Oftentimes, shows with multiple seasons get overburdened by the pressure of keeping up with their audiences while still upholding the integrity of their old characters. There’s a sense of being all over the place when they end up trying too hard to incorporate everything that’s a trending topic. This is especially common when it comes to portraying teenagers on television. All we need is a happy ending for our favorite characters, and that’s enough to make these shows work. Instead, they get mixed up in subplots that include time travel, fantasy, and a lot of random things that are unrelated to the main subject of the series (yes, this is specifically targeted at that one show). Sex Education season 4 does feel a little overwhelming with all the many topics it wants to touch upon in 8 small episodes, but at the end of the day, it delivers a clear message to anyone who needs to hear it. The last episode may not leave everyone happy, but it’s definitely leaving everyone with thoughts and sentimental value.
Otis and Maeve decide not to talk to each other for a bit so they don’t become dependent or hold each other back in any way. Otis finds out that it was Jean who offered Maeve the right advice to send her back to America. Angry because he can’t be with the woman of his dreams, he just blames Jean for shipping Maeve off and always messing with his life. Joanna comes back just then to say goodbye for good, and she tells Otis to treat his mom with respect. Joanna knows how hard Jean’s been working to make things work for Otis and her. Otis throws a tantrum and tells them he hates them both, storming out of the house. After all, he doesn’t even have Eric anymore.
Jean and Joanna
Jean finally admits to Joanna that she hasn’t been the best family and asks her to stay rather than leave because she wants her to. She tells her that she’s quit the job because it wasn’t fair to Joy, and now she needs Joanna to support her too. She even gives her the money she needs to cover the debt. Joanna tells Jean exactly what she needed to hear—that she wishes they had a mom like her growing up. Jean realizes Joanna is right about her being a good mother, so she goes back to work and demands what she needs to be supported as a mother and radio host.
Cal’s mom finds Cal’s room empty and starts to worry that they may end up doing something wrong. She goes to the police, but they don’t take her seriously, so she ends up rushing to school. Everyone teams up to find Cal and go to the mall they were supposed to have visited last. Nobody is able to find anything, but Otis finds out that Cal was at the food court and then left without eating. The coven, Otis, Jackson, Viv, and Ruby head to the security room for the CCTV footage. The girl there refuses to show it to them until Ruby remembers who she is. The girl is overjoyed that Ruby knows who she is and gives her access to the footage on the condition of getting a photo with her. Otis butts in and tells Abbi that Ruby is kind of a big deal.
When Eric finds Cal, he reminds them that they’re important and that the world needs people like them. He tells Cal that he’s there for them in whatever form they need. Cal tells Eric that they feel like they’re drowning in all the feelings they’re going through, leaving them completely alone. Jackson comes by then and reminds Cal that everyone is worried and nobody is angry. They just want to help and be there for Cal. Jackson also apologizes for not realizing how much pain Cal was in. Finally, they take Cal home. Although Cal doesn’t go to the fundraiser, the college decides to fund their top surgery for them, and everyone shows their support for Cal. Cal finally opens up to their mother, even if it is just a small gesture of sharing a bed and holding hands. They’ll eventually talk it out too.
Sometimes, when we’re young, there’s so much curiosity that we don’t think about the consequences. Jackson tries to visit the man who is his father, but he gets rejected at the door. Jackson can’t understand why he doesn’t want to get to know him; he thinks there’s something wrong with him. The big revelation here is that in the past, Jackson’s mom had an affair with a married man, but Jackson always thought he was a test tube baby. The man had a family already, and even though she tried everything she could to get him to see her and her son, he refused her letters. Ultimately, she met Jackson’s mom, and they decided to raise him together and make a family. Jackson has a loving home and family, and he doesn’t lack anything.
Aimee’s struggle with intimacy
Aimee and Isaac can finally try and get together, but when Isaac asks to kiss Aimee, she deflects, giving him a peck on the cheek. Aimee’s still struggling with intimacy, and when Cal is found, she admits the truth to Isaac because she doesn’t want to hide anything from him. She hopes to be comfortable with him, and she’s already getting there. She goes and does her photoshoot with the jeans at the bus station. She burns the jeans in front of herself and dances around them like a campfire ritual, finally freeing herself from fear. Later at the fundraiser, she takes Isaac to the developing room and kisses him (they’re just so cute, TT).
On the day of his baptism and the fundraiser, Eric is told by the pastor that the church has declined the money offered by the college because it can’t support the values of the college. Eric decides he must reveal his secret before getting baptized so he knows he’s truly accepted. He announces that he’s Christian, but he’s also a proud gay man, making everyone surprised. Eric’s mom tells him she loves him exactly the way he is, but no one else encourages him, so he leaves without being baptized. When he leaves, he finds out that Cal is missing, and just as he cuts the phone with Abbi, it gets stolen. It’s God who stole his phone, and she tells Eric that he’s done exactly what she wanted from him. She tells him that his life’s work will be to guide and help people, but Eric is too afraid that he won’t be able to do it. When he closes his eyes, she leaves him, and Eric finds Cal in front of him. He rushes to them, telling them how much everyone is worried.
After everything that happens with Cal, Otis apologizes to Eric and sees how he’s been a total prick. He was just afraid of losing him to his new friends, and as we know now, Otis is very afraid of being left behind. Eric asks Otis to join the coven to get ready for the fundraiser together, and they have a blast. They even hear Jean’s radio show, where Joanna opens up about her assault as a child. Jean calls her brave and powerful for even talking about her fears. Using her own life as an example, Jean talks about having postpartum depression and denying the fact that there was something wrong. Just talking and getting the support of your friends and family is a huge step in getting better.
Adam and Michael’s Lost Love
Michael finally arrives on the farm, where he meets Adam and apologizes to him for making him feel like he wasn’t loved. He tells him that he loves him very much and asks for a hug from his son when Adam offers up a horse for the task. Jem asks Michael to stay on for Adam’s first class, and it goes really well as Michael is more like Adam than they thought. They head back home and join Adam’s mom in watching her and Adam’s favorite reality show. Hard work really does pay off, and Adam finally has the support he needs to be accepting and loving of himself. Later, Adam manages to come out to Jem and gets asked out on a date (yay! Adam).
Abbi & Roman
Abbi is having trouble being intimate with Roman because she’s always trying so hard to be positive that she can’t say anything remotely negative. It’s a downer for her, but it’s important that she get out her negative emotions too. They’re discussing this in front of O and Otis, and Otis realizes that O actually might be a better counselor than him. She gives the right advice to Abbi, and then the coven discusses their feelings. Abbi opens up and tells them some truths, and this leads to Abbi and Roman being intimate again!
Sex Education Episode 8 is filled with redemption, and O musters up the courage to apologize, but instead of apologizing to Ruby directly, she ends up apologizing online to everyone except her. Ruby doesn’t want anything to do with her, and she won’t even team up with O when they have to search for Cal. Ruby is able to find Cal in the CCTV footage and sees them toss their bag in the garbage before leaving. When Otis is trying to rummage through garbage for Cal’s bag, O properly apologizes to Ruby. All Ruby needed was to hear those words from O to feel better.
Viv and Beau
While at the mall, Viv, Jackson, Aimee, and Isaac team up. Beau tries to talk to Viv, and it seems rather intense to Aimee and Isaac too. When they sit down to eat something, Aimee asks Viv about it. Viv admits that although she feels good being with Beau sometimes, he also makes her feel scared and like she’s done something wrong when she hasn’t. Aimee tells Viv that she’s been doing a lot of research about abuse, and what Beau is doing sounds a lot like abuse. Sometimes another person’s perspective can really help you understand your own feelings. At the fundraiser, Viv takes the brave step of standing up against Beau, showing him who’s boss and telling him that she’ll report him if he troubles her anymore. Aimee calls her brave, and Viv feels safe and loved.
Now that Maeve’s been refreshed by Jean’s motivation, she heads back to school as a different person. Ellen, the girl who got the internship, actually submitted Maeve’s work about her life back home to the publishing house, and they loved it. This is the same thing that Molloy called trash and the reason for Maeve not being cut out to be a writer. Maeve stands up for herself in front of Molloy, telling him that as a teacher, he holds a lot of power, and what he thinks is pushing someone can be draining to others. Maeve is not one of the students who has been told from childhood that she’s amazing and fantastic, so nothing can break her. She tells him that he should consider that and be nicer to his students because that might be enough push.
Is Otis Happy?
Otis and O lose the election, but Conor admits that it’s too hard to be a therapist, so the runner-up gets to be the counselor. Otis tells everyone that he doesn’t deserve to be the counselor because O is the better therapist, and he knows it now. The whole election was a waste of time. Everyone calls out O for being a bully, but Ruby stands up for her and tells everyone that it was brave of O to apologize, and the most Cavendish (inclusive) thing to do would be to give her a second chance. Ruby the bedwetter becomes a hero, and finally, she’s accepted by the Coven, the cool kids. She realizes that kindness isn’t an act but a natural instinct.
Everyone has a blast dancing at the fundraiser, and Eric is surprised to see the pastor showing up with his family. The pastor tells Eric that he wants the church to be more inclusive. Eric is overjoyed, and although there’s a lot of work, for now, they can dance it out. O asks Otis to work with her, and he tells her he’ll think about it (this is a brilliant idea, if you ask us). Otis tells Eric about how he and Maeve agreed not to talk for a bit, and Eric fully understands the gravity of the situation. Otis has learnt from his mistakes and hears Eric out too. Eric’s decided to become a pastor. Otis knows that Eric would be a natural, and this was always his calling. They spend the night playing Super Smash Bros. and falling asleep with popcorn all over them. Things are changing, but they’ll always have each other’s backs.
Otis returns home and finally has a much-needed talk with Jean. He tells her how he feels that if he thinks too much about Maeve not coming back, he’ll become depressed like she was when his dad left them. Jean reminds Otis that it’s more important to feel the feelings rather than repress them and push them to the back, for it turns into resentment. Otis gives his mom and little sister a hug and tells Jean how proud he is of her for getting help. This isn’t going to stop them from being dysfunctional, but at least they can understand each other and talk about those dysfunctionalities. Jean calls Dan over to tell him about the baby because it’s the right thing to do.
During Sex Education episode 8’s ending, Otis finds Maeve’s letter. She tells him that she has had a wonderful journey thus far with him, and being friends with Otis made her realize some phenomenal things about herself. It made her open up to people and stop hiding under a shell. She promises Otis that she’ll open up more in the future and that she’ll always love him. She thanks him for everything. Otis is the reason Maeve was able to make it out as a free bird. It’s possible that this ambiguous ending would be disappointing to some, but it’s a very realistic one. It’s also encouraging to work towards your dreams and learn to be selfish sometimes, even if it is painful.