Sex Education Season 3 Review: Asa Butterfield & Emma Mackey's show soars with its empathetic narrative

Updated on Sep 18, 2021 05:05 AM IST  |  178.2K
   
Sex Education releases on September 17 on Netflix
Sex Education releases on September 17 on Netflix
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Sex Education

Sex Education Cast: Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa

Sex Education Creator: Laurie Nunn

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Sex Education Stars: 3.5/5

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The idea of physical contact has particularly changed in bigger ways than we can imagine over the past two years. With the pandemic, the physical presence of someone or something in our orbit makes us panic a little. As for Netflix's Sex Education though, the mask-free life in the non-COVID-19 time of Moordale remains hot and heavy when it comes to intimate indulgences. After flying past our expectations in the first two seasons, Sex Education returns for a new one with a similar approach, which is to keep their focus on shedding light on not just every problem faced by a young adult but also those in their wider perimeter including, parents, teachers, and guardians. 

Having watched the first three episodes of the series' third part, I can safely say that it begins on the right note as it moves past Isaac's (George Robinson) voice-mail-deleting act from last season's finale. In the third season, not only is Moordale aka the 'sex school' being renewed but also the characters, some of whom we see in a much different light. To catch you up on where we are now, Otis (Asa Butterfield) after breaking up Ola and making a drunken fool of himself at a party in the last season, finds himself with a new partner, Ruby (Mimi Keene). Adam (Connor Swindells) is now dating Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) after his big love confession at the school musical and the couple still has a ton of things to figure out. Maeve (Emma Macke) unaware of Isaac's actions finds herself attracted to him.

Amid the love lives of all these students, the school gets a new head, Hope ( Jemima Kirke) who starts off likable but soon gets into Harry Potter-style Umbridge mode. As for the adult characters,  Jean (Gillian Anderson) is dealing with her own demons with a pregnancy at 50 and a relationship that she isn't too sure about with Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt). Which of these relationships will thrive and will Otis and Maeve finally get together is what's left for the end. 

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One of the biggest strong points of Sex Education so far has been that it never gets preachy. In its mindful ways, the show has managed to touch upon several key issues relating to not just sexual but also mental health and it continues to wage its way forward with that. Some moments that truly stand out when it comes to showing a healthy portrayal of seeking therapy are where Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood) speaks to Jean (Anderson) about not feeling like herself after experiencing sexual assault in the past term and the second is where pregnant Jean and Jakob go to couples therapy as they try to find out where they truly stand. It's a good parallel to understand that no one is inherently equipped to manage their emotions and at no point should you feel any less to reach out and seek help. 

Some of the subplots that don't hold our attention much on the other hand include the storyline involving Adam's father and former headmaster of Moordale who has now separated from his wife, lost his old job, and is put up with his arrogant brother played by Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs, who brings his Lucius Malfoy side and turns it into a more dislikable, muggle version of him. 

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Lucky for us, the show doesn't concentrate merely on Otis and Maeve's journey and hence if Aimee's struggle to get on the bus was last season's major point, this season is about Adam Groff's struggle to put his thoughts into words. Through Adam, Otis and other male characters, the perception of masculinity is deftly observed and portrayed. I must say, Connor Swindells does his absolute best and earns true empathy for his act. For anyone who struggles with an identity crisis and internalized their fears and shame about being themselves and accepting themselves, you will find yourselves seen with Adam's character. His character has come a long way and it's a delight to see where it's headed.  

The show is never low on presenting some lighter moments too and the same continues as we reach points of absolutely superlative humour. My favourite among the first three episodes would be the choir practice. Watch out for that scene!

ALSO READ: Sex Education Season 3: Netflix DROPS new trailer, TEASES big changes in the new season; WATCH

I can't be more appreciative of showrunner Laurie Nunn for never losing sight of what Sex Education should be and not settling for anything that's merely salacious with nudity. From the beginning, the show has continued to present itself as a safe space for breaching every topic that may be considered taboo or is too uncomfortable for people to Google and it's all done with a dash of empathy. 

With the new season looking to delve deep into essential matters such as middle-aged pregnancies, challenges of being non-binary and the hormonal journeys of the young and the restless, there's little that you won't look forward to in it. Sex Education's season 3 continues to delightfully move forward in the right direction while taking off from the success of its first two seasons. 

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