“Normal People”: linkings and unlinkings
From the very first sequence of Normal People, the dynamic of linking and unlinking between Marianne and Connell, which constitutes the narrative substance of the series, structures the mise-en-scène: in a corridor of their high school, Marianne and Connell share the same space (linking), but don’t speak to each other (unlinking), while glancing at each other furtively, each attracted and disturbed by the presence of the other (linking), yet feigning indifference (unlinking). This is how their love unfolds over the four years of their lives the series covers, forming the fabric of a sentimental chronicle made up of magnetic attraction and immeasurable desire, wounds, disappointments, and heart-rending break-ups. Linkings and unlinkings seems to represent the matrix behind just about any word Marianne and Connell utter and the most trivial of their behaviour, as well as the most sublime or the most disgraceful of their actions. The series’ aesthetic choices also reflect this incessant interplay of linkings and unlinkings. However, linkings and unlinkings will primarily be considered through the format of the mini-series. After all, isn’t the brevity of the episodes, with their elliptical writing and dilated temporality, a way of making the chaotic sequence of these linkings and unlinkings more palpable?