How fitting to be able to start a recap with someone recapping something! Episode five of Sex Education begins with Ola and Otis hanging out together in bed, with Ola chatting about the wonderful surrealism of the classic comic Tank Girl, which came up earlier this season as a shared favorite between her and Lily. And that may not be a coincidence, because Ola and Otis then start making out … and it’s revealed to be a dream — specifically Ola’s dream, as her makeout partner becomes Lily! Looks like that charged moment between Ola and Lily in episode four was, in fact, just the beginning of some big changes for Ola.
Of any episode, this is perhaps the most Ola-centric to date, but before digging into what’s going on with her, it’s time to see how many of our favorite characters are spending a quiet Saturday. Eric, after yet another night out with Adam, is going camping with Otis and his father, Remi, although the three of them are relatively ill-equipped for the task.
Jean, meanwhile, is hosting a vagina workshop (like you do) that keeps getting disrupted by Jakob’s efforts to build her a pan shelf; overwhelmed by his constant presence, she confesses to him that she kissed Remi, and he leaves. Jean returns to the workshop, where one of her students is Headmaster Groff’s wife, Maureen — after Maureen confesses that she’s worried about her bicycle being rusty after six years in the garden (spoiler alert: she’s not talking about her bicycle), Jean offers to give her something to help.
That something, it turns out, is a pocket rocket that immediately wakes up Maureen to her sensuality, and when her husband critiques her decision to buy mangos, she tells him she wants a divorce. It’s a moment that only feels like an overreaction if you’re blind, and frankly it’s the happiest possible outcome to this storyline, given how much Groff, frankly, sucks. (There are three episodes left in the season, though, which is more than enough time to give him some redemption, or at the very least a bit more depth.)
In the woods, Otis, Eric, and Remi’s camping trip hits the skids when the combination of rain, an uncooperative tent, and the contents of Remi’s flask lead to Remi literally fighting the tent, before admitting defeat and booking the three of them into a hotel. Because Remi gonna Remi, he gets two rooms, leaving Otis and Eric to share … while he manages to seduce the hotel clerk.
Okay, that last thing doesn’t happen until after Remi tells Otis that his current partner, Delilah, has left him. But Delilah calls Jean with a different story: That Remi gonna Remi, and he can’t be changed. So Remi’s loose in the wind, and with Jean unsure about her relationship with Jakob, that could be very bad news.
Also potentially bad news: Maeve getting closer with her new neighbor, Isaac. After attending a relatively disastrous NA meeting with her mother, she and Isaac manage to connect, and Isaac and his brother, Joe, might even stop stealing their gas canisters. So, some good news! But Maeve does take yet another bodyblow from Otis, when he texts her to say that the two of them can’t be friends anymore. Of course, that comes before Ola tells Otis that the two of them need to break up, because she’s more interested in Lily.
Ola’s journey of discovering new elements of her sexuality happens relatively quickly, in a fashion that feels a bit disingenuous: After realizing that her dream about Lily probably has larger implications, Ola takes an online quiz, and based on the results she declares that she’s pansexual. She’s relatively calm about the whole thing, even laughing when Otis tells her that he loves her and she realizes that she doesn’t really love Otis after all, and while Otis is definitely upset by the breakup, she has no problem swiftly moving on to kissing Lily — who reacts to Ola’s passionate kisses by telling her that she has to “go do homework.”
While the end of Ola and Otis (hashtag Olis?) is more abrupt and unsatisfying than might be expected, the strongest aspect of episode five is its use of time, especially in comparison to previous episodes, which have struggled to track storylines across both time and space. And the episode’s final moments, in which Eric — who has now declared himself as Rahim’s boyfriend — turns off his bedroom light when Adam tries to draw him outside, set up a new paradigm for the future. But it’s one that the show still has plenty of time to turn inside out.
All the Good Things and the Bad Things That May Be
• Roxy Music’s “Love Is the Drug” is such a banger.
• Jackson begins actively helping Viv try to win over her crush, but Viv is too smart not to call him out for a key element of their dynamic. “Guys like you never see girls like me” is the sort of heartfelt honest line that makes characters like Viv real and human — and thus the sort of line that numbers among the show’s most important. Very much rooting for Viv getting literally whatever the hell she wants.
• Meanwhile, Adam struggling with who he wants to masturbate over while looking at his video game poster might be one of the show’s most on-the-nose moments, and that’s saying a lot.
• Aimee is still processing her trauma, and it is getting harder and harder to watch her put on a brave face.
• This episode includes a nice layer of how deep and true Eric and Otis’s friendship is; it’s been through its trials, but it might be the most important relationship of the entire show, on balance. (That said, I would watch an entire show devoted to Eric and Jean doing … well, literally anything.)