The Netflix original, “Sex Education”is back with its fourth and final season. And once again, creator Laurie Nunn has executed an emotionally complex storyline that not only offers the characters the chance at closure, but draws in the reality of life’s unexpectedness and new change.
This season returns to focus on fans’ familiar beloved characters, including Maeve, Otis, Eric, Aimee, Adam, Ruby, and more. However, it also introduces a broad variety of new characters, settings, and dilemmas. Moordale School has been shut down and sold. Maeve Wiley, played by Emma Mackey, leaves for the US to start at Wallace University. Adam (Connor Swindells) starts a job at the stables. Meanwhile, Otis, Eric, Ruby, and Aimee have all started at Cavendish College: a new, very woke, and mainly student-led school.
Season four brings both excitement and pain to the screen. These characters and their experiences highlight often unaddressed issues and thoughts that many teenagers may have, such as questions regarding sexuality and uncertainty regarding relationships, and just like in the first three seasons, this one doesn’t hold anything back when doing so.
However, with so many new characters being introduced, season four has flattened many aspects of the story. It’s hard to get to know the individual characters personally and feel that their circles come ‘full-close,’ simply because there isn’t enough time or space for these circles to be built.
Additionally, some of these characters seem to merely be the ‘means to an end’ for the original characters’ storylines. Aisha, for example, one of the newly introduced students from Cavendish, is deaf, and her presence does little other than develop Cal’s character and remind people to look at her when they speak so that she can read their lips. While these elements are both important, they make her character and the experiences she brings to the screen feel one-dimensional. Aisha is not the only example of this in the final chapter of “Sex Education”.
The new season undoubtedly gives its audience much to think about. And while these new characters may seem underdeveloped, as a whole, the cast of “Sex Education” offers a window into the true experiences of entering adulthood. There is a lot of change that comes with new beginnings, usually unpredictable. People may come and go. Tensions arise and are resolved, weirdness jumps out from behind every corner, and emotions become tangled and complex.
Within the season, Maeve and Otis may seemingly just go back and forth between ‘bickering’ and ‘making up’, but this isn’t necessarily a useless aspect of the show. It highlights the reality of being two different people navigating life. Eric’s inner turmoil with his faith is beautifully depicted, and digs beneath the surface to reveal the complexities beneath. As “Sex Education” has aimed to do since day one, it doesn’t shy away from laying out the ugly, the painful, the joyous, and the beautiful. From meeting a bedazzling God, to experiencing an emotionally complex death, this new season is heartbreaking, humorous, and heartwarming, and is worth a watch.