When Emma Mackey greeted me over the phone, it took me approximately one minute and 18 seconds to ask her about the Sex Education season 2 ending. If you’ve yet to watch the ridiculously brilliant series, I advise you look away now because I’m about to talk spoilers. Lots of them. So many spoilers. Please do not read further if you haven’t watched season 2 yet.
In the final minutes of season 2, young Otis (Asa Butterfield) apologises to Maeve (Mackey), via voicemail, for being a fucking dickhead to her at his party in episode 6.
Quick recap: In front of a whole slew of people from school, Otis accused Maeve of playing with people’s feelings, said she doesn’t care about anyone but herself, and said that she’s “probably the most selfish person I’ve ever met.” Yeah look, it wasn’t Otis’ greatest moment – I’ll admit that, but at least he apologised. He also told Maeve that he loves her, exclamation mark. After two seasons, Otis finally told Maeve how he feels. And then Isaac (George Robinson) DELETED THE VOICEMAIL.
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Let me say that I audibly gasped and stared pointedly at my dog as if it was her fault when Isaac deleted the message. But after talking to Mackey, I kinda, sorta, get it now. I’m still upset, but I get it.
“It’s not justified but I do understand where he’s coming from,” Mackey tells me. “Maeve is someone he wants to protect and he fears for her as her friend.
“The only interaction Isaac had with Otis was at the party when he was the worst, he was awful. He was a massive dickhead. So obviously, he had a really bad impression of Otis and so you can understand why he wanted to protect Maeve from that kind of guy.”
Isaac’s action wasn’t “evil”, she adds. He was just trying to help Maeve.
“It’s kind of similar to what Otis said to Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) about Adam (Connor Swindells),” Mackey says. “Like why would you want to be with someone that bullied you and traumatised you for years, it’s friends looking out for each other.”
Maeve, Otis, and Isaac aside, Mackey and I talked about Aimee‘s (Aimee Lou Wood) story in season 2. In episode 3, while on the bus, Aimee is sexually assaulted by a man who masturbates on her leg. It’s a revolting scene, and even though Aimee tries to brush off the entire thing, it’s clear the assault has traumatised her to a point where she no longer wants to catch the bus. After some prodding from Maeve, Aimee reports the incident to the cops. At one point during the interview with police, she apologises for “wasting” their time.
“I think a lot of us are the Aimee in the sexual assault situation,” Mackey says. “I think a lot of women don’t want to waste anybody’s time, and it’s uncomfortable, scary, and awful, and we try to justify it, but sexual assault is sexual assault.”
In a later episode, when Aimee is in detention with Lily (Tanya Reynolds) Ola (Patricia Allison), Viv (Chinenye Ezeudu), Olivia (Simone Ashley), and Maeve, she reaches breaking point and tells the girls what happened. What follows is a discussion of similar incidents and, despite the horrible subject, a real connection between all the characters.
Mackey says the episode had an “effect on all of us.”
“What happened in episode 7, we don’t see that a lot,” she says. “Just the simple fact of having six women in one room together – all of us different colours, shapes, sizes, races, religions, and backgrounds – all such beautifully different characters, it was quite a momentous thing.”
Between takes of the episode, the cast got to spend time together and just bond. Mackey says it made all the difference.
“I kind of had a moment where I thought that this was really quite historical, there was a real kind of power to it. We spent two days in that room and it was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long, long time.”
You can catch season 2 of Sex Education on Netflix now.