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It was 26 years ago when we questioned whether Ross and Rachel were on a break, and the same question can now be asked of Otis and Maeve as Sex Education Season 4 continues to unfold. Maeve is doing her best to deal with her grief and asks Otis out on a date—partially a distraction and partially a way for them to rekindle the fire that was briefly blown out. Of course, the date goes terribly: Otis’s aunt Joanna crashes it after she’s stood up by her own date and proceeds to get so drunk in the movie theater that she gets kicked out.
Maeve, the instigator with the stashed bottle of tequila in her purse, isn’t bothered by the botched date and takes Otis to a public pool after hours. They lay at the bottom of the empty pool before Maeve decides this is the place that she wants to sleep with Otis, but his guilt about sleeping next to Ruby while Maeve was still in America eats at him too much and he confesses right as things start heating up. Does it matter that they were on a break? It doesn’t seem like it because Maeve is clearly hurt by this revelation, though she doesn’t have time to ask any questions because the police arrive to catch the trespassers. Jean arrives to bail them out, giving her quite the first impression of Maeve.
Jean’s still a good mother to Otis, despite the fight that they have earlier in the episode over how little attention she’s been giving her firstborn and the betrayal he feels about her teaming up with his arch nemesis on her radio show. Even the emotionally in-touch Otis doesn’t realize just how much Jean is struggling. Otis’s idea of help was to call her irresponsible sister (who drunkenly admits to having a large debt to pay off, which will undoubtedly fall on Jean’s head), but Jean’s visit with the doctor dives deeper than just feeling overwhelmed—she suggests medication to deal with postpartum depression, which Jean vehemently refuses. She’s had a bout of depression before and she dealt with it naturally then, and wants to do the same again now despite how much she is floundering.
At school, it’s finally the day for O and Otis’s debate. Ruby unearths some tea on O—multiple people at the school say she ghosted them while exploring a romantic relationship—but when Otis uses this tidbit on stage, O manages to flip it into a “coming out” story of being asexual. She also uses Otis’s father’s reputation as a right-leaning author against him, manipulating the entire school in one fell swoop.
Cavendish is obviously a very liberal school so it’s surprising to see Isaac constantly dealing with a broken elevator; it paints the school as ableist despite its inclusive underpinnings. But even with Isaac being unable to get to art class, things aren’t all bad at Cavendish: the malfunction provides space for Aimee and Isaac to confess their feelings to each other (it being in the dark room only adds to the charm). Isaac is key in giving Aimee the confidence she needs as she pursues photography as a form of self-expression and in return, Aimee gives Isaac a semblance of normalcy. Aimee is nervous to tell Maeve but when she does, Maeve reacts with incredulity, yes, but also seems happily amused by the development.
Eric’s experience at the soup kitchen has given him a new purpose: he wants to use Cavendish’s fundraiser to keep the lights on at the soup kitchen, and his pastor seems moved by the gesture. But his involvement at the church comes with boundaries—he decides he doesn’t want to be baptized. As he’s leaving, he runs into the boy he hooked up with at the club night and stays for his choir performance that is so transportive that it just might change his mind about being baptized.
Eric has been trying to share all of these revelations with Otis but every time he begins to open up, Otis gets distracted by something in his own life (mostly the clinic). It’s clearly starting to wear on Eric who has made a few comments about his best friend to others, and even though he’s still his number one supporter, Eric’s need for reciprocal support will surely become a more vocal issue soon.
There are quite a few other stories that are bubbling with only a few episodes remaining in the series. Cal goes on a date with ENM participant Aisha and the two connect about feeling passive in their lives and kiss. Adam’s parents are hooking up behind his back while he begins to befriend his coworker and learn to work with horses. Jackson tells his moms that he wants to find his sperm donor but they say it’s a bad time and privately express that they’re not ready for that step. Jackson doesn’t really have many friends to lean on other than Viv but in the process, he crashes her date with Beau, who is insecure about her platonic friendship with Jackson. But all’s well that ends well: Beau and Viv confess that they’re falling for each other.
Radhika Menon (@menonrad) is a TV-obsessed writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared on Paste Magazine, Teen Vogue, Vulture and more. At any given moment, she can ruminate at length over Friday Night Lights, the University of Michigan, and the perfect slice of pizza. You may call her Rad.