It’s a new term at Moordale High and the students are in for quite a ride.
One year and nine months since season two, Netflix’s hit show Sex Education is finally back with all its hilarities, vulgarities and really rather touching moments. Season three sees Moordale play host to a new Headmistress, Jemima Kirke’s Hope Haddon, as she tries to expunge Moordale’s reputation as “The Sex School”.
Meanwhile, Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Maeve (Emma Mackey) are at odds because of a certain deleted voicemail; Adam (Connor Swindells) and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) try and make a serious go at it; Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) makes a new friend; and Jean (Gillian Anderson) is having a baby with Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt) much to the displeasure of Ola (Patricia Allison). And so much more is happening with so many characters.
It’s always a worry when an amazing show gets into its third season that they’ll drop the ball somehow but I can confirm that is certainly not the case with Sex Education season three. Kicking of episode one with a rather hilarious and very on brand montage of many of the characters engaging in one form of intimacy or the other – immediately you know this is going to be right on form.
I think the strongest part of this series has always been the characters. Eric, Otis, Maeve and Jackson have all shone in previous seasons – and are just as strong as always – but this season Adam, Mimi Keene’s Ruby and Tanya Reynolds’ Lily were subject to some sublime character development. It’s a massive testament to the creator Laurie Nunn and all the writers to develop so many fully rounded characters but it’s also a testament to the actors, and for me Swindells’ Adam is a particular stand-out. From season one he has managed to give a surprisingly nuanced performance for what could’ve been a rather one-note character but in this latest season, Swindells’ talent is inescapable and for me he was the undisputed star of this season. I personally think Swindells’ is 100% one to watch.
As always a range of topics and issues are broached from PTSD to gender identity and non-binary spaces to disability and sex however, the writers always manage to keep us guessing with how these things are going to go which not only makes for great TV but also stops the series from feeling like it’s just ticking boxes. The stories told are strong and relevant and expertly executed. Despite being just about relationships really, it never becomes repetitive because there are a million different stories about relationships still to be told and I’m so happy the writers understand this fact so thoroughly.
If there was one criticism I have for this season however, it’s that Headmistress Hope’s character broaches the realms of cliché. She gives Umbridge a run for her money but is given some “redeeming” aspects which don’t totally convince me and perhaps a little more development of her character would have been worth it but that’s just me being picky and it doesn’t really detract from the series.
But truly season three is full of surprising treats. We get a really fun reference to a certain running scene from 1917; a guest appearance from Jason Isaacs; and a rather unfortunate incident with a cat. But I can’t really review Sex Education without talking about the sex scenes – which are note-worthy because of the range – some hilarious, some awkward, always sensitively depicted and often actually sexy without being pornographic. Season three doesn’t disappoint on this front, in fact it just proves that a show like this is still so necessary in our society and I genuinely believe it makes a difference.
I continue to be thoroughly obsessed with this show and all its beautiful delights. Let’s just hope there isn’t as long a wait for season 4!