Episode 11 of Normal People begins in August with both Connell and Marianne back in Sligo hanging out together. Their newfound friendship is something both of them struggle with and given the obvious feelings they have for one another, they cave to their own desires and start having sex.
Only, it’s different this time. Marianne asks whether Connell will hit her but he refuses, shattering their lustful mood immediately. Marianne’s been so used to sleeping with men that have hit her or used her, the whole notion of love making tenderly is clearly something she struggles with.
Embarrassed, she leaves the house and heads back home despite Connell pleading for her to stay. Instead, she heads back home where a drunk Alan confronts her over Connell. He tells Marianne not to see him anymore given Connell’s depression and how everyone is talking. “God forbid I care what anyone thinks of me,” She says as Alan loses his temper and smashes a bottle on the floor.
With Marianne’s Mother sitting nonchalantly in the living room as this scene unfolds, Alan chases her through the house and pushes a door in her face, breaking her nose. Marianne phones Connell and he comes over to help, seeing the blood gushing from her face. After some strong words for Alan, he promises no one will hurt her again and confesses his love, which is where the episode ends.
Both Marianne and Connell have come a long way since those early episodes and this latest chapter in Normal People certainly captures that. The pain/pleasure carousel these two have been riding throughout the season comes to a head here and the ending looks like it may be a turning point for them now.
Seeing Marianne’s fractured home life unravel the way it has is really heartbreaking and given how troubled she’s been, not having that family unit to fall back on is clearly something that’s affected her a lot. With the finale up next, all eyes now turn to that final 20 minute slice of drama to see how this one is wrapped up. So far though Normal People has been a poignant, realistic and beautifully written drama; lets hope the finale tops that off with a great ending.