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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The final season of ‘Sex Education’ never reaches its climax

Amanda Riha

When “Sex Education” first premiered in 2019, it was groundbreaking. It rose through the ranks of mediocre Netflix originals and cemented itself as one of the best teen dramas in recent memory.

Now, with the final season of the show having been released on Sept. 21, it feels boring.

“Sex Education” grew in popularity because it was something that had really never been seen before. A diverse group of teenagers, an interesting script with brilliant one-liners and conversations about sex that felt organic made the series worth watching. Storylines about characters from all walks of life, dealing with all kinds of problems, made the audience intrigued and connected.

But with the final season, the only thing the show has going for it are its actors, and even that factor has dwindled. Seven of the original characters were suddenly gone from the series, clearing up room to bring in a whole host of new characters to take their place. While some of the exits — such as Simone Ashley, who rose to new heights of fame after starring in season two of “Bridgerton” — make sense, some of them seem to be a result of misguided choices by the series’ creative team.

These choices take the remaining characters away from Moordale Secondary School — which was shut down after season three’s tyrannical headmaster wreaked havoc on the students — to Cavendish Sixth Form College, which seems more like a woke-ified wellness retreat than an actual school.

The new characters that come with the setting change are nothing short of over-the-top. While drama is nothing new to “Sex Education,” these introductions are the first time that the show’s representation seems forced and characters feel more like caricatures.

The series has always included a cast of well-rounded characters. From students of different races, ethnicities and faiths to queer and transgender teenagers, “Sex Education” has some genuinely well-written representation. But several of the characters this season, and their awkward dialogue, seem like an attempt to tick another box rather than create fleshed out characters.

Several of the storylines, featuring both characters new and old, simply feel out of place for a final season. With only eight episodes, every minute of every story counts. Unfortunately, most of them are wasted on arcs that never really seem to amount to much. While storylines involving secret paternity, abusive relationships and identity struggles have the potential to be impactful, they barely scratch the surface of any meaning.

The series is the strongest when the characters are together, which is why it seems like such an odd choice that they wait until the final episode to have them really interact with each other. And yet, by the time the series comes to a close, most of them aren’t even speaking to one another. It feels like a fractured ending to a show that seemed to initially be about the things that bind us and a sense of commonality.

Even amongst the flaws that mar “Sex Education”’s final season, there’s still bright spots that will keep long-time watchers seated.

Ncuti Gatwa — who launched to a new level of fame after a memorable role in “Barbie” and his announcement as the new doctor in “Doctor Who” — delivers a performance just as fantastic as in the last three seasons. Gatwa plays fan favorite Eric Effiong, a proudly gay Nigerian teen who stole hearts as he learned to love himself and his identities.

This season finds Effiong struggling to reconcile his faith and his sexuality as he tries to find his place at Cavendish. While his comedic delivery and iconic one-liners make Effiong as lovable as ever, Gatwa delivers a truly stunning performance with the heavier material of his character’s storylines. While “Sex Education” may be ending, this season only confirmed that the actor has a long road of stardom ahead of him.

Another long-term standout that breathes life into the season is Aimee Lou Wood, who plays the quirky and lovable Aimee Gibbs. Gibbs has been on a self-described healing journey after being assaulted on the bus to school in season two. As one of the only consistent and well-written storylines carried over through the seasons, Gibbs’ path to self-empowerment and regaining her sense of self is one of the most honest and beautiful things to come out of “Sex Education.”

And yet, even amongst the good moments, the final season of “Sex Education” is a lot like a ruined orgasm — so close, yet no climax.


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About the Contributors
Zoe Leone
Zoe Leone, Arts & Life Editor
Amanda Riha
Amanda Riha, Design Editor

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