It’s been a long time since our last visit to Moordale High. When Sex Education – Season 2 hit screens back in January 2020, Donald Trump was president and there were some pretty spooky rumours about Chinese bat soup, but hey – at least Parasite won Best Picture! Twenty-one months later, I think it would be safe to say that things have changed. For one thing, we’ve all grown up a bit, taking on new responsibilities and coming to appreciate the small things in life. At first, it looks like the same can be said for our plucky young Moordale heroes after a summer vacation that seemed to go on forever.
Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and Adam (Connor Swindells) are now a fully-fledged couple, while Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Maeve (Emma Mackey) have parted ways, once again retiring that trusty sex clinic of their youths. Otis even has a girlfriend now! This appears to be a new, more mature chapter in the lives of Moordale High’s best and brightest. That is, apart from a new therapy vigilante dubbed ‘The Sex King’, a Stalinist new Headmistress hot on his tail, and a cockblocking goat running rampant across campus.
That’s just Episode 1.
Needless to say, Sex Education – Season 3 doesn’t take long to remind us why exactly local newspapers rebranded Moordale as ‘The Sex School’. In its third year, the series is just as raucous, bold and taboo as those beloved first two seasons, seamlessly blending heartful, sincere character moments with the most absurd of sex montages (including one particularly stylish anime sequence which must’ve cost Netflix a small fortune). At the end of the day the ethos of Moordale High has been largely untouched by its twenty-one month hiatus.
This does apply to the flaws of those first two seasons as well, however. Otis remains an insufferable protagonist, being so utterly unwilling to learn from his mistakes that you almost find yourself rooting for him to fail. There are times when this attitude even extends to Laurie Nunn and the writing team as well, who stubbornly refuse to concede ground to criticism of any kind. The show’s previous finale was met with outcry for prolonging several storylines far past their expiry date, yet Season 3 goes even further in teasing payoffs that almost come through, only to be stalled right at the last moment. For schoolyard drama, life moves awfully slow at Moordale High.
But that might be for the best, because for as much as we’ve all been through over the past twenty-one months, the one constant seems to be that it came as a bit of a blur. College started for some and ended for others, some of us got jobs, others came up short, not that we ever had the time to really take it in. In that regard, there is something to be said about Sex Education’s absolute refusal to look to the future, especially given that this entire season was written in the thick of lockdown without ever so much as acknowledging it.
For all that has gone right and wrong over the past two years, Moordale High will always be the Sex School, and Otis Milburn will always be a knob.
Watch the latest trailer for the new season here.
Read our Met Gala review here.