Review: Sex Education Season 2

That’s right Tromboners, season two of Sex Education is here and it is back in all its socially awkward, sexually frustrated and hormonal glory. It’s time to return to Moordale, our favourite rural high school (that’s well nicer than the one you went to), to catch up on the lives of Otis, Eric, Maeve and co., as they continue to clumsily navigate the confusing and emotional world of teen adolescence.

Season two opens with Otis, having finally discovered what can be achieved by simply reaching his hands below the waistband of his boxers, quickly making up for lost time in one of the most bizarre yet hilarious montages you’ll watch this year. It all cumulates towards a (quite literal) climax involving a mortified looking dog and a car window. It’s equally gross and funny, and sets up the season in the most perfect way. Within the first two minutes, you know you’re in for a bloody good time.

Continuing on from season one, Otis is now dating Ola, but may still harbour feelings for Maeve, who after getting expelled from school now works at a pretzel shop. Meanwhile, Eric still doesn’t know where he stands with Adam, who is now at military school, and Jackson continues to struggle with the pressures of being a star athlete. Season two retains everything that was great about season one, successfully depicting real-life challenges faced by everyday teenagers with an equal amount humour, empathy and compassion.

Much of the show’s charm comes from its ensemble cast of fun-loving misfits, and this is retained in season two where every character, even those outside of the main cast, has something to offer. We’re also introduced to some new faces in the way of Rahim, Eric’s new love interest, Quizhead’s Viv & Dex, and Maeve’s new neighbour Isaac. Each one adds something new and interesting and is integrated perfectly into the already familiar group of characters.       

On its surface and at its heart, Sex Education remains a fun and quirky if not slightly stereotypical coming-of-age teen drama, full of warmth and charisma. But it’s also a show that is not afraid to venture into territory rarely touched on in other contemporary media. For example, season two explores students dealing with asexuality and pansexuality, two orientations often overlooked in film and television.

It also focusses more deeply on students dealing with sexual assault, in this case the ditsy and loveable Aimee, a narrative arc that leads to one of the most heart-warming and unifying scenes of the show so far. Season two’s overall message seems to be that, whoever you are and whatever you’re dealing with, you’re still loved and you’re not alone.

Season two also tackles issues such as depression, isolation, loneliness and self-harm with greater attention and problems aside from those associated with sex and relationships are explored in more detail. One particular sub-plot sees Maeve’s mum Erin come back into her life in a storyline that looks at abandonment and drug addiction, an arc that concludes in heart-breaking fashion, one of the season’s darker and more saddening moments.

The show manages to explore and unpack so many issues in its eight-episode-long second season, but at no point does it feel forced or over-done, as though they are trying to shoe-horn in as much as they can. Neither does it ever feel preachy. Every topic that is looked at is covered openly and honestly, yet seamlessly interwoven into the overall tender, amusing and light-hearted tone. It is this blend, done so well in season one but mastered in season two, which makes it one of the most popular shows on television today.

Sex Education season two is engaging, uplifting and sometimes even upsetting. It’s important and inclusive but never at the expense of being entertaining and absolutely hilarious. I cannot wait for season three. 

Image Credit: Netflix