The season finale gives us Lily’s risqué, musical version of Romeo and Juliet, along with some jaw-dropping, show-stopping surprises.
On Sex Education Season 2 Episode 8, it’s finally time for the school musical. But the men of Moordale cause quite a few interruptions during Lily’s show. This finale’s full of confessions, dramatic speeches, and tough choices, so strap in!
A Lesson in Accountability
Spilling over from last episode, Sex Education Season 2 Episode 8 shows the full confrontation between Otis and Jean. Otis is still unwilling to admit that he’s been running a for-profit sex clinic. Jean is still grappling with the idea that her son could do something this outrageously irresponsible. But she frames it as a failure of her own. If Otis isn’t mature enough to take responsibility for his actions, it’s because she didn’t do a sufficient job as a parent.
Reeling from his mother’s disappointment, Otis goes to visit the parent who really did fail him—his father. He drops in on Remi’s book tour, where his father is giving empty speeches about masculinity and intention. Given Otis’s tendency toward dramatic speeches this season, I hoped he might interrupt his father’s presentation to rant about what a prick he is. But this is one time that Otis chooses not to cause a scene. All Otis wants is answers. Why did his father abandon him after the divorce?
I was thrown by Otis’s confession that, until now, he thought all the confusion and dissatisfaction he felt with life was his mother’s fault. But the fact of the matter is, despite all the warning signs, Otis has always idolized his father. It’s only now that he’s facing the truth of the matter. His father left him behind because his father is a self-described asshole.
I realize this was a big turning point for Otis, but I didn’t love this scene. I don’t like that it took rare, sage advice from his father for Otis to realize that lying is bad. It felt like a disservice to Jean’s character. I’m glad Otis got his character development, but I wish it had been framed differently.
While Otis is dealing with his father’s terrible parenting, Maeve is dealing with her mother’s. Once again, Maeve finds her plate full. She is competing with the Quiz Heads on live television for the national trivia competition. At the same time, a tip from Isaac has her doubting her mother’s sobriety. She’s already confirmed that her mother was fired from her job and lied about it. So when Maeve’s senses her mother slipping, she decides it’s time for action.
She gives Isaac and Joe the keys to her caravan and asks them to search for and drug paraphernalia. While Isaac acts as a lookout and distraction, his brother rifles through all of Erin and Maeve’s possessions. I was expecting the situation to go wrong, but not in the way that it did. Joe finds proof of Erin’s drug use, which Isaac sends to Maeve, giving her an impossible decision to make. Standing backstage at the trivia finals, she makes a call to child services to report her own mother.
This whole storyline was so completely heart-wrenching. So much pressure is put on Maeve in every season, usually because of her family. Last season she nearly went to jail to protect her brother. In Sex Education Season 2 Episode 8, she has to decide whether or not it’s possible for her mother to ever change. Erin and Elsie are escorted away by social workers and police, and Erin spits that she will never forgive Maeve for what she’s done. Once again, Maeve is villainized for trying to do the right thing and protect her siblings from harm.
It’s an impossible situation, and difficult to say if Maeve made the right call. I can only hope that if we’re lucky, she won’t go through as much pain next season.
Jean’s Child Surprise
Meanwhile, Jean goes to the doctor to investigate her chest pains. Attentive fans might notice that for the past few episodes, Jean has been clutching at her chest every time she gets worked up. We see this after her rejection from Jakob, as well as after her fight with Otis. These are subtle signs of something gone wrong, but I was completely unprepared for the truth.
At first, Jean’s practitioner suggests that the chest pains are from a “broken heart.” At least, a physical symptom of extreme emotional and mental stress. Jean debates the issue, and her doctor agrees to run some tests just to put her mind at ease. And it’s a good thing that she did. Without the tests, Jean might not have realized the truth for some time. As it turns out, she is pregnant.
This was, well and truly, the biggest plot twist in the show. A lot of it comes from the way pregnancy is normally portrayed in media, and how it tends to be in real life. Audiences have grown accustomed to pregnancy foreshadowing being nausea and…well, more nausea. When I noticed Jean’s chest pains, my immediate fear was a heart condition or a disease. But since everyone is different, pregnancy can affect people in different ways. It’s just one aspect of the show that reminds me that actual sexual health professionals advise on the scripts, which is something I’m immensely grateful for.
Jean’s pregnancy isn’t brought up again for the rest of the episode. There are too many additional loose ends to wrap up. But it’s only a matter of time until that secret comes out. I’m sure it will cause all kinds of drama and hysterics in Season 3. For now, I’m thankful for the artful way the reveal was handled.
Men Ruin the School Musical
The finale is largely centered on the school’s theater production—Romeo and Juliet: The Musical, as written by Shakespeare and Lily Iglehart. The performance itself is…a lot. Lily’s adaptation doesn’t shy away from the sexual nature of the play. In fact, it’s so dedicated to Lily’s unabashed love of sex and aliens that I found it difficult to watch. But the performers and audience seem to love it nonetheless. I enjoyed watching Ola support Lily through her anxiety, and seeing Jackson tackle his stage fright.
But the show doesn’t go according to plan. After a heartfelt conversation with his mother, Adam makes a rash decision. He bursts into the auditorium like he’s objecting at a wedding and gets right up on stage. In front of everyone, he calls Eric up from the orchestra and asks to hold his hand. I was terrified that the spectacle would go along the same line as Adam’s first (when he pulled down his pants in the cafeteria), but the crisis was averted. Eric takes his hand, confirming their tentative relationship, and also breaking Rahim’s heart.
It isn’t long until another interruption comes in the form of a Groff. Outraged by the play’s sexual content, Headmaster Groff storms onstage to call the entire production off. He might have managed it if he’d kept a level head, but his vendetta against Dr. Milburn rears its head once more. He blames the depravity of the student body on her presence on campus, prompting Otis to stand up and give a speech of his own. He admits to giving sex advice to his peers, and praises his mother for her outstanding parenting. Ultimately, the head of the schoolboard orders him to take a leave of absence.
From One Love Triangle to Another
Sex Education Season 2 Episode 8 saw the tentative conclusion of the love triangle between Adam, Eric, and Rahim. For the moment, it seems that Eric has chosen Adam, and will have to deal with that baggage in Season 3. But as I discussed earlier in the season, Sex Education loves a good love triangle. While Ola and Maeve have put their Otis-fueled-feud behind them, Otis is far from being in the clear. Isaac has been tagged in as the obstacle to Maeve and Otis’s endgame romance.
After his illuminating conversation with his father, Otis gets a bit of clarity. He (finally) realizes how stupid he was to cut Maeve out of his life, and that he was projecting his own inadequacies on her during his drunken speech at the party. In a fit of inspiration, he decides to leave her a voicemail. Maeve doesn’t get the message because she’s busy with the trivia tournament and her own family troubles. Even the audience doesn’t get to hear the voicemail until the end of the episode. But the long and short is that Otis confesses that he’s in love with Maeve, and that he always has been.
Otis may feel very smart for identifying his feelings, but his actions continue to be incredibly stupid. He goes to visit Maeve after the musical, hoping to confess face to face. Instead, he finds Isaac. It’s unclear whether or not Otis recognizes him from the party, but he asks Isaac to let Maeve know he stopped by and to check her messages. Isaac listens to Otis’s declaration himself, and promptly deletes the voicemail. I felt equally outraged and vindicated, since I’ve disliked Isaac from the start. I am not going to enjoy watching him toy with Maeve in Season 3.
For a season finale, Sex Education Season 2 Episode 8 did a fairly good job balancing its subplots. There were a lot of loose ends to tie up, considering its extremely varied plot lines. One thing I can say of this season is that no character felt neglected. Often, side characters tend to fade into the background while the plot focuses on a few more prominent storylines. This episode left no subplot unexplored, and for the most part, delivered sound endings for all of them.
At the same time, the episode failed to meet my expectations when it came to narrative consequences. Because there are so many plot lines to wrap up, a lot of characters seem to be let off the hook for their actions—especially male characters. Headmaster Groff deserved to be fired for his heinous abuse of power, but is let off with administrative leave. While Otis’s speech about his mother may have been moving, he faces no punishment for the sex clinic. Additionally, he never owns up to stealing his mother’s notes, which was the reason she was disgraced in the first place. And while it felt nice to see Adam get his happy ending, it still seems questionable whether he deserves it.
All these issues warrant a closer look. I’ll be discussing some of my issues with Sex Education Season 2 in an upcoming article. Keep an eye on Remediality for more content soon!
What did you think of Sex Education Season 2 Episode 8? What merits does the show have that you’d like to see discussed? Are there any flaws would you like to point out? Let us know in the comments, or share your thoughts with us on Twitter!
All episodes of Sex Education are available for streaming on Netflix.