Sex Education is, undoubtedly, one of the best exports to come from Netflix. The show’s first series attracted over 40 million viewers in its debut, and the latest instalment has an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes by critics.
When we last saw the Moordale gang, there was a lot going on: Adam declared his love for Eric and the two of them got together, Jean found out she was pregnant and Otis’ voicemail for Maeve (telling her how he loves her) got deleted by Isaac – THE DRAMA.
So in true Sex Education fashion, the new series made sure to get straight into it, opening with a steamy and eye-popping montage of the show’s characters having fun with their sexual exploits. As “Think We’re Alone Now” plays, audiences get quite the eyeful as some of Moordale’s teens (and even teachers) get their freak on. Excluding Amy, of course, who instead is doing trampoline exercise with her beau (classic).
Otis Milburn is no longer the awkward introvert we saw in season 1, strutting into the season’s first episode with an air of confidence and a wee moustache while still donning his trademark striped jacket. Jean Milburn, a sex educating icon and woman after my own heart, is *quite* pregnant and hasn’t quite managed to tell the news to Jakob.
Eric and Adam seem to be going strong, Maeve is focusing on her studies (looking a little bit cosy with Isaac in the caravan), and her friendship with Otis is very much on the rocks.
Moordale welcomes a few new characters to the school and surrounding area, including funky headteacher Hope who seems to hold twisted intentions, new student Cal Bowman who forms a close bond with Jackson, and Groff’s d***head of an older brother, Peter.
With only eight episodes, the new series makes sure to squeeze in as much as possible, exploring old and new relationships between your favourite characters and the newbies. Some highlights include Maeve’s love triangle with Isaac and Otis (it’s an emotional rollercoaster), Jean helping Aimee cope in therapy after her sexual assault, and the school trip to France which goes horribly wrong for some.
For a show that has received critical acclaim for its heartfelt and wise take on British teen culture and sex, this new series is no different: it’s brutally honest and still completely refreshing despite being in its third chapter. Series three makes sure to share takes on important issues such as gender identity, sexuality and prejudice with that beloved injection of wholehearted comedy.
Once again, Sex Education celebrates the notion of companionship, both romantically and platonically. Discussing love and heartbreak, many characters reach a number of milestones with their partners, whether this is in the bedroom or in the classroom.
The series highlight is obviously the close bonds between Eric and Otis, as well as Maeve and Aimee. Otis was quite lucky in love this season, forming a casual relationship with ‘it girl’ Ruby Matthews which soon blossoms into something more public. Eric’s relationship with Adam is tested throughout the series, ending in a (SPOILER WARNING) heartwrenching break-up between the pair.
Throughout the bumps and heartache that Otis and Eric face in this new series (and there is quite a bit), they still remain each other’s confidant and partner in crime to bring them back down to Earth. The most moving scene between the pair was in the final episode at the hospital when Otis emotionally breaks down, worrying his mum is going to die (it was a stressful time for us all). Eric consoles Otis perfectly before the world returns to its normal order by Eric yelling at a man who ruins their moment for wanting a packet of Hula Hoops. It’s that pullback from the in-your-face, emotional moments with earnest comedy that makes Sex Education so exceptional.
And I could talk about how fantastically brilliant Maeve and Aimee’s friendship is for hours. To me, they are the glue that holds this series together, just above Eric and Otis, for how they demonstrate feminism and friendship in today’s youth culture.
In this new series, they refer to each other as “second mum”. Maeve asks Otis for Jean to talk to Aimee about her sexual assault. And the two girls have a dramatic fallout (they are teenagers) which allows them to deeply evaluate their character flaws. I want what Maeve and Aimee have – it’s a near faultless depiction of how important and sentimental that bond is between teenage girls.
The villain of this series is the school’s new headteacher, Hope, who, despite being the “youngest headteacher in the UK”, is completely clueless when it comes to the values and behaviour of today’s youth. Her ignorance and disregard for the students’ identities and personalities was completely frustrating to watch and became the climax for the series’ main storyline.
A consistent theme of self-empowerment and acceptance has run throughout the show since its first episode but this new series shows how the students of Moordale go a bit too far with the embrace of their diversity. Their stunt to proudly be labelled as the “Sex School” ends up with the school having no funding and having to be sold.
And a special mention must be made because, after two and a half seasons, 20 episodes of waiting, MAEVE AND OTIS FINALLY KISSED AND DECLARED THEIR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER. It was a slow burn but it was worth it. The only downfall was we knew as soon as the chance to study abroad was mentioned to Maeve that she’d be going to America. I don’t think I was emotionally prepared for that final scene between Maeve and Otis – I like to think many viewers were a similar level of feels because I bawled my eyes out.
So with the future looking bleak for Moordale’s sixth formers, where did the series three finale leave us?
Well, for one, I am dying to know if Jakob is baby Joy’s father as Jean’s reaction to the paternity test gave absolutely nothing away. Rahim and Adam were beginning to get very close so could Eric’s ex soon become Adam’s new partner? And I have a sneaky feeling that Maeve won’t return from America alone which will break hearts across the world…
It was an absolute joy to enjoy all the sex-crazed drama & funny business that each new term brings. Hopefully, Netflix won’t make us wait too long before we can meet up with our old pals from Moordale once again.
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