In the first two seasons, Jackson’s (Kedar Williams-Stirling) relationship with his moms changed — and not necessarily for the better. Although he is close with both, one pushes him harder than the other to succeed in his academics and swimming career. As a result of the pressure, Jackson broke his own hand, which further strained his parents’ marriage. Jackson told them that they’d all be better off if they divorced.
The couple’s split will likely play a large part in Jackson’s storyline in Season 3. That opens the door for a realistic depiction of the divorce process and its effects on families. The divorce may be tough on Jackson, but the change could allow him to grow past swimming and continue to pursue other passions, as he did acting in the school play in season 2.
The show is no stranger to LGBTQ+ relationships and characters. Ola (Patricia Allison) and Adam (Connor Swindells) ended Season 2 in new relationships with Lily (Tanya Reynolds) and Eric, respectively, and those will hopefully grow. And with gay, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual characters, it does not shy away from representation. There’s no reason to think that it won’t continue to include some of the best LGBTQ+ representation on television.
Inclusivity and Diversity
Part of what sets the dramedy apart from other teen shows is its characters. With characters of different races, sexual orientations, ages, disabilities and economic status, it’s a show for everyone. The introduction of Isaac in Season 2 added to this. His wheelchair is a part of him, but it’s not all that he is, and having a paraplegic actor (George Robinson) in the role is a step in the right direction. Each character is unique. The series can continue to strive for diversity and inclusivity with the addition of new characters in future seasons.
Tackling “Taboo” Topics
You get what you expect from the title. While the characters often talk about sex-related topics, the series does not shy away from showing anything either. More often than not, teen programs aim for a TV-14 rating to increase viewership. Sex Education takes the risk of showing sexual relationships among high school students to improve the story. There is no doubt that sexual relationships and topics will be part of Season 3.
For example, Season 2 saw Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood) struggle after being sexually assaulted on a bus. The assault and its aftermath — including the impact it had on her — were realistically depicted. Through this, viewers saw the portrayal of a case involving sexual assault (but not rape) and how the effects of it can be just as challenging for a person to deal with and overcome.
Family Struggles with Drug Abuse
Season 2 followed Maeve’s relationship with her addict mother, Erin (Anne-Marie Duff). The two worked on patching things up after Erin returned with Maeve’s half-sister, Elsie, looking for a fresh start. Though it appeared Erin had quit drugs and had her life on track, Maeve discovered she was fired and started using again. She called Social Services for Elsie’s protection. The effect of this decision will likely be a major part of Maeve’s storyline going forward, as we see her struggle with wanting what’s best for family and the undesired consequences.
Breaking High School Tropes
In the beginning, many characters fit the high school clichés, with Maeve the “rebel” and Aimee one of the “popular crowd.” However, we soon learned there’s much more to these characters. While Maeve may seem distant and uncaring, she is very intelligent and always wants what’s best for her friends. Aimee may have stayed with “The Untouchables” for status, but she chose her true friendship with Maeve and created her own path. Jackson seems like a typical jock, but he struggles to maintain that persona. With another season, there’s the opportunity to learn more about each of the characters.
Several of the teen characters have complicated relationships with their parents, but two of the most prominent are between Otis and his mother, Jean (Gillian Anderson), and Adam and his father, Headmaster Groff (Alistair Petrie). While Otis and Jean normally have a loving and supportive relationship, they hit bumps with the revelations of Otis’ sex clinic and Jean’s heavily-based-on-Otis novel. Adam suffers from the constant disapproval and pressure from his father, especially when Adam came out as bisexual. Sex Education puts just as much effort into developing complex relationships between parents and children as it does between the teens. The end of Season 2 set up the next batch of episodes to further explore these relationships and their trials and triumphs.
Sex Education has set itself apart from most teen shows with its first two seasons.
The Netflix dramedy follows an awkward teen, Otis (Asa Butterfield), as he runs a secret sex therapy clinic at his school alongside his friends Maeve (Emma Mackey) and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa). It isn't afraid to show rather than tell, tackling sex-related topics with both maturity and hilarity.
The Netflix series added an even wider array of characters in the recently released second season.
With its Season 3 renewal, it can continue to develop several character and story arcs often unseen in the teen genre. Click through the gallery above for seven ways Sex Education can continue to push boundaries.
Sex Education, Seasons 1 and 2, Streaming now, Netflix