Laurie Nunn


September 17, 2021




Otis, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), Jean (Gillian Anderson), Maeve (Emma Mackey), Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood), Adam (Connor Swindells), Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling), Ola (Patricia Allison), Lily (Tanya Reynolds), and Headmaster Groff (Alistair Petrie).


After a celebratory/disgusting/delete-based opening montage in season two, Sex Education (Netflix) returns for a third season. If you fall into the latter category, you’re better off not watching a program called Sex Education. Asa Butterfield’s character Otis then discovers onanism’s joys. Everything from extraterrestrial cosplay to virtual reality porn is on the menu this time, and everyone is taking advantage of it. Miss Sands even has Colin on drums for her performance.

The program seems to be in great shape, as shown by this magnificent premiere, which indicates that the many components it has always successfully balanced will once again be joyfully unified. Laurie Nunn’s superb work has always been distinguished by its use of affection, ribaldry, and humor while maintaining a sense of seriousness about the lives and loves of its teenage protagonists and a boldly unhip honesty about problems they confront.

However, since the recipe is so exact, mixing it is like doing alchemy, and as a result, this series does not perform as well as the prior two. So much to adore, even after all these years! In the eight-episode run, Eric and Adam’s (Ncuti Gatwa and Connor Swindells) relationship is the backbone, and this portion of the show doesn’t put a foot wrong in any of the emotional terrain. It’s a great cast all around, but the two leads stand out for their performances.

However, in other places, the tenor has shifted, and the enchantment has faded. Because of this, the script has slowed to a crawl and has become riddled with therapy-speak, which used to be solely Otis’ domain (with good reason, being the son of a sex therapist). Every blip in the communication is quickly seen, investigated, and corrected, convenient for the actors but tedious for the audience. Amy’s vulvar schooling and dissemination of her new knowledge are the most prominent examples of the teaching the show has avoided for so long. Once upon a time, each episode moved at a breakneck pace, but these days it seems like it takes up the whole hour.

More adult interactions are highlighted, and more students are introduced as well. Thus the strokes are likely to be broader as a consequence. When Hope (Jemima Kirke) is hired as the new headteacher, she immediately becomes a Disney villain with a weak background that fails to humanize or complicate her character in any way.

Whatever the case may be, an inferior Sex Education may still be a positive and enjoyable experience. Besides Eric and Adam’s tale, other noteworthy developments include Maeve’s and Isaac’s (Emma Mackey) growing connection (George Robinson, another standout performer since he joined in season two). Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) develops an instant relationship with non-binary student Cal Bowman (Dua Saleh, who has one of the most confident debuts I’ve ever seen). Still, he must figure out what precisely that friendship entails for himself.

For example, we observe how poverty and physical handicaps limit people’s capacity to utilize their skills and intellect to their full potential, the significance of one’s racial or ethnic background, and how difficult it is to cross so many different paths at once. Even yet, it’s difficult to resist scratching out the A* and awarding a B+ to this term’s work.