The First Rock
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
Both Oliver and Shakespeare have never been more correct, and Norman discovered that quickly with Rita’s sudden departure over their first Valentine’s Day holiday as a couple. While forlorn and in mourning, he seemed to find solace in carrying with him that cigar box containing a historical treasure. And things might have stayed that way if Rita hadn’t demoted Norman from “boyfriend” to a “co-worker with something in his eye” during a press conference.
You see, it would be a mistake to see what happened between Rita and Norman as an isolated incident, much like Shane and Oliver’s tiff stemmed from deeply ingrained insecurities, so Norman’s reaction to Rita’s denial is born of similar past bumps and bruises.
We’ve discussed time and again here on the blog about Norman’s insecurities stemming from his childhood, being a foster kid, and his lifelong quest to create a family of his own. Prior to Impossible Dream, I even speculated that, in the event Rita won the Miss Special Delivery Pageant, that the duties of her office might cause her to spend a significant amount of time away, causing Norman to feel abandoned. It seems in From The Heart, that fear came to fruition, but with the added sting of public rejection, causing Norman to nearly drown in his pain. Little does he know, he is carrying a life vest in his arms.
The Shouts Of Strangers
As we know, this particular predicament was stemmed by a tweet, that was then posted, and subsequently pinned, somehow prompting the creation of a viral hashtag referencing both Rita and, we can assume, Norman as well.
While Rita makes a significant point regarding the importance of protecting the privacy of their relationship, Norman can only see the rejection of someone with whom he thought he would always have a permanent home and association. And, unfortunately, Rita doesn’t seem to pick up on this more deeply rooted reason for Norman’s distress.
Learning from the situation, Norman subsequently attempts to protect the privacy of Lincoln and Rutledge as well. As Norman relays the love story to Ryan Hallet, he is careful to frame the contents of the letter as hypothetical. As Oliver tries to interject, Norman says “She told him,” but, turning back to Hallet, rephrases, “I like to think that she told him…” and continues. In this moment Norman grows up a bit more before our very eyes, having internalized this new lesson about the value of privacy. In the end, Norman is the only one to truly know the contents of the letter besides its author.
A Journey Begun
While I started this post positing that Norman and Rita’s raft was already in the water, I don’t believe it truly left the dock until Norman finally declared to Rita, “I want you in my raft.”
Norman has not, up until this point, truly “declared his feelings” for Rita, i.e. returning those three little words uttered by Rita in From Paris With Love, making Norman’s decision to do so now particularly significant. It seems Norman is not only ready to say, “I love you” outright, he is able to do in spite of the relational insecurities of his past, making him truly ready to navigate the uncharted waters ahead, wherever they may lead.
And I, personally, can't wait to watch them do it!
Grabbing A Paddle,