Normal People recap: Italian dreams and Irish snobbery

“I am torn between wanting to ride him and wanting my sons to be like him.” - 40+ professional mother of three.
Normal People recap: Italian dreams and Irish snobbery
Jamie (Fionn O'Shea) in a scene from Normal People.

Connell (Paul Mescal), The Chain (playing itself)  and Marianne (Daisy  Edgar Jones) in Normal People.
Connell (Paul Mescal), The Chain (playing itself)  and Marianne (Daisy  Edgar Jones) in Normal People.

“I am torn between wanting to ride him and wanting my sons to be like him.” - 40+ professional mother of three.

“Does anyone else feel tired of the sap’s indecision?” - 50+ semi-professional father of three.

“I love him so much, I’d give up my first-born. I’m serious.” - 30+ recently unemployed, no kids, fortunately.

My Whatsapp groups were all a flutter over Connell last week, it’s almost as entertaining as the series. Probably less so this week, when they realise I’m shamelessly mining them for column fodder, but it’s looking good for the banter as the opening scene of episode 7 sees him prostrate on the floor with a killer hangover.

The narrative spins back six weeks earlier with the big eejit totally mis-communicating with Marianne, when instead of fanning her fringe back with the wind generated by his eyelashes and mumbling, sexily, “Can I stay with you for the summer, yeah?” he somehow gives her the impression they should see other people because he can’t afford to stay in Dublin.

So while he’s getting groped by his old English teacher outside a chipper in Sligo, Marianne is languishing in laundry and moodily mopping the marble inset table, instead of just riding each other sideways.

But our star crossed lovers have more obstacles to hurdle, as Lenny Abrahamson hands over the directorial reins to Hattie McDonald -Beautiful Thing, Dr Who- and we’re brought from July through to September and April, and on to next summer in episode 8.

They seem destined to hurt each other and I find the crusty old armor around this shrivelled old prune pit of a heart of mine getting speared each time they stab at each other. I only came here for the raunch and now you’ve made me feel, damn you.

Marianne tells Connell about Jamie being into inflicting pain during sex.

Connell’s jaw going like he’s tackling a giant gobstopper as she discloses “he slaps me... uses the belt”. In a later scene, as Marianne goes about boiling a kettle, Connell reveals he has a girlfriend, and makes her cry, ruining a perfectly good cup of tea.

Maybe they’re the sadists, not Jamie. He’s still a gobshite though.

A sun-drenched Italy next (remember travel?!) for our Romeo and Juliet, as Connell and sound pal Niall stop off at Marianne’s villa during their backpacking adventures.

Alas, neither Connell nor The Chain (it’s a proper noun now, deal with it) can pull off the Irish man abroad shite-shoes and short-shorts combo.

Jamie reaches new heights of fuckwittery with his bullying, boorish behaviour and herds Marianne right into the muscled, manly Connell chest where The Chain lives. There’s no resisting The Chain.

The Chain always gets the girl. They have a bit of a heart-to-heart, share a forbidden smooch, Marianne's eyes swell to the size of dustbin lids, and I swear, Shakespeare is only trotting after them. Can’t wait for the Whatsapp to start pinging.

Yerra Getaway Outta That Moments

After getting a fat lip and his wallet stolen, a drunk Connell crashes Marianne’s dinnerparty, because hers is the only number he knows off by heart.

Yeah, right. Millennials can’t remember if it’s 911 or 999 for an emergency, don’t mind a whole mobile number. Not buying it.

Connell asks Marianne for cab money and she hands over €100. Hello, where is he going? The space station? Get the receipt, Marianne, I shouted.

After a bust-up with Jamie, Marianne asks Connell, “Can I sleep in your room tonight?” Err, you're in a maahoosive villa, girl, and the only place you can throw the head down for the night is in a double bed with your ex? Good one.

Why I Hate Jamie

Jamie (Fionn O'Shea) in a scene from Normal People.
Jamie (Fionn O'Shea) in a scene from Normal People.

This guy! Grrr, with his poncy polo necks and flat arse and the way he says ‘Focking low life scum’ like he’s Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s second cousin by marriage.

He is so far out of Marianne’s league, the tide wouldn’t take him out, with the snark and the snide and the sneery little head on him.

And Jamie, you’re not on lockdown, get a haircut, ya mook. (Bravo to actor Fionn O'Shea for nailing the odious, gaslighting, insecure, BDSM-bastardry of a character.)

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