The teen comedy delivers on the sex and laughs and tears with its third installment on Netflix.
This season included a number of big changes for our favorite characters as an increasingly confident Otis (Asa Butterfield) attempted to make it a go with the controlling Ruby Matthews (Mimi Keene) while trying to navigate his unresolved feelings for Maeve (Emma Mackey). Elsewhere, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and Adam (Connor Swindells) finally made it official, but Adam’s return to school as an openly gay student only complicated matters, and Amiee (Aimee-Lou Wood) finally faces the PTSD that’s followed her since being sexually assaulted.
And then there’s Moordale Secondary School, which found its reputation in question after the syphilis scandal, taking on a new headmaster, Hope (Jemima Kirke), whose attempts to return the institution to a pillar of excellence clashes with the concerns and needs of the students.
While speaking with ET’s Katie Krause, the cast opened up about season 3’s biggest spoilers and hopes for a season 4 as the series continues to become bigger and more popular with each drop of new episodes. [Warning: Don’t read until you’ve watched all of season 3.]
Otis and Maeve’s Future
As established early on in season 1, there is an undeniable connection between Otis and Maeve. And despite being tested the past two seasons, with Otis even committing to Ruby, the two always seem to find their way back to each other. And over the season, the two kiss not once but twice and finally admit their feelings for each other -- but then Maeve makes the decision to go the U.S.
“They both still got a lot to learn, and who knows what Maeve will discover in America,” Butterfield says while attempting to guess what comes next for them. “They’re both so young. It’s like, ‘Who the hell knows, really?’ So I feel like if I predict it, it’s just going to go the opposite way, so I’m not going to say anything.”
That said, Butterfield would like to see Otis and Maeve eventually get together and have a proper relationship. “I would like to see it, even if it doesn’t work out in the end. I mean, they are young. It probably won’t,” he says. “But I’m interested to see what would happen.”
He adds, “They are inherently connected and attracted to each other’s personalities.”
Adam and Eric’s Breakup
While it felt like a long time coming to see Eric and Adam together, it quickly became apparent that neither of them was ready to commit on a certain level, especially as they’re both still figuring out things for themselves.
“I know a lot of people are supporting Eric and Adam, but I guess I thought it was really good, because I felt like Eric made the decision for himself, and made the decision towards his own happiness,” Gatwa says, explaining that throughout the relationship, things were very unbalanced. “We’ve seen Eric make a lot of space for Adam, and have to be very patient for Adam, and be where Adam is mentally and emotionally in terms of their relationship.”
But in the end, it’s evident, the actor says, “they’re at such different places in terms of their sexual discovery and their journey.” However, he adds, that despite that conflict, “They’ve got this real connection with each other and understanding of each other,” which is why they found each other in the first place.
Obviously, a key moment leading to Eric’s discovery is his trip to Nigeria. “He learned that he needs a lot of space to grow because there’s a lot of elements to him -- he’s Nigerian, he’s Black, he’s gay, he’s religious,” Gatwa says. And Eric needs space to grow and find “his full, authentic self.”
Being in a country where it’s illegal to be gay also triggered things for Eric. “Imagine for Eric [being] in a country where it’s completely illegal to be his full self [and] that is where he felt his full self,” Gatwa says. “And so, I think that spoke volumes for him in terms of the relationship that he has back home.”
In the end, “it’s a great decision for the pair of them, because I think Adam also needs to grow individually as well,” the actor says. “I think they both need to grow individually, so I was happy with it.”
Aimee’s Emotional Journey
As Aimee tried to move past her sexual assault, it was clear to Maeve that she needed professional help and sought out Otis to have his mother help her. And as Aimee came to understand her feelings and herself, which included lots and lots of baking, that caused tension between the two best friends.
“She’s at such an interesting point in her life where she’s kind of still trying to hold onto old Aimee as she calls it, but very much really coming into this new kind of bigger Aimee,” Wood says. “And it was that kind of tug of war that was so interesting to play in.”
When it comes to her conflict with Maeve, “it causes a huge tectonic shift, and is a catalyst for a lot of other things to open up, and for a lot of things to change,” Wood explains. And when she finally faces the truth about herself, that’s when she’s able to “let the therapy work on her because she’s in this open, vulnerable place.”
At the end of the day, Aimee is afraid of upsetting people. “She’s always wanted people to like her so much,” Wood says, adding that when she’s fighting with Maeve, it’s like, “OK, who am I now?”
Wood says "that it’s only through the other aspects of her life, the opening up and facing her fears in different areas, that she kind of reaches the real core of what’s going on for her.” And in the end, “she’s no longer afraid. And I think that’s so amazing,” she concludes.
Despite all her efforts, Hope isn’t able to save Moordale from itself. And after one scandal after the next, the school is finally shut down. “Moordale’s literally gone,” Gatwa says.
Meanwhile, Keene accurately notes that they’re not finished with school. “We still need somewhere to go to school,” she says, adding that they’ll “have to find a new school... Yeah, I suppose we need to find a new school.”
Butterfield suggests, especially as they’re getting older, that the series could see them “get a job” or “do some more adult things. Maybe they’ll find a new college to go to.”
“If they all start in a new school, then it’s sort of gone back to the beginning. Whereas I think if there’s another season, it’s got to progress some way. And I think leaving school is a good way to do that,” he concludes.
Hopes for Season 4
With Moordale’s future up in the air, it’s anyone's guess as to what will happen next for everybody.
While Wood is sad to see Aimee and Steve break up, she thinks it was for the best. And if the series returns for season 4, she hopes “that she doesn’t have a boyfriend.”
“I really, really, really hope that she gets better at baking,” Wood continues. And because Maeve’s gone away, she hopes that “she makes some new friends, Eric hopefully, but I don’t want her to have a boyfriend because I really do think it’s important that she doesn’t for a while.”
As for Ruby, she goes through her own growth this season, becoming more than a mean girl and letting some of her vulnerabilities come out. “She doesn't usually care about other people or what’s going on,” Keene says. “The audience is seeing more of an emotional side to her and seeing who she is on the inside behind the hard exterior that she’s shown in previous seasons.”
Moving forward, Keene says, “I’d like to see her becoming more of a team player, which I think that we’ve kind of explored towards the end with her trying to save the performance that the school had put together and getting into a fight with the headmistress.”
Finally, Butterfield, who is open to doing another season, would like to see the next installment bring some resolution to the characters. “It would be nice to have a real, resolute ending,” he says, adding, “I always want to know; I always want a definite answer.”
Sex Education is now streaming on Netflix.