Saturday, September 5, 2020

Emmy Catch-Up: Normal People (Series Finale)

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 12 (B+)

This was a strong and deeply sentimental finale, one that effectively incorporated brief flashes of moments we’ve seen before into the emotions that went into the relationship that Connell and Marianne had at this moment in time. Seeing them together was strange since, for the first time, they weren’t preoccupied with social perceptions or other people, and there was actually a true health to the way that they interacted. Connell went to hold Marianne’s head while he was driving and it seemed to fill her with silent joy, and there was something particularly powerful about seeing him at the party locking eyes with her and acknowledging that she was standing off to the side on her own. She held up her wine glass and assured him that she was okay, but him checking in on her and understanding how she functions in a room like that was sincere growth that’s taken him the entire series. That made his sudden mention of moving to New York all the more jarring, especially since he’s come so far in communicating how he feels. It would indeed have been wonderful to see them end up together, but Marianne being honest about the fact that she wouldn’t want to live in New York but that it would absolutely be the right thing to him was crucial to their continued happiness, even if it means them being apart. I’m so glad that I came back to watch this show after deciding not to revisit it following my initial screening of the pilot. I’m rooting for Paul Mescal at the Emmys but I also really hope that Daisy Edgar-Jones gets some recognition from the end-of-year awards groups.

Series grade: A-
Series MVP: Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones

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