BY ANA DUMARAOG
Otis’ (Asa Butterfield) new look in Sex Education season 3 hints at his ongoing problems with Maeve (Emma Mackey). Netflix’s British coming-of-age story is nearing its return [September 17] with fresh episodes. To drive-up hype, the streaming giant has released promotional stills from the show — some of them offering clues as to what to expect from Sex Education season 3.
Debuting in 2019, Sex Education quickly became one of the biggest shows for the streaming service based on reports. So, it’s not surprising when it didn’t take long before it returned for its sophomore year in 2020. Chronicling the lives of the students and staff at Moordale Secondary School, the series’ primary focus has always been on its main lead, Otis, and his relationships, particularly with his best friend, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and his crush, Maeve. The trio first got together after deciding to run an underground sex therapy business at school. As the storytelling progressed, each of them started exploring their respective and collective arcs. For Otis, that meant navigating his own sexual issues, not to mention his growing attraction to Maeve.
He may be trying to project a cooler image coming into the new season. In the last two years of the show, Otis has barely changed his looks. While Eric expresses himself through clothes, his best friend could not be blander with his choice of garments. In fact, he will continue to sport the same retro-looking jacket that he has been wearing in Sex Education season 3. So, growing the mustache is likely motivated by a deeper reason aside from just wanting to change his aesthetic. Wanting to look more adult and indifferent with his mustache fits well with the idea of Maeve not bringing up his message the next time they see each other. Not knowing that she was unaware of the voice mail, Otis may have assumed that she simply does not care about his feelings, and decided to act aloof to nurse his broken heart
Granted that that will-they/won’t-they romantic trope has been effective in keeping viewers engaged in a show, Sex Education may be overdoing it with Otis and Maeve, especially if they still doesn’t get together at some point in season 3. It’s clear from the get-go that they’re meant for each other, so it would be for the best if the show finally makes some significant progress in their relationship rather than leaving them running around in circles. Otherwise, the series risks making its primary couple its most uninspired pairing.