For those of you with the ability to remember as far back as the month of May in this godforsaken year, you’ll recall that we spent most of it enamoured with a young man named Paul who wore a silver chain, favoured Gaelic football shorts and took pink gin-in-a-tins and prawn cocktail crisps with him to the park.
Due to a series of rather earth-shaking and tumultuous events which have rightfully captured our attention over the past two months, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Summer of Paul had pulled down its blinds and shut up shop. But you’d be wrong. The second wave of Paul is only just beginning.
Earlier this week, the fantastic adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People was nominated for four Emmys, with one nomination going to Paul himself for lead actor in a limited series. He dedicated the nomination to his equally excellent co-star, Daisy Edgar-Jones.
My actual face right now! Thank you to absolutely everyone at @ElementPictures,@hulu and @bbcthree! @lennyabrahamson I will never be able to thank you enough ❤️! @DaisyEdgarJones this only exists because of you and your extraordinary talent it’s as simple as that! Thank you all x pic.twitter.com/s3t6hqr0SW
— Paul Mescal (@mescal_paul) July 28, 2020
There also came the much-welcomed and slightly hysterical-making news that Paul Mescal is probably, maybe dating the internet’s most treasured singer-songwriter, Phoebe Bridgers, after the two were reportedly spotted together at a café in Ireland (surely that break-up is worth weathering for the album alone).
On top of all this, a new show starring Paul Mescal is about to hit our screens. Airing on Channel 5 on Monday, and written by Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee (amazing), it’s named The Deceived. And it’s just a little different from Normal People.
Filmed right after Normal People (but before it aired), the spooky drama series sees Mescal take a backseat from playing the lead. The show is actually about Ophelia (played by Emily Reid), a Cambridge University English student who begins an affair with her handsome professor, Michael (Emmett J. Scanlan, also known as Brendan Brady from Hollyoaks). The trouble is, Michael is married and, as anyone who’s listened to even half a Phoebe Bridgers album will be able to spot a mile off, Not A Good Man.
When Michael (who lights a cigarette in his seminar and actually says “I feel like I’ve got more to say when I smoke” before proceeding to talk about his own book) disappears, Ophelia is devastated. Blinded by love, she decides to track him down, ending up in Knockdara in Donegal, tumbling headfirst into a tragic event that’s left the village in mourning. Here, she meets Sean (Mescal), who is the village builder, the village firefighter and resident rescuer of damsels in distress. Because he’s just that good.
To say any more about the plot would be to give away spoilers but unless The Deceived deviates wildly from other series of the same ilk, Brendan Brady from Hollyoaks (he’s actually played some incredible other roles in his time, not least in Vice’s excellent Gangs of London) will continue to be Not A Good Man. He will almost certainly gaslight, coerce and lie his way into controlling Ophelia as she struggles to figure out what really happened in this tragedy that has rocked Knockdara.
Is the series any good? IMHO it holds up, yeah. It’s cheesy, perhaps a little predictable and the characters follow well-worn tropes but judging from the first episode, we’ve got a fully fledged psychological thriller on our hands. And considering what leftovers Netflix is dishing out at this point in the pandemic, this is not something to be sniffed at.
And anyway, this series has Paul Mescal in it and he’s still wearing that silver chain, so why are you even asking questions? Roll on the Summer of Paul.
The Deceived starts on Channel 5 on Monday 3rd August at 9pm.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?