Desperate to show Ola he’s over his breakup, Otis throws a house party that goes disastrously wrong.
On Sex Education Season 2 Episode 6, Otis is struggling to get over his breakup with Ola. He throws a house party in an attempt to seem “chill,” only for the whole thing to blow up in his face. Eric confronts Adam after ghosting him, and Jackson tells Viv his darkest secret.
It’s normal to be insecure after a breakup. Otis abruptly ended his friendship with Maeve, and promptly lost his girlfriend as well. Now he is obsessed with “winning” the breakup, and seeming like a completely unaffected chill guy. What better way to do that than by throwing a party?
But while Eric is busy inviting everyone and their brother to Otis’s party, Otis spots another problem. He sees Ola go into the office his mother has set up at the school, and assumes they are talking about him. Knowing that he can’t directly ask his mother what Ola said about him, he tries to be craftier. He sneaks into his mother’s office and steals her case notes. If he’d taken the time to look inside, he might see that Ola actually went to talk to Dr. Milburn to talk about her pansexuality. Instead, he stashes the book inside his locker, where it’s spotted by none other than Headmaster Groff.
Headmaster Groff has been having a tough time of it this season. Now that his wife has asked for a divorce, he is staying at the school and ruminating over his mistakes. Or rather, he is obsessing over Dr. Milburn, who he blames entirely for the destruction of his marriage. While Jean is out partying with his wife, Groff breaks into Otis’s locker and steals her journal. He proceeds to make photocopies of all the pages, which can only end in utter disaster.
The show does a really great job of posing one question. What is wrong with white men and their egos? Headmaster Groff is too proud to see any of his own glaring faults, and Otis is so self-involved that he does not consider the consequences of his actions. And the notebook isn’t his only plan that goes awry.
A Drunken Spectacle
To no one’s surprise, Otis’s party is a disaster. Adam shows up after hearing a few customers talk about the party. Eric convinces Maeve to come, who brings Isaac along as well. Then Otis drunkenly invites Ola to “pick up” some of her things. With all the opposing forces and Otis downing drinks like lightning, the party becomes a ticking time bomb.
And boy, does the situation blow up. As soon as Otis has Ola and Maeve together in his sights, he climbs up on a table and makes a terrible, drunken speech. He talks about Ola’s ultimatum that he not be friends with Maeve. He talks about how Maeve confessed her feelings, and how much he likes her. And then he accuses her of being selfish and manipulative, and thinking of no one but herself. The whole thing is absolutely painful to watch, and I’ve never hated Otis more.
The glaring problem with this scene to me is that no one does anything to stop Otis. Eric makes a feeble attempt to call off the speech while standing on the other side of the room…and that’s it. I’d tackle my friend off a table before letting them openly destroy their social life in a drunken haze. To make matters worse, Otis drunkenly loses his virginity to the popular girl, Ruby. Otis, who wanted his first time to be special, who never would have made that decision sober.
Perhaps it’s because the British drinking culture is different, but the indifference in this episode was insane to me. Not only was I mad at Otis for his drunken antics, I was frustrated with the rest of the characters for refusing to step in. The writing here undersold the strength of friendships to further the plot, which really disappointed me.
Maeve and Isaac
Another effect of Otis’s mistakes is that is pushes Maeve closer to her neighbor Isaac. The two have been friendly since their conversation at the community center. Isaac could not more clearly be into Maeve, but she at least has kept things firmly platonic. Isaac, like Otis, is able to see through her tough as nails act, and continues to pester her to hang out with him. She grudgingly takes him along to the party.
All throughout Sex Education Season 2 Episode 6, Isaac is analyzing the situation between Maeve and Otis. He jokes about how if Otis is her type than he must be as well. He eggs Otis on in the middle of his drunken antics. Once Maeve escorts him home, they swap stories about being abandoned children. Isaac assures her that Otis could never understand what they’ve been through. The neglect they’ve endured makes them properly special, and they’re in a world of their own.
One of the things that bothers me so much about Isaac is that he is so clearly enjoying the drama, that he spares no thoughts for Maeve’s feelings. He doesn’t outright sabotage Maeve’s relationship with Otis. Otis does all the work ruining that relationship for him. But Isaac’s attention is clearly on the opportunity this disaster gives him, instead of the real feelings of the people involved. Maeve gets her heartbroken and Isaac is having the time of his life. Not very good friend material.
It’s nice to see Maeve connecting with someone over her childhood. It’s nice to see her healing things with her mother. But I can’t help but wait for the other shoe to drop. I don’t trust Isaac, and I don’t trust Erin. It’s only a matter of time until one or both of the relationships go bad.
Eric Confronts Adam
While Otis is busy getting plastered, Eric has problems of his own to deal with. His relationship with Rahim is getting serious, which comes with the traditional issues. Eric is hesitant to introduce Rahim to his family, lest they complicate things further. At the party, Eric and Rahim have a frank discussion about taking things slowly and not feeling pressured to have sex. It’s some of the most open communication in the episode. And right in the middle of it, Adam shows up to find Eric and Rahim kissing.
The two step outside to have a more private conversation, where Adam asks why Eric stopped coming to the window. Eric is finally forced to talk about the toxicity of their relationship. Adam was a bully, made him feel unsafe and unloved for years. It took a long time to Eric to heal from that damage and he can’t trust that Adam has changed. Adam nervously comes out to Eric as bisexual, which takes a lot of courage. However, he doesn’t have the courage to let Eric comfort him in public, and shirks away from his hand.
The refusal is all the proof that Eric needs. He appreciates the tough position that Adam is in, but refuses to subject himself to his self-loathing. He tells Adam to work on himself, and returns inside to his boyfriend. This is really the moment I was hoping for. Too often the trope of the reformed bully is framed on someone else supporting them and showing them the light. But Eric cannot do Adam’s emotional labor for him. Adam has to develop himself.
As a side note, another thing I loved this episode was Adam and Ola, who leave the party together to go to the junkyard. I’m really enjoying their unlikely and developing friendship.
Jackson is yet another person who goes to Otis’s party only to have an awful night. For such a popular guy, he does not do well with crowds anymore. After bumping into Otis and ranting about Maeve, Jackson takes refuge upstairs. He’s hyperventilating, and desperately fighting off a panic attack. He’s on the verge of punching a mirror when Viv bursts in after him. As it turns out, her crush Dex isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.
In the quiet of Otis’s bedroom, Jackson confesses that he broke his hand on purpose. He wanted to stop swimming and didn’t see another way out. Now that his cast is off, he has to face that overwhelming pressure once more. Viv is shocked, and tries to talk him down from off the ledge. If Jackson is self-harming, even in unconventional ways, he needs to seek out professional help. But Jackson lashes out at her, causing Viv to storm out and take matters into her own hands.
When Jackson tries to sneak home that night, he’s caught by his parents. He thinks he’s in trouble because of curfew, until he spots Viv on the couch. He’s horrified that she would go behind his back, but Viv simply tells him it was what needed to be done. Jackson needs help.
Jackson and Viv are quickly becoming one of my favorite subplots in the show. Here is another unlikely friendship, between the stereotypical jock and the nerd. And then the show breaks those stereotypes by letting them remain friends, and discuss the detrimental pressure that school and expectations can put on teens. I’m glad that Jackson is on the road to help, and that he has Viv to support him.
Sex Education Season 2 Episode 6 had incredible highs and lows. Many of the men in this episode were absolutely intolerable. I couldn’t believe Headmaster Groff’s plan for revenge, and I could hardly watch Otis making mistake after mistake. What’s more, I can’t help but blame Eric a bit for standing back and watching it all go up in flames. A lot of extremely serious things happened in this episode, and the fact that no character attempted to stop them seemed a bit far-fetched to me.
However, the episode also had some great talking points. While it was sad to watch Adam and Eric’s argument, Adam’s bullying past is something that needs to be discussed, and was handled pretty well. I also love the attention that’s paid to Jackson and Viv, and how they’re each struggling under the pressure of their future in different ways. Even with these gems, though, I didn’t find Sex Education Season 2 Episode 6 to be an enjoyable watch.
What did you think of Sex Education Season 2 Episode 6? Would you have stepped into the drama, or sit back and watch it unfold? Let us know in the comments, and share your thoughts with us on Twitter!
All episodes of Sex Education are available for streaming on Netflix.