Sex Education (Season 3) Recap & Ending Explained: It’s rare for a teenage drama to keep up with a great premise without generalizing and metastasizing it with generic story tropes.  So, to surpass that trope without letting its constraints hamper it is a task on its own. Netflix’s Sex Education, which entered its third year of following the kids of Moordale Secondary, a.k.a ‘Sex School’ knows teenage dramas a little too well to succumb to its stereotypes. Instead, it favors on rock solid character arc for almost all of its key players and doubles it down with its sort-of-trope-y humor quotient, in order to stay relevant and enjoyable.

In the following article I finally caught up with Season 3 and even though it has been a while since it has been out, I would still briefly recapture its essence for those of you who are here after the exciting news of Dan Levy joining the cast of Sex Education Season 4. Please be aware that the following is an episodic breakdown of the 3rd season, with key situations highlighted for your convenience; make sure you are aware that it contains spoilers.

Sex Education (Season 3) Recap:

Episode 1: 

The season opens with a brief montage of everyone in the town of Moordale enjoying sex. Meanwhile, Jean is done with her book, but the chlamydia scandal follows her around her book talks as well. Issac and Maeve are now fast friends but he hasn’t shared with her that he deleted Otis’ message, nor has he told her that he likes her.

On one hand, the media is on and up about Moordale’s fate after Mr. Groff was dismissed, on the other hand, Michael Groff is looking for a new job but schools are not taking him because of the way he left things back at Moordale. To top that off, his life is living hell because he is now living with his older brother Peter (Jason Issacs) who is rich and always on his case.

Hope Haddon (Jemima Kirke) is the new hip and cool headteacher for Moordale Secondary and everyone is pleased because she promises to get things ‘back on track.’ In order to do so, she calls Maeve and Otis and tells them to give her a heads up if anything like the sex clinic is up and running on the campus again.

On the flip side, Jean is struggling to tell Jakob about the baby, but after much ado, she eventually does and he asks to take things slow. Meanwhile, Otis and Ruby have been secretly shagging, and when they find that Kyle has been secretly giving sex advice under a pretense, it becomes their secrete against his kind of situation.

On Adam’s front, things aren’t particularly looking bright either. He is now facing problems at school since people are now bullying him for being gay. So, in a spit of rage, he charges at one of them, upsetting Eric for claims that he is being violent. Later, Ola talks to him and helps him calm down and think things through so that he can make amends. 

On campus, it feels like Jackson is the only one who realizes that Hope is up to no good and her ways are not going to be as cool as she poses. Meanwhile, a slight mess-up in the abandoned washroom creates quite a ruckus, and when Otis tells Hope about Kyle’s Sex King avatar, she decides to abolish it completely, leaving a few people including the new girl Cal Bowman (Dua Saleh) completely disappointed.

The episode ends with Otis and Ruby deciding to make things public. 

Episode 2:

Ruby is trying to make Otis change up to her cheek standards. However, change is not just there, students’ lockers are now painted and they are supposed to walk in a single line in addition to a whole bunch of rules that have been introduced.

Viv and Jackson are tasked with painting the vulgar wall, which is where they officially meet Cal. Meanwhile, Maeve asks Otis if her mother can talk to Aimee because she has been having problems with Steve after the bus incident last term and also confronts him about his casual relationship with Ruby and how it is unlike him.

Eric and Adam decide to go all the way, but Adam’s confusion is still pretty heavy and he admits that he doesn’t want to do it. Adam later confronts Otis and tells him that he finds it difficult to say exactly what he thinks and Otis suggests him to do things that will make him feel like he is not being observed.

Jean and Jakob try the exercises that their co-parenting therapist asked them to, and they end up having sex and realizing that they do care about each other and should be a family unit. On the other hand, Maeve visits Elsie and her foster mother Anna, and accidentally comes face to face with her own mother who is still pretty angry at her for calling the police on her. Meanwhile, Issac finally comes clean about deleting Otis’s message after Maeve kisses him and then decides to leave because Isaac broke her trust too.

Adam and Eric have sex after Adam tells him what he wants. Mr. Groff decides to crash at Colin’s after he realizes his brother doesn’t want him at his place. 

The episode is capped by Hope deciding to introduce a school uniform.

Episode 3:

Ola and Otis are now living together but having problems adjusting to each other.  Aimee visits Jean and therapy makes her feel a lot better. The new uniform has been introduced but people are having issues, especially Cal is unable to adjust to this change. Meanwhile, Maeve’s mother visits her trailer to get her passport but stays for a portrait that Issac is making.

At school, Viv and Jackson start having a rift and Jackson prefers hanging out with Cal after they help him with a dizzy spell at school. The two of them hang out and talk about their identity and anxiety issues as they smoke some pot.

Eric, Adam, Ruby, and Otis go on an awkward double date at the bowling alley. While Adam fumbles initially, they finally hit it off. 

Ola realizes that Lilly is getting a little too occupied in her stories to really put her attention on her. Similarly, Jean and Jakob get at a cross-road when they are talking about baby names and Jakob’s apolitical and old-fashioned stance on life comes to the forefront.

Sex Education Season 3. Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn, Mimi Keene as Ruby Matthews in Episode 3 of Sex Education Season 3. Cr. Sam Taylor/NETFLIX © 2020

On their way home Adam and Eric get into a cute little argument which gives out jealous vibes related to Rahim before they walk in on Maureen (Adam’s mother) having a great time with her new date.

Ruby reluctantly takes Otis to her home where Otis finally meets Roland – Ruby’s dad. There, Roland smokes up with his weed dealer as we finally get to see a non-mean side of Ruby

Subsequently, Cal tells Jackson that she liked wearing baggy clothes and that losing the abandoned toilet was a real blow for her. On the other hand, Issac sort of confesses his feelings for Maeve and she forgives him for what he did.

Ruby calls Otis to thank him for coming to his home and hanging out with her dad, but when she says ‘I Love You’ he doesn’t respond the way that she wanted him to.

Episode 4:

Ruby is not too eager to hang out with Otis anymore.  Maeve visits Elsie’s foster mother and uses her computer to complete her application. When there, she catches her actual mother spying on the house.

Jean and Jakob visit therapy and have another disagreement when Jakob says that he doesn’t believe in therapy. Otis tells Eric about the Ruby situation, while Ruby still feels like she is mad at him. 

Meanwhile, Anwar’s face has some kind of reaction that makes it look hideous. Jackson asks Viv to help them get an open forum that can help people talk about gender identity and other stuff.

Hope makes more changes, particularly the SRE syllabus, but both Meave and Otis are thrown out of their respective classes when they question the wrong, and frankly regressive things they are preaching

Jean rethinks her decision to have a child when she sees Jakob building a house for the baby. She freaks out during her yoga session, but Maureen helps her calm down.

Eric and Adam have another fight when Eric returns Rahim’s poetry books.  Someone pays for Maeve’s school trip and she assumes that it must be Elsie’s foster mother Anna. 

Mr. And Mrs. Groff meet at the supermarket where Mrs. Groff asks him to try and fix things, especially with Adam.

Issac and Meave finally kiss and have a beautiful, tender moment with each other. 

Otis visits Ruby’s home to finally do the talk, confronting her I Love You by saying that he will respond to that in his own time; presently he likes her a lot but is unsure if their relationship has really transpired into the ‘love’ territory yet. It all leads up to the two of them breaking up.

The Mexican dinner at Colin’s house leads to Mr. Groff telling them that he wants to make amends with the misses. So, he later visits Maureen, only to realize that she has moved on. 

Otis has a little talk with Jakob, who tells him that he did the kinder thing by telling Ruby he didn’t love her. And Adam apologizes for getting angry and makes up with Eric.

The students leave on the school trip to France, with unease in their hearts and minds.

Episode 5:

The students are divided into groups and Otis and Ruby land up in the same one. Eric gets ready for his Nigerian trip with his family, and his mom asks him to pack things that are a little less ‘gay’ because things can be dangerous for him in Nigeria.

Jean and Hope sort of cross horns during their respective hospital visits, talking about their varied perspectives on what teenagers should do and not do.

Aimee tells Meave that it was she who paid for her trip and not Elsie’s foster mother. This makes Maeve really mad, and she stops talking to her for the first time.

The students visit the graveyard and the place where the bunkers were during the war. Colin realizes that they are running behind schedule, so he asks the bus driver to drive faster. On the bus ride to the next destination, Cal and Jackson seem to be tripping balls due to the shroom they just ate. Meanwhile, Rahim drops a huge douche in the bus toilet and when he is unable to flush it out, he throws it out of the window in his sock, which drops on a car that is trying to overtake the bus, resulting in a mini collision.

At the hospital, Jean gets in a fight with the doctor who was trying to mansplain things to her. Meanwhile, Adam owns up about throwing poo out of the window when he sees Rahim is extremely nervous about coming clean.

Sex Education Season 3 Episode 5
Sex Education Season 3. Emma Mackey as Maeve Wiley, Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn in Episode 5 of Sex Education Season 3. Cr. Sam Taylor/NETFLIX © 2020

On the break, Aimee lets Meave know that she keeps people out just so she can’t get hurt. So, Aimee and Maeve end up having their first fight. Later Otis and Maeve, who were both using the facilities get left behind as the trip bus leaves without them.

Jakob finally confesses to Jean that he doesn’t trust her. On the bus, Adam and Rahim finally bond as Ola and Lilly fight over how real aliens are, or if they exist or not.

Cal and Jackson come off their high and realize that they like each other, so they kiss, but Cal soon gets uncomfortable when Jackson gets closer. 

Also, the moment that all of us have been waiting for finally arrives: Otis and Maeve talk about things and the voicemail comes up again. Maeve asks Otis what the voicemail said and he narrates it entirely by heart. Maeve asks him if he meant it when he said ‘I love you’ and he says he did. The two of them kiss each other with all their heart. The bus returns to get them back and Colin proposes to Emily who declines marriage but accepts to move in with him. 

Students return back home as Eric reaches Nigeria.

Episode 6:

The episode opens with a montage of Lilly’s childhood before leaving us with Hope discovering more dirt being written about Moordale, now deamed ‘the sex school.’

Maeve gets into the US school she applied for but doesn’t have the money to go there. Jean talks to Aimee and makes her realize one important thing about sexual assault; it is often the victims who feel like it is their fault and not the assailants.

Meanwhile, Hope finds herself in a really tight spot because, in spite of the changes and her best efforts, the school’s reputation isn’t fixed yet. She is worried about funding and how the investors would pull out soon if things don’t go well with the school open day.

Otis and Maeve have a little talk about what happened between them,  but Meave insists that they hold it off because currently, she really likes Issac. 

When Hope gets a whiff of what transpired on the trip, she organizes an urgent assembly in which she points out three students in particular for the school’s bad rep: Lilly, Adam, and Cal are called out of the lot to be humiliated on stage by wearing signs around their neck.

Maeve is called in for an emergency as she finds out that her mother took Elsie for a walk from her foster care home and never bought her back. Therein, Meave, Otis, and Issac meet face to face and the two boys get into a blurb of jealousy and disgust against one another, instead of helping Meave navigate through the missing Elsie case.

Mr. Groff visits Jean’s house to return the book he stole and created a ruckus on campus. However, Jean invites him in and the two of them discuss Mr. Groff’s childhood, making us peak into his behavior with respect to his dad who often bullied him. Jean and Mr. Groff realize that he hasn’t cried for a long long time.

Meanwhile, Hope asks Viv to do a presentation on the upcoming open day just because she is a woman of color. This makes Viv realize that she doesn’t have to be the teacher’s pet anymore, making her question her methods for the first time.  Also, Otis and Jean get into a fight over Jean’s overindulgence in his life.

Back in Nigeria, Eric is attending the wedding but missing Adam who hasn’t been replying to his text. He is not aware that Adam’s phone has been confiscated. He also meets Oba who is queer and asks him to come out to meet other people who secretly have a community there.

Back in Moordale, Adam visits Rahim who is suspended because of him, and apologies. He also requests him to help him out with a poem he has been trying to write for Eric. Eric, on the other hand, reluctantly reaches the queer bar and loves it. He also ends up kissing Oba on the dance floor. 

The next morning he returns home and has a little argument with his mother, telling her that doesn’t want to pretend to be something he is not. 

Eric leaves Nigeria to go back to England, but he is both happy and sad.

Episode 7:

The episode opens with a surprisingly well-done animated sequence that retells one of Lilly’s stories about Glenoxy and then lands in her reality where she had become a recluse who is neither going to school nor taking  Ola’s call.

Ola, Otis, and Jean have a disagreement about how the home is turning into a bizarre mess. Eric has returned home, but when he goes to greet Adam, flashbacks from Nigeria come to haunt him.

It’s Open day at Moordale and everyone is prepped for it. Except, Viv, Cal, and Jackson are cooking something up due to the recording they now have on them. 

Maeve might have found her mom, so she decides to leaves, as Otis tells Eric about the kiss and how he messed things up again. Maeve and Aimee make up as they decide to take a drive to go find her mum.

Hope is all worked up about open day with the press and all. And to keep things in check she locks Cal in a room so that she can’t fuck up with her plans. However, over at the assembly where Viv is supposed to do a presentation, Jackson is brought up who takes the centre stage as he plays a presentation about sex instead.

Hope tries to stop it but Ruby literally fights her off.  The student revolt again Hope as they all wear cards around their heads like the punishment she gave to the students the previous week.

Sex Education Season 3
Sex Education Season 3. Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong, Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn in Episode 7 of Sex Education Season 3. Cr. Sam Taylor/NETFLIX © 2020

Meanwhile, Lily has a meltdown and packs up all her alien stuff. Jean, who is at a talk show talking about abstinence, starts having contractions. Jakob shows up at therapy but since Jean is not there, they talk about his life in the previous marriage, more specifically his issues with trusting people. 

Cal and Jackson have another awkward moment after kissing each other. Subsequently, Meave meets her mother and convinces her that Elsie will have a better life with Anna. She agrees and decides to leave Moordale alone. 

Otis reached Lily’s house after Maeve made him realize that he likes helping people in need. The two of them talk and Lily feels a little better. 

Eric finally confesses kissing Oda in Nigeria and Adam gets visibly distressed by itAt dinner, Mr. Groff finally stands up against his brother by telling him that he is an awful person. He then rushes out with the bowl of salad he has made to Mrs. Groff’s home. Maureen isn’t ready for him but decides to kiss him anyway.

At the hospital, Jean delivers a baby girl, but some birth-related complications make her lose blood as she gets unconscious.

Otis goes to see Anna’s house and confesses that the clinic was a way to be close to her but he also realized that he likes helping people. Maeve also confesses that it wasn’t just about the money for her too and she wanted to be close to him as well. They kiss as the rain pours down on them. 

The episode ends with Jakob calling Otis to inform him about Jean’s condition but he dodged the call to kiss Meave instead.

Episode 8

Otis is at the hospital waiting for news about his mum when Eric arrives. He tells him that he was horrible to her before all this and he feels really bad about her condition right now. Adam finally responds to Eric’s message, but he doesn’t respond back as he is unsure what he wants and is preoccupied accompanying Otis at the hospital. 

Otis and Ola go to see the baby, but Ola just rushes out from there. Meanwhile, Jackson talks to his mum about when and how she knew she was a lesbian.

Both Jakob and Otis are anxious about what will happen to Jean as Otis confesses that he doesn’t want to live with his real father in case anything happens to his mum.

Lily’s mother tries to connect with her by talking about aliens on the way to dropping her school. However, Lily says that she has outgrown all the alien stuff and wants her to throw her things out. Viv comes to school with her hot boyfriend whom she has been doing long distance with the entire year. Adam invites a few people over to the dog competition he has been training madam for.

When everyone reaches school they are excited to see that Hope’s gone for good. Back at the hospital, Otis is freaking out as he has run out of options to distract him.

Maureen and Aimee have a talk at Jean’s home about Adam, and how Aimee is not able to break up with her boyfriend. Erin comes to visit Maeve at the school in spite of being on the run and gives her some money so that she can go to America for her studies.

Cal and Jackson have a heart-to-heart where Jackson tells them that he doesn’t think he is Queer and Cal tells him that they should be friends because they can’t complicate their already confusing and complicated existence. 

At the School meeting, it is reinstated that the investors have taken away all the funding for Moordale Secondary, which means the final year students need to find alternatives before the term ends because this change may affect them the most. 

Eric and Adam break up. While Eric feels quite okay, Adam is devastated.

Ola finally comes in and meets her sister after Jakob talks to her about her feeling; they decide to call her ‘Joy.’

Otis and Hope, who is also in the hospital for another one of her sessions talk about how she feels like a failure. Otis assures her that she is not. Jean, who overhears the conversation talks to Otis about their fight as the mother-son reconcile. Otis finally tells her about Maeve. However, when Jean goes through her mail and checks the DNA report that Jakob had asked for, she is surprised and taken aback by the result.

Meave leaves her trailer home and moves in with Anna. While Adam participates in the dog competition but does not win, he does get a special mention which makes him happy. 

Ola and Lily make up at the Eight meeting. Meanwhile, Adam tells Maureen about Eric and that he broke up with him. He also asks her to not tell Mr. Groff about the competition, because he will be disappointed. Which makes Maureen cancel her dinner plans with him.

Sex Education (Season 3), Ending Explained:

Why does Maeve go to America?

Aimee convinces Maeve to go to America with the money her mother has left for her. So, even though she doesn’t want to mess things up with Otis, she decides to take a stand for herself and take the leap one more time. The season ends when she comes to Otis’ house to tell him about it, and even though Otis is sad, he tells her that he is proud of her. He asks her if this is goodbye and she says that it’s not ‘it’s see you soon.’

What will be the future of Moordale Secondary? How will things shape up in the Milburn household now that the truth of the father is a little wobbly? Do you think Ola and Jakob will leave the house and settle back into their lives? What do you think will happen to Adam now that he is broken up with Eric and has a newfound liking for Rahim waiting to be ignited? Do you think Mr. Groff will make amends with Maureen and treat Adam a little better? Most importantly, what will happen to the love between Maeve and Otis? Do you think the distance between them will cause another rift? Or will the love manage to hold on against adversities?

All these questions and more will possibly be answered in Sex Education Season 4, coming to Netflix on September 21, 2023.

Read More: Netflix’s Easy: Episodic Analysis

Sex Education (Season 3) Trailer

Sex Education (Season 3) Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
Sex Education (Season 3) Cast – Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Alistair Petrie, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Aimee Lou Wood, Mimi Keene, Tanya Reynolds, Patricia Allison, Samantha Spiro, Rakhee Thakrar, Mikael Persbrandt, Jim Howick
Where to watch Sex Education

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