Normal People: Season 1 (2020)


Season 1
Normal People

Critics Consensus

Anchored by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal's vulnerable performances, Normal People is at once intimate and illuminating, beautifully translating the nuances of its source material.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 79

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 342

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Episodes

Air date: Apr 29, 2020

In modern, rural Ireland, Connell and Marianne, on different ends of their school's social scene, begin an intense, secret affair.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

Connell and Marianne's relationship continues in secret and they sleep together for the first time. At school, Connell makes excuses for why he didn't see his friends at the weekend and evades questions on his mother's job at Marianne's house. A girl in his friendship group, Rachel (Leah McNamara), gets impatient with Connell's lack of interest and tensions build for Connell. Meanwhile, Marianne must find a way to explain her unplanned absences to her prying brother Alan (Frank Blake).

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

The night of the Debs is approaching and the girls at school have organized a fundraising event. Marianne has been asked to help and is out of her comfort zone. At the club, one of Connell's friends Karen (Niamh Lynch) does her best to show Marianne some kindness but Rachel behaves coldly towards her. The evening turns sour, when one of the boys' older friends gropes Marianne. She leaves the club, upset by the incident and Connell offers her a lift home. Marianne stays over at Connell's house and bumps into Lorraine (Sarah Greene) as she leaves the next day. Connell becomes anxious when his friends tease him about Marianne, suspecting they've guessed about their relationship. Fuelled by anxiety, Connell makes an unexpected decision that hurts Marianne and causes a rift between him and his mother, Lorraine. Marianne withdraws from school, causing Connell intense guilt.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

Months later, school has finished and Connell arrives at Trinity College, Dublin. He has found a room in a house-share and meets his new housemate Niall (Desmond Eastwood). Despite his efforts, he feels out of place and struggles to articulate himself when surrounded by his eloquent and wealthy peers. Connell reluctantly accepts a party invite from new classmate Gareth (Sebastian De Souza). Feeling intimidated by the fashionable crowd in attendance, Gareth offers to introduce him to someone else he knows from Sligo and so he comes face-to-face with an unexpected guest.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

Connell and Marianne start socializing as friends in Dublin. She introduces Connell to her group and one of her friends, Teresa (Lauryn Canny) is interested in him. Marianne is still dating Gareth, but her interest in the relationship is starting to fade. Marianne eventually finishes things with Gareth and makes a drunken pass at Connell.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

Connell and Marianne are back together. Connell has gained confidence in college, giving presentations in class and getting good grades, but is reluctant to show Marianne affection in front of her friends. Will the two be able to admit that they are together? Things take a negative turn when Marianne goes home and argues with her brother Alan and Connell loses the part-time restaurant job that funds his life in Dublin. Connell is torn when Marianne returns to Dublin distant and distracted, and finds himself once again unable to share his worries.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

Connell bumps into Marianne back in Sligo. It's the first time they have seen each other since they broke up. Connell asks Marianne how she is and tells her he has heard that she's now seeing Jamie (Fionn O'Shea). Despite the awkwardness between them, Connell offers to attend Marianne's father's anniversary mass the next day and they agree to stay friends. Back in Dublin the two study hard for the Trinity Scholarship exams. On a night out after the scholarship results are announced, Connell is mugged and turns to Marianne for help. On arriving at Marianne's house, he sees that he has interrupted a get together, which includes Jamie. The party breaks up, as the rest of the group goes out. Connell and Marianne are left alone. He reveals that he's seeing someone new and Marianne bursts into tears. They discuss the misunderstanding of their breakup, but it's too late now.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

It's the summer holidays and Connell and Niall arrive at Marianne's family house in Italy. The obvious chemistry between Connell and Marianne causes friction with Jamie, despite Connell's evident happiness with his girlfriend Helen, who he clearly misses. Peggy (India Mullen) cooks the group a lavish meal but tensions run high. During dinner, Jamie drinks too much and picks a fight with Marianne. Connell breaks it up and attempts to soothe Marianne. Marianne stays in Connell's room that night to get away from Jamie. They talk and almost kiss, but Marianne puts a stop to it before it goes any further.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

Marianne is on a student exchange program in Sweden for a year. Her breakup with Jamie has cost her some of her friends, but she is still in touch with Connell and Joanna (Eliot Salt). She is in a relationship with Lukas (Lancelot Ncube), a photographer who she meets at a college party. Back in Dublin, Connell is enjoying his relationship with Helen and continuing his studies at Trinity. Word of Marianne's sex life with Lukas makes its way back to Dublin, and when Connell bumps into Peggy at a party she asks him about the gossip and whether things were like that with him and Marianne. Connell is upset by the gossip and worries about Marianne and whether she is ok on her own in Sweden.

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Air date: Apr 29, 2020

Connell and Helen are out celebrating New Year's Eve in Dublin. Late that night, Connell receives a group text questioning the whereabouts of Rob (Eanna Hardwicke). The next morning news comes through that Rob has died. Connell struggles with the emotional fallout of Rob's death. After the funeral he is distant with Helen only showing signs of responsiveness when reunited with Marianne. His mental health deteriorates when he returns to college, struggling to drag himself to lectures and he ends his relationship with Helen. Eventually, at Niall's suggestion he begins counselling. Marianne is still in Sweden and attempts to reassure him over Skype. Through the counselling and Marianne's friendship Connell begins to see a way forward.

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Normal People: Season 1 Videos

Tv Season Info

Cast

Daisy Edgar-Jones
as Marianne
Paul Mescal
as Connell
Eliot Salt
as Joanna
Leah McNamara
as Rachel
Frank Blake
as Alan

News & Interviews for Normal People: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Normal People Season 1

All Critics (79) | Top Critics (31)

The 12-episode adaptation... is so faithful to the letter of the novel (Rooney co-wrote the first six scripts) that it winds up being different in spirit-swoonier, not that swoony is a bad thing.

Apr 24, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

"Normal People" could be the first work in Rooney's "Before" trilogy, another epic and intimate romance built around an undeniable, impractical spark. After all, it may have been done before, but it hasn't been told like this.

Apr 22, 2020 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
Top Critic

On the surface, the show might end by suggesting a brighter future, but that one glancing note of positivity can't override the overwhelming feeling evoked by the series.

May 1, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

An example of a hotly anticipated show that actually has managed to live up to the hopes so many had for it, Normal People is your next very Irish, very emotional watch.

Apr 29, 2020 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

It's a beautifully done series about love, sex, and class in Ireland that features a pair of indelible lead performances.

Apr 29, 2020 | Full Review…

An experience tantamount to being stuck on a bad date that refuses to end.

Apr 28, 2020 | Full Review…

I think if Normal People teaches anything, it is that going through life alone will break you, and if you are lucky enough to find someone, hold on for as long and tightly as you can.

Aug 2, 2020 | Full Review…

Normal People is an experience as much as a television series. It is not to be missed.

Jul 21, 2020 | Full Review…

If this were an order instead of criticism... it should say "Must See" instead of "Excellent". [Full review in Spanish]

Jul 20, 2020 | Full Review…

Hard not to find yourself fully invested in the lives of these two tortured souls, at times its awkward and difficult to watch, but the reward will have you sincerely enamoured with the beautiful storytelling.

Jul 8, 2020 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

The transporting power of literature is transplanted here to a charming television drama that imbues that story framework with all the powerful benefits of performance and visual storytelling. It's the best of both worlds.

Jun 26, 2020 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Edgar-Jones and Mescal are so damned good, so adept at presenting characters in all their daunting complexity that viewers will find themselves utterly swept up in the Marianne-Connell relationship...

Jun 11, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Normal People: Season 1

  • 1d ago
    An truely epic series that has got it right from start to finish. An emotional journey with two protagonists that just get stronger and stronger
  • Aug 08, 2020
    Could do without all the sex scenes, but I had an interesting take on romance in spite of class differences during the millennial era
  • Jul 31, 2020
    Such a touching, beautiful and realistic show! When I finished it I already missing Connell and Marianne. The best show of 2020 for me! ❤️
  • Jul 30, 2020
    Great sex scenes, and I HATE sex scenes!
  • Jul 23, 2020
    i love everything about Normal People, the acting, the on-screen chemistry between Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mascal, the cinematography, photography and the amazing soundtrack. Simply beautiful. And highly recommended
  • Jul 14, 2020
    I never left a review on a movie or show before ! But this show is worth rating... absolutely amazing ! The script and every single scene is unbelievable
  • Jul 11, 2020
    I enjoyed the tv show more than the book, it's a faithful adaptation. The lead actors carried the story.Bright futures for both. Overall, it was Fifty Shades for millennials. I came for the grappling relationship issues, but stayed for the sex.
  • Jul 06, 2020
    one of the rarest things,to see a personal and believable romance with two great actors having electrifying chemistry,as lovers,as friends,as "normal" people.great dialogues,monologues,sensitive direction,JUST DON'T MISS THIS ONE !!
  • Jun 27, 2020
    Read the book and wondered how they could get 6 hours out of it. I watched all 12 episodes. They should have made a 2-hour movie. Sooo slow. Actors are perfect for the parts and the sex scenes are many and refreshingly realistic. Not much story here.
  • Jun 18, 2020
    I wish I could watch it again for the first time, and anyone who has that chance, please do take advantage of it. I couldn't believe how beautiful this show was. I don't think I've ever encountered such raw, heartwrenching and heartwarming scenes. The actors, the script, the sets, the camerawork, it's all so beautifully done and I am breathless. I just finished the season a few minutes ago and I'm so happy with the ending, at the same time I want more. I can't recommend this enough.

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