Liam Ferguson reviews the newest season of the Netflix hit show, Sex Education.
Laurie Nunn’s raunchy drama, Sex Education, was an instant hit for Netflix when it released in 2019 and the show’s second season in 2020 seemed to up the quality even further. Unfortunately, season 3 of the show misses the mark almost entirely. While there are still some aspects to like from this season, it is ultimately bogged down by a ridiculously large ensemble cast and bizarre character writing decisions.
Let's start with the good: the performances within the series remain top notch across the board. Returning actors such as Asa Butterfield, Ncuti Gatwa, and Emma Mackey have clearly become very comfortable with the roles they've been playing for a number of years now and matured as actors because of this. Series newcomers such as Dua Saleh and the delightfully villainous Jemima Kirke are given some room to shine as well, highlighting that the series does have a fantastic casting department.
“Marred by a bigger main cast than Avenger's Endgame and a slew of uninteresting to downright awful character arcs, there is little to love beyond the efforts of phenomenal actors working off of a husk of a script.”
Unfortunately, performances are about where the good ends with this season of the show. The most glaring issue stems from the fact that there are simply too many characters fighting for the spotlight and as a result, even the most compelling arcs are not given enough time to be fully fleshed out.
For every moment that Otis (Butterfield) and Maeve (Mackey) have to develop their relationship, which previously shaped the series, there is a montage of Lily (Tanya Reynolds) trying to figure out whether or not she should stay on-brand with her alien role-play kink. It is incredibly hard to care about the majority of the characters' struggles when the series can't decide who it wants the audience to latch onto anymore.
On top of this, the character writing is simply abysmal. Fan favourite character Eric (Gatwa) suffers the most from this problem as he is consistently portrayed as an apathetic, stereotypical shell of his former self. The only positive aspect of this change in Eric is that it allows his boyfriend Adam (Connor Swindells) to develop quite a bit and serve as a bright spot for this season. Newcomer Cal (Saleh) is devoid of any personality outside of their gender identity being tokenised and serving as a vehicle to give Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling,) a very prominent character in the previous season, some semblance of an arc. While Moordale's new principal Hope (Kirke) is delightfully villainous, that kind of characterisation is more suited to a Disney movie than Sex Education.
Overall, it seems that the spark is truly gone from Sex Education and the show needs to be massively scaled back in order to continue successfully. Marred by a bigger main cast than Avenger's Endgame and a slew of uninteresting to downright awful character arcs, there is little to love beyond the efforts of phenomenal actors working off of a husk of a script.