Sex Education confirms fate of missing characters Olivia, Anwar and Jakob
But one absence remains a total mystery.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Sex Education season 4.
Sex Education season 4 was the subject of some concern during production, when it emerged that several members of the ensemble cast would not be reprising their roles.
Some of these announcements were more surprising than others, with Simone Ashley's departure being an expected result of her principal role on Bridgerton, while the exits of Patricia Allison and Tanya Reynolds came completely out of the blue.
In the opening episodes of Sex Education season 4, we got an explanation for a few of these absences, with Olivia (Ashley) and Anwar (Chaneil Kular) being the first to be addressed.
As Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) arrive at Cavendish Sixth Form for the first time, they bump into Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood) locking up her bike – and she gives them some gossip.
Olivia and Anwar opted not to enrol at the ultra-progressive student-led college, she explains, but are instead carrying on their studies at Taylor's Secondary in the neighbouring town of Northbury.
As the series progresses, we learn that they have broken off contact with former friend Ruby (Mimi Keene) – who led their unkind clique, nicknamed the "untouchables" – as they prefer to spend time with their new group of friends.
Where Ruby has changed into a more sympathetic figure over the past two seasons, it is implied that Olivia and Anwar are still more concerned with chasing popularity than showing loyalty to meaningful friendships.
We also get some fleeting mentions of Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt) in the new episodes, who is simply described as "gone" by Otis in a heated exchange with his mother, Jean (Gillian Anderson).
It is later clarified that Jakob walked out on Jean when she told him that he was not actually the father of her new baby, having believed him to be all through the pregnancy.
Viewers will have to keep watching to find out who the true identity of the father is.
There is no mention of Jakob's daughter, Ola (Allison), although it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that she moved away with her father – both have had a complicated relationship with the Milburns over the past couple of years.
The season also flies by without a single nod to Lily (Reynolds), who was in a relationship with Ola and resuming her sci-fi infused sexual fantasies when we last saw her in season 3.
Fans will need to make their own minds up on whether Lily and Ola stayed together in the long-term.
Sex Education season 4 stars Butterfield, Gatwa, Wood, Anderson and Keene, alongside fellow returnees Emma Mackey and Connor Swindells, as well as a raft of new additions.
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