Sex Education Season Three Shows off Binders

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Aimee, Maeve, and Otis from Sex Education.

Netflix’s Sex Education released their third season on September 17. The show’s second season was released prior to COVID on January 11, 2020. Fans have been eagerly anticipating this season for two years since last season’s cliff hanger.

Maeve’s best friend Aimee has shown the most character development in the show. She started off season one as an insecure girlfriend, gained confidence in her identity in season two, and came into her own in season three. In season two, a man assaulted Aimee on the bus ride to school. Aimee’s trauma impacts her romantic relationship and her general sense of safety with the world around her. By season three, she deals with the longer lasting effects of the trauma by going to therapy with Jean Milburn.

Each season, new characters come aboard to offer new insights and representation. This season’s new characters included two non-binary characters, one of of which captures the admiration of former head boy, Jackson. This student is Cal, who wears a binder and baggy clothes. In one scene, Cal is seen feeling uncomfortable as they change clothes in the locker room and girls whisper in curiosity about Cal’s binder. 

Cal from Sex Education
Cal from Sex Education.

Season three offers a lot of insight into different characters’ childhoods. While Lily has been ridiculed for her special interest, her mom has always been supportive, Former headmaster and Adam’s dad, Michael Groff, was bullied by his father and his older brother.

In this season, a new head mistress Hope Haddon (Jemima Kirke, Girls) comes to Moordale High in attempts to change the public’s perception of the sex-positive high school.

One of my main complaints is that it is difficult to relate to Headmaster Haddon. She is supposed to be a rigid woman who believes in abstinence-only education with a focus on reproduction, conformity, and the belief that community is more important than personal identity. She sees labels as holding people back and upholds strict rules on the dress code. 

At first, Hope’s ideas appear to emerge from a place of wanting what is in the students’ and the school’s best interest, but as the season progresses her motivations beyond changing the reputation of the school seem unclear. She is sex-negative, homophobic, transphobic, and sexist, as well as a bully who emotionally, verbally, and sometimes physically abuses the students. I wish they had continued the thread to show a clear motivation behind her actions so the audience can relate to her instead of just viewing her as despicable and evil.

At this point in the show, Otis is also difficult to relate to. He has a girlfriend but he wants Maeve, and his relationship with Eric is drifting apart. He is no longer the anxious boy who is nervous about his personal sex life but instead has learned to be confident in these areas. He is often selfish this season and tends to lash out at everyone.

Despite the flaws, this season was beautiful. The queer representation was wonderful and it was a fun season. I laughed, cried, and watched it all in one weekend. 

Sex Education season three is available on Netflix. 

3/5 stars.