Took me a couple of extra weeks to catch up, but I made it through season two of Sex Education. And, much like its premiere season, I have a lot to say about it. Spoilers ahead!
Though I admit I’m somewhat of a nerd when it comes to psychology, I loved the expansion into mental health discussion topics. It’s such a natural way to continue exploring the themes and topics outside of the main premise.
I do wish we had more screen time with Aimee’s and Jackson’s arcs, but I’m glad they chose to start where they did. I hope their journeys trickle into future episodes and don’t get the “refresh” treatment come season three.
PTSD and self-harm are among far too many misunderstood mental health struggles. It’s nice to see both disorders portrayed in media, embraced for what they are, and dealt with in supportive, healthy ways. But I also want to continue to see our characters’ lives evolve in accordance with their new experiences.
What Didn’t Work
HIPAA Violations, Anyone?
One of the two biggest quips I have with season two is the disregard of privacy violations with Jean’s notes on the students’ meetings with her. Sure, the headmaster was out for revenge because he didn’t want Jean interfering in school affairs. But his first and foremost priority should be protecting the students. They’re minors whose personal medical files have been blasted across the school.
Displaying notes on some of their most private affairs is disgraceful. The fact that no one cared to find out who posted the copies is a missed opportunity for narrative consequences. And the fact that no one said or did much more than a wrist slap toward Jean is equally puzzling.
Otis’s big moment with Ruby irritated me a lot. I loved their blossoming friendship in the final episodes and look forward to seeing how that develops down the line. But if their roles had been reversed, a completely different conversation and reaction would be at hand. Why is there so little backlash about the guy being wasted and legally incapable of proper consent? For a show about sexual education, especially for a group of teenagers, this was yet another missed opportunity that should have been explored.
What Most Stood Out
While it breaks my heart to say it: the Breakfast Club scene with Aimee and the girls stood out the most. As soon as the teacher said they could continue circling letters or discuss what they all had in common, I knew the story was heading in the direction of #MeToo.
Like with most of the season, I love how Aimee’s PTSD led up to the moment. And I adore how they all bonded together in the end to help her ride the bus again. It’s just sad that it was the single common denominator that brought them together.
For a short-lived moment, Florence’s trek into asexuality gave me a glimmer of hope. This show has been on top of the diversity game. Since season one, many fans thought Otis’s story would arc into asexuality. When that took a detour, it opened the window for a new character.
For some out there questioning their asexuality, it’s enough to discover the label and accept it. But for so many others, it’s only the start of their journeys. More than that, asexuality itself is on a spectrum. The conversation doesn’t end with “okay, well that explains me.” Especially for a teenager in high school. It’s yet another isolating factor that sets teens apart from their peers. And it’s worth diving into more in media—particularly with a show of this magnitude!
Favorite Character Arc(s)
I think my pick for favorite character arcs this season is a tie. Aimee was treated in season one as the ditzy trope. It was great to see her storyline evolve and take her in a different direction that defies that trope.
But I also really enjoyed Maeve’s arc with her mother. Which brings me to…
Maeve and her mother. Maybe I’m biased because I also just recently watched His Dark Materials with the same wonderful actress. But I thoroughly enjoyed the back-and-forth these characters had. It was delightful to see them bicker at first over the past. When Maeve started opening up more and supporting her mother’s supposed turnaround, I felt hopeful alongside her. And consequently crushed that she had to make the decision she did in the end.
Overall, it was another delightful season of television. I wish they took their time with more of the storylines. But if a few threads continue into season three, I’ll be a happy fan.