Sex Education features a large cast of well-rounded characters that have become beloved by the show’s fans. In season 3, the show developed many of the established characters such as Otis and Maeve even further, taking them down some exciting and unexpected paths.
The season also intertwined a number of new characters with the existing cast, including villainous head teacher Hope and nonbinary student Cal. While the different people in the show’s world range in likability, each of them is notably three-dimensional and layered in their characterization, and each has one major personality trait that stands out as their best.
Ruby is a stereotypical mean girl at the beginning of the series, but she reveals different sides to her personality over time, especially in season 3 when she develops a relationship with Otis and introduces him to her father. The season also shows that Ruby has some insecurities and vulnerabilities, but they don’t overtake her confidence and self-assuredness.
Despite her obvious reservations about her relationship with Otis, Ruby tells him that she loves him, and she maintains her confidence even after he rejects her. Over the course of three seasons, Ruby develops into a three-dimensional character, and her fight with Hope in season 3 shows just how confident she really is as she seems unafraid of the consequences of taking on her teacher.
Lily is quirky and unique, having a firm interest in the extraterrestrial, and she is one of the best characters in Sex Education. Although she is forced to question her individuality at times, she always seems happiest when she is her true, unfiltered self.
Lily is fun-loving and humorous for most of the first two seasons, but she goes on a huge journey in season 3. After she is mocked for her story and publicly humiliated by Hope, she becomes depressed and drastically alters her appearance. By the end of the season, though, Lily returns to her old self. Although her unusual beliefs sometimes lead people to insult her, Lily’s best trait is her individuality.
During her relationship with Otis, Ola lets her jealousy get the better of her, and she is particularly hostile toward Maeve. Both she and Otis act quite immaturely when they are forced to move in together, and there are times when Ola seems to belittle her girlfriend Lily’s beliefs. All that being said, Ola shows on several occasions that she is a good listener and a loyal friend.
Although Adam is one of the most guarded characters on the show, he opens up to Ola and, in a memorable scene in season 3, he confides in her about his relationship troubles and identity. Many of the students of Moordale have little time for Adam due to his past, but Ola goes out of her way to be there for him and listen to his worries.
While Aimee is one of the funniest characters in Sex Education, she is also shown to be extremely caring on several of occasions. Aimee is an amazing friend to Maeve and is always there to advise and help her, even when Maeve doesn’t appreciate it.
Although Maeve takes offense to Aimee paying for the school trip for her, it’s clear that Aimee does so to help her friend and because she didn’t want to be without her. Aimee is also supportive of Maeve’s love life and seems to secretly root for her potential relationship with Otis. While it is unclear why Aimee wants to break up with Steve, her struggle to do so and anxiety about hurting his feelings further demonstrate how caring she is.
Jackson seems to be a typical high-school athlete at the beginning of the series, but viewers soon discover there is a lot more to him than that. He is extremely driven, but this often comes at the price of his mental health. The more he pushes himself, the worse his anxiety becomes.
When things really matter, though, Jackson defends what is right and what he believes in. Eventually, he stands up to his mother for pushing him too hard. Despite their close friendship, he calls Viv out in season 3 for her alliance with Hope and her questionable treatment of Cal. Jackson also stands up to Hope, losing his place as a head boy as a result, showing just how principled he really is.
At the beginning of the series, Adam is the school bully, is dating Aimee and has a difficult relationship with his father. It soon becomes apparent that Adam is attracted to Eric, whom he bullies consistently.
Adam’s tough exterior seems to be a defense mechanism that he uses to push other people away and hide his own insecurities. Although it takes him some time, he eventually becomes aware of his own flaws and past mistakes, and actively works to improve himself. In season 3, Adam seems aware that he is poor at communication, and he tries to change this to becomes a supportive boyfriend to Eric. These efforts makes their eventual breakup even more upsetting.
As a therapist, Jean is nonjudgmental and significantly helps several characters throughout the course of the three seasons. Although she embarrasses Otis at times, it’s clear that she genuinely wants to help and understand her son.
In season 3, Jean has some heartwarming scenes with Aimee when she helps her to realize her assault was not her fault and that it is OK for her to have changed as a result of her trauma. Jean is highly compassionate and obviously cares about others, even when they’re not particularly close to her. Even though Jean is featured prominently, she is one of the Sex Education characters who deserved more screen time in season 3.
Maeve is heavily guarded and struggles to let people in, which is understandable considering her difficult upbringing. Despite her young age, she is independent and has to be self-sufficient due to often being abandoned by her mother and brother.
While she goes through many ups and downs, Maeve is able to bounce back from adversity and keep her head held high. During the course of the series, Maeve has an abortion, calls social services on her mother and is betrayed by several other characters. Yet despite all of her troubles, Maeve is one of the strongest and most resilient characters on the show.
Despite often being judged by others, including his own family at times, Eric is comfortable in his own skin and unafraid to express himself. In fact, one of the main points of tension in his relationship with Adam is the latter’s struggle with his own identity. While this tension reveals a lack of understanding from Eric, it also demonstrates how important his identity is to him.
Even when faced with bigotry and ignorance, Eric remains relaxed and humorous. He happily explores his own identity, is excited at the prospect of exploring his sexuality and is refreshingly self-assured.
Asa Butterfield is one of the most popular cast members from Sex Education, which is unsurprising considering he plays the lead, Otis. The character is often embarrassed by his mother’s profession as a sex therapist, but he puts to use what he overhears from her sessions. He sets up a sex clinic at the school and, in the process, is also able to get closer to his crush, Maeve.
Otis can be selfish and cowardly sometimes, but he stays determined to help others. He helps many students at the school with his therapy sessions and also uses his skills to help himself in a number of different ways. Season 3 suggested that Otis may use his self-taught skills to become a professional therapist in the future.