29th Sep2021

‘Sex Education: Season 3’ Review (Netflix)

by Rhys Payne

If you have ever met me in real life I can guarantee that at some point throughout the conversation I have brought up the fact that I appeared as an extra in Netflix’s Sex Education season two. I have not been able to find myself in the show yet (which I am a little disappointed about) but I did spend a day at Moordale doing student-esque things that they could use to transition for scene to scene. I also learnt that day that I have the physicality of a high school bully when one of the directors wanted me to act like a bully to a group of fellow students. Being an extra was a really enjoyable experience and it was even more special considering I was appearing in a show that I enjoyed even before being cast in it. On top of this, I was invited by BAFTA to watch a preview screening of the first episode of season two in the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. Unfortunately due to the restrictions not being relaxed in the UK yet, this was not possible this year. Hopefully, when the inevitable four season of this show is produced, we can attend a sort of launch party as there were a great opportunity to network and meet the creative minds behind the show.

For those who have not heard of Sex Education before, it is started as a show about a guy called Otis and a girl called Maeve (who share a sort of will they won’t they relationship) who start up a sexual advice clinic within their school as their peers need the help. It is set in the fiction school Moordale and takes the audience through the anguish and anxieties that young people experience every day. This show is targeted to a modern, millennial audience as it discussed many contemporary and important issues. For a show portrayed by students (within the narrative) and essentially intended for students, this show deals with some incredible real and serious issues. During the last season, Sex Education received a lot of attention for producing a scene all about sexual assault and women coming together to fight back against their abuser, which received a lot of press. This season has very candid conversations about sexuality/coming out, losing a loved one, the fluidity of family structures etc which are all things that the people within the target audience will/are/have gone through at some point. One of the biggest debates on the show is the implementation of school uniforms. When I went to high school I was once almost sent home from school for wearing white ankle socks instead of the black ones we were advised to wear. Now as a teacher, I understand the importance of school uniforms but there are some points where I think it becomes a control tool rather than a positive idea. I delivered a lesson one time where the student had to convince the headteacher to change one uniform rule and one student said I don’t want to change what I have to wear but I think it’s unfair that we aren’t allowed dyed hair, trainers etc., but the teachers are and to be honest they have a point! This was the main story of this season of Sex Education as the new headteacher Hope Haddon (played by the wonderful Jemima Kirke) tries to rebrand Moordale and most drastically introduces a school uniform. This is met with resistance from the pupils who lead a protest against the new rules.

The highlight of this season of Sex Education for me would have to be the character Adam Groff, who is played by Connor Swindells. In the last season, I disliked this character due to his treatment of Erik (who I will talk about more later) but in this series, he grew on me. The character has begun to explore his sexuality as is in a relationship with Erik but is finding the coming out process very difficult. This story was performed in a way that was real and authentic to how it occurs in real life, which can only benefit any viewers who are going through the same thing. He also has an issue with expressing his feelings (which is common for many men nowadays) which leads to a very important coping mechanism being introduced which entails him facing the opposite direction and talking as if no one is listening. This was such a brilliant performance by Connor but also such an important character that will help many people who are going through a similar thing. His boyfriend within the story Erik is played by Ncuti Gatwa who continues to be an icon through the season with a lip-sync to “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels” by Todrick Hall being a highlight. In this season particularly we learn a lot more about Erik’s background and how homosexuality is viewed in African countries which is again very important. Also, I know we all want a friendship like Erik and Otis share!

Overall this is a very important season of the show which explored more very important themes and ideas. It did stray from the original idea of a sex clinic that the original season showcases but it is still very entertaining.

***** 5/5

Sex Education: Season Three is available on Netflix now.


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