The second season of “Sex Education” shines with teenage angst and awkwardness, accompanied by some of its most heartwarming, gut-wrenching and shocking moments yet.
Building on the momentum of last season — which left off on a pretty dramatic note — Otis, played by Asa Butterfield, is forced to cope with all new challenges. Navigating social life as a teenager is already hard enough. The problems that come with being your school’s unlicensed sex therapist is even worse and there seems to be a crisis at every turn for Otis this season.
Eric, played by Ncuti Gatwa, also faces new trials in season two as he deals with a new relationship, and the complications of an old one. Adam Groff, played by Connor Swindells — the bully who might just be into him — is back in his life and Eric doesn’t know what to do.
The awkward moments carry on into season two, and the show continues to test how far it can push the discomfort without making the audience want to fast-forward or look away. A few episodes early in the season go a tad overboard with the graceless moments, but it doesn’t take long for the show to hit its groove. These moments prove to become more of a humorous punctuation instead of an uncomfortable silence.
Part of the reason for season one’s popularity was the show’s ability to paint a picture of why sex education is so important. Teenagers need this knowledge, and some of the crazy questions Otis is forced to answer shed light on this in a hilarious way. Season two continues this well, but it also starts to show the differences between Otis and his mother, Jean, who is a trained and licensed sex therapist.
Otis has the tact and ability to deliver the information to teenagers in a way that makes them feel safe and comfortable. But in a lot of cases, he just doesn’t know enough. Jean on the other hand, who is played by Gillian Anderson, has the knowledge, but isn’t very good at dealing with teenagers. This contrast causes a new conflict which plays out over the course of the season and ultimately comes to a head in a brilliant finale.
Maeve, played by Emma Mackey, comes head to head with new obstacles as her mom, Erin, played by Anne-Marie Duff, forces her way back into Maeve’s life. She deals with this at the same time that she and Otis try to figure out where their friendship is really going.
The show executes so many different storylines brilliantly that it’s pretty amazing they’ve managed to make me care about all of them. When Jakob, the love interest of Otis’s mother Jean, started to finally get some more screen time and character development, I found myself intrigued even though he was somewhat of a minor character.
The only problem the show might have at this point is an overabundance of good characters. Characters like Maeve, Ola and Jackson, portrayed by Mackey, Patricia Allison, and Kedar Williams-Stirling respectively, all get excellent character development and growth in season two, each going through their own unique struggles. At the same time Victoria and Ruby, played by Simone Ashley and Mimi Keene, both have brief moments of characterization that makes us see them as more than just the school’s “untouchables” but it left me wanting a great deal more.
I only hope that we get to see a little bit more of these characters in season three because season two was entirely too short.