Sunday, August 16, 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 4 (B+)

The way this show handles time is very effective, skipping from the dissolution of Connell and Marianne’s relationship in the previous episode to them being in college and, after traveling separate paths, ending up back in the same place again and unable to take their minds off each other. Seeing how Connell was relatively serious about his studies and not into socializing made the sudden reappearance of Marianne in a completely different context all the more effective. She has become such a cooler but more importantly confident person, unconcerned with what people think of her and perfectly happy to confront Connell for the way that he chose to end things between them with his behavior. She wasn’t impressed that he called her beautiful, and he shot back by calling her new boyfriend a Holocaust denier. Regardless of her new attitude, she’s still captivated by him, and he obviously didn’t care much for the girl he chose to be with instead of her and therefore may never have lost the feelings that have now come back surging and stronger than ever. It took me a minute to excitedly recognize Gareth from actor Sebastian de Souza’s role as Leo on “The Great,” a far sincerer and nobler character than the one he’s playing here. Conversely, Eliot Salt, who I know from her part as the totally inept assistant Evelyn on “Intelligence,” portrays someone much more substantive and competent Joanna, who seems like the kind of friend Marianne could have used in high school.

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