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Sex Education season 3: The Netflix series truly comes into its own – but it’s all a bit much to take on

Ruby and Otis emerge as an unlikely couple in season 3 (Picture: Sam Taylor/Netflix)

**Caution: Spoilers ahead for season 3 of Sex Education**

Sex Education season 3 is an absolute triumph in showing the warmth and necessity of healthy friendships and relationships.

But, having said that, ambitiously attempting to explore so many characters and tell all their stories in just eight episodes means many are left criminally underused on the sidelines.

Sex Education is quite literally back with a bang, as the Netflix series opts to start with a typically bold montage which you’re safest watching on your own. Set to The Rubinoos version of I Think We’re Alone Now, we see a clearly much more confident Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) having sex in the back of a car, with various other characters and cameos compromised in all sorts of positions and locations.

Typically, explicit opening out of the way, the sudden realisation it is now September can only mean one thing; it’s time for a new term at Moordale Academy. With a brand-spanking-new headmistress, almost ironically named Hope Hadden (played by Jemima Kirke), it quickly becomes clear she would rather take the Sex out of the Education.

After all, Hope is reeling from the summer’s STI outbreak and the threat of the school’s dampening reputation after being dubbed ‘sex school’ by local media – the horror.

So where does everyone stand after Moordale’s collective summer of love? Adam Groff (Connor Swindells) is now happily loved-up with the ever-vibrant Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa) as they try to navigate their relationship together – easier said than done.

Otis’ surprising new love interest takes the form of popular girl Ruby Matthews (Mimi Keene), who he lost his virginity to at the end of season two. It soon emerges Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) is still oblivious to *that* voicemail left by Otis, as she forms an even closer bond with meddling Isaac (George Robertson).

Dua Saleh (C) plays non-binary classmate Cal (Picture: Sam Taylor/Netflix)

There are a couple of new faces on the scene, too – most notably in the form of non-binary student Cal (Dua Salah), whose storyline is one so rarely told well on-screen. Yet you can’t help but feel it’s one that should have been more focus.

We are given so little detail of their background which they so rightfully deserve and would provide some important context to the character. We don’t ever even learn much about how American Cal ended up moving to the UK in the first place.

Thank God for Rahim (Sami Outalbali) still being enrolled at Moordale. Despite getting his heart broken by Eric, he provides some of the most brilliant moments of the whole season, including one scene which is one of the most bizarre things you’ll ever witness on TV (think Inbetweeners Movie 2 poo slide and this goes one better, or a lot worse).

Eric and Adam’s relationship develops further (Picture: Sam Taylor/Netflix)

He’s also someone we desperately needed to see more of. Isaac continues to remain on the sidelines, perhaps for good reason and probably on purpose, but he does always feel slightly like a plot device in the grand scheme of the Otis and Maeve love story.

To put it simply, there is so much going on with every single character that it’s very hard to keep up.

After going through all of the above, there’s still not been any time to mention sex therapist queen Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson) who is now very pregnant by Swedish dreamboat Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt) a man who doesn’t truly trust her, as much as she wants him to.

Jean comes into the forefront in the last episode as she goes into labour in the worst of settings, with one more last-minute revelation from the therapist to come, which will really bring you back down to ground in a wave of hormones brought on in the series finale… if you manage to catch a glimpse of it.

It’s still no doubt a joy to watch the scenes which allow a wider range of characters the opportunity to come into their own.

Mimi Keene as Ruby – whose challenging home life we finally get a glimpse into as she helps care for her father who suffers from MS – provides some of the most beautifully acted scenes in the show, but yet it still doesn’t feel like we got to see enough.

Hope’s IVF story is another plotline that could have really benefited from further screen time and development for the audience.

Aimee and Maeve’s friendship is a true delight (Picture: Sam Taylor/Netflix)

The season’s clear stand-out has to be Bafta award-winner Aimee Lou Wood, who goes so incredibly from light to dark during her portrayal of Aimee Gibbs.

She’s still working her head around being sexually assaulted – which is based on series creator Laurie Nunn’s own experiences – whilst also cracking up some of the best one-liners you’ll have ever heard. She does it all with her emotional support pet goat in tow, aptly named… Goat, which only she could get away with, and a newfound adoration of the vulva.

There are some truly heart-warming moments between Aimee and Maeve too. The friends have their first-ever fight towards the end of season three’s outing, which they soon recover from, and you’ll find yourself crying your eyes out the moment they do.

It’s so important to see a female friendship built on love and respect of two women who quite simply adore each other and not based on competition and fear.

So what does the future hold for Sex Education?

Well, with a few plot lines still in need of tidying up, or with room for development, there’s huge potential for a season four to be on the cards.

However, there’s something that feels right about ending after three fantastic seasons.

As the cast will inevitably become less convincing teenagers – with many in their mid to late 20s – it feels like perhaps this could be a perfect time to graduate from Moordale.

Sex Education season 3 can be streamed on Netflix now.

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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