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Sex Education season 3 release date, cast and plot

Contains spoilers for Sex Education seasons 1 and 2

Netflix's Sex Education only released its second season in January 2020, but one month later, the streaming giant announced that season 3 is coming down the pipeline. The news-drop was bundled in a charming video featuring Alistair Petrie, who plays Principal Groff on the series, as he walks through a makeshift "museum" in the halls of Moordale Secondary School and comments on portraits of the Sex Education cast. 

The extraordinarily-well-reviewed comedy-drama series, created by Laurie Nunn, has every reason to keep on trucking. (Netflix knew exactly what it was doing when it made that promo video of Gillian Anderson performing ASMR as her character Dr. Milburn. Laser-targeted content, that one.) The second season of Sex Education has outperformed even the fantastic reception of the first one (it's regarded as among the best TV shows of 2019), so there's no lack of anticipation for the cliffhanger payoff after Issac (George Robinson) deleted from Maeve's (Emma Mackey) voicemail Otis' (Asa Butterfield) heart-stirring love confession. Plus, there should be plenty in store for the new couples and could-be-somethings formed on season 2, as well as for the future of Otis' nearly-defunct sex clinic.

We've got all the news fit to scroll for season 3, so let's take a look at what we can expect when Sex Education returns to Netflix.

What's the release date for Sex Education season 3?

As you might expect, since the second season of Sex Education was released only a month before the third season announcement, there's no firm release date for more episodes. The announcement video ends simply with "season 3 is coming" — ambiguity that may be explained in part by the fact that all Netflix series fans live in perpetual anxiety of premature cancellation. Netflix likely won't make any specific promises about Sex Education season 3's release date until it's imminent, as the company usually does. 

That said, both seasons of the series have previously been released in January, with filming windows across the summer and fall. Sex Education season 1 rolled out on January 11, 2019, while season 2 dropped on January 17, 2020. If Netflix and the Sex Education team keeps up this pattern of production and release, the third installment of the show should roll out sometime in January 2021. We're betting January 15, 2021 will be the date Netflix settles on. But, of course, the streamer could prove us wrong. This is all simply speculation for the time being.

Who's in the cast of Sex Education season 3?

Luckily, the Sex Education season 3 announcement video took some of the guesswork out of our prognosticating the next batch of episodes with regard to returning players. In it, Petrie is shown walking down a hallway at Moordale, which is festooned in fake paintings of most of the series' main cast. He summarizes some of the characters' struggles that culminated during the second season's finale — and he does it in a curious order, too: Maeve, Otis (holding an incredible quantity of aubergines like that one Limes Guy meme), Adam (Connor Swindells), Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), Ola (Patricia Allison), Lily (Tanya Reynolds), Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood), Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling), Dr. Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), and then back to Adam and Eric.

That's not quite everybody in the Sex Education, but it's all the most important people you'd expect to come back for season 3. And with Petrie in the video, we can anticipate him to reprise his role as Principal Groff as well.

What's interesting about the video is that Petrie makes an oblique reference to Rahim (Sami Outalbali) when talking about Eric: "Eric, asking the old question — 'he loves me, he loves me not?' — based on a French game," Petrie says, while deliberately pointing at the camera. Sounds like we can perhaps expect that particular love triangle between Eric, Adam, and Rahim to continue? Maybe we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

As Sex Education season 2 did, season 3 will likely introduce a few new characters and actors to play them. However, Netflix hasn't released any information to that end as of February 2020. 

What's the plot of Sex Education season 3?

Where did we leave off with Sex Education season 2? Well, Jean and Otis are on the rocks over Otis' sex clinic, Maeve and Otis are on the rocks about Otis' behavior towards Maeve after she confessed her love for him, Maeve and her mother are on the rocks after Maeve calls social services to report her for drug use — it's a bit of a mess, really. 

It's not all terrible, though. Eric and Adam appear to have finally met each other at the right time — even if it meant sort of sabotaging an oddly sexual school musical and hurting Eric's now-ex-boyfriend Rahim in the process — and the announcement video highlights their relationship. The final painting in the clip is of both boys together, and while looking upon it, Petrie waxes poetic and wonders where the future will lead Eric and Adam on their rocky journey, which began on season 1 when Adam initiated a steamy encounter with Eric during the season finale. In a show of true still-life symbolism, there's a broken vase in the background of the painting, and Eric has one piece on the table before him. Is it meant to symbolize Rahim's potentially broken heart, or the damage between Eric and Adam that they have wrought themselves?

The juiciest nugget presented by the Sex Education season 3 announcement video comes from the good doctor herself. Petrie pauses before Jean's portrait, appearing thoughtful, then looks to the camera and declares that the pomegranate featured in the background of the painting is an age-old symbol of fertility. Season 2 of the series revealed that Jean is pregnant — and after a stormy bit of indecision on her part between her ex-husband Remi (James Purefoy) and her nouveau beau Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt), is there some baby-daddy drama on the horizon? 

As new info about Sex Education season 3 surfaces, we'll be sure to let you know all about it.