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Who Should Otis Have Ended Up With?


Summary

  • Otis didn’t end up with anyone in the final season of Sex Education, leaving his character arc feeling inconclusive. However, the show is about self-discovery, and Otis still faces a long path ahead.
  • Otis and Maeve kept drifting apart, hindered by unspoken words, jealousy, lack of communication, and distance. Their individual arcs became more interesting, leading to the decision to go their separate ways.
  • Otis’s egocentric nature and selfishness resulted in conflicts and strained relationships. The show explored his privilege as a white, straight man and his failure to acknowledge the experiences of others. It took losing Maeve and Ruby for Otis to realize the need for change.


One of the biggest questions about Sex Education‘s final season was who Otis (Asa Butterfield) would end up with. Any possible outcome was bound to be divisive, with many fans preferring Maeve over Ruby and vice-versa. The addition of new characters to the cast made Otis’ romantic fate even more enigmatic, but nothing could’ve prepared viewers for the show’s ultimate decision: at the end of the day, Otis didn’t end up with anyone.

With many characters such as Adam and Aimee finding the closure they needed, Otis’ character arc feels somewhat inconclusive given he’s the main character of the show. However, Sex Education has always been about coming to terms with one’s true self, and despite the show coming to an end, Otis still has a long path of self-discovery ahead. Leaving Otis’ egocentric nature aside, there are other clear reasons why he didn’t end up with Maeve or Ruby.


Otis and Maeve Lost Timing With Each Season

Netflix

The question about whether Maeve and Otis would end up together lingered ever since Sex Education‘s first episode, and for good reasons. For one thing, they challenged typical teen drama stereotypes such as the nerd and the popular girl get-together by having two underdogs falling in love instead. The chemistry between the two was charming and offered a dynamic connection with Maeve being the strong-willed, independent woman and Otis the insecure, little mama’s boy.

Despite being the opposite of one another, they fulfilled each and everything they expected to see in a partner. Maeve needed someone who would actually listen to her and value her ideas. On the other hand, Otis wanted someone who would point out his mistakes, but also be patient towards his awkwardness. In this context, the two improved each other; spending time together caused both of them to become more self-aware and confident about their qualities and flaws, although their feral stubbornness would often get in the way.

Related: Sex Education: Why Season 4’s Spotlight on Disability Is so Important

However, unlike perfect TV romances such as The Office‘s Pam and Jim, who also took four seasons to finally get together, or New Girl‘s Jess and Nick, who hit it off without much suspense, Otis and Maeve’s character arcs kept drifting apart. Every time Sex Education hinted at the two finally getting together, an invisible force got in the way and caused them to start from scratch. Soon enough, the supposed romance between them was bound to unspoken words, jealousy, lack of communication, and lastly, distance. By the time the two finally embraced, Otis and Maeve’s storyline simply felt worn out; their individual arcs were just much more interesting, and it seemed necessary to have them go their own ways.

Why Otis and Ruby Shouldn’t Have Ended Up Together

Asa Butterfield & Mimi Keene in Sex Education
Netflix

Otis and Ruby getting romantically involved in Sex Education Season 3 was another reason why Otis and Maeve no longer felt right. Similar to how Maeve and Otis improved each other, Otis and Ruby complemented each other; anything lacking in their personalities felt vivid and fresh when they were together. While such a narrative twist attended to overused teen drama cliches, the romance felt renewing to the show overall, as it shied away from Otis and Maeve’s same old, same old. The result was one of Sex Education’s most entertaining storylines, although it lasted only a few episodes.

Or so fans thought. In Season 4, there’s a big “what if” hanging over Otis and Ruby’s head. While the bittersweet end of their romance in Season 3 led to an unsatisfying conclusion, it’s undeniable how beneficial it was for Ruby as a character. She returns in the final season with much more personality and integrity, no longer bound to a typical mean-girl caricature. Especially because she improved so much as a character and Otis stayed pretty much the same, the discrepancy between the two made it clear that Otis was undeserving of Ruby; he was still too immature, while in turn, Ruby came to terms with her change of scenario and finally made new friends.

Related: Sex Education: Every New Character Introduced in Season 4, Ranked

Otis Always Put Himself Above Everyone Else

Asa Butterfield as Otis in Sex Education
Netflix

Before thinking about who Otis should have ended up with, maybe the best is to reflect on whether everything really has to be about him. There’s a reason why he ended up alone in the Sex Education series finale, and that’s because Otis always put himself above everyone else. His fragile ego and selfishness were the catalyst for some of Sex Education‘s most intense conflicts, and Season 4 doesn’t skimp on resources to portray Otis as the spoiled, flawed person he is, while simultaneously tracing a promising path of change with effective character development.

In fact, Sex Education‘s creator Laurie Nunn felt the final season was the perfect moment to delve deep into Otis’ privilege as a white, straight man from a financially stable family (via Variety). The show always treated the problems of each character equally regardless of race, age, or sexuality, but there’s a clear discrepancy between Otis and the other main characters that he fails to acknowledge. It’s difficult to forget about Season 1, Episode 5, when Eric was assaulted by two homophobes and was desperate for someone to talk to, and all Otis could do was chatter about Maeve.

Otis and Eric argued heavily in Season 4, too, and once again, the reason was Otis’ self-obsession. He spent the majority of the final season trying to convince others he was the one who came up with the idea of the sex clinic. All the while, his friends’ worlds were falling apart around him. It took Otis losing both Maeve and Ruby for him to stop navel-gazing, but Sex Education always made it clear there’s always space for a change.

Sex Education had to end that way; some people just don’t change overnight, and the fact that everyone had their good endings and Otis was left adrift calls up to a sense of “life goes on” that few TV shows embrace in their final seasons. The directions seem clear, but the final result is ultimately ambiguous.



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