In January 2019, Netflix introduced viewers to a captivating series known as “Sex Education.” While its provocative title initially drew attention, the show quickly proved to offer much more than meets the eye. The narrative initially revolves around the life of the awkward teenager, Otis (Asa Butterfield), and his mother, Dr. Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), a sex therapist. Otis embarked on an unconventional journey, starting his own sex therapy enterprise despite his lack of personal experience in the matter. Along the way, he found love in the unlikeliest of places, with the school’s rebellious Maeve (Emma Mackey). As the seasons unfolded, the show’s focus broadened to encompass a diverse array of characters, from Otis’ flamboyant gay best friend, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), to the secretly gay bully, Adam (Connor Swindells), and Maeve’s charismatic best friend, Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood). Additionally, it explored the love life of the lesbian couple, Lilly (Tanya Reynolds) and Ola (Patricia Allison). With the impending fourth season set to be the final installment, let’s take a closer look at where the series has led us thus far.
Eric’s Journey Towards Self-Discovery
Few characters have undergone as significant a transformation as Eric. He’s evolved far beyond being Otis’ sidekick and often shines brighter in their shared scenes. Ncuti Gatwa’s portrayal of Eric has solidified his status as a rising star. Eric, unashamed of his homosexuality, must contend with the judgment of others, especially his tormentor, Adam. Season 3 witnessed Adam’s personal growth as he shed his former bullying persona, revealing a vulnerable young man capable of love, particularly for Eric. Their surprising relationship takes shape, but it is far from a fairy-tale ending.
Eric’s life takes a transformative turn when he travels to Nigeria for a wedding and encounters Oba (Jerry Iwu), an openly gay man. At a vibrant gay nightclub, Eric finally feels a sense of belonging and freedom he’s never known before. This newfound world threatens his relationship with Adam. When Eric confesses to kissing another man upon his return, it strains their bond beyond repair. Eric’s decision to break up with Adam is not just about one individual but rather an exploration of his identity and the desire to be true to himself. The breakup prompts Adam to confront his own truths, leading to him coming out as bisexual to his mother (Samantha Spiro). Adam’s personal growth takes an unexpected turn as he channels his energy into entering his dog into an agility competition, a significant step for him.
Season 3 of “Sex Education” is rife with breakups, and Eric and Adam aren’t the only non-straight couple facing challenges. Adam’s parents, Maureen and Michael (Alistair Petrie), initially separated but later rekindled a brief romance. While Michael, a reserved man, hoped to win Maureen back, she found herself unable to rekindle their love after decades of emotional distance. The complexity of their relationship proves too much to bear. Additionally, Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) falls for Cal (Dua Saleh), but their love story ends in heartbreak as Cal struggles with Jackson’s perception of their gender identity.
However, the most heart-wrenching breakup belongs to Aimee and her boyfriend, Steve (Chris Jenks). Aimee, once portrayed as the bubbly blonde, undergoes a traumatic transformation following a sexual assault. Steve, a supportive and understanding partner, refrains from pressuring Aimee for intimacy. Unfortunately, every encounter with him triggers fear and guilt in her, leading her to make the difficult decision to let him go. Amidst these tumultuous relationships, Lilly and Ola’s love stands strong, having overcome near-breakup experiences. Nevertheless, this couple won’t feature in Season 4.
Jean’s Complex Journey
In the world of “Sex Education,” relationships are anything but simple. Jean’s life becomes even more complicated in Season 3. Her romantic involvement with Ola’s father, Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt), takes a surprising turn when she discovers she’s unexpectedly pregnant. Fear gives way to acceptance, but complications arise during childbirth, placing Jean and her newborn, Joy, in jeopardy.
While Jean’s relationship with Jakob appears idyllic, there’s a significant complication. As a sex therapist, Jean has embraced a sexually open lifestyle. Though she’s committed to Jakob, a regretful incident involving her ex-husband and other men casts a shadow over her past. The results of a paternity test she takes leave her in shock, suggesting that Jakob may not be the father of her child. The revelation sets the stage for potentially uncomfortable moments in Season 4, as Jean grapples with whether to disclose this information or keep it hidden.
Maeve’s Journey to Self-Belief
One of the central plotlines in Season 3 revolves around the fate of Moordale. Following its transformation into the “Sex School” due to a provocative interpretation of Romeo and Juliet directed by Lily, a new headteacher named Hope Haddon (Jemima Kirke) takes charge. Initially inspiring hope, Hope’s true nature as a strict disciplinarian is revealed. The students unite in opposition, ultimately leading to Hope’s removal. However, the future of Moordale remains uncertain, as it faces closure, leaving the students in search of new educational opportunities.
As we look ahead to Season 4, many questions linger. Where will these beloved characters end up? Will Jean and Jakob reconcile, or will the revelation shatter their relationship? Can Eric and Adam find happiness apart? Will Maeve and Otis ever cross paths again? The upcoming season promises to address these pressing issues as “Sex Education” prepares to bid farewell to its devoted viewers.