It’s hilarious and heartbreaking. Uplifting and soul-crushing. Romantic and extremely horny. Sex Education returns for a second season that capitalises on the shows strengths while still being able to organically continue its story without becoming stale.
One of Sex Education’s strengths are the very-well fleshed-out characters we get to follow. Otis (Asa Butterfield) has finally had his sexual awakening. He soon realises that his newfound talent for… doing what teenage boys do best, can and does affect his relationship with new girlfriend, Ola (Patricia Allison).
Asa Butterfield is brilliant as Otis. His awkward charm really makes his character likeable, however this season takes bold steps forward with his character and really challenge Otis to make some big decisions, which was highly entertaining to see unfold.
Otis’ interactions with his fellow characters also make up a large part of Sex Education’s charm. His best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) is as flamboyantly amazing as ever and has a relationship of his own to deal with. Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson) becomes even more involved in Otis’ life after she takes an inspirational stand during a parent/teacher meeting. And we see many of our favourite side characters return throughout the season, usually with to discuss the hilarious (and sometimes, scarily relatable) sexual issues they face.
However, it is Otis’ former love-interest and the amazingly written, Maeve (Emma Mackey) who stole the spotlight this season. After Maeve’s addiction-riddle mother re-enters her life, she is forced to take on heavier responsibilities, which really begins to show who the real Maeve is under that closed-off and stern exterior. It’s seeing Maeve’s strong-willed character struggle through this new chapter of her life that gives the show it’s heart (and heartbreak). Emma Mackey is a standout, as she gives a performance that doubles down on the already strong foundation of her character.
Fans of the first season will not be disappointed as Sex Education continues with brilliant characters, a satisfying story and plenty of laughs and tears.
Review by Nick L’Barrow