Sex Education Season 3 Fails To Redeem Its New Biggest Villain

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Sex Education Season 3 Fails To Redeem Its New Biggest Villain

Sex Education season 3 introduced Hope Haddon as Moordale’s new Headteacher. She mistreated her students at every turn, and she didn’t get a pass.

Sex Education season 3 fails to redeem its new biggest villain. Following the events of season 2, Headmaster Michael Groff was booted from his position at Moordale Secondary. He was replaced by Headteacher Hope Haddon, who introduced herself as an ally to students before creating stifling and strict policies in a bid to restore Moordale’s good standing amongst the public and its funders. 

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Hope (Jemima Kirke) was easily Sex Education season 3’s most despicable character. She was horrible to the students, threatening them, shaming Adam, Lily, and new transfer Cal — a non-binary student who consistently stood up against Hope — in front of the entire school, and creating new rules that hindered individual expression. She was controlling and believed that adhering to conservative rules that took away the freedoms of the students would bring Moordale back into a positive light. Outside of the school’s confines, Hope was struggling to start a family, getting IVF treatments that weren’t working, and a marriage that didn’t seem to be holding it together under the pressure. 

While Sex Education showed more of Hope’s layers (albeit very briefly) by exploring her personal life, it didn’t use her struggles with IVF to excuse her behavior with the students at Moordale. There were also instances where she genuinely showed interest in her students’ educational future, but the series didn’t make her a sympathetic character whose personal issues overshadowed her horrifying actions, which included locking Cal in a room so they wouldn’t be a part of Moordale’s Open Day. Hope wasn’t one-dimensional — her complexities showed how the lack of control in her personal life affected how she ran the school. And yet, Sex Education refused to redeem or justify her actions because it honestly doesn’t make up for the ways in which she mistreated her students. 

For true redemption to happen for an antagonist, the character must first realize they were in the wrong to begin with and then work to atone for their mistakes and awful behavior. Sex Education season 3 worked to do that with Mr. Groff, though it was more successful with Adam and Ruby’s character arcs. Hope has yet to feel any remorse for her actions. She also hasn’t acknowledged any wrongdoing at all. Her final scene in Sex Education season 3’s finale was more about Otis reigniting his passion for helping people and less about Hope’s own actions. While she revealed a lot during their conversation that humanized her, it didn’t brush the damage she had done under the rug. 

Now that Moordale is closing and she is no longer the Headteacher, it’s unclear if Hope will return in season 4 of Sex Education. The show could go the route it did for Michael Groff, exploring Hope’s home life outside of Moordale, but it’s too early for her to be redeemed considering she’s only been on the show for one season. Regardless of what happens, it was good that the series was able to show a bit about her background without undermining her mistreatment of Moordale’s students. 

Mae Abdulbaki is a movie reviews editor with Screen Rant. She previously wrote about a variety of movies and TV shows for Inverse, CinemaBlend, Pajiba, and The Young Folks, where she wrote reviews, features, news pieces. Her other work can be found at The Mary Sue, Film School Rejects, UPROXX, Heroic Hollywood, Looper, The List, and Bam Smack Pow, among others. Mae has also appeared on television segments, podcasts, and panels to discuss all things entertainment.

Hope (Jemima Kirke) was easily Sex Education season 3’s most despicable character. She was horrible to the students, threatening them, shaming Adam, Lily, and new transfer Cal — a non-binary student who consistently stood up against Hope — in front of the entire school, and creating new rules that hindered individual expression. She was controlling and believed that adhering to conservative rules that took away the freedoms of the students would bring Moordale back into a positive light. Outside of the school’s confines, Hope was struggling to start a family, getting IVF treatments that weren’t working, and a marriage that didn’t seem to be holding it together under the pressure. 

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