Final shot of Connell and Marianne in Normal People. They are sat together on the floor of her empty flat.
TV

Crazy Lady Watches Normal People: Episodes 11 & 12

Well guys, we made it. We’re at the end of my Crazy Lady Watches Normal People series. If
you’ve made it this far, well done. I’m the first to admit these posts aren’t exactly critically acclaimed reviews, so if we’ve stuck with them this far, I love you.

I may have had a gin before I typed this intro.

Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know that this post concludes the series, so thank you for reading if you have been, and enjoy my very thirsty reviews of the final two episodes!

Episode 11

IMDB Synopsis: “In Sligo, Marianne and Connell try to navigate friendship. A fight between Marianne and Alan causes a rift with her family.”

So, the first thing I noticed (and really appreciated) about this episode is that it starts with Connell taking medication. It showed some realism. So many times in TV shows and movies, we see characters struggling with mental illness, and then, they have a session with a counsellor or a psychiatrist, and they’re fine again. No medication, nothing. One session with a professional fixes them. However, in Connell’s case, that doesn’t happen. I like how the meeting with the counsellor in the last episode was just the start of things – we obviously don’t see any more aside from him taking that medication, but just that simple act of him taking it after his session with the counsellor creates that sense of realism. It’s so important to notice that one session with a professional isn’t a magical fix, as it’s usually portrayed on TV and in films.

With Marianne back from Sweden, Connell is returning home at the weekends over the summer, and we catch a glimpse of them as friends – meeting up on the beach and going clubbing together. Can we just take a minute to acknowledge how amazing Marianne looks in the clubbing scene?! Major girl crush.

Marianne from Normal People - looking BEAUT in the clubbing scene of episode 11.

Anyway, the main focal point of the episode is the scene in Connell’s room the day after the clubbing. First of all, I have some questions. Not even on the relationship side of things, literally just on the continuity side of things. What happened after they went clubbing? Did Marianne go home and then go to Connell’s the next day? Did she stay at his house? Did she stay in his room with him “as friends?” Did she sleep on his sofa? I need to know. That is one plot hole that genuinely fucks with my brain.

Moving on – the sexual tension in this scene is so raw and thick you could slice right through it with a steak knife. For pretty much the entire scene, you know what’s coming, but Christ, they drag it out. You’ve then got the infamous rocket lolly bit – NGL, if he brought me back a rocket lolly over a Mr Whippy, I’d be fucking raging. However, it’s Paul, so maybe I could let it slide. However, the clean freak in me cannot deal with the fact Marianne just plonks her rocket lolly down on the floor before shit goes down with Connell. How anyone can get things going all the while knowing there’s a melting ice lolly on the floor is beyond me. Despite my reservations, one thing I know is that I would have goddamn killed to be this particular rocket lolly.

Screen grab of Connell from Normal People eating an ice lolly.

My apologies. I need to get my mind out of the gutter. 

Screenshot of Connell and Marianne from Normal People, Episode 11. Connell: "I think it's pretty obvious I don't want you to leave." Marianne: "I don't find it obvious what you want."

Anyway, I’m going off topic. The endlessly awkward exchange between Marianne and Connell eventually comes to a head, resulting in another pretty intense banging scene, especially considering we’re on the BBC. You’d expect it from Channel 4, but not the Beeb. Regardless, this particular scene makes it into my top five Connell thirst moments from the show – holy shit.

Screenshot of Normal People Episode 11. Connell is on top of Marianne, and she says "it's not like this with other people."

It’s all going so well until Marianne asks “will you hit me?” right in the middle of things. Oh Marianne. Connell refuses because, unlike Jamie, he’s not a piece of shit, and he asks if she wants to stop, to which she nods, completely humiliated. I felt so sorry for her, because it’s clear how little she thinks of herself, and it’s just heartbreaking. Not surprisingly, things end there, with Marianne running out of the house, leaving Connell to have a little cry. Not gonna lie, I desperately wanted to hug him.

Of course, Alan makes things a hundred times worse by being a complete bellpiece when Marianne tearfully arrives back home, with an exchange culminating in him slamming a door into her face, breaking her nose. When she calls Connell, the fact he clearly knows she’s in trouble before he even gets to her instantly demonstrates their connection, and seeing him rush to her rescue is what everyone had been waiting to see throughout the run of the show.

When he stands up to Alan, you can’t help but root for Connell, and it’s so good to finally see Alan put in his place. Also, I love how Alan’s first reaction to Connell approaching him is to shout for his mother…ooh you’re hard. While on paper, Connell professing his love to Marianne at the end of the episode is the moment we were all waiting for; however, it’s hard to politely dust over the fact that this is the third time he says “I love you” without her saying it back. Although, I think anyone watching the show would see it’s clear how she feels about him too – by this point especially.

Screen grab of Connell and Marianne in the car. Connell tells Marianne "No one is ever gonna hurt you like that again. Everything's gonna be alright, trust me. 'Cause I love you. And I'm not gonna let anything like that happen to you again."

Music Highlights: For me it has to be Strange Weather by Anna Calvi and David Byrne, which plays during the final scene and the closing credits. The song has this haunting quality to it that makes it fit in perfectly with the scene where Connell and Marianne drive through the night together – you’d hope to an A&E department to get her nose checked out, but we can only assume.

Episode 12

IMDB Synopsis: “Their final year in Trinity, Marianne and Connell are finally together – but how it will endure after they graduate is uncertain.”

The final episode starts off with Connell and Marianne happily in a relationship together – we see them celebrating Marianne’s birthday, and it’s so nice to see her genuinely happy. A message from Denise later that evening saying she wants the keys to the Dublin flat back kind of dampens the mood, but despite that, Marianne is actually content – going for regular swims, going to classes with Joanna, and having what looks like hot AF sexy time with Connell. Holy shiiit she’s a lucky lady in that respect. We’re also treated to one last smidge of full peen during a very brief scene. Again, she’s a lucky lady. Of course the happy ending between the two is jeopardized when Connell is offered a place on a creative writing programme in New York, although he insists he’s not going. He couldn’t walk down the street in Dublin without having a panic attack, so he doesn’t want to move halfway across the world on his own.

One thing I would like to know though, is where Marianne is now living. Obviously, she’s out of the Dublin flat, and presumably, Connell is still in his Trinity accommodation. But we see them briefly together in a kitchen cooking dinner together, which is where Connell asks if she wants to come home with him for Christmas. Is it a communal kitchen? Has Marianne got herself a flat? Similarly to the plot hole I mentioned in episode 11, I NEED TO KNOW.

Anyway, Marianne accepts Connell’s invitation to spend Christmas with his family, and I was not prepared for how emotional I would be when Lorraine greets her. I fucking love Lorraine. It’s even more emotional when Marianne replies “thanks for having me” – it’s tinged with sadness, but you feel so happy for her that she’s finally in a home where she’s welcome. Seeing her have this lovely family Christmas with Connell is one of the purest things I’ve seen on TV – I’ll also admit I watched this particular episode a few days before Christmas 2020, when any form of hugging anyone was banned, and I was especially emotional at the whole thing.

Screen grab of Connell wearing his snowman Christmas jumper.

Anyway, can we also appreciate how cute Connell looks in his snowman jumper? YEAH BEBEH. 

We then see Connell, Marianne and Lorraine run into Denise in the street, who immediately snubs them and looks at Marianne like she’s dog shit. Fuck you Denise. Following on from this encounter, Marianne reluctantly agrees to go with Connell to the pub on New Year’s Eve, where they’re met by his old school friends. Everything seems peachy – she’s greeted with a warm welcome from Rachel, Lisa and Karen (obviously Karen was the good egg from the start), and it looks like all of that shite from school was forgotten. Then, at the stroke of midnight, Connell again tells her he loves her, and she actually says it back. Fuck, I’ve gone.

Screenshot of Marianne telling Connell "I love you too."

The final scene takes place in Marianne’s flat in Dublin, which Connell is helping her clear out. Thus begins one of the most heartbreaking exchanges I’ve ever seen on TV (and I’ve watched A LOT of people dying on Grey’s Anatomy). She urges him to go to New York, but she doesn’t want to go with him – she’s happy with her life here. When he tells her “it’s only a year…and then I’ll be back,” she responds with “You don’t know where either of us will be” and our collective hearts just fucking shatter. They reflect on how they’ve impacted each other’s lives, ultimately closing the series with the following, which just rips your fucking heart out:

Screenshot of the final scene from Normal People. Connell tells Marianne "I'll go." She replies "And I'll stay. And we'll be okay."

Well done, I’m crying now. 

Fucking hell, what an emotional rollercoaster. I’m still in two minds of how to interpret the ending. Did they break up? Did they do long distance? It’s left open-ish for us to decide. Call me a twat, but I really don’t want to believe that was the end for them, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I feel as though they probably did break-up, because the idea of long distance is just a massively painful ballache, but I like to think they find each other again when Connell returns from New York. In my mind, they stayed together until Connell left, but they never completely lost touch throughout the time he was there. Let’s be honest, if I were in Marianne’s position, my bags would be packed as there’s no way my desperate ass would be willing to let him go, but in a way, I admire her for being honest enough to say that she wanted to stay in Dublin. However you choose to interpret the ending, there’s no denying that for those of us who were far too invested in Connell and Marianne’s relationship (i.e. me), it was one of the most gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking scenes in TV. I think I speak for us all when I say that Sally Rooney needs to write a follow up, and Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones immediately need to reprise their roles, as this cannot be the only series of Normal People we have in our lives. 

Music Highlights: I really liked the throwback to Dogwood Blossom by Fionn Regan, which featured both in this episode and in episode 4 earlier on in the series. In episode 4, it plays over the scene where Connell and Marianne catch up after first running into each other at Trinity, so seeing the song also feature in a scene where they’re happy together creates this lovely contrast between the two. 

And that concludes my Crazy Lady Watches Normal People series. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for reading it, if you’ve stuck with it this long, and yes, I’m aware I need to get a life. I will, however, make a promise right now that I will be doing a similar series when Conversations With Friends is released next year. So you can have that to look forward to.

How did you interpret the ending of the series? Let me know in the comments!

Catch Up With the Rest of the Series

Episodes 1 & 2
Episodes 3 & 4
Episodes 5 & 6
Episodes 7 & 8
Episodes 9 & 10

Featured image credit: Nerds and Beyond.

4 thoughts on “Crazy Lady Watches Normal People: Episodes 11 & 12”

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