Disclaimer: The following article contains spoilers from season 2 of Sex Education.
When the first season of the Netflix original Sex Education aired, we were pleasantly surprised. Because we were greeted to a bunch of teenagers who asked the kind of questions we wished we knew about growing up. Of course, the quick therapy it served was not an ideal solution, but once we bought into the premise of the show, it made for an entertaining watch.
More importantly, it showcased that no matter the era, teenagers will always be ruled by their hormones first, and emotions later. And it gave us some of the most amazing, relatable, and adorable characters ever! With the second season, suffice to say, it all makes a comeback in a glorious, better manner.
Season 1 ended with Otis finding a match in Ola, Maeve being kicked out of the school, Adam being shipped off to military school, and Eric nursing an unwitting crush and a new-found spirit.
Season 2 focuses on Otis and Eric’s budding friendship, with their adventures in love and sex serving as an entertaining backdrop.
As Otis and Ola’s relationship goes through the stages of love and lust, Eric continues to stand as Otis’s loyal confidante, and fierce cheerleader – even as Otis fails at both aspects of a relationship, emotional and physical.
However, what sets Season 2 apart is that it moves beyond being just Otis’s story. We see Eric finally receive the love and admiration he deserves, only to have an old flame (Adam) offer conflict and drama.
The show also focuses on Maeve and her family history. However, this time around, she is the one nursing unrequited feelings for Otis while acing academic challenges.
And Otis’ mom, Dr. Jean, transcends from being the cool but awkward mother to a concerned but strict parent – one who is battling love and loss after years of embracing an independent life.
However, while each individual story is beautiful and emotional in its own right, the show’s winning moments come in its unexpected realness and relatable sexual misadventures.
Here a drunken, unsupervised party is met by parental disapproval. Here a drunken confession is not turned into college gossip but rather into hangover and regret. Here the awkwardness of having sex for the first time moves beyond just the heterosexual narrative.
In fact, the show definitely deserves brownie points for broaching the topic of different sexualities and focusing on LGBTQ+ sexual encounters. And while a greater representation would have been appreciated, the current season more than whets our appetite for inclusive storylines.
However, the one moment that truly stays with you is the show’s take on the #MeToo movement, or the wide-spread sexual assault and misogyny that women of all ages encounter. In a truly moving scene, the show highlights that the one thing every woman–no matter her ‘school clique’, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socio-economical background, or academic interest–has in common ‘dicks’ i.e. unwanted physical male attention.
This powerful scene is executed in such a matter-of-fact manner, that at no point does the audience feel it has been purposely crafted to prove a point.
Of course, there are parts of the show that fit the tropes ‘high-school series’ are famous for. But its focus on topics like sexual challenges for middle-aged and older women, lingering trauma of sexual assault (no matter how ‘minor’), and the age-old conflict of love vs. lust, more than makes up for the minor flaws.
If season 1 was about establishing the characters and the set-up, season 2 is about walking along their journey of exploration, mistakes, and memorable experiences.
And not only does it serve as a reminder of our confused, hormonal teenage years (though we were neither as aware, nor as woke as Otis and his friends), but it also proves to be a definite improvement on season 1. This is one show tailor-made for a weekend of binging.
All images are screenshots from Netflix, unless specified otherwise.