Maeve and Jackson reach a new stage in their relationship as Otis and Eric struggle due to Otis wanting to be there for Maeve.
|Writer(s)||Sophie Goodhart, Laura Hunter|
|Eric’s Dad||Deobia Oparei|
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It’s My Vagina: Ruby, Olivia, Maeve, Otis
With Maeve in a relationship for a month, things at the sex clinic have slowed down since she has rearranged her time. She is still cool and will talk with Otis, but their business relationship has skidded out. That is until a picture of Ruby’s vagina is sent out, and she is warned that either she can apologize for her ways, or the full picture, with her face, will be leaked. Being that going to the cops would mean admitting it was her photo, she goes to Maeve and Otis since she assumes they can be discreet.
Now, why would Maeve, of all people, help Ruby? Well, consider it a girl code issue. While she, Maeve, doesn’t believe in sending out nudes, she would hate to see Ruby punished for doing so all her life. Especially since, long story short, the main reason her face is in the nude is because she wasn’t thinking straight. So, after a bit of an investigation, it is discovered Olivia was threatening the leak because she got tired of Ruby criticizing her. This leads to Otis hosting a session between the two, at Aimee’s house, and Olivia trying to explain herself and apologize. But, considering she leaked a picture of her vagina, even if without her face, Ruby isn’t quick to forgive.
However, the following day, during assembly, the one in which Ruby was to be exposed, Olivia, Maeve, and many of the girls stand up and claim Ruby’s vagina. Eventually, the boys do too, in solidarity, and so it becomes a dead issue.
The drama on this show is so weird. It takes something you expect to happen, a leaked nude picture, yet finds ways to play with the story so that it isn’t exploitive, and doesn’t make light of a insecurity that is very real. After all, like men with their penises, women can have a complicated relationship with their vagina. For whether it is the look of their labia, their clit being too big, coloring, among other issues, while usually laced with comedy, some don’t consider it a laughing matter. So while the pornography part is perhaps the bigger issue, having that insecurity presented, even by someone like Ruby, is of great importance.
Though, in general, there is the idea everyone is insecure about something in their life. But, what matters is, as we saw in that touching “It’s My Vagina” scene, everyone recognizes each person has a insecurity and respects that. Not just respect but are willing to acknowledge what someone may see as an imperfection and embrace it. Which in the context of us talking about vaginas is a little sexual, but you get the point.
Broken Promises: Eric, Otis, Jean
Eric and Otis have been friends since they were 9. One could even argue one of the main reasons Eric is able to express himself as a gay man might be because Jean helped him too. That is not a fact but considering how many penis artworks she has laying around, and she is a sex therapist, it seems like a safe bet.
Bringing the need to talk about Otis and Eric’s relationship. For years now they would dress up in drag and see Hedwig and the Angry Inch together. It isn’t clear if that is the movie in which things clicked for Eric or not, but it’s tradition. Said tradition was broken because Otis wanted to be that guy for Maeve and not end up another disappointment. However, in the process, he left a Black queer man on his own who ended up not seeing the show, beaten and spat on – and it was Eric’s birthday! Did we forget to mention that?
Leading to a very odd moment, after Jean picked up Eric, once he got a phone for he was robbed of his wallet and mobile, so he had to walk – a moment in which Otis makes Eric sound selfish. Mind you, this is after his best friend for almost a decade had the absolute worst day of his life. One caused by Otis deciding to put Maeve before Eric, despite this being a long-held promise and likely knowing the dangers of Eric moving about alone.
But, what do you expect? Otis is getting a taste of what Aimee craves without being trashed. By someone popular, or at least well known, he is getting a sense of validation. A sense of purpose, if you will. Something he likely never thought would happen to him. Leading him to, also similar to Aimee, being willing to abandon his past for this shiny future he thinks is sustainable.
I was so hoping, when Eric was at the bus stop, and those flamboyant men came over, he was going to find his people. Since, at this point, it seems clear Anwar isn’t going to suddenly become nice and maybe do for Eric what Maeve is doing for Otis. Never mind, when it comes to those like Ruthie and Tanya, it isn’t like they are trying to create, or be part of, a LGBTIA community outside of whoever they already interact with. Thus leaving poor Eric with a family who knows nothing, a dad who is uneasy about his son being homosexual, and Otis’ family.
Which does push the slight desire to question if Jean ever made Eric aware of communities she may know if, but I’m not going to put the weight of Eric’s situation on her. For Eric, just her being comfortable, even if too comfortable, is good enough for him. So pushing the idea she should have helped him find his tribe and all that, taking note his family may not be fond of her doing so, helps me understand why she may not have gone that far. Yet, with him getting beat up, and Otis heading off on the path he is on, it makes you wonder if he may not find like-minded people soon. Especially those his age and not just some older chaps trying to have fun with a twink.
The Real Me: Maeve, Jackson, Otis
Despite dating a month, and having sex for who knows how long, Jackson and Maeve don’t know each other much. As seen when Jackson realized he had feelings for Maeve, it seems their relationship truly was just about good sex. Making the fact Jackson, after a month of dating, asked Maeve to meet his parents a bit awkward. For one, she isn’t used to meeting people’s parents. It isn’t clear if it is because exes didn’t ask or, come to think about it, maybe she has never had an ex period. Either way, it is an awkward experience as she meets Jackson’s moms, they’re lesbians, and they present themselves as the perfect household. One that now has this girl who lives in a trailer like a blight among them.
Making Otis calling, over the whole Ruby thing, the out she needed. But, when the day is over, she realizes something. Because of her past, she looks for ways to sabotage something good before it can leave her or go to s***. With Otis, she nearly kisses him, and if she did that, it would complicate things with him, probably the best friend she has ever had, as well as count as cheating on Jackson. So, luckily, Otis reveals he is a virgin and causes an awkward moment. One that wakes Maeve up from her stupor and leads to her going to Jackson’s window.
In doing so, and revealing her home to him, she opens up. She talks about her dad being gone and mom being an addict. In return, Jackson reveals he has crippling anxiety, insomnia at times, and his parents are on the brink of divorce. All this, strangely, doesn’t lead to making out or sex but you seeing a new level of comfort between the two. The kind which makes it seem, if and when Maeve learns the truth, it may hurt twice as much.
I like diversity, as long as there is a sense of culture alongside it. So with Jackson dropping he has anxiety, us learning his moms are lesbian and stuff like that, it’s cool, but at the same time I want follow up. We need to see the boy in therapy, maybe go off on his white mom for likely making his anxiety worse, as well as show the dynamic his moms have. Rather than note his moms are queer and that be that.
The issue of telling me and not showing me aside, I find myself wondering if Maeve may have feelings for Otis. I don’t think she does, it more so seems him being so dependable is an attractive trait, but I could be wrong. For it could just be, since she wanted to ruin things with Jackson, to get that out of the way, she willed herself into having Otis be tempted to do the deed for her. Thus taking some of the heat off her since she had a willing participant vs. her destroying everything and having to take on all the blame.
With all that said, taking note Jackson’s ethnicity isn’t made into a thing at all, I can’t help but like seeing a Black person open about his mental illness. While we got that in 2018 with Matt in Sorry For Your Loss, that is a Facebook Watch program and who knows how many may know of that fantastic performance.
This show needs to stop teasing me. I have a feeling Ola sees something in Otis. I can’t say if she sees a potential friendship or more, but right now they are stringing us along and I don’t like it. Especially since Patricia Allison has this thing about her which is a little bit devious, in a childlike way, and could be a way better person to break Otis out of his shell than Maeve. Someone who, in my mind, while she genuinely cares about Otis, there is also this air of fascination. The kind which pushes the idea she is low-key manipulating him. Maybe not consciously but with him knowing her story, I think she knows how easy it is to take advantage of him.
That’s in comparison to Ola who we may barely know, but the first thing she did for him was give him a way to have privacy. The second thing she did was give him an out when he tried to steal and didn’t treat him as weird for being in drag. So with Ola, it seems Otis may get the safe place Jackson has found in Maeve or Eric in Jean, and her household.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Did we ever see Anwar get help with his butt thing?
- While talking about vaginas has been seen in shows like Big Mouth, I love that it wasn’t handled as a lighthearted thing this episode. It was treated as something that caused an insecurity and hearing comments from Anwar, and others, helped push why women are, and can be, insecure about their vaginas.
- Seeing a person of color, specifically Jackson, bring up and address having a mental illness is still so rare in popular (read: productions which have a marketing budget or major force behind them) media that it’s hard to not make that a highlight.
On The Fence
- The issue remains of how Otis’ crush on Maeve might be handled considering its pending doom.
- Not that Sex Education lives in some forward thinking and liberal world, but I got to admit I’m slightly uneasy about what is being done with Eric. On the one hand, his relationship with his dad interests me. It’s clear his dad isn’t overjoyed about having a gay son, yet isn’t trying to kick him out either. Considering that is usually the way a mother would act in a situation like this, it brings a different perspective.
Yet, I gotta admit, Eric being hit and spat on was the kind of slap back into reality I wish he didn’t have to bear. Especially since we just got past the Ruthie and Tanya thing so I thought this show wasn’t going to go down well-treaded roads. But, I still have faith something could be done with Eric. I hope that, while one episode characters flourish, Eric isn’t just around and being used to help drive Otis’ story one way or the other. With the occasional reminder Eric has stuff going on. Just not the kind of stuff the show wants to invest in too deep.
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