Ola and Otis decide that they’re finally ready to have sex. Everything else in life decides to get in their way.
On Sex Education Season 2 Episode 4, Ola and Otis have finally agreed to go all the way. But with their parents’ relationship, Maeve’s flaky mother, and the QuizHead tournament, things don’t look to be going their way. Eric reconnects with Adam, and Jean gets a surprise visitor.
Last article, I talked a lot about Maeve’s growing list of problems. In Sex Education Season 2 Episode 4, all of those problems come to head. When she tries to stop her neighbors from stealing gas, one of the brothers uses his wheelchair for pity points. Maeve is left looking less like a concerned neighbor, and more like an insensitive asshole. On top of that, Maeve’s mother has moved in with her own problems. Namely, her struggle to stay clean, find a job, and care for her youngest daughter, Elsie.
Maeve inherits these problems when her mother asks her to look after Elsie while she goes on a job interview. Maeve agrees, because what choice does she have? Unfortunately, she’s already got too much on her plate. As part of Ms. Sands’ aptitude scheme, Maeve’s joined the school trivia team, the QuizHeads. Since she can’t compete and watch Elsie at the same time, she hands the toddler off to Otis for safe keeping.
I’m still trying to understand the logic of this decision. Surely Elsie could have waited with Aimee in the audience, or out in the hall. Otis isn’t the only supportive friend Maeve has. But in the end, it was necessary for the plot, so we’ll overlook this detail for now.
Surprisingly, taking Elsie to an abandoned bathroom while he runs sex clinic does not turn out to be Otis’s best idea. Elsie wanders off on her own, and Maeve is furious with Otis for agreeing to a favor he could not have carried out. Between the two of them, they are able to find Elsie in Headmaster Groff’s office eating his candy stash. And high off the adrenaline and the relief, Maeve finally gave fans the moment they wanted most. She confessed her feelings to Otis.
Maeve and Otis and Ola
The confession doesn’t play out the way most fans hoped. Instead of being touched, or relieved, Otis is furious with Maeve. He admits that—yes, of course he liked her, and maybe he still does. Which is why he finds it so selfish that she’d tell him about this when she knows he’s in a relationship. Otis storms off to meet up with Ola, conflicted as ever. And though we can all agree that the situation is complicated, it was heartbreaking to watch both teens’ hearts break.
Otis was already on high alert for most of this episode because he’s reached a critical point in his relationship with Ola. They mutually decide that they’re ready to have sex. It’s a mostly mutual decision, anyway. Ola is all for it, but Otis has his reservations. The trouble is that he can’t seem to decide if his doubts are because of his anxiety, or because he has feelings for Maeve. Needless to say, her confession doesn’t help matters.
Otis strikes out with Ola by stopping mid-hook up to read a text from Maeve. To say Ola is hurt would be an understatement. She sends Otis home, preferring to be alone and process her feelings. And I was entirely set to be on Ola’s side—until she did the one thing I hate most in fictional dramas. She gives Otis an ultimatum. If he wants to continue dating Ola, he has to cut all ties with Maeve.
In a show that stresses communication so much, I was heartbroken this point wasn’t discussed further. Yes, Otis was inconsiderate of Ola’s feelings. But ultimatums are a terrible, manipulative way of solving problems. Especially when discussing friendships versus relationships. Talk about your issues, and if you can’t resolve them, then take action yourself.
Rahim and Eric and Adam
After Adam’s surprise appearance last episode, Eric goes to the convenience store looking for answers. He wants to talk to Adam about their hook up at the end of last term. Just when it seems Adam might open up, Rahim exits the store. The moment gone, Adam rushes inside while Eric and Rahim bike to school together.
It isn’t until later that night that Eric gets his closure. In a stunningly romantic and surprising move, Adam shows up outside his house throwing pebbles at his window. He’s still surly and silent as he stalks off, snapping at Eric to follow him. But he only wants to take Eric to his happy place—a junkyard. It seems a bit sad on the surface, but as he and Eric begin smashing vases and bottles and telephones, the truth becomes clear. This is pure freedom.
As the sun comes up, Adam describes the complicated relief of being at military school. Eric admits that he’s glad Adam’s back at home. And when they leave, Eric keeps a shard of a china plate for safe keeping. I’m still not sold on Adam and Eric together, but this was a really sweet scene to warm me up to the idea. I’m also super jealous and would like the opportunity to break things, because it seems like fun.
At school the next day, Eric meets up with Rahim, who now seems sweet and simple in comparison to Adam. He asks Eric to be his boyfriend, and is patient enough not to need an immediate answer. Eric is already beginning to ponder the question that’s sure to plague him for the rest of the season. Does he want the sweet boy who will treat him right, or the complicated one full of passion?
Jakob and Jean and Remi
Up until now, Jean has been working very hard to normalize her relationship with Jakob. But in Sex Education Season 2 Episode 4, we see that things may be starting to get to her. Specifically, her argument with Otis in the previous episode. From the very start of the episode, Jean warily eyes Jakob’s belongings, and is annoyed by his constant smoothie making. Now that Otis has pointed it out, it seems even she is uncomfortable by how comfortable Jakob has gotten.
If there’s one thing she can count on to make everyone less comfortable, though, it’s her ex-husband. Otis’s father, Remi, invites himself back into the house without invitation or warning. Not the best time, as Jakob enters a minute later with all the fixings for dinner. Jean couldn’t want the situation over with fast enough. But Jakob is either oblivious or uncaring, and invites Remi to stay for dinner. An incredibly stupid choice, if I may say.
The thing that bothered me about this scene is how annoyed Jakob seems by the tension between Jean and Remi. Especially considering that Jakob was the one who created the situation. At the start, I was sure that he was inviting Remi just to thrive on the drama. Instead, it’s Jakob who bails because he cannot stand the tension and competition. I found it incredibly annoying of him, which may very well have been the point. Because it explains what Jean does next.
After dinner, Jean allows Remi to pour her drinks and flatter her. And in a moment of weakness, she jumps him and kisses him for all she’s worth. Thankfully, Otis intervenes and they jump apart. But the damage has already been done. I’m just as annoyed with Jean as I am with Jakob.
There are a lot of wonderful subplots in Sex Education Season 2 Episode 4. Jackson offers to help his tutor Viv land her crush in exchange for her help with the school play. Principal Groff’s wife goes to Jean for advice on her sex life. Ola and Adam meet at the convenience store, as they’re now coworkers. But no story felt quite as satisfying as Florence’s.
Florence is a new character this season, the jewel of the drama department. She is playing Juliet opposite Jackson’s Romeo. Both of them are in a bit of trouble with Lily, who is directing. She frankly tells Jackson that he’s a terrible actor, and that Florence might know her lines, but is missing the point. “This is a play about horny teenagers,” Lily informs her. “I don’t believe that you want to have sex with him at all.”
Little does Lily know, this has been a major concern for Florence. All of her friends tease her and urge her to sleep with Jackson just because she can. She asks Otis for advice, and they briefly talk about not being pressured into having sex. But the conversation doesn’t give Florence the answers she’s looking for.
This leads to one of the most moving scenes of the episode, perhaps the whole show. Florence goes to Dr. Milburn for advice and confesses that she does not want to have sex at all. It makes her feel broken. Jean informs her about asexuality, and assures her that she can still want romance without sex. It’s one of the only times I’ve ever heard asexuality described so frankly and helpfully in a major television show. “Sex does not make us whole,” she assures Florence, “so how could you ever be broken?”
Sex Education Season 2 Episode 4 certainly juggles a lot of information. It’s hard to keep track of everything, but for the most part, the show does a good job balancing its subplots. I’m frustrated with Otis and Maeve’s story, but I’m trying to be patient since this is only halfway through the season. I could do with less love triangles, but in a diverse, interconnected show like Sex Education, I can see why it works.
All episodes of Sex Education are available for streaming on Netflix.