I’ve finally finished Sex Education Season 2 belatedly, and I absolutely love it, it’s my favourite show this year so far, despite some very obvious flaws.
I like how they took chances with Otis this season, making him much less likeable, more flawed, and therefore more complex and more interesting as a character. I like the portrayal of his relationship with both his parents, how he’s a bit of a brat to his mum and much nicer to his dad who basically ditched his family. It’s a pretty realistic and nuanced treatment of the dynamics of a divorced household.
I like how the cliquish trio Ruby, Olivia and Anwar received much more screen time this season and developed beyond the annoying self-proclaimed cool kids type.
I love that they added the character Viv and through her explored the feelings and sexuality of the unattractive-invisible fat-nerdy girl, because of course we are all bored of seeing shows over-populated by ridiculously attractive people. I like how Viv and Jackson, two characters who can’t be more different, find it in themselves to relate to and support each other. It’s really sweet and I hope it won’t turn into yet another romance…
Jackson has probably become my favourite character this season because I see so much of my teenage self in him (swimmer, actor, math idiot, smooth school life, privately dealing with an authoritarian parent…). His struggle for freedom and independence really speaks to me.
I’ve even grown to like Adam. I really didn’t enjoy watching him initially, but his character development is plausible and touching at the same time. It broke my heart when I saw that he didn’t lock up the store properly, because he so wanted to do something well and prove himself. If you have to think of a character that made the most progress since the start of the show, it would most definitely be him.
The adult stories are good because yeah, life doesn’t magically get easier or less complicated once you become an adult. Adulthood is just as much a minefield as adolescence. I was super touched by Jean’s story – as a mature woman she knows herself well, knows what kind of lifestyle she wants and knows what works best for her and her family. But sometimes this self-knowledge conflicts with her most heartfelt feelings, and I felt that her arc is mostly about how she negotiates this struggle.
I love love love Aimee’s storyline in this season. Last season she was nothing more than a bimbo, but this time the sexual harassment episode added so much depth to her character. Her subsequent reactions (self-blame, denial, withdrawal, fear…) are complex and real, and I’m sure extremely relatable to countless women viewers. The penultimate episode is therefore easily my favourite this season. The detention group is as diverse as it can get, consisting of the nerd, the bimbo, the outcast, the popular kid, and the weird kid – and all of them from extremely different socioeconomic backgrounds too. When these six girls were forced to think of something they have in common (well, admittedly that situation in itself is a bit contrived but whatever), they could not come up with anything until Aimee inadvertently brought up the bus incident. It turns out that what most women have in common, regardless of race, sexual orientation, family background, appearance, intelligence, etc, is the fact that they would more likely than not experience sexual harassment (if not assault) at some point in their lives. Sad, but true. And when they all showed up at the bus stop to accompany Aimee, it’s just fucking awesome. It’s like my favourite scene on TV in a long time cos that’s the kind of female solidarity we want to see more, much more, both in shows and in the real world.
Romeo and Juliet the musical is ingenious. There was a scene where Adam and Eric were talking in front of the entrance and I was like why does the entrance look so much like a vagina. Turns out it actually is a vagina. Sheer brilliance.
Eric is as delightful as ever, but his story is much less interesting this season. It’s just not that compelling to see him choosing between two guys all season. What I really don’t get is that his dad (who played quite a big role in Eric’s story last season) just disappeared??? I’m not sure if I missed an explanation or something but it’s very weird…
There are three things I really don’t like. First off, I feel like the relationship between Ola and Lily is not set up well at all. The two of them are cute together, and it’s not weird that they’re both attracted to women, but it’s not so convincing that they were all of a sudden mutually attracted to each other. It feels more like a device that they use to shove Ola out of the way to make room for Otis and Maeve again, which is not nice cos I love Ola. Second, everything is resolved too quickly in the last episode. Ola is not mad with Otis anymore. Jackson is good with his super harsh and cold mum in literally no time. Jackson and Viv are friends again. Eric chooses Adam over Rahim. Otis is suddenly mature enough to apologise to his mum and also stand up for her in front of the whole school. I thought the show is about the pain, difficulties and complexities of growing up, about trying to mould oneself into a better person despite all the inevitable hurt and trauma along the way, and so any easy resolution would be a disservice in general. But what I hated most was the ending, what happened with the voicemail thing. It’s just soooooo cliched, like TVB-level cliched, it’s unbelievable. I’m still refusing to believe this happened to the show. And it’s so unnecessary!!!!!! Fucking annoying arghhhh.