The LGBTQIA characters and storylines are at the heart of the show’s final chapter
BY NIC CROSARA, STILLS BY NETFLIX
Concluding a TV series is a challenging feat. In fact, even some of my favourite shows of all time have had underwhelming endings. It’s understandably hard to wrap up all loose ends in order to reach a cathartic enough end. And with Sex Education following such a large and diverse cast of characters, I was admittedly nervous that it wouldn’t meet my high expectations. But I’m pleased to report, it not only met them, but exceeded them. This final instalment is Sex Education’s best (and queerest) season yet.
When we last saw these characters, Moordale Secondary School was shut down following yet another sex scandal. And when we’re reintroduced to these wonderful characters in season four, they find themselves entering Cavendish Sixth Form College. At first glance, it’s a progressive utopia: there’s an abundance of queer students, everything is eco-friendly and there are a lot of student-led initiatives and projects. But chaos and drama ensue as the Moordale gang joins their new classmates.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster that dives deep into a multitude of different lived experiences, both for those inside and outside the LGBTQIA community. While watching the last four episodes, I was mentally preparing to send Netflix my therapy invoices, but by the end, I felt healed.
Over the course of the show’s past seasons, the show has been praised for its LGBTQIA characters and storylines. It was powerful to see Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) navigate his journey to self-acceptance as a young, gay, Black man, who is also religious. We also saw Adam (Connor Swindells), Eric’s former love interest come to terms with his own bisexuality. And Adam’s surprising best friend, Ola (Patricia Allison) also came out as pansexual and gave us the WLW power couple that was Ola and Lily (Tanya Reynolds). And this is just scratching the surface of the glorious queer rep this show served up.
In the first two seasons, there was a noticeable absence of trans characters. Which is why it was greatly received when the show introduced non-binary student, Cal (Dua Saleh) in season three.
Through Cal’s character, we got to see the realities of being a non-binary student and the show also portrayed the gender euphoria that comes with safely chest binding. We also got to see Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) become a love interest for Cal, but they stayed true to themselves and called things off if Jackson couldn’t see their relationship for what it was: a queer one.
I’m pleased to report that the trans representation in the show’s fourth and final chapter is truly gamechanging and unlike anything I’ve seen before.
There’s a lot of change for all former Moordale students to get used to as they begin attending Cavendish. Especially Cal, who is getting used to the new campus while also adjusting to the physical, mental and emotional changes they are experiencing near the start of their journey as someone who is medically transitioning.
There’s a diverse roster of new cast members this time around. Including Cavendish’s tightly-knit trio and popular kids also known as “The Coven”. The group is comprised of Aisha (Alexandra James), and T4T (trans for trans) power couple Abbi (Anthony Lexa) and Roman (Felix Mufti). I’ve consumed a lot of stories featuring trans characters, both onscreen and in books. But this is my first time seeing a T4T couple represented. I didn’t know how much I needed to see a love story such as this until it put a smile on my face that has barely left since.
Asexuality has been briefly mentioned in previous series, and many fans have been calling for more ace representation. And this final season delivered. With Heartstopper’s second season, which was released in August, also exploring an asexual and aromantic storyline, I hope these shows usher in more asexual and aromantic representation in more shows.
Sex Education has always opened up dialogues in the home. There are so many conversations that can be sparked from this final chapter. But I hope that the LGBTQIA storylines this time around enable parents of queer and trans youth to better know how to support their children.
Sex Education season four is now available to stream on Netflix.
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