Sex Education has never shied away from difficult topics, but season 4 marks the first time a major character on the show has been killed off in a twist that has huge consequences.


The tragic development abruptly occurs midway through the final batch of episodes, prompting aspiring writer Maeve (Emma Mackey) to abandon her studies in the US and catch the first flight home.

The event has a major impact on the rest of the season as the beloved Moordale gang rally around their grieving friend, culminating in a funeral episode that is sure to leave many people teary-eyed.

Read on for a spoiler-filled overview of the hard-hitting storyline.

Who dies in Sex Education season 4?

Emma Mackey and Anne Marie-Duff play Maeve and Erin Wiley in Sex Education, looking at each other outside a ticket office
Emma Mackey and Anne Marie-Duff play Maeve and Erin Wiley in Sex Education Sam Taylor/Netflix

At the end of Sex Education season 4 episode 3, Maeve receives a phone call from her brother, Sean (Edward Bluemel), who informs her that their mother, Erin (Anne-Marie Duff), has been hospitalised after taking an overdose.

Maeve immediately leaves the US campus where she has been studying to return to the UK, but by the time the siblings arrive where their mum was being treated, she has already passed away.

Both Sean and Maeve struggle to process the horrible news, with the former driving away and restarting his own dangerous drug habits, while the latter retreats within her shell – spending hours sitting alone with a crossword.

Maeve takes an extended leave of absence from her studies, in which time she arranges a funeral for her mother and ponders whether she should even bother returning to the States.

Moments before hearing the news of her mother's overdose, she had received harsh criticism from aloof teacher Thomas Molloy (Dan Levy), who cruelly told her that she'd never make it as a writer. This too weighs heavily on her.

Fans will have to keep watching to find out what Maeve ultimately decides.

What happened in Erin Wiley's final appearance?

Aimee Lou Wood and Emma Mackey star in Sex Education, with Wood looking sad while Mackey smiles, holding a girl
Aimee Lou Wood and Emma Mackey star in Sex Education. Sam Taylor/Netflix

Erin made several appearances in Sex Education seasons 2 and 3, where her relationship with daughter Maeve was turbulent at best due to her history of addiction.

There was great animosity between Erin and her children, who often had to fend for themselves as children due to their mother's struggle to stay clean. Ultimately, she abandoned them at Southchester Caravan Park.

After several years estranged, Erin suddenly re-entered Maeve's life with the bombshell news that she has had another daughter: Elsie (as seen in season 2).

Although strongly sceptical of her mother's ability to raise a child, Maeve eventually agrees to allow Erin and Elsie to stay with her at the caravan park – and their relationship temporarily takes a turn for the better.

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However, amid worrying signs that Erin could be close to relapsing, Maeve decides to inform social services that Elsie could be in danger. The authorities take the child away, obliterating the rekindled relationship between Erin and Maeve.

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In season 3, Elsie is being well looked after by foster mother Anna (Indra Ové), who allows Erin to make regular visits.

Unfortunately, Erin breaches her trust by attempting to run away to another country with Elsie, which Maeve is fortunately able to prevent by catching her before she can board a ferry.

The two have a serious talk, which ends with Erin reluctantly giving Elsie back. Shortly after, Erin sneaks into Moordale to give Maeve the money she needs to accept an exciting scholarship in the US.

In Erin's final interaction with her daughter, she expresses deep regret at not being the parental figure that Maeve or Sean needed. There's a sense of reconciliation, but of course, great emotional trauma remains.

Sex Education season 4 is streaming now on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.

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