Sex Education season 2 review – Netflix teen drama as funny and honest as ever

It’s time for more antics at Moordale Secondary school!

We open the second season of Netflix's hit teen comedy-drama Sex Education to some cringe but lovable scenes that prove it is great to have back the awkward old soul that is Otis Milburn, played with wonderful comedic timing and natural understated emotion by Hugo star Asa Butterfield.

Loved up with girlfriend Ola (Patricia Allison), Otis is exploring being in a relationship and the prospect of having sex for the first time. However, the lovers find a huge obstacle to their relationship in the form of Otis’ former business partner, friend and crush Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey). Can Otis keep his relationship with Ola and maintain a friendship with Maeve?


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The other issue here is that Maeve herself has realised she is in love with Otis and remains the most tragic character in the show as she consistently finds herself let down and lonely. Emma Mackey is a really charismatic and talented actress and we can expect big things from her.

The arrival of Maeve’s oft-absent mother (the ever-impressive Anne-Marie Duff ) also helps to provide more depth to her unhappy family history.

Another tangle to the web is that Ola is a much more developed character this season so our sympathies aren't so easily won by the prospect of an Otis-Maeve pairing and Ola's friendship with the quirky Lily (Tanya Reynolds) is another opportunity for Ola to display her own fire.


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Additionally, Otis isn't the only character with a love triangle, as Eric – played by the ever funny and sensitive Ncuti Gatwa – gets an unexpected new love interest at Moordale, but his fire with his absent former bully and closeted headmaster’s son Adam (a prickly but wounded Connor Swindells) remains undiminished. The series doesn't hide away from the issues between the pair either, making for a complex potential romance.

Adam’s issues may be improving but he remains in a toxic relationship with his father as ever, while his supportive mother begins to question her own sexual needs too.


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One of the stronger elements is a slow-burn arc for sweet but dim Aimee (Aimee Lou Woods), which touches on topical issues and allows the female characters to explore not only their differences but also shared experiences, particularly in an episode clearly inspired by John Hughes classic The Breakfast Club.

Meanwhile, the incomparable Gillian Anderson returns as Otis' embarrassing sex therapist mother, Jean, and feels much less isolated in terms of her plots as she is brought further into the Moordale community. She also, like Otis, navigates coupledom – her, for the first time in years – with handyman and Ola's father, Jakob (Mikael Persbrant). However, is she really cut out for monogamy? And what will be the consequences of her relationship on her improving relationship with son Otis?

All in all, it’s a strong follow-up season of the show as it continues to embrace diverse sexualities and relationships and celebrate them in all their glory – warts and all. It also develops the world of the show and the character’s personalities and wants more, and leaves us eagerly anticipating the third run.

Verdict

Sex Education season 2 continues its comforting mix of relatable storylines, lovable characters, and hilarious dialogue. We only wish there was more.

Sex Education season 2 is released on Netflix on Friday, January 17, 2020.

What do you want from the new episodes of Sex Education? Let us know in the comments below.

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