Sex Education: Season 1/ Episode 4 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Sex Education Season 1 Episode 4 - Title Card
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As Otis faces the challenge of counseling lesbians, Jean has her eye on someone, and Eric is trying to stay out of Adam’s purview.


Network
Netflix
Director(s) Ben Taylor
Writer(s) Laura Neal, Laurie Nunn
Air Date 1/11/2019
Introduced This Episode
Ola Patricia Allison
Jakob (Mr. Builder) Mikael Persbrandt
Ruthie Lily Newmark
Tanya Alice Hewkin

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It’s All Going Downhill: Adam, Mr. Groff, Eric, Maeve

With failing marks and military school being discussed, Adam’s tumble downhill is getting worse and worse. However, Eric is of no help for he plays a role in Adam losing his mother’s dog madam. Thus leading to, after Eric getting to dodge Adam for a while, his pent up aggression being dumped on Eric’s family car. And by dumped, I mean animal, dog or human, crap all over Eric’s family car.

But Adam isn’t the only one struggling here. Maeve, likely barely able to pay rent, ends up without gas for the trailer and has to snatch some from the landlady. Pushing you to wonder how much longer can she last without getting a job, on top of her hustle with Otis?

Commentary

Adam spotting Eric, by a river, while he is out with his mom's dog Madam.

I find the silence of Mrs. Groff a bit alarming. Does she fear her husband because of how aggressive he is or the power dynamics of their home? I get Adam is nearly a grown boy, but the way he lashes out and tried to latch onto Aimee makes it seem he doesn’t have much in his life. So I hope part of his narrative, eventually, touches upon his relationship with his mom. Heck, his sister as well. For maybe, similar to The Hook Up Plan, while you may think Adam and his sister may not get along, maybe her absence is what is causing him to feel like he is in a tailspin. Perhaps her being away, dedicating herself to what is in front of her, instead of her brother as she did before, is what is leading him to seem depressed.

Then, when it comes to Maeve, you have to wonder when will the bottom fall out with her. She is just scraping by for now, but it isn’t enough. So while drastic measures for her is stealing at this point, you have to wonder how low could Maeve go? Especially considering the opportunity Otis sets up for her.

Options & Research: Ola, Jakob, Jean, Ruthie, Tanya, Otis, Lily, Eric

Thanks to overhearing Eric and Otis talk about his virginity, Lily offers her vagina to fix that issue. But, between his problems with his sexuality, alongside his crush on Maeve and Lily being a bit aggressive, Otis gives her a soft no. One that doesn’t lead to any veiled threats or animosity. More so, Lily saw them in the same boat and figured they could paddle their way towards orgasm pier. His loss.

Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt) as Jean mistakes him for a patient.
Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt)

But, while Otis may deny a possible partner, Jean has her eye on what might be her next one. This time, however, it may not be just someone to have sex with and kick out the following day. A man, who all we know is Swedish (we know his name is Jakob by looking the actor up) and has a daughter, fixes her bathroom and now she wants him to lay some pipe. Note: Jean doesn’t vocalize this to him, but clearly she may want a man for a while instead of for the night.

Rounding back to Otis, his main clients this episode are Ruthie and Tanya. They’re a lesbian couple, so that is already an obstacle. On top of that, Ruthie is very hesitant to the idea of a boy, especially a straight boy like Otis, trying to counsel them. However, when she decides to open up to him, you get the kind of story we don’t hear often.

The gist of it is, Tanya and Ruthie came out around the same time, and they’ve been friends for the longest. On top of that, Tanya was the most supportive person in Ruthie’s life when it came to coming out. So, considering their past, when the idea came up to date, it seemed only natural. However, for Ruthie, friends becoming lovers wasn’t happening, and she wanted to make it work since Tanya was her best friend. Leading to a bit of guilt and explaining why she would snip at Otis questioning their relationship. But now, with another woman, she is happy and getting off – at last!

Commentary

I watch a lot of TV and movies, including with LGBTQIA storylines, but I strangely don’t think I’ve heard one like Tanya and Ruthie’s. Yet, it seems like the most common thing you could expect. After all, doesn’t it happen in the hetero world all the time? You grew up with someone, got comfortable, one caught feelings and because you feared losing them if you rejected them, you gave them a chance? Weirdly, I can’t quickly think of another show, if not movie, which had a story like this. Well, maybe Pariah to a point, but the relationship in that one was more complicated.

Ruthie (Lily Newmark) and Tanya (Alice Hewkin) during a session with Otis.
Ruthie (Lily Newmark) and Tanya (Alice Hewkin)

Ruthie and Tanya aside, I need Lily and Otis to become a thing. I just hope it isn’t to try to make Maeve jealous or pushed by Eric so that Lily can keep him in the band. Because, considering Otis said boys and girls could be friends, I’d love if the show talked about how difficult that can be. Not to steal the story of Tanya and Ruthie, and hetero-rise it, but show the weirdness of recognizing your friend is attractive, of the gender or expression you like, yet you aren’t sure if it is worth that leap or not.

An anxiety which is mostly due to the fact you aren’t sure what is pushing the need for that leap. Is it your own actual feelings or because they are there and you feel the social pressures to date, have sex, and maybe beyond? I’m not sure if this show may touch upon it, but I do feel, with Otis, his crush on Maeve may more so be about her being convenient over him liking her. After all, outside of her, now Lily, maybe Ola who might be intrigued by him, he didn’t have any real options before.

Speaking of options, it’s nice Jean is opening herself up to the idea of actually dating. Yet, I’m still so curious as to how she meets most of the men in her life. However, with seeing her ex in the last episode, and taking note of the men she sleeps with, you can see she is working him out of her system. If not, taking a different look at it, maintaining a sense of his presence through men who share similar features. Which makes Ola’s dad, her Mr. Fix-it intriguing. He is the opposite of what we’ve seen and I think could start a new chapter in Jean’s life. Maybe not just in the look of men she deals with but considering the gift of soup he gave, personality wise as well. For rather than giving her a thing which will wilt or die, he gave her something she could use and want more of because it was beneficial to her.

Setting Up Your Crush For Another: Jackson, Maeve, Otis, Aimee

Eventually, Otis was going to hit a conflict of interest. Jackson, who seemingly has no interest in Ruby at all, is ready to commit to Maeve. The issue with that desire is, Maeve doesn’t want or have time for a boyfriend. With her father not worth mentioning, unreliable brother, and mother who is an addict, never mind overdue bills, she really doesn’t have the energy to take on someone’s feelings. At this time, she is barely able to deal with her own long enough to function in a world that seemingly wants to have her cross to bear made of steel. Yet, with the way Aimee pushes it, Jackson seems like a good guy.

However, on the flip side, Jackson is also used to getting what he wants. So it could just be Maeve telling him no, having the power in their situation, it excites him because it is different. Making you wonder, if she did chill out and become like the average girlfriend, would his fire deplete? Maybe. But, the first hurdle is getting her to say yes, despite her giving soft nos. That is where Otis comes in by accidentally divulging information, after being given money, and now it seeming like he is pimping out Maeve. Mind you, he gives Maeve a cut of the money, which she needs, but the ethics of this, beyond Otis’ feelings, are complex. Especially since Jackson eventually wins Maeve.

Commentary

Maeve looking over at Otis.

Honestly, the least interesting part of this show will be if this becomes a love triangle. While I want Otis to find love, and an orgasm he can accept, him pining over Maeve will be such a drag. Mind you, I know it will be in line with what we’ve seen thus far, but love triangles are a pin to deal with in real life and are way too common on TV. I don’t know if it is because of the whole #Team thing I remember becoming big after Twilight or because of it creating a complicated conflict for the protagonist and consumer.

Either way, we all know this is going to blow up when Maeve finds out how deeply Otis is involved and that he made money off of this. Never mind, like Eric said, he pimped out Maeve and gave her a cut just before the deal was sealed. But can you imagine how Maeve will go off? That is assuming she doesn’t just cut him with a “I thought you were different” or something like that.

Highlights

  1. Ruthie and Tanya’s relationship

 

Ruthie (Lily Newmark) revealing why she and Tanya got together.
Ruthie (Lily Newmark): So when she came out too, I thought… | Otis: You might as well be in a relationship.

Even though it may have ended, and we may never see either again, Ruthie and Tanya’s story is probably one of the most interesting queer storylines I’ve seen in a while. Not to downplay what we’ve seen in Pose but the fact there was no othering involved made this so beautiful. They followed the same path many people do in dating a friend, seeing if they could be something more, and it didn’t work out. Despite effort and good intentions, things didn’t mutually click, and these stories are just as important as the coming out story, showing how hard life is if you are queer, and what we are used to. For if there is one thing we don’t get enough of is queer people just living their best lives. Lives without oppression or feeling like an experiment.

Plus, I love that both Ruthie and Tanya were able to express their side to things and despite how Ruthie seemed, we saw she was capable of being vulnerable too. Yes, while calling out Otis for probably biting off more than he can chew, but eventually being willing to talk about her side and note some of her fears in maybe breaking the heart of someone who means so much to her.

  1. Jean maybe getting a real love interest.
  2. The Sex

Not Jackson and Maeve’s, but the sex which begins most episodes. What I like about them is that they aren’t about being tantalizing. When it comes to Tanya and Ruthie, Sam and Kate, we are getting awkward, everyday, teen sex. Which, yes, is paired with Adam and Aimee as well as Maeve and Jackson. But, when it comes to the relationship which have two people in love, if not at least with the foundation of friendship, you see something beyond the act. Beyond nude actors and get a sense of two characters trying to make each other happy. Trying to live up to the expectations of a relationship and treating sex as the be all to end all, as most see it to be.

Low Point

  1. I need Eric to get a boost in his character development pronto.
  2. Otis possibly moping and whining about getting Maeve and Jackson together. On top of that, Maeve eventually learning the truth, leading to a blow-up, and Otis spending either the end of this season or season 2, trying to regain her trust.

On The Fence

Ola (Patricia Allison) talking to Otis.
Ola (Patricia Allison)
  1. I like Lily, and this new character Ola, but what are they going to do with them? One thing I’ve never been fond of when shows have a large cast, but clearly have one lead character, is when they have all these interesting supporting roles that don’t go anywhere. We just have lots of untapped potential.


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Check Out Other TV Recaps


Sex Education Season 1 Episode 2 - Title Card

Meet The Characters

Season/ EpisodeSynopsisDirector, Writer, and Introduced ActorsTopics & Focused Characters

Season 1/ Episode 8

The season finale is filled with apologies and one or two surprises. One which some may say was a long time coming (no pun intended).

Director(s) Katie Herron
Writer(s) Laurie Nunn
Air Date 1/11/2019
  • The Return of Old Friends: Aimee, Ruby, Otis, Maeve, Mr. Groff, Sean
  • We Shouldn’t, But We Should: Jean, Jakob, Adam, Eric, Otis
  • Too Little, Too Late: Jackson, Aimee, Otis, Ola, Maeve, Mr. Groff

Season 1/ Episode 7

Fortunes shift this episode as Eric finds someone who gets him and Otis? Well, we’re reminded that he is his father’s son when it comes to being an ass.

Director(s) Kate Herron
Writer(s) Sophie Goodhart
Air Date 1/11/2019
  • The Return of Eric & First Possible Love: Eric
  • Sometimes Apologies Aren’t Enough: Jackson, Maeve, Otis, Ola, Eric, Adam, Eric’s Dad, Mr. Groff, Sean
  • You Can’t Have It All: Jackson, Maeve, Otis, Eric, Jean, Jakob

Season 1/ Episode 6

As Eric continues to process what’s going on in his life, Maeve gets a surprise. Also, we learn why Otis has issues with sex.

Director(s) Kate Herron
Writer(s) Laurie Nunn, Freddy Syborn
Air Date 1/11/2019
Introduced This Episode
Sean Edward Bluemel
Ms. Sands Rakhee Thakrar
  • What Kind of Man Are You?: Eric, Anwar, Eric’s Dad
  • You Gotta Find The Right One Before You Take A Big Leap: Remi, Jean, Jakob, Otis, Ola, Lily
  • You Prioritize What You Care About: Jackson, Maeve, Sean, Otis, Ms. Sands, Mr. Groff, Adam

Season 1/ Episode 5

Maeve and Jackson reach a new stage in their relationship as Otis and Eric’s struggles due to Otis wanting to be there for Maeve.

Director(s) Kate Herron
Writer(s) Sophie Goodhart, Laura Hunter
Air Date 1/11/2019
Newly Noted
Eric’s Dad Deobia Oparei
  • It’s My Vagina: Ruby, Olivia, Maeve, Otis
  • Broken Promises: Eric, Otis, Jean
  • The Real Me: Maeve, Jackson, Otis

Season 1/ Episode 4

As Otis faces the challenge of counseling lesbians, Jean has her eye on someone, and Eric is trying to stay out of Adam’s purview.

Director(s) Ben Taylor
Writer(s) Laura Neal, Laurie Nunn
Air Date 1/11/2019
Introduced This Episode
Ola Patricia Allison
Jakob (Mr. Builder) Mikael Persbrandt
Ruthie Lily Newmark
Tanya Alice Hewkin
  • It’s All Going Downhill: Adam, Mr. Groff, Eric, Maeve
  • Options & Research: Ola, Jakob, Jean, Ruthie, Tanya, Otis, Lily, Eric
  • Setting Up Your Crush For Another: Jackson, Maeve, Otis, Aimee

Season 1/ Episode 3

Maeve opens up to Otis as Eric sees something he may have thought he’d never see before.

Director(s) Ben Taylor
Writer(s) Sophie Goodhart
Air Date 1.11.2019
Introduced This Episode
Remi James Purefoy
Lily Tanya Reynolds
Mr. Groff Alistair Petrie
Sarah Lu Corfield

Daddy Isn’t Here: Remi, Otis, Jean


Pent Up Sexuality: Lily, Eric


You Got a Friend In Me: Maeve, Jackson, Adam, Mr. Groff, Otis, Sarah

Season 1/ Episode 2

As Otis begins to come into himself, it is clear some feel left behind. Also, Maeve’s reason for needing Otis to succeed becomes apparent.

Director(s) Ben Taylor
Writer(s) Laurie Nunn
Air Date 1/11/2019
Introduced This Episode
Kate Olive Gray
Sam Jonny Amies
Olivia Simone Ashley
Ruby Mimi Keene

You Have Been Nearly My Everything: Otis, Jean


New Chapters & Closure: Aimee, Adam, Jackson, Maeve


I Might Actually Be Good At This: Otis, Anwar, Olivia, Kate, Sam, Eric, Maeve, Jean

Season 1/ Episode 1

Sex Education takes on the idea of being a teen sex comedy in ways you, surprisingly, may not have seen before.

Creator Laurie Nunn
Director(s) Ben Taylor
Writer(s) Laurie Nunn
Air Date 1/11/2019
Genre(s) Comedy, Young Adult
Good If You Like Honest Conversations About Sex

Inclusion Of All Sexualities When Talking About Sex

Isn’t For You If You Are Uncomfortable Seeing Real and Fake Penises

Don’t Like Hearing People Talk About Sex

Introduced This Episode
Otis Asa Butterfield
Eric Ncuti Gatwa
Adam Connor Swindells
Maeve Emma Mackey
Aimee Aimee Lou Wood
Jean Gillian Anderson
Anwar Chaneil Kular
Jackson Kedar Williams-Stirling

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