Can We Talk About… ? is a weekly series that’s getting revenge on bullies one dad at a time.
The second season of Sex Education has descended upon us like so many loving globules of spit from Adam Groff’s mouth to Eric Effiong’s quivering cheek. And for fans of the first season, it does not disappoint. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s even better than the first—and certainly a lot gayer.
We reach peak gay in Episode 6, which opens with noted mean gay Anwar (Chaneil Kular) getting hot and heavy with his boyfriend Nick (Thomas Atkinson). Nick suggests they finally have sex, throwing Anwar for a loop.
Despite being one of the cool kids, “The Untouchables,” he’s a virgin, and when Nick asks him if he’s douched, Anwar lies and then has one of his gal pals bail him out of the situation with a convenient phone call. Folks, we’re 30 seconds in and there’s already a full moon and a very frank discussion about anal. Welcome to 2020!
While Anwar tries to figure out how to take a dick like a man, band gay Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) is enjoying his fledgling relationship with the new boy in school, Rahim (Sami Outalbali). Unlike his previous same-sex romance from last season with his former bully Adam (Connor Swindells), Eric doesn’t have to hide with Rahim. In fact, Rahim is pretty much the exact opposite of Adam. He’s confident in who he is and what he wants, and unafraid to go after it.
Rahim’s had his eye on Eric since he showed up out of nowhere (or France) in Episode 2, transfixing the horny kids of Moordale with his sensible bowl cut and smoldering stare. Though Eric is out to his friends and family, Rahim forces him to another level of self-acceptance; Rahim has no qualms about kissing Eric or holding his hand in public. He also insists on meeting Eric’s parents, introducing himself as his boyfriend to his unsuspecting mother.
Also unlike Adam, Rahim seems to know a lot about gay sex—as far as Eric is concerned, anyway—so when Anwar approaches amateur sex counselor and Eric’s BFF Otis (Asa Butterfield) about the ins and outs, as it were, of douching, Otis ends up turning the reins over to Rahim, who is more than happy to don his professor’s beret and take the lead.
Otis, meanwhile, is going through it after recently having lost both his girlfriend Ola (Patricia Allison) and the girl he’s in love with, Maeve (Emma Mackey). Ola has broken up with Otis after realizing she has feelings for her bestie Lily (Tanya Reynolds), whom she kissed in the previous episode. However, Lily has been avoiding Ola ever since, leading Ola to question a lot of things about herself.
But she does come to the conclusion, with the help of a handy internet quiz, that she’s pansexual. Ola’s revelation helps set her co-worker and burgeoning buddy Adam on the road to finally coming to grips with his own sexuality. Adam, clearly still smitten with Eric but sorely out of touch with his feelings and how to convey them, has been coming to his window at night, whisking him away to a junkyard where they smash things in some bizarre but ultimately endearing expression of their bond.
Eric is, in a sense, torn between two diametric opposites: the loving and sensitive Rahim, or the damaged but still very sensitive Adam. Things come to a head, as they so often do in Austenian novels or literally any teen movie, at a massive party at Otis’ house.
Ola tries to talk to Lily, but her former best friend still won’t, or can’t, face her after their kiss.
Meanwhile, when Adam walks in on Eric kissing Rahim, Eric chases after him. Adam struggles to tell Eric, more or less, that he misses him coming to the window.
But Eric tells Adam that because he’s been bullying him for years, it’s not so simple for him believe that Adam has changed. And he’s not willing to essentially go back in the closet for him.
Then Adam bares his soul to Eric…
Yet, Adam still can’t bring himself to simply hold Eric’s hand.
Which is all the explanation Eric needs. Ugh, even though I loves me some Rahim, why can’t these two crazy kids make it work?
But back to that douching!
As Eric is living his best Sirkian melodrama, Anwar seeks out Rahim, who, ever the prevailing cool head, advises Anwar to talk with his boyfriend about it. Anwar demures. After all, he’s got a reputation and a fashionable facade to maintain. However, Rahim doles out some sage advice that Otis, the unlicensed sex therapist of the group, doesn’t have the range to give.
Like, real talk, sis. If you’re not ready to talk about getting fucked, then you’re not ready to get fucked. Case closed, periodt. So, realizing that Rahim indeed has a point, Anwar decides to tell Nick that not only has he never douched before, but that he is a virgin who can drive. Confirming that he is as much an agreeable lug as he looks, Nick completely understands. Next thing you know, they’re booking a tandem ride to Poundtown.
Aside from its deft handling of multiple characters and storylines, Sex Education is tremendously good at sneaking in important information about sexual health, sexual consent, and sexual freedom, and Episode 6 has the show firing on all cylinders.
Also of note: The scene in which swim star–turned–aspiring theater kid Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) is confronted about his self-harm by his two moms.
By the time Otis’s professional sex therapist mom Jean (a flawless Gillian Anderson) whoops it up at a gay club with her new friend, Adam’s long-suffering mother Maureen (Samantha Spiro), this episode of Sex Education has filled its 54 minutes with wall-to-wall queerness.
Still, Adam and Eric’s love story continues to be my favorite meal within this show, and without spoiling the rest of the season, I gorged myself on their trials and tribulations. They left me as ready as Anwar for another heaping helping.