After finishing it in one weekend, I can testify that Normal People with Daisy Edger-Jones and Paul Mescal was a TV show that I could not stop until I finished the whole series. Throwing me through a loop of emotions, I was crying for one second and then incredibly enraged the next. I would definitely recommend watching Normal People if you haven’t already! WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!
I want to dive into the progression, and regression, that was Connell (Paul Mescal) and Marianne’s (Daisy Edger-Jones) relationship. These two have been through a lot together and had their great moments, but they also had very bad moments. Taking you through my thoughts and emotions of the pairs relationship will be written below!
Connell is a very smart, popular jock who is well liked by the entire school and gets along with everyone. Marianne is also very smart but thought of as an odd girl because she does not care about social standing so it makes her stand out and seem weird. This is where the start of complexity between the couples relationship is.
Connell lives with his single mother that also happens to work for Marianne’s mother to clean her house. Having to pick his mom up everyday, this makes Connell see Marianne outside of school and, in a way, get to know her on a personal level. We then learn that Marianne’s mother is very dismissive and her brother is very cruel and hateful towards his mother and especially Marianne.
After seeing how Connell treated Marianne everyday at school, I was surprised to see how Marianne continued to develop feelings for him. He was truly very rude to her and really treated Marianne with no respect. Connell was more worried about his social status life than to really embrace the relationship with Marianne. Even though he kept expressing how he was a different person with her and how he was really able to be himself, he never gave her the chance to show her off and even treat her with a little respect in a social setting. Connell even went on to say that he loved Marianne but continued to stay silent when his friend group continued to bully Marianne at school. In the end, I believe Marianne was fed up with how Connell was treating her and finally realized the respect she needed so when she stopped responding to Connell and move on with her life I was happy for her.
Marianne and Connell have now graduated and are both off to college. Connell is shown to be having a hard time adjusting to college life, where he doesn’t know anyone and he isn’t one of the popular boys. He is just living life of doing school, sharing a room with a random roommate and being a little bit of a loner. In one of his classes Connell befriends Gareth (Sebastian De Souza) and finds out that he is dating Marianne.
When their secondary school days are over, Marianne gave herself a better life, found friends, and grew into a beautiful woman. Connell noticed this and I believe this made his unresolved feelings for Marianne come back instantly and now that she is unable it could have made him want Marianne more. The two started to hang out more and grow a strong bond with each other, leading Connell to apologize to Marianne for the way her treated her in secondary school. This led Marianne to break up with Gareth and pursue things with Connell.
I was happy this time around to see that Connell regretted his actions towards Marianne and realized how badly he treated her. Marianne was also starting to find out who she is and thrive in this college setting. They both were able to grow up together into this new phase of life and it seemed right this time with no pressures from outside sources. When Connell was fired from his job and tried to hint at Marianne if he could stay at her place instead of moving back home he ended their quick relationships because she did not pick up on it. This led Connell to believe she didn’t want him there. I was very disappointed and frustrated in the lack of communication going on because if they had both expressed their feelings, I feel as though they would have stayed together and would have been happy.
Connell is back home and getting drunk with old secondary school friends while Marianne starts seeing Jamie (Finn O’Shea), a guy who had the biggest crush on Marianne. When Marianne was back home she saw Connell at the store and they decided to go to lunch and catch up. This rekindles their friendship again and they both go back to Trinity to get their results to see if they got into the Schols Programme. Marianne and Connell both got in, in their separate studies. After Connell had been out drinking that whole day he ends up at Marianne’s place with a bloody nose after being jumped by someone. There they figure out that why their relationship had ended so abruptly was because they both misunderstood each other and did not want to admit it to each other. The two stay in their relationships with other partners.
Before beginning their programme’s, Marianne spends her summer at her family’s summer home in Italian countryside and Connell backpacks in Europe with his old roommate Niall (Desmond Eastwood). They all meet up at Marianne’s summer house and witness Jamie’s very controlling personality over Marianne and the relationship. Wanting protection, Marianne decides to stay with in Connell’s room and this is where their relationship goes to another level when they kiss, but Marianne stops it due to them both being in other relationships.
When they had kissed and realized the feelings they still have for each other, I truly thought that they would get back together. Connell still had his girlfriend and Marianne was going to break up with Jamie, but she wasn’t going to have Connell end his relationship for her, although she probably wanted that to happen. This made my heart hurt because it was a right person, wrong time type of situation and that is what makes it even more frustrating.
Student Exchange Programme
Marianne leaves for a student exchange programme in Sweden and this leaves Connell and Marianne to have a long distance friendship. Marianne starts seeing Lukas (Lancelot Ncube) and Connell starts to worry about Marriane’s well being. Connell’s mental health also takes a turn when his old friend committed suicide and he has to cope with the loss. This leads the couple to rely on one another and help each other through this dark period of time of their lives. At this point the two are single and even though she is still in Sweden, Marianne and Connell start to form an even stronger bond together.
When Marianne gets back from Sweden they both go back to Sligo and are trying to figure out their relationship. They do not put a label on their relationship but are very much physically and emotionally linked together. One day they had an argument and this led me to believe it was another ending of their relationship, but Marianne gets home and things escalate with her brother and he ends up breaking her nose. Marianne hesitantly calls Connell and he comes right away. They both leave together and Connell promises Marianne she will never have to suffer the abuse ever again.
Because of this fight with her brother, I believe it helped Marianne and Connell to finally trust and fully enclose everything with each other. I could tell that this time they were serious and this would be the end all to their complex relationship. I was very happy at this point because I knew they would make each other happy.
The two had finally figured their relationship out and were very happy together. Nothing was standing in their way of being together and they fully accepted one another for who they were. This all came to an insane halt when Connell gets accepted to the MFA program in New York. The two have to decide their future together and end the series leaving the audience question whether they would try to make it work but hint at Connell leaving for New York living his life while Marianne stays in Sligo and lives her life.
I was devastated with this scene and was truly bawling crying because I thought this was finally their time and they would finally find happiness with one another. Although their relationship went through very difficult phases, I know in the end they will always come back to each other and are meant to be together no matter where they end up.
Overall, I highly recommend watching Normal People on Hulu because of how capturing every episode is and makes you want to watch it until you finish the series. Watch the trailer below!