Eric and Adam just might be Sex Education‘s most unlikely love.
When Season 3 picks up, the couple is in the throes of a very real, very official new relationship, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be smooth sailing.
“It’s going to be difficult because they’ve had a very difficult journey up until this point,” Ncuti Gatwa tells TVLine in the video above. “There’s been a lot of work and a lot of patience, and a lot of toxicity as well… It’s going to be interesting to see how they both deal with their new status.”
While Eric remains his exuberantly confident and out self, Adam is still growing accustomed to his waking sexuality. He’s keeping their relationship a secret from his mom, Mrs. Groff, and at times, he awkwardly refers to Eric as his “friend.” But despite their “undeniable connection,” tensions rise as the two begin to realize they’re in “completely different places.”
“Eric has reduced his [status] a lot throughout the past two seasons in order for Adam to grow,” explains Gatwa. “Now, he seemingly doesn’t have to do that anymore. However, they are in very different places, and so it kind of feels like he still has to.”
A midseason argument puts the boyfriends at odds, with Eric telling Adam he thinks they need space, and that the time he’s about to spend in Nigeria with his family will be good for them. However, all this does is inflame the lingering pressure between them. Yet before Eric departs, Adam pays him a visit to say that he doesn’t want there to be any space, leading to an emotional exchange of “I love yous.”
Unfortunately, the heartwarming scene is a mere Band-Aid for their burgeoning issues. In Episode 6, Eric meets Oba, an attractive young photographer, at a family wedding in Lagos. He tags along with his new friend after hours, despite some feelings of culture shock being a young gay guy in Africa. But once he loosens up, a little action on the dance floor leads to a passionate kiss with the near stranger, and the two later wake up in Oba’s bed, surrounded by party crashers on the floor. They didn’t have sex, Oba confirms, but the kiss (and ultimately, his betrayal of trust) will continue to weigh heavily in Eric’s mind.
But what will his actions mean for Adam and Eric’s young love?
“He’s constantly trying to figure out whether Adam is the right person to water his plants for him to grow,” says Gatwa. “Eric has been watering a lot of other people’s plants, and I think he needs someone with a big old watering can to water his own! I don’t know whether that’s Adam or not.”