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Normal People - 1.05 - Review

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After last episode's reunion, if you thought Marianne and Connell were going to quietly ignore each other and live their separate lives, in college, and otherwise, well... you were wrong. Then again, Marianne's midnight text made it pretty obvious.

But at the very beginning of this episode, it seems like Connell is still making her work for it. After all, she was the one who admitted she knew him, she was the one who texted him, and she's the one who fumbles around after he calls her back (seriously though Connell, have you heard of texting?! Who calls, especially at midnight?) until she admits she's missed him and he, hesitantly, acquiesces. "Sounds good" isn't quite the height of reciprocity, considering he's the one who hurt her the deepest, but still. Their fates are sealed.
Being back in each other's lives equates Meeting The Friends, although Marianne's friends at least caught a glimpse of Connell at Gerald Gareth's party. I can't say I'm a big fan of Marianne's clique. While it's definitely nice to see her socialize more and not be the social outcast she was in highschool, aside from Joanna, these are not people I would enjoy being around. I may be biased, but it doesn't feel like Marianne truly does either, and Connell definitely doesn't. They sort of adopted him into their group once the link with Marianne was established, but he clearly feels uncomfortable around their antiques. That's not to say his high school crew was better, but they seemed more genuine at least. This group, much like Connell's classmates, seem like poseurs.

- Are you hating every second?
- Didn’t say that.
- They’re fun, aren’t they?
- Sure. Just, uh… don’t think I understand them, is all.
- Understand them?
- I don’t know. I suppose they’re just a bit different from my own friends.
- Your friends here? Or back home?
- Both.
- Well. I know they can be a bit intense, but, uh… at the end of the day, they’re my friends. It’s different for you.

Granted, it took a few months, but Marianne clearly didn't forget (or forgive) Connell's justification of his friend group's behavior, and she throws it right back into his face. I'm not sure who she means by his friends "here" though (meaning Trinity), aside from Niall, and unless you count that girl who wanted to read his essay since he got an excellent (and apparently unattainable) grade on it.
One could also, I guess, count Teresa, with whom Connell is now spending time with (much to Marianne's self-inflicted chagrin). Speaking of, Marianne's current sex life seems tepid, at best. Gilderoy Gareth's lovemaking leaves her mostly unmoved, which, when you compare it to her intense -to say the least- relationship with Connell, makes the end of his presence in her life inevitable.

And it's not just their sex life, either. Gordon Gareth is enthralled by everything Marianne does, even her studying on a staircase (I'm baffled by this, it's hard enough to concentrate when you're at your desk, but in the middle of the school basically sitting on some steps while people walk by is insane). Marianne, however, is only enthralled by Connell and during one of their own study sessions, while they give being a friends a shot, their common past unsurprisingly creeps up on them. Neither of them got much closure when Connell got cold feet and Marianne disappeared at the end of senior year, so it feels right to see them finally address the elephant in the room.

- Would you be embarrassed if they found out? That we were together in school or whatever?”
- Yeah. In some ways.”
- Why?”
- Because it was humiliating.”
- You mean the way I treated you.”
- Yeah. And just… Just the fact that I put up with it.

Connell also admits that most of his friends knew about them being together. Marianne immediately freaks out, telling Connell she didn't say a word to them, but he quickly reassures her, and mentions they didn't care. So all this pain and suffering was for NUFFING. Right after this little heart to heart, Marianne finally does humanity a favor and breaks up with Gremlin a completely bewildered Gareth. His only defense is "but people said we were good together", what a reason to maintain a relationship! Can you imagine if Katniss had married Gale in The Hunger Games because "people expected them to"? Where would we be now?? In any case, Gunther Gareth is the only one in their friend group who thought that, since everyone else thought he was (literally) a waste of space, but I digress. Marianne waltzes out of that relationship without looking back once, straight into Connell's arms car, with some gin on gin to celebrate. Now that she's free, she's also even more curious as to the state of his relationship with Teresa, and spurred on by the alcohol, probably says more than she'd like about her true feelings for Connell.

- I just broke up with Gareth. Like an hour ago.
- Is that why you were drinking gin on gin?
- Didn’t hurt that much.
- You alright?
- I’m just a fundamentally cold, unfeeling, person. Feel absolutely fine.
- That’s bullshit.
- We weren’t meant to be. Wasn’t a good fit.
- Feel like I could’ve told you that myself.

Much like the "At the end of the day, they're my friends, it's different for you" quote, this one is a direct call back to Marianne telling Connell he and Rachel had about as much passion as toothpaste and orange juice. I feel like a "14 things that have more chemistry than Marianne/Gareth Connell/Rachel" listicle wouldn't be out of place here.

You know who has more chemistry than they can handle though? Marianne and Connell.

I think it would be a bit difficult for us to stay friends, if one of us keeps trying to sleep with the other one.

Drunk Marianne barely has any inhibitions, and Connell isn't even pretending she's not everything he wants, Teresa or no Teresa. Eventually, when they're both sober (and showered, in Marianne's case), they fall back into their relationship as if they'd never left it, minus Connell's popularity hangups. And so it begins... again.

What did you guys think of this episode? It seemed fairly obvious that they'd get back together, but the way it happened felt really well done. One can only wonder how long it'll last this time.

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