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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review: sex education - season 4

Following the closure of Moordale Secondary, Otis and Eric now face a new frontier - their first day at Cavendish Sixth Form College. Otis is nervous about setting up his new clinic, whilst Eric is praying

Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Aimee-Lou Wood, Emma Mackey, Connor

Swindells, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Mimi Keene, George Robinson, Chinenye Ezeudu, Dua Saleh, Alistair Petrie, Samantha Spiro, Dan Levy, Thaddea Graham, Marie Reuther, Felix Mufti, Anthony Lexa, Alexandra James, Reda Elazouar, Bella Maclean, Imani Yahshua & Jodie Turner Smith.

As the fourth and final season of "Sex Education" graces our screens, fans are met with a bittersweet journey that leaves them with mixed emotions.

Let's start with the positives. The signature cinematography and stylistic choices that have endeared viewers to the show remain intact. There's an artistry to the series, with subtle changes in colour grading that enhance the visual appeal, ensuring that it's as lovable as ever in this season.

One of the undeniable highlights of this season is the emergence of Ruby as a standout character. Her character arc is not only engaging but also endearing. What's more, her dynamic with Otis in the first half of the season is a delight, leaving fans yearning for more interactions between these two. Especially ones who were shipping their relationship in season 3.

However, as we delve deeper into the season, it becomes evident that some of the show's strengths from previous seasons have faltered. Jackson and Adam, who were once among the best-written characters, seem to have been given arcs that are comparatively simpler and lack the emotional punch that we've come to expect from them. New characters, introduced to breathe fresh life into the series, unfortunately fall short of making a lasting impact. Instead of enhancing the narrative, they often come across as intrusive, hogging screen time that could have been better utilised for our beloved main characters. Their lack of depth and intrigue is noticeable and, at times, downright annoying.

There's one particular scene that feels glaringly misplaced in the context of the series, disrupting the overall flow and narrative consistency. Moreover, the show's trademark exaggerated realism, which has always grounded itself while adding a layer of theatricality, at times feels overdone this season. This exaggeration occasionally detracts from the resonance of the themes explored.

What's more, the emotional depth that fans have come to associate with "Sex Education" seems somewhat lacking in this final season. The absence of characters from previous seasons creates a noticeable void, leaving viewers yearning for their presence to enrich the storyline.

Cal's storyline, while important, doesn't pack the emotional punch it could have due to the season's more progressive tone. It misses the constant struggle element that could have made it a standout arc. An arc that should’ve been more in line with Eric’s arc is season 1.

Another noticeable change is the absence of a clear antagonist, a staple of previous seasons. This absence deprives the characters of meaningful conflicts, and the lack of Otis' trademark big speeches results in fewer memorable quotes. The finale, a pivotal moment in any season, feels somewhat rushed, leaving viewers wanting a more satisfying conclusion to the series. There’s certainly storylines that’ll leave some audiences angry and frustrated by the decision making from Laurie.

On the brighter side, standout performances from Emma Mackey, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Conor Swindells, Aimee Lou Wood, and Alistair Petrie anchor the season. The cast continues to shine, with the new additions integrating well into the ensemble. The series retains its trademark humor, and there are still plenty of emotional moments that will tug at the heartstrings of die-hard fans. Such as myself.

It's worth noting that showrunner Laurie Nunn faced unique challenges in crafting this season due to actors leaving, which may have impacted the direction and development of the storyline. Despite its flaws, "Sex Education" Season 4 manages to leave a lasting impression. While disappointing in some aspects compared to its predecessors, it's still a series many will find enjoyable. It may not reach the heights of its earlier seasons, but it's a fitting farewell to a show that has made a mark for its unique blend of comedy, drama, and coming-of-age storytelling.

3.5 / 5

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