Monday, August 10, 2020

Emmy Catch-Up: Normal People

Every year, I watch the six submitted episodes of every series I don’t regularly watch that’s up for one of the Emmy series prizes. This year, I’m watching the entire season of every series nominated in the top category, as well as this one, which netted a few important nominations even if it missed the main limited series race.

Normal People: Season 1, Episode 3 (B+)

One of the most involving things about this show’s second episode was just how close the two protagonists were when they were alone together and how much that contrasted with the way they didn’t interact at all when they were in public. It would be fair to assume that would eventually become a problem, and though Connell couldn’t see it, his mother realized right away that what he was doing – having sex with her every day and then not acknowledging her around other people – was disgraceful and unacceptable behavior she couldn’t condone. Everyone commenting on Marianne’s dress at the start of this episode resulted in her having to physically fight someone off, and finally standing up for her and offering to drive her home was the right move, though also one that made all of his awful friends aware that he had a soft spot for her. Not responding to any of their taunts was not a good decision, but what really showed terrible judgment was asking Rachel to the dance and insisting to Marianne that it was just romantic and they were just friends. Marianne was right to fire back that they must also just be friends, and she was understandably very hurt by the fact that he couldn’t recognize that. Rachel’s parents, unlike Marianne’s, seemed legitimately interested in him and his future, but his feelings for Marianne made it impossible for him to be in the moment, which is promising even if we don’t imagine that she’s ready to forgive him just yet. This episode earned a deserved Emmy mention for writing.

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