The first season of Sex Education establishes the show as one which is unafraid to tackle the intricacies of teenage relationships and sexuality with a certain wit and charm, and thankfully season two is no different. Otis (Asa Butterfield), our protagonist from the first season, takes more of a back seat this time around as new characters are introduced and other storylines are developed, however he is still dealing with his own issues which are expanded on throughout the season. Navigating his first relationship with Ola while still doling out his second-hand sex knowledge to clueless teens are simply some of the hilarious challenges Otis faces this season, not to mention the fact that his sex-therapist mother has a new-found role at his school.
However, while Otis is arguably the centre of the show, much of the focus is on one fan-favourite character, the cynical yet likeable Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey). This season we see her come to terms with her feelings for Otis whilst dealing with the return of her mother, who continually battles with addiction issues. Meanwhile, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), experiences his own fair share of difficulties this season as he deals with two potential romances, the mysterious exchange student Rahim and Adam, his former bully who showed a romantic interest in Eric last season after a sexual encounter. The frequency of LGBTQ+ characters and relationships here is refreshing, as it highlights the diversity of today’s society in a way that is unmatched by other TV shows.
The series boldly deals with issues that many other similar shows shy away from, and it does so in a way that is both sensitive and educational. Topics such as sexual assault, consent, asexuality, pansexuality, disability, toxic masculinity and mental health are all introduced in some form and are handled with a delicate balance of intelligence combined with light humour in a way that is both consistently appropriate and effective. The writers are strikingly unafraid of venturing into serious and dark issues. A keen delicacy and understanding surrounds issues that make up some of the harsh realities that many women face today, ensuring the spectacle is poignant and all the more relevant in the wake of the Me-Too movement. Touching performances ensure moments of solidarity and humour alike are both excellent to watch, allowing sudden jumps from laugh out loud moments to touching sombre scenes feel natural rather than forced and unsettling.
Sex Education Season 2 is a ground-breaking show. From the diversity of the cast to the sheer range of serious issues taken on in what is largely a comedy, it is a remarkable and daring series that deserves your attention. Just like its predecessor, series two consistently manages to push boundaries without compromising on humour and warmth and its range of well-drawn out characters keep it engaging. The only real potential issue with this season is that it’s successor may well struggle to retain such a high standard.
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