“Sex Education” season 3 review


Gaby Jones

After being renewed for their third season in Feb. 2020, ‘Sex Education’ has returned to Netflix and has amassed a positive reception from audiences and critics. During its release week, the show remained in Netflix’s Top 10 the entire time.

Gaby Jones, Managing Editor

Netflix recently released their latest and most anticipated season of ‘Sex Education’ on Sept. 17. Fans of the series have awaited its return since it was renewed by Netflix for another eight episodes in Feb. 2020. After hearing volumes more about the show than I ever had during the release of the first two previous seasons, I decided to dive into the coming-of-age drama, and to some surprise, I had a fun time.

The season 2 finale of set up many storylines for this new season to explore, including Maeve and Otis’ “Will They, or Won’t They?” relationship, Adam and Eric’s new public relationship, Viv and Jackson’s newfound friendship and Jean’s pregnancy along with many others.

The first episode lays the foundation for a central conflict that persists throughout the season revolving around their school. Throughout the entirety of Sex Education, the students attending Moordale Secondary School have built a reputation for being notoriously lewd and unruly; subsequently, season 3 brings in a new headmaster with the promise of changing that narrative and straightening the students out.

In the beginning, the students view Headmaster Hope as a nice departure from Adam’s dad, Headmaster Groff, but Hope’s cool facade fades away as she starts to enforce a lot of new rules. Students must: wear uniforms, walk in single filed lines to classes, be taught abstinence, wear a sign of shame when they make a mistake etc.

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One of the largest changes in the headmaster’s plan to get Moordale “on track” was her removal of the abandoned bathrooms which was a main setting for many of the previous episodes. It also served as the place where Otis and Maeve conducted their clinic.

Season 3 brings out the best of some of the characters, specifically, some particular characters that viewers loved to hate. Firstly, Ruby Matthews, who was once primarily in the background as more of a stock mean-girl and leader of the Untouchables is now fleshed out and the audience gets to see more of the unfiltered humor that was hinted at in her limited time on screen in the previous seasons.

Ruby’s family problems become a subplot within her story, and we get to see her empathetic side develop simultaneously as her relationship with Otis develops.

Otis and Ruby’s relationship is fleeting and killed off abruptly in Episode 4, which was ultimately very disappointing. As much as I enjoyed seasons one and two building toward Maeve and Otis’ relationship, when it was still left open ended at the start of the new season it started to feel repetitive and Otis and Ruby’s relationship was a pleasant change of pace. Their dynamic is probably the one I, and many fans alike, enjoyed most about this season. It was a shame that it had to come to an end so quickly to make way for the same plot points to be used again.

‘Sex Education’ is never reluctant to seamlessly supply viewers with representation and that same energy persists within the new episodes. A character named Cal is introduced as another main character and they identify as nonbinary. A common critique of teen-dramas is that they often unintentionally misrepresent their characters by tokenizing them, but Sex Education writes each of their marginalized characters in a thoughtful way and places them in a diverse world that is representative of real life.

Eric is an excellent example of the aforementioned, and also one of my favorite characters in the show, so I was happily anticipating the return of his character. When the season begins, he is in a good place with his boyfriend, Adam, as they navigate the seriousness of their relationship.

Another interesting change was that within the show, the audience got to depart from Britain when Eric takes a trip to Nigeria to visit his family. There he explores how his identity fits into the other cultures he is a part of. It is there that he realizes that he wants more from his relationship with Adam, more than what Adam is comfortable with providing him with, so they unfortunately end up apart.

Adam undergoes the largest change in the entire series, and it is even more developed in this season. He transforms from a character you despise, to a character you love to hate, to a character you can sympathize with, and by the end of season 3 viewers may leave rooting for him.

Throughout the series, Adam’s love of dogs is subtly displayed. It is not until the end when he competes in a dog show that his interest in them is taken to the next level. A great scene happens in the end showing Adam genuinely happy and his mother cheering him on from the crowd.

Much like the other seasons, the show remains packed with emotional conflicts for Maeve. Whether it is between her current love interest, Otis or her mother, she is tasked with trying to make sense of all those relationships. One of the best parts about Maeve’s character is her recognition of her academic potential and the fact that she actually acts on it, and by the end of, she decides to study in America through a gifted program. Thus, leaving her and Otis’ romantic relationship open-ended once again, this time with more promise than the last.

The central character, Otis, feels less involved in the overall season, but it is mostly due to the number of characters that are now present in the show. He has frequent quarrels with his mother, but when Jean has a near-death experience after she gives birth, he promises to be better for her and his new sister.

The Headmaster Hope storyline ends with the students putting on a presentation and overthrowing the rules which lead to Hope being fired by the school board. Unfortunately, the students’ actions had adverse effects and we ended the season with the entire school being closed indefinitely.

Overall, season three of ‘Sex Education’ was equipped with all the humor, interesting characters, depth, and generally great writing that had made the previous seasons enjoyable to watch. One week after its premiere, Netflix announced that the show would be getting its fourth and most likely last season, and I am ready to see how it will be wrapped up.