Sex Education is back, and all we care about is the show’s resident diva, Ruby Matthews (Mimi Keene), who has returned for her throne. Even better: Netflix heard all of our incessant pleas to make her as big of a character as leads Otis (Asa Butterfield), Maeve (Emma Mackey), and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa). In the fourth and final season, praise the sex gods, Ruby is a full-fledged main character with several storylines and a point in a big love triangle.
(Warning: Spoilers ahead for all episodes of Sex Education Season 4.)
Ruby is the only popular kid from Moordale to transfer to Cavendish College at the start of the new season. Her lackeys—Anwar (Chaneil Kular) and Olivia (Simone Ashley)—have vanished from Sex Education. With no friends and a negative attitude (which, let’s face it, is iconic no matter how mean she is), Ruby becomes the biggest outcast at her new school. Poor Ruby is down so bad that she has to do the thing every high school loser in a TV show must do: eat lunch in the bathroom.
To be fair, Ruby did earn her downfall. She’s a total jerk. At the same time, because of her role in Otis’ love life last season, Ruby has become a Sex Education fan favorite. In other words: When Ruby struggles, we all struggle. She’s our girl. No one puts baby in a corner, and no one puts Ruby in a toilet stall with her lunchbox.
— #iloveayoedebiri (@riaslost) September 21, 2023
ruby matthews is the queen of sex education, that’s all pic.twitter.com/HzrveWuhju
— geo ✭ (@outerrlove) September 21, 2023
— wiktoria (taylor's version) (@fajeposeksie) September 21, 2023
— resh loves hita (@wespersacd) September 21, 2023
That said, Ruby doesn’t take long to rebound in this new social setting. She cozies up with a new friend, her ex Otis, helping his campaign to become the one and only sex therapist at their new college. When they arrived, Cavendish happened to already have a sex therapist, O (Thaddea Graham)—and as it turns out, O and Ruby have some loaded history. O bullied Ruby at summer camp back when they were pre-teens. Now, Ruby’s out to get revenge—and she’s sporting the wardrobe to do it. We love a vengeful, catty woman in dazzling outfits. Nastiness looks so good on Ruby.
And so does a love triangle, which is exactly what we get more of in Season 4. Otis and Maeve have been chatting casually (but still romantically? It’s a little weird) while Maeve studies at a college in America. But because of the ongoing competition for lead sex therapist, Otis and Ruby spend an increased amount of time together. Ruby is a killer at teasing Otis. Like a dormant volcano that later becomes active with fiery lava again, tension from their past relationship comes bubbling back up for a second time.
But the banter isn’t enough. No, no. Sex Education needs to drop an emotional bomb on its viewers. Near the middle of the season, Ruby and Otis accidentally sleep together—in a literal sleeping sense, not in a hooking up sense—after a night cramming for the campaign. And this isn’t, like, casual dozing. They’re cuddling. Cuddling!
— ellie ✨ (@lattewhxre) September 21, 2023
— sly (@scorpiolikeyou) September 21, 2023
— . (@obrienvm24) September 12, 2023
— always.a.mikaelson🇮🇹 (@xedom02) September 21, 2023
All swooning aside, Otis and Ruby belong together. Neither of them are particularly great people—Ruby is mean to everyone who crosses her path; Otis is a neglectful friend to Eric who tries to take down an innocent sex therapist when she is better at his job than he is. So why would we want them to end up with any of the show’s actually kind and thoughtful characters? At the same time, they’re consistently the smartest people in the room, so their cheeky remarks and endless scheming is irresistible to watch when they’re together.
But then there’s the question of Maeve, who undoubtedly has equal amounts of chemistry with Otis. It all comes down to what kind of love story one prefers: enemies-to-lovers or will-they-won’t-they? In my book, enemies-to-lovers reigns supreme. Plus, Maeve needs to figure her life out in America before she starts putting all her energy back into a high-school boyfriend.
It’s all a wash anyways, because by the end of the season, Otis doesn’t end up with either girl. Maeve needs her space. Ruby ditches Otis. Take notes, boys: Too much lollygagging around and the love(s) of your life will pass you by. What we do get in return, though, is a stellar final moment for Ruby. One final dig at Otis cements her legacy as the bitchy superstar: “I’ve actually got enough friends now, Otis,” she says, and flounces away with people cooler than he is.
Ruby will never change. And for that, she’ll go down in history as the best character Sex Education ever invented.