Swift – Too Much by Carly Rae Jepsen. It plays in the background of the scene I just mentioned, and even though it’s a snippet, I listened to the song in full and it’s a goddamn BOP.
Well, there we go, that’s a wrap on episodes 5 and 6. Definitely the most eventful of the series, but as fans of the show will know, there’s still plenty more dramz to come. Episodes 7 and 8 to follow!
What did you think of episodes 5 and 6? Let me know in the comments!