Sex Education season 4 ending explained: What happens to Otis and Maeve?
All the big moments from that tear-jerker finale. *SPOILER ALERT*
Netflix’s coming-of-age drama Sex Education has come to a dramatic end, providing fans with plenty of closure whilst also leaving a few questions up in the air.
After the closure of Moordale Secondary at the end of season 3, season 4 sees Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) relocate to the highly-progressive Cavendish College, while Maeve (Emma Mackey) is across the pond studying at the prestigious Wallace University in the US.
These new developments bring a number of new challenges for the show's returning cast members in the final instalment, but how do things wrap up in the finale?
From Otis and Maeve's fate and that shock death in episode 3, to what happens to Ruby (Mimi Keene), read on for everything you need to know about the ending of Sex Education season 4. Be warned: spoilers follow.
What happens at the end of Sex Education season 4?
Do Otis and Maeve end up together?
Of course, many Sex Education fans have been wondering whether Otis and Maeve will end up together in season 4, after several years of will-they-won't-they tension between the two characters.
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The short answer is: they don't.
Talking about this decision, Nunn recently told The Hollywood Reporter: “I’ve always been pretty sure that Otis and Maeve wouldn’t end up together. They’re 17, and I think it’s really hard if you meet your soulmate when you’re 17.”
At the start of the final run, the fledgling couple are already struggling to maintain their long-distance relationship due largely to Otis's failure to communicate, while an attempt at sending intimate 'nudes' goes thoroughly awry.
Ultimately, they aren't apart for very long. Maeve returns to Moordale under tragic circumstances after her mother dies of an overdose, leaving the aspiring writer to question everything she had once dreamt for her future.
Otis does his best to support Maeve during this time, with the couple weathering some additional bumps and coming out the other side stronger. At one point, it looks as if they might stay together in Moordale.
However, following a heart-to-heart with Jean (Gillian Anderson), Maeve decides that her US scholarship is simply too big an opportunity to pass up. And with little to keep her in the UK, she warns Otis her relocation may become permanent.
The two mutually decide that being separated by an ocean is going to be too difficult in the long-term, so before Maeve leaves, they agree to break up and cease contact for a while at least.
They do get to share a night together, however, and Maeve leaves a touching note for Otis, who cannot bear to watch her go.
It reads: "Dear Otis, you know I hate soppy romantic stuff, so don't get your hopes up. This isn't a love letter.
"When we first met, I didn't trust anyone. I thought that if I kept everybody out, I'd stop myself from being hurt or let down, which is what I was used to.
"Then we set the clinic up together and I realised that most of the people who came to us for help really just needed connection. And maybe I wasn't so different.
"You have the rare ability to make people feel truly seen. And you did the same for me. It was this, and your relentless optimism about human beings, that gave me the courage to start opening myself up to other people.
"For the first time in my life, I didn't feel alone, which allowed me to imagine something bigger for myself. I want you to know that however much it f***ing hurts that we can't be together, I won't ever close myself off again.
"Meeting you cracked my heart open and now it's forever changed. And because of that, I will carry part of you with me wherever I go. I think what I'm trying to say is: Thanks for everything, dickhead."
Do Otis and Ruby end up together in Sex Education season 4?
Despite making some progress towards mending their friendship in season 4, Otis and Ruby don't end up together.
Ruby ultimately realises she needs to let go of Otis, who clearly doesn't return her feelings.
However, as detailed above, Otis doesn't end up with Maeve either, in what will perhaps be surprising move for some fans.
What happens to Adam in Sex Education season 4 and who does he end up with?
Adam reconciles with his father, Michael, who makes a genuine effort to connect with him like never before at the end of Sex Education.
Talking about why it was important for Adam to mend his relationship with his father at the end of the show, show creator Laurie Nunn told The Hollywood Reporter: “I think Adam represents a lot of very broken young men that I’ve known in my life, and I just always wanted that healing and that reconciliation for him."
Adam also finds success working with animals on a local farm, with signs of romance between him and his boss (played by Bella Maclean).
Who is Eric's mystery friend (Jodie Turner-Smith)?
Eric Effiong also goes on quite a journey in the final season of Sex Education.
For the first time, he finds himself drifting from childhood friend Otis – who becomes increasingly self-obsessed – and falling in with a group of LGBTQ+ students who better understand his interests and experiences.
But while he's embracing his queerness more than ever before at school, his home life continues to be a different story.
His devoutly Christian mother wants nothing more than to see him baptised, and Eric is open to the idea as he does hold strong faith himself.
However, he is deeply disheartened by his church's conservative views, as the parish shuns members of the LGBTQ+ community and makes him feel like he can't be his true self.
Torn between two worlds, Eric ultimately finds guidance in the words of a mysterious stranger (played by Jodie Turner-Smith), whom he crosses paths with on a few occasions throughout the season.
Although to the casual observer, she appears to be a homeless woman, her words imply that she may actually be a physical manifestation of God, walking the earth to offer comfort to those who need it.
She tells Eric: "Today was the start of a long and hard road. I will be with you every step of the way. You will change hearts and minds and let everyone know that I love them for who they are. This will be your calling. It will be your life's work.
"I made you this bright so that others would see in the darkness," adds the stranger, causing Eric to weep.
Encouraged by this profound interaction and his pastor's openness to reform, Eric makes a big decision about his future – he plans to become a pastor too, nurturing his faith while not sacrificing his morals.
What happens to Jackson and who is his dad?
One of the big mysteries of the season regards the identity of Jackson's father.
The former Moordale student, who was raised by two mothers, becomes interested in learning more about his origins after finding a lump in his testicles. Fortunately, it is found to be non-cancerous.
However, prior to receiving this result, Jackson is understandably concerned and wonders if he could have a genetic risk of developing cancer.
He is frustrated when his mothers, Sofia (Hannah Waddingham) and Roz (Sharon Duncan-Brewster), refuse to offer any information about his biological father, prompting him to go rummaging through their private possessions.
He discovers a love letter from a man named Jerome and is successful in tracking him down, but receives an unwelcome reaction on his doorstep.
Confronting his parents, he learns the truth: Jerome had been married to another woman when he and Roz had an affair, which resulted in her becoming pregnant with Jackson.
Fearing it would destroy his marriage, Jerome cut all ties with Roz and his unborn son. However, she met Sofia soon after and the pair quickly fell in love, deciding to raise Jackson as their own.
Although Jackson is upset that his father has no desire to get to know him, his mothers tell him that Jerome is a fool for making that decision. It is clear that he is dearly loved.
Sex Education season 4 ending explained: What happens to the other characters?
Sex Education has a large roster of characters, many of whom start exciting new journeys in this finale. Here's some of the other major developments:
Aimee burns the jeans that she was wearing when a man sexually assaulted her on the bus, symbolising her no longer letting that horrible incident hold power over her. She enters into a romantic relationship with Isaac (with Maeve's blessing).
Cal goes missing and it is implied that they could be having suicidal thoughts due to their gender dysphoria. Fortunately, Eric and Jackson are able to find them, offering their personal support through this difficult time.
The students of Cavendish later decide to host a fundraiser for Cal to have top surgery, as NHS waiting times are extremely long and their family is not able to afford the treatment privately.
Viv puts a definitive stop to her relationship with Cavendish student Beau, who quickly became highly controlling and abusive towards her.
Jean convinces her younger sister to move in with her and get therapy for sexual abuse she suffered as a child. Jean also prepares to tell local man Dan that he is the father of her child.
There's reason to believe he could take the news well as he had previously expressed a desire to have children, although we ultimately do not see his reaction.
Like this? You might want to try Outlander. Available now on Lionsgate+.
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