In Ted Lasso season 3, episode 10, a handful of Greyhounds travel to represent their countries in international matches, Roy receives two very different and very important shirts, neither of them dark heather charcoal, and Rebecca rescues English football from the clutches of another Super League Attempter. Read on for our discussion of Ted Lasso season 3, episode 10, ‘International Break.’
With a match-free weekend on the horizon due to international break, we learn which of the Greyhounds will be representing their national teams – Colin, Bumbercatch, Van Damme, Dani, Jamie, and notably, not Sam. While Van Damme struggles with Dani’s new patriotic animosity as they travel back to North America together, Sam learns that his omission from the team is due to the meddling of Edwin Akufo, who is in town trying to gauge interest in a new Super League. Edwin has apparently made good on his promise from the season 2 finale and bribed the Nigerian government to keep Sam off the team, and he’s now threatening to ruin his restaurant. Sadly, this is not a plot that gets solved within the hour, and it’s hard to predict what’s coming next for Sam, but a moment in the corridor with Rebecca reminds us that these two still have unfinished business, and plenty of sparks.
Jamie, meanwhile, during his first week training with the England team, returns to Richmond in order to attend Uncle’s Day, a made up holiday that Phoebe is inflicting upon Roy. The pair prove to the audience once and for all – and Roy’s incredibly amused sister – that despite their best protests, they are in fact, best friends, especially when Jamie presents Roy with an incredibly thoughtful gift that honours Roy’s time as an England international, another bond they now share. Phoebe’s gift is a little less to Roy’s taste – a bright tie dye t-shirt that the man later forces himself to wear in public, even as he struggles to deal with being perceived. It’s while wearing the red-orange-yellow monstrosity that Roy runs into Phoebe’s old teacher, Ms Bowen, once again, and a reminder of their last meeting causes Roy to realise, once and for all, exactly what kind of internal issues had caused him to torpedo his relationship with Keeley. He attempts to apologise for the hurt he caused Keeley in a letter, but somehow only finds the right words when watching Jamie make his debut as a substitute for England, in which he dons Sam’s club number to share a piece of this moment with his friend.
Roy tries to leave the letter under Keeley’s door, but finds her returning home in the middle of the day instead, and reads the contents to her. The pair reconcile – for now – but whether it will stick remains to be seen. It very much could, or it very much could be Keeley craving a moment of escapism after a terrible week, in which she learns that after everything with Jack, the VC is pulling funding and shutting down KJPR. Having coped with this news in various ways – mostly crying, day drinking and buying snowglobes – Roy declaring his love may be the comfort Keeley needs to feel better about herself, but it may prove ill advised in the long run, given the framing of our discovery of the hook-up. However, KJPR is back in business by the close, as Rebecca offers to invest instead. It’s enough for Keeley to begin rebuilding the company from the ground up, and honestly, we’re just grateful that we get to keep Barbara.
In a somewhat shocking turn of events, we learn via a news broadcast that in the interim, Nate the Great has quit his job at West Ham. We thought the circumstances that would lead to that were scenes we would witness, but instead we find him hiding out in bed, depressed and uncertain about what the future might look like for him. When Jade goes to Poland to visit her family, Nate, restless and trapped in his flat all day by paparazzi, sneaks into his parents house in the middle of the night, where he is welcomed and allowed to sleep off the impact of his week in his childhood bedroom. After a few days, we see Nate go poking around his parents house, losing himself in photo albums and eventually unearthing his old violin in the attic. Bringing it back to his bedroom, he begins to play Arvo Pärt’s ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ before he’s interrupted by his father, and the fricticious pair have a tearful conversation that reveals to us that Nate’s footballing tactical genius is just plain genius – his troubled mind seems to have been the product of childhood Giftedness, and his father, rather than being a harsh disciplinarian with high expectations, reveals he was always at a loss at what to do with his son other than push him to reach his full potential, as he did not want the opportunities he never had to go to waste.
Rebecca, meanwhile, is invited by ex-husband Rupert to a meeting of football club owners to discuss the possibility of joining Edwin Akufo’s Super League. She’s unsure about accepting a seat at the table in the first place, but once she does, and learns what it will entail, she comes up strongly against the proposal. In a scathing speech about the importance of football – scored by Nate’s playing and featuring cuts to Jamie’s England debut – she denounces the greed behind such a project and manages to do the unthinkable – offer the audience a sense of humanity, even sympathy for Rupert, as we learn about the boyish man she married who really did love the beautiful game for the reasons it truly matters. Such is Rebecca’s power that she talks all the other owners out of the proposal, a move that leaves Edwin – predictably – infuriated enough to throw food at them all. Even for a show that we continue to insist is very much about football, it was a little surprising to see Ted Lasso tackle such a specific football issue and make it the catalyst for Rebecca’s major moment of reckoning.
Apple TV+ already has a documentary on the subject of the Super League, if anyone is curious to learn more than what we’ve discussed below, but in the aftermath of the luncheon carnage, Rupert and Rebecca share memories and laughs, and caught up in the moment he tries to kiss her. Instantly rejecting him, Rebecca realises that once and for all, she is over Rupert Mannion. She’s no longer a little bit in love with him and also no longer obsessed with him as a nemesis, and his moment of clarity allows her to move into the final episodes free of the issues that held her back before. Her desire to win the league is now for the right reasons – something that Ted can agree with – but it feels like our leading lady is still looking for love, as well, and is now in the right place to recieve it. Who the right person for her may be remains uncertain, but with two more episodes left, there’s still time for several contenders to take center stage. Catch up with our Ted Lasso conversation reviews so far and read on as we join the team for ‘International Break.’
‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 10 review in conversation
Natalie: Oh my God! Oh my God. OH MY GOD. They fucking nailed it. This episode was next level. I’m relieved, after finding issues with at least one track of each of the past three eps. But mostly I’m so happy. And they didn’t fuck up the exposition! Our fears were unfounded!
Megan: It was so so good! Like… I was so nervous going into it, but I loved every single element. What a high to take us into the last two episodes.
Natalie: THREE LIONS JAMIE REAL.
Megan: SOUTHGATE! EXISTS!
Natalie: THREE LIONS JAMIE UNDER SOUTHGATE REAL. Just blow the whistle now. Game over. My Ted Lasso journey is complete.
Megan: I would say there’s nothing more I need to see, but that’s a lie, I do need to meet Jamie’s mum. But… God, this was perfect. Like, there were elements I could have done with more of – by which I obviously mean Jamie – and elements that made me sad and frustrated – Sam – but it was everything.
Natalie: It’s also fucking TIDY, very well laid out within the timing of the break week.
Megan: Yes! No continuity gripes or fuck ups here!
Natalie: I could not have handled another timeline issue making me question the impact of people’s actions.
Megan: No haha, hopefully we’re past that now for the rest of the season.
Natalie: Opening on the news story about Nate stunned me, and at first I was like, “What? That’s too easy,” but we’ll loop back around to that story, which is absolutely fucking fascinating. But in the opening scene we learn some lovely things about the timeline. For instance, we know that it is Saturday, thanks to Soccer Saturday, and Richmond have just played and won their last league match before the international break week. They’ve now won 10 league matches in a row, putting them at 31 matches overall for the season, and 57 points. They’re climbing the table, it sounds like. West Ham are still second and we can assume Man City are first, but Richmond are up there. And the timing of all this places us in the last week of March, when the late-season international break generally occurs. All lovely and clear. We all know what time of year it is and even what day it is. And Ted doesn’t act like this is the first time he’s ever heard of international break. He also doesn’t act like it’s a vacation – training with the bulk of the squad is set to carry on from Monday, when the Internationals are setting off on their travels. I don’t know what to do with all this sensible football realism, but Ted Lasso getting these basics right allowed me to focus on the feelings and not nitpick the bizarre accidental implications of certain errors or handwaves, and I really appreciate that.
Megan: Yes! Look, that was them doing you a real solid. Not everyone focuses on the details quite as much, but when you can’t turn it off, it is very frustrating when you really just want to enjoy things. So I’m glad you got that.
Natalie: They really came at me with the Babs stuff later, didn’t they? But we will get there. Also, all our call up predictions, based on footballing logic, were right! You didn’t have to deal with the absurdity of Richard being good enough to make the France squad!
Megan: Yes! That was a huge relief! The only surprise there was Bumbercatch, and even that was fine! Because he’s not good enough for England. But he would be for Switzerland! What a treat for me and him.
Natalie: Bumbercatch was someone I thought MAY also get an England call up due to the way Total Football has made the team shine, because Moe Hashim is the star player among the actors. But the Swiss thing was a fascinating pivot.
Megan: Grandfather clause, bebe.
Natalie: They didn’t really explain the whys and hows, so would you like to tell the people what that means? Because he’s obviously English in terms of his accent and culture, and he was originally listed as English on the cheat sheet and, I think, FIFA also. Tell the people why he can play for Switzerland.
Megan: Yep! So basically, when you decide which country you want to be in the running to play for, in international football you can claim it for the country of birth of one of your parents or grandparents if it’s different to your own. And players will do it sometimes if their main nationality is from a more competitive footballing country. So if one of Moe’s parents or grandparents are Swiss, and he knew it was unlikely he’d ever get an England call up, he might have decided to put himself forward for the Swiss team to get more chances at playing on the international stage. It’s possible the FIFA and cheat sheet ratings are from his time in the juniors, because you CAN switch allegiance from youth to men’s teams. Jack Grealish and Declan Rice played for Ireland under this rule when they were younger, but when it became clear they might be good enough for the England team they switched their allegiance for senior call up. Irish fans are still very angry with them, and any time either of them post any Three Lions content on Twitter during International Duty you can be sure the Irish Football Men will have thoughts in their replies.
Natalie: Moe could have declared for England before even at a senior level, but once it became unlikely he would ever get called up, and IF he’s never played for England on a senior level, he could have applied to change his allegiance recently. You can change it even as a senior if you’ve never played for the country you assigned yourself to. Isaac, for example, could have always been declared for England, but if he never got a call up, he could change his allegiance to Nigeria if one of his parents or grandparents were born there. Most people want to play for the country they feel closest to as their own nationality, but people do choose to change it up if it’s looking more likely they’d get a spot on a less prolific team. Which seems to be what Moe has done.
Megan: Yeah, which is fair enough. It is such a big deal playing in, say, the World Cup. And if you can have a shot at it with why not.
Natalie: Alternatively, Moe could have been born in Switzerland to British expats, there are so many there, and then moved back to England at a later point. That could also be why. Like how Erling Haaland was born in England when his Norwegian dad was playing in the Premier League. Erling had the right to declare for England, but he’s always chosen Norway as he grew up there and really is Norwegian, not English, and Norway didn’t even get into the World Cup last year. At least we got that amazing “Erling needs games” video out of it.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 17, 2022
Megan: God. Sometimes I just watch that. For funsies. Poor Erling.
Natalie: But now I’m imagining a future where Isaac and Sam are Nigerian team mates and Sam gets to show him around Lagos, once they sort out what the fuck is going on there.
Megan: That would be so good! Sam giving him all the tours.
Natalie: Given that we knew Edwin Akufo was in the episode, it did not shock me at all to learn Sam wasn’t selected. Earlier in the season I wasn’t sure we would ever come back to that threat, but when we knew Edwin was back, it seemed inevitable. Poor Sam.
Megan: Yeah that was the part of the episode I enjoyed the least. Not because it wasn’t good! I didn’t dislike it! It just made me so sad for him. I really need to know that sometime in the future it gets fixed somehow.
Natalie: Has he TOLD anyone about that threat? Like, surely he must have a hunch. When the world is expecting him to basically be the star of the Nigerian team. It was tough for me, the fact that is still unresolved. The poor boy.
Megan: Like… Trent can do a chapter of it in his book, headlines about “Nigerian government caves into pressure from Ghanaian billionaire, scuppering the national team’s chance at World Cup glory.” I don’t think they’d want that publicity, they’d have to stop blocking him right?! Come on Trent, fix it.
Natalie: The one thing about the first scene in the dressing room that was very slightly wrong is the fact that Ted doesn’t know Sam’s call-up status, because this is not the moment any of those boys found out they were on the teams. They all already knew – Jamie wasn’t waiting with baited breath to hear if he was selected, for example, he was just proud to hear it again. They all knew already, which means the squad announcements were very much public domain. So the focus on Ted being like “That’s it?” was slightly off, but I guess I’ll let it go for the sake of exposition.
Megan: Yeah look, maybe Ted had genuinely just lost track, because everyone else was very like, awkwardly silent about it and they clearly all knew.
Natalie: In general, it did very much feel like Beard was going around the room just sharing extended general congrats for the known internationals. It did not play like this was The Announcement. So yeah, Ted just… apparently doesn’t keep up.
Megan: Honestly that tracks for Ted’s whole vibe.
Natalie: If this was the Big Announcement Moment for Jamie, especially, it would be pretty underwhelming. He and Roy would have way more of a response, instead they’re clearly already basking in the news they’re already aware of. I want to come back to Jamie, even though he’s the first one listed by Beard, mainly because I have more to say about it. But yay Colin!
Megan: Yes! He gets to play for Wales!
Natalie: And yay Mexico vs Canada in the CONCACAF!
Megan: I REALLY wanted that, when I was thinking about possible international scenarios. Right down to the shared plane ride. I was not expecting this version though, haha.
Natalie: It sounds like this is the first time they’ll be facing off directly since knowing each other, even though I suspect they’ve both had call-ups before due to their Premier League status.
Megan: Yeah agreed.
Natalie: And I was definitely not expecting Dani’s response, but honestly? As soon as it happened, I was like, “Yeah. That feels right.” I did say last week I wanted less toddler Dani.
Megan: But how do you feel about psycho Dani?
Natalie: It is hot. That fierce, almost nefarious passion for Mexico just worked for me. It isn’t like he talks about every Premier League opponent like this. International Dani hits different. But it felt right for me, immediately I was like “Oh yeah, I absolutely get it.” It made sense for whatever reason. He’s very patriotic.
Megan: Yeah I think I agree. It works as just another facet of his “football is life” ideology. I enjoyed seeing such a different side of him, and poor Van Damme didn’t know what hit him. He was so sweet!
Natalie: I was immediately obsessed. I love it when players from different teams – national or club – show camaraderie in opposition. That’s my favourite, cuddling the opposite team and all. That’s clearly what Van Damme was after. But Dani doesn’t roll that way and I truly, truly loved it. The threatening hiss in his face, the muttering in Spanish. Obsessed.
Megan: Yeah look, some of my favourite moments during the World Cup was the cuddling between club teammates on rival national teams. But I can get behind Dani not being one of those guys. It’s subversive given his general character.
Natalie: And not in a way that felt gimmicky or like a bit. I immediately bought it. I just worry if he ever has to go up against Jamie or Sam in any of the World Cup group stages, if they make the theoretical tournament occur after this season. They’ll be so upset.
Megan: They would not handle it! Actually, Sam might handle it better than Jamie lol. He’s very good at staying stoic in the face of people like, Edwin. Jamie would be so confused!
Natalie: Jamie is very bad at rejection.
Natalie: So let’s talk about him a bit here and how good it is to finally know he’s made it. Because look. Jamie, as a Man City academy talent, had to have been coming up through the England youth squads. There’s no way he didn’t play for them in the under 16s, 17s, etc, maybe all the way up to the Young Lions. But he obviously also never got a senior England call up when young, like Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, or Jude Bellingham. He didn’t join the big boys as a baby. And then with the Richmond loan and everything that followed, and especially walking out on City to do Lust? He would have been passed over for personality and attitude reasons, no matter how good he was. Especially with Gareth Southgate in charge. And then last season, he was doing well, but they were in the Championship, not the Prem, and it’s not high quality enough, not for England. There are just people who would have come ahead of him. Then this season, the earlier international breaks that would have happened in August, October and November – that was all during the Zava mess, when Jamie was not shining on the pitch. But now he’s the heart of the Richmond team, he’s versatile in his positional play, and he’s well known to be a friendly, loveable team player, and he has Roy to vouch for him. If anyone from the England camp called Richmond to discuss his private conduct, which is possible, Roy would have absolutely made sure they knew they’d be stupid NOT to take him. Even if his grumpy arse hadn’t wanted to say anything nice, he would have confirmed that Jamie’s attitude was good, his discipline and commitment was good, and that he would do well at the England camp.
Jamie’s call-up is, as they say later, very well earned. It’s been a long time coming. And it’s the thing I most wanted for him this season. So I am SLIGHTLY upset that we didn’t actually follow his POV during the episode, seeing him get the call from Gareth Southgate, or even seeing him maybe not have his phone on him because he’s driving or showering or running laps, and leaving it to Roy to get to be the one to tell him he’s been called up. Players get the news in a bunch of ways – the club is informed concurrently with the player being informed (before the public knows) so there are stories about the player’s coach or the team PR person getting to tell them, rather than them speaking to the England manager directly, sometimes because the player is driving or training, or whatever – Ivan Toney had the driving issue, specifically, and then Mason Mount was told by his manager Frank Lampard I believe, by Lampard’s request – he wanted to be the one to tell him, and he kind of fucked with him about it. So we could have got a quite emotional or funny scene of Roy telling Jamie. But I’m not as upset as I could be, because with how much I love the England team, there’s a lot of gap filling I can do in my head about how this all went down for Jamie and what his call-up and his week at camp looked like.
Megan: Yeah I agree on that last point, and have slightly mixed feelings about it. This episode in general was SO GOOD and done so well that if it had followed Jamie’s POV, I’m sure they would have done it well, but also the more focus they spent on it, the more chances there would be for them to include something that was Too Incorrect for us to handle. But at the very least I would have loved to have seen him being told. Even just something like a little montage of all the players who were called up finding out, and then it could end on Sam looking sadly at his phone at a text from Ola that says something like “anything yet?” That would have been nice!
Natalie: Yeah. I mean they weren’t going to take him to SGP and film an Arrivals video, but I feel like we should have got to see him actually get the news, and share that with Roy. But they make it up to me later.
Megan: Well they do spend all their time together. What if Jamie got the call while he was with Roy? Missed potential.
Natalie: I feel fairly sure it must have happened while he was with Roy. Or he could have gone over to Roy’s dumbstruck being like “I just got off the phone with Southgate.” I think the reason we didn’t see it is probably because they’re saving the hug, because this is a moment they would have hugged for SURE. But I think they’re saving the big Roy/Jamie hug moment that we get to see onscreen, for something else.
Megan: I think so too. They better be anyway.
Natalie: Which is slightly annoying because they would hug all the time. Roy hugs the players after matches. He would hug Jamie all the time, for real. It would look weird if he DIDN’T, if he kept singling out Jamie for attention but giving him no affection. But yes. This could have been a moment when we saw them hug for a very good reason!
Megan: He did give him a little elbow nudge. Maybe they have to be careful about physical affection. Maybe it’s a slippery slope.
Natalie: Roy is SO proud of him and Jamie is SO proud of himself but also SO obsessed that Roy Kent is the person who helped him get there. Like, honestly, when those promo pics came out, the level of joy that Jamie was unable to contain? Brett joked about it saying Jamie can’t take his eyes off the love of his life. But like… for real. Who has Jamie loved longer in his life than Roy? In whatever way you want to mean it. The happiness with which Jamie receives the team’s attention and cuddles and scruffing, it’s like the joy is just leaking out of him and it is SO sweet, it’s taken so much for him to get there, not just his football skills, he has earned it in the deepest sense of the word. But Roy hanging out at his elbow to applaud him and then giving him a little tap after everyone else has let him go… That tap felt so much like an affirmation, an acknowledgement of what they’ve already shared in private about it. Like “Hey. we’ve already done the big feelings. But just a reminder.” The way Jamie looks back over at Roy, the amount of beats they hold it for… He is absolutely insane about that man. This is such a dream for him, everything about it, like a little boy’s dream. Getting called up for England and being supported through it by Roy Kent. Jamie is still pinching himself. I would have loved to spend time unpacking it with him, but honestly what we got was overwhelming anyway. He is glowing.
Megan: This whole moment… It was short, but it really did do so much in showing how important it was for him, and showing the closeness between him and Roy, that we get further confirmation of later. He is so happy, but even amongst all that I love that he still goes to check in on Sam. He is truly so good. And like, Sam tries to deflect and make it about Jamie, and Jamie accepts the congrats, but still doesn’t let it slide! He really wants to make sure Sam is doing okay.
Natalie: Yeah. It’s shit, and Jamie really cares. Honestly I wish Sam would have spoken up earlier about Edwin’s threat, to anyone. Rebecca, the Nigerian football association, whoever. Like just said “Hey so this happened to me.” I’m not blaming Sam of course. But it’s so fucked. Edwin is so crazy that I guess Sam may sound crazy for saying it.
Megan: Maybe he didn’t take it seriously? Maybe he thought that was just Edwin being over the top. Yeah.
Natalie: Yeah he was definitely laughing at him in the season 2 finale. But if it was me I’d be freaked out
Megan: I also think that the Nigerian government might have been less willing to go along with it if Sam hadn’t also been the player that had called them out for corruption.
Megan: But as it was, they probably already don’t love him.
Natalie: The way Sam reacts here though, like the way he shoulders it and closes his eyes and feels so crushed – I didn’t take that, at all, as like, “I wasn’t good enough.” It feels like he knows in his gut that he’s the victim of something very weird going on, that he’s being picked on in some way – even if he does just think that Nigeria hates him because of Dubai Air, Edwin aside.
Megan: Agreed, but he’s trying to be reasonable about it. Because if he’d tried to say “they’re doing it because of Dubai Air” he might sound whiny or like a sore loser.
Natalie: I don’t know how much sway the government has on football in Nigeria but I’m trying to imagine the current British government pressuring Southgate to not select Marcus Rashford. And like… no.
Megan: Can you imagine? That, more than anything else, would bring the Tories down.
Natalie: God, go ahead and try it. Just try it. I felt so sorry for Harry Kane when he had to Facetime Rishi.
Megan: Poor man.
Natalie: He was meant to be getting honoured! Not punished.
Megan: It was a very awkward video and I only managed to watch about three seconds before deciding no. I have to watch Rishi enough in my day job, I’m not about to watch him torture Harry Kane.
Natalie: Moving on swiftly. Jamie and Sam are such special friends, which makes a later part of the episode even funnier. When Ted Lasso leans into player relationships in a deeper way and also into the meaningfulness of FOOTBALL in a deeper way, that’s really when it’s best. All of these friendships could carry a spin-off that focused more on their perspectives.
Megan: Yeah there are very few characters and relationships, platonic and romantic, that aren’t so fascinating to me. I would watch so many different spinoffs.
Natalie: One very, very tiny thing that stuck out to me with Sam and Jamie was the obvious post-production dubbing when Jamie said “Hey, 24.” I have never noticed ADR so strongly on Ted Lasso before, so maybe it’s because I’m so hyper aware of Jamie’s voice, but it makes me think that in the moment, they just had him say “Hey, Sam” and later decided to have Phil dub in a new line because they wanted to make sure everyone knew Sam’s number, like put it under a spotlight, because of what happens later. Because apparently there are dedicated viewers of Ted Lasso who do not know the main characters on the team’s numbers. Couldn’t be me, but okay.
Megan: Ohhhhh. That is such a good spot. Yeah I think that makes sense. I did really enjoy him calling Sam “24” at the start of the episode, even before knowing where it would go. They would likely all have a range of nicknames for each other, it’s what footballers do.
Natalie: After everyone says goodbye and Ted says “see you Monday,” we do not in fact “see them Monday.” We jump ahead to the events of Wednesday (as Keeley helpfully flags) and follow a bunch of different people through the events of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and these three days kind of change everything for a handful of the characters! Roy’s got his part, Keeley and KJPR, Edwin causing chaos for not only Sam but Rebecca with a fucking SUPER LEAGUE – never imagined we’d go there – and then Nate, in a frankly fascinating arc that makes me question everything we ever knew about him. But it’s very important that we all know that it’s Wednesday. Jamie would have arrived at St George’s Park on the Monday, Colin wherever Wales trains, and rightfully that flight back to Toronto should have been on the Sunday or Monday – it’s the one moment that’s a bit out of order. Once again, poor Van Damme. And as if these guys fly economy.
Megan: Yeah come on, they are so rich! They would be first class!
Natalie: Dani looks so fucking cool though.
Megan: I’ll be honest this was the one element of psycho Dani that I didn’t love – intentionally making a mess for the cabin crew to clean up. Apparently that’s where my line is, not the later bit, LOL. But he did look very very cool while making said mess.
Natalie: Van Damme is such an airhead, but honestly him not getting how Dani is sustaining this is really funny. Trying to tell his seat mate that’s his friend.
Megan: Yes! I didn’t realise it before this season, but he might actually be the biggest himbo of them all. And he’s got some stiff competition.
Natalie: I totally agree. Congrats buddy. You won.
Megan: His prize is some crushed up crisps, and a broken nose. I’m not sure he wants it.
Natalie: One thing about this episode is that it is 64 minutes long, like “Sunflowers,” but it has significantly less Ted. He is barely in it, and I did not find this a problem. He certainly doesn’t have a POV arc – he’s supportive of the team, he’s hanging around the coaching office, he’s a vague bookend to the Rebecca story, but this is not a Ted episode at all.
Megan: No, this is very much a peripheral Ted moment. I enjoyed the scenes he’s in, but he wasn’t remotely integral to the plot.
Natalie: Without hating on him as a character, what does that kind of say to you?
Megan: We’re in the home stretch, and if my firm belief that Ted Lasso will end with him leaving does come true, it kind of feels right. We’re already starting to phase him out of the Richmond characters’ lives. He’s not checked out! Not like he was at the start! He’s very engaged and invested, but he’s not as needed as he was, and he’s not the main driver of other characters’ behaviour these days.
Natalie: Yeah I think that’s fair. The scene where Rebecca goes to Leslie for support is great, but she literally says she doesn’t know where Ted is, and Leslie has the right answer for her. There’s no reason that couldn’t have been a Ted scene, it feels intentional that he’s not really a big part of things. They’ve kind of… got this.
Megan: Yeah I think it kind of sets her and Leslie up to be this solid partnership when it comes to running a football club. Ted is great, but they don’t need him.
Natalie: As mentioned, the arcs here are Rebecca – and I’ll fold Sam in there, as Edwin unfortunately connects them – Nate, Keeley and Roy. One thing we miss out on a bit, doing this format arc by arc rather than scene by scene, is properly appreciating the juxtaposition, the dramatic irony and just good editing that puts scenes together thematically when they aren’t the same plot. This episode contains maybe the biggest example of that the show has ever done, so we will have to try and work around it and properly talk about what it achieves. But before that moment, let’s follow each person and let’s start with Roy because I cannot hold onto my feelings for much longer.
Megan: Look the editing is very very good, it’s just a really well done episode on all counts, but… Roy. ROY. Let’s go, I’m dying. I was not ready.
Natalie: On Wednesday afternoon after training, Roy sadly has to turn down axe-throwing with Beard and Jane because he has a “thing.” Axe throwing is amazing, and it really feels like a social activity Roy could get behind. I hope he gets another chance. Side note: Beard has some interesting Nate opinions, and I now feel fairly sure that he’s never going to forgive him, even if Ted does. Unless they have some really weird heart to heart I guess. Beard actually saw Nate’s worst cruelty to Colin, stuff like that, whereas Ted never witnessed the low points. And obviously Beard is protective of Ted. He has a lot of axes to use, if needed.
Megan: Yeah I agree on that. And I support it frankly. Like we discussed earlier on in the season, not everyone has to forgive everyone. It is really valid for Beard to decide “You know what, no. I don’t forgive you. Even if Ted and anyone else at Richmond does.”
Natalie: Things seem solid enough with Jane, too. They’re nuts, but they’re committed. So I am thinking that Beard’s endgame involves staying in London to help Roy. But he will not be assisting Nate as manager any time soon.
Megan: Who the fuck knows how the Jane situation will end, but I think he’d be happy as Ted’s right hand man, or Roy’s, and the Jane factor will likely determine which of those men he sticks with.
Natalie: I would have loved to see Roy throw axes, but I knew his “thing” was going to be something ridiculous. But nothing in the history of human civilization could have prepared me for what happened. It is perhaps my new favourite three minutes of television, ever, and I want to go very slowly and capture every moment. Because initially, for a split second, when we cut to him sitting in his hat and we hear the blowers, I thought it was possibly a birthday party Phoebe forced him to take her to or something. Just seeing him surrounded by little kids being silly would have been amazing. A great start. I was already grinning. But then it pans out and we hear “Happy Uncle’s Day,” and see the sign, and realise that he is being celebrated by Phoebe and – it’s about fucking time – his SISTER. Who unfortunately does not have a first name, we only know her as Doctor O’Sullivan. So the first bit of amazing processing we got to do was the fact that his sister IS the doctor who treated Sharon back in “Man City.” We very much suspected this, and it turned out to be true. I have no idea if they actually planned that in season 2, or if they saw the speculation and were like “You know what? Let’s see if she’s free, and retrofit that as true.” But her name is Sofia Barclay, she was also in We Are Lady Parts (watch it ASAP) and she is already legitimately one of my top 5 Ted Lasso characters just for this scene. I am OBSESSED with this, and this, again, would have been AMAZING even without the other thing. I am in love with her and the way she trolls her brother. She should have been a series regular since season 1. “Any day that annoys Roy… Holiday for me!” I’ve never loved any woman more.
Megan: Yeah the way he avoided talking about his exact plans had shades of not telling Keeley about yoga mums for me. I love the cageyness, and then when I discovered what it actually was…. God. I about exploded. She is SO good Nat, so good. Back when we met her in season 2 and the speculation happened that she’d be Roy’s sister, I was like “Sure, I can see it,” mostly based on the eyebrows. But now it’s actually confirmed, thinking about what that means is even more fun. Because she would definitely know who Ted was thanks to Roy. I bet she rang him up after work and was like “Met your boss today”. And I bet if Ted knew that was Roy’s sister he’d be crushed he didn’t know when actually meeting her so he could discuss Roy.
Natalie: Yeah, she HAD to have known.
Megan: But essentially this confirms to me that Roy needs people around him that constantly give him shit. He and Keeley work best when Keeley is trolling him, Ted pushes his buttons in his own Ted way. He needs people that constantly give him shit and don’t let him get stuck, and so meeting her and having that dynamic confirmed was just so perfect. I just wish I knew her name, so I could fully praise her.
Natalie: She is my hero, my mother and my wife.
Megan: Like you said. She should have been a regular since season 1. I can’t believe this is the first time we properly get to meet her. All I’m saying is she better feature heavily in the Roy Kent spin off.
Natalie: The way Roy acts with Phoebe is so funny, in that he does not actually indulge her – like he kind of cuts down her ideas – “it’s not a real holiday,” – but she does not care at all about his attitude. She bulldozes him. Wonder where she got that from. Of course he indulges Phoebe in that he shows up and does the things, but he will reserve his right to gripe. And neither of these ladies will listen.
Megan: Yeah he doesn’t pander. He gives in, always, but he won’t shy away from sharing his actual views… Most of the time.
Natalie: The dynamic at play between Brett and Sofia here is just… I’m like… did they know each other before? It’s so natural, like it feels SO baked in. She feels fully realised, even just her facial expressions, the way she’s constantly laughing at him but not letting Phoebe know. Was she briefed on the entire history of the Kent family? Because there is SO MUCH at play here, like she clearly thinks Phoebe’s obsession with Roy is fucking hysterical, and probably thinks it’s equally hysterical when Phoebe forces Roy into going along with things like Princess and Dragon. She’s very amused by Phoebe’s holiday ranking, which I liked, because some parents might be jealous if their kid loved someone else that much, but it’s clear that this has been a long-term co-parenting experience for the siblings.
Megan: Yeah the actress also seems to really mimic Phoebe’s facial expressions. Like, when she does that ranking the way she squints and moves her face consideringly just feels a lot like how Phoebe does it. I love the idea of Sofia Barclay studying Elodie Blomfield’s work to get the role down. There is clearly so much history there. And I really want to know more about them, their relationship, how was Roy when Phoebe was first born? I feel like he would have freaked the FUCK out. I want to know what Brett and Jason think the backstory is. I want to know everything.
Natalie: I’m obsessed with her commitment to lovingly indulging her daughter while also using it as an opportunity to troll Roy. The affection between her and Phoebe, even though it’s only a few minutes, is some of the most loving stuff I have ever seen. I love the chaotic house. It’s so pretty and homey. I liked it from the outside when we saw it last season, but the interior is also perfect. Honestly, I think what gets to me about this episode overall – in all the scenes – is how deeply it seems to be about love. Like, love struggling to contain itself, in good ways, bad ways, messy ways, misunderstood ways. It’s just bathed in a real feeling of love. And we already knew Roy and Phoebe had a special bond, but the feelings between the Kent family are so big and warm and wonderful that I just wanted to be in that room forever. I assume Roy doesn’t also live there, but I bet he stays over a lot. What he’s done for his sister is also very much a part of that love story, because his help and probably his money has allowed her to thrive as a working single mother in a hard, important job with hours that are not in line with normal parenting.
Megan: Yeah. The house was really interesting to me! As an NHS doctor she’ll have like, not the worst salary, but definitely not the salary that you might expect of doctors in the US. Obviously Roy could afford to buy her a huge fucking house, but this seems nice, but nothing too over the top. So I think probably.he has helped, a house like that in London would still cost a lot, but she doesn’t want him to throw too much money at her. What she will accept though is how much love and time he offers. It feels like such a lovely scene to get to watch and feel a part of.
Natalie: When Phoebe was born he would have been in his early 30s, and as he’s said, he had no experience with kids. And when her dad left, he must have really had to work some stuff out fast, even if it was paying for childcare or something. Because when he was playing, he would have had to travel and that meant he could not always be there. But in the last years of his career, he’s been able to do more and more himself, and it’s a needs-must situation and I’m just imagining him also trying to deal with the fact that his sister’s husband was in some way abusive or neglectful or whatever – that some man would do that to her and the baby.
Megan: His natural instinct would be one of anger, probably, about the dad leaving, but that isn’t helpful in this situation, so he’d have to push past that, and make things work. And he is a caretaker, as a person, he wants to look out for people. Was he always like that, or did Phoebe’s arrival and his role in her life make that aspect more prominent?
Natalie: It’s also like, he went to Sunderland at age 9, and he was still playing there when he started in the Prem, at 17. I think she’s younger than him – the actress is anyway. So he must not have known her that well, growing up. She might have been anywhere between 2 and 6 when he was 9. He was not around for her childhood. Yet despite him being away, they are so close now, and have this teasing element that is like the regressive childhood bullying of siblings. I genuinely want her in the show as a regular if Ted Lasso carries on in some way, and I would kill to see her and Keeley ganging up on Roy. In fact, when the doorbell rang and Phoebe went to answer it, my first thought was that it would be Keeley. Then I heard that voice and my soul left my body.
Megan: I don’t think I specifically thought of Keeley, but I was not expecting to hear Jamie. I think Roy and I were having very similar reactions. I had to pause the episode to compose myself. Roy did not have that luxury, and under the circumstances I think he handled it well.
Natalie: He responded verbally. The noise you made in voice notes was very different.
Megan: I think my verbal reaction was really reasonable. Under the circumstances. I did also, I think, after doing some deep breathing, say “I’m dying.” I used my words eventually.
Natalie: Roy was also dying in some way, I think. The abject terror in his eyes when he realises, like hearing the conversation before they get back into the room. That poor man. I hope he suffers like this forever.
Megan: He is so confused. I think he thinks he’s suddenly stuck in some nightmarish fever dream.
Natalie: For me it was just a dream. Kudos to the Ted Lasso writers. Never in my wildest dreams could have I imagined this. Not in a million, billion years. And I’ve certainly desired scenes with Jamie and Phoebe before! But not like this, Megan. Not like this.
Megan: No! I would never have thought we’d get this. And I am also SO curious to know how the invite happened, because there is some familiarity there too, between Phoebe and Jamie, and Jamie and the Doc.
Natalie: I don’t even know if THEY know what they did here, implication wise. Because yeah, they have to have met before, right? Even if he had spoken to Phoebe’s mum on the phone just to organise this, if he’d also never met her in person he would introduce himself properly on arriving. He wasn’t raised in a barn. And Phoebe is extremely comfortable with him. He had coins! On him! As if he carries coins!
Megan: Yes! Like tugging him along by the hand, casually chatting about her mum’s car. And the little nod between him and her mum just seems very familiar! Like, “hey, how you doing?”
Natalie: I assume they haven’t socialised in this way because it’s Roy’s nightmare, but maybe they’ve come to games? Or Phoebe has been dropped off at moments that are crossing over with Jamie’s training?
Megan: Yeah maybe they have bumped into each other in a situation like that, and Roy had always previously ushered them past each other.
Natalie: It made me fucking insane.
Megan: My personal theory for the invite is that Phoebe or her mum asked Keeley for Jamie’s number. Because I love to imagine Keeley being like “…okay there is a backstory here, something has been going on these past few months, and I need to know.” Either way…god. Thank you Ted Lasso. Thank you so much.
Natalie: The other thing that I need to make sure that everyone understands is that this is the Wednesday of international break week. Jamie should not be in London. Jamie has already been at England camp. He has his new casual gear, the uniforms they get plied with when joining the team. He would have got this at camp, at St George’s Park in Birmingham. So when he says “sorry I’m late,” he’s travelled down from the Midlands for this. Did he sneak out of England camp? It’s his first time, he wouldn’t dare set a foot wrong, surely. So the other option…. did he ask permission??? Does Gareth Southgate know about Uncle’s Day? Or did Jamie just beg time for a family commitment? Does the rest of the England squad know about Uncle’s Day?????????
Megan: Nat. Can you imagine Jordan Henderson hearing about Uncle’s Day? Or like, Kyle Walker ripping into Jamie about it?
Natalie: Honestly, I feel like in-universe the Jamie and Roy story is so insane to the other people, like “What is with those guys.” They for sure would have been papped training. There’s the stuff Roy said on TV. And then the hugs on the pitch. No one knows what those guys have got going on. But you can bet this would be a hot topic. Walks and Stonesy coming over like. So. Little Tartty. What the fuck. Coady and Mings were both at that particular camp in real life, I’m just imagining Ty’s head-thrown-back magic laugh. And the thing is, Jamie would have walked into that camp very nervous. He left City on bad terms, he did something that probably looked really bad to the other guys. The rest of the league would have also been like “What the FUCK is that guy’s deal?” He’s shown his talent for sure. But it cannot be stated enough that him leaving City for a reality show would absolutely have broken every other player’s brain. Like “This kid is a fucking enigma.” And they’ve all played against him, sure, but Jamie has only ever been at City and Richmond, he hasn’t bounced around, so he hasn’t had a ton of other teammates. And if I’m being very realistic about it, there are not, at the time he got called up, many players of his age who he may have done Youth England with. They’re all a bit older or a bit younger, no one I can think of in real life who he would have been in like, under 17s, under 19s etc with consistently for his birth year. So he’s someone, I reckon, who has not got too many friends outside his own club, unlike some of these boys. So he is walking in there alone. The only Richmond player. He knows some Man City guys and isn’t sure what they’ll think of him. The rest… he’s unsure. Who does he sit with? Does he keep to himself or try to be forward? I feel like he wouldn’t be quite sure. But then, he asks for permission to leave for a few hours after training. And word gets around. About him and Roy Kent. And whatever they’ve got going on. And everyone all at once like, comes up to him and is like “What is with you two? We are all dying to know.”
Megan: Honestly I think the curiosity is why Gareth would have let him go. If Gareth and Roy did overlap briefly on the England squad, Gareth will know what Roy is like. I bet he’s just as curious about the entire situation as everyone else is. Maybe that was the deal – Jamie can go to Uncle’s Day, though Gareth isn’t quite sure what that is – but only if he then comes back and gives the rest of the team a thorough presentation explainer about what the fuck is going on between him and Roy.
Natalie: I don’t think Gareth would force Jamie to do that, but the players might.
Megan: Yes, LOL. The sheer amount of shit that Jamie is going to get from this. Like.
Natalie: I feel like the real culprit here would be Declan Rice, though he might be in a weird place given Nate has just quit. But overall. Either Jamie snuck out or he had to ask permission. I am absolutely sure Gareth called Roy to vouch for Jamie in advance of the call up, like to check about his attitude. So the whole legend of Roy and Jamie is obviously a big thing people are curious about. And I also think Jamie got that shirt made there, onsite, from the England kit archives or whatever. Like he got it officially made. I am sure that was the “them” he meant in terms of getting them to change the name.
Megan: Oh yeah definitely. That’s what I took from it too. I can’t really imagine Jamie sneaking out. I think he’d be on his best behaviour here. So I think he would have had to have asked permission, and just…fuuuck.
Natalie: But that’s… there’s so much more before we even get to the gift. Jamie, you beautiful dum-dum. To be fair, a man who would drive 5 hours round trip during one of the most important weeks of his life in order to do something a little girl asked him for the sake of Roy Kent…That’s definitely the kind of guy England looks for these days.
Megan: Yes! He asked for time off and Gareth heard the reason and was like. Wow. Yes. You’re perfect.
Natalie: Jamie promises he will bond with his new teammates extra hard tomorrow, and he will do this by Attempting to Explain the Deal with Roy Kent. The thing is, there’s no explaining it. It’s just totally and fucking beyond anything explainable. But Jamie is really good at being the butt of the joke these days. So he will let them hassle him about it.
Megan: I think secretly he would love that the thing he’s being teased about is that he is Roy Kent’s best friend. Like. He will take that teasing all day, every day, internally glowing about it.
Natalie: There is just so much going on here. When did Jamie get invited? Was he told to bring a gift or did he just decide on his own? Did he question the legitimacy of Uncle’s Day or did he just decide he would take anything the Kent family throws at him? He is good at that, it’s like his speciality skill.
Megan: He’s been doing it for a while now! He doesn’t question it. “Uncle’s Day? Gifts? Sure, I’ll be there.”
Natalie: I truly, nothing. Nothing in the world could have readied me for “You talk about him a lot. And you spend every day together.” For the love of every trope. Are they for real with this shit?
Megan: And Roy’s sister just saying absolutely nothing, while her eyebrows speak volumes.
Natalie: What does he say about Jamie when he isn’t there? More importantly, what does he say that isn’t negative? Like Roy talks about him a lot! In a way that Phoebe thinks means he likes him! What kind of things! Stuff about his football? Or like, “Here’s a new film. I heard about it from Jamie,” that kind of thing?
Megan: Is he only negative about Jamie TO Jamie? Maybe when he’s not being performatively Coach Roy, he’s just all, “Oh yeah Jamie likes that food too. Oh Jamie wore a tracksuit that exact same colour of pink yesterday.” Does Jamie text him when they’re not training? Maybe he texts Roy stupid memes and sometimes they make him laugh despite himself and Phoebe asks what he’s laughing about. God. Who knows.
Natalie: The thing is, as well. Uncle’s Day, the whole scene, this only exists in order to make Roy and Jamie confront their feelings as friends. Phoebe and the Doc are amazing, but they’re not the POINT of this scene. The point of the scene, for Roy, is confronting how close he is to Jamie, and for Jamie to get a moment to show Roy how much he means to him, with the coaching and helping him get into England. This isn’t incidental, this is the Ted Lasso writers being like “how can we get Roy and Jamie a special moment to show what they mean to each other at this point, on this very special milestone for Jamie and during a week where Roy realises he’s allowed to have good things?” Uncle’s Day was built for this purpose. Like it wasn’t a Roy and Phoebe moment where Roy learned things, like about the “infecting you with the worst parts of me” bit, or the Keeley breakup. The point of this was so Roy and Jamie could love each other… in front of witnesses.
Megan: I loved their joint denial of being each other’s best friends, followed by Roy’s immediate outrage at the idea that Isaac is Jamie’s best friend. It’s obviously not true, Isaac is Colin’s best friend, and Sam or maybe Dani would be Jamie’s on the team, but the fact that Roy is like, immediately incredulous about it is.partly just a sign of how aware of team dynamics he is. But also… why does it matter, Roy? If you don’t think Jamie is your best friend, why does it matter who he says is, huh?!
Natalie: That’s why! I was very ??? about a few immediate reactions on Twitter being like how could Jamie say that, it’s obviously Sam! Especially with what happened later. But like – love you Sam, but no, it’s obviously ROY. Jamie had to throw out a name that Roy could object to and get offended over. If Jamie had said Sam, Roy would have had to sulkily say “fair enough” and be mad about the fact that Jamie likes Sam better than him. Roy. Roy, my beautiful hairy idiotic friend. As long as you say about three nice things to him per year, there is no one in the world Jamie will ever like better than you. This is not about Roy being like”Oii! No! Colin is Isaac’s best friend! Oi! You’re doing Sam dirty!” It’s about the fact that they are each other’s best friend and they both maybe haven’t faced that fact head on. I’m sure it’s been a long time since either of them thought about people in those terms, Roy because he’s a hermit and Jamie because he’s not been sure where he stands. But honestly I think what this scene was about is very much Jamie being open with his affection for Roy in a way Roy cannot look away from any more. What happens overall, between the friend convo and the gift, is that Roy is forced to accept Jamie’s love, in whatever way you want to call it. You know how Roy likes to not look straight at things and sort of pretend they aren’t the way they are. Like how he was avoiding the physical reality of his knee issue during season 1. Like he had been refusing to take Jamie in good faith in season 2 and early season 3. What I think this moment was about was Roy finally being unable to look away from the reality of how much Jamie loves him, and to accept Jamie’s love. If we see him take him in bad faith again in the next two episodes I will be very angry. I have more to say about this at a later point in the episode actually, but being around Jamie, and learning to love Jamie, is a huge part of why Roy has progressed in his emotional state. So yeah, he has to get jealous of the idea Jamie likes someone else better, and he has to be knocked speechless by the gift. Jamie – Jamie who never second guesses anything, who is completely open with how he feels and proudly confident all the time. Jamie being insecure and being like “Oh no, it’s stupid it’s dumb.” That’s nuts.
Megan: When Jamie hands over the present and he’s clearly flailing a bit about it being stupid, he’s so nervous and it’s really cute, but also Roy is just looking at him very patiently, and non judgy, and accepts the gift. Sidenote – love the very sleek all black wrapping that was clearly carefully chosen for Roy. But Roy can clearly tell Jamie is freaking out a bit, and he’s so good about being very clear in how much he loves it. All the while Roy’s sister is still just watching like, “What the fuck is with these two.” And like, trying to explain it to Roy anxiously, in case he doesn’t recognise his own last World Cup kit! He’s so nervous!
Natalie: I really would have loved to see a direct conversation like “You helped me, I know you vouched for me, thank you, let’s hug” – an actual private conversation surrounding Jamie’s call up that was them being emotional with each other. But this was the point of the gift, I think. This is why Jamie is here, and why it’s that gift. It’s about Jamie trying to show in some small way how much it means to him that Roy has supported him. Because he sure as hell doesn’t owe him an Uncle gift.
Megan: Yeah. Obviously I would have loved to see that actual conversation, but the choices made for this scene basically do the same thing, in showing how important this moment is for them. Like, thanks to Roy, later this year in the Ted Lasso universe Jamie is probably going to get to wear his own World Cup kit for the first time. He might not have a clue what “Uncle’s Day” is, but it’s a chance for him to get to tell Roy – if not in actual words – how much everything he’s done means to him. And Jamie’s actions clearly play a huge part in Roy being able to get his shit together, so the impact they’re having on each other’s lives goes both ways and I love that this is the way the Ted Lasso writers chose to make it clear to us.
Natalie: I would also love them to spell it out very literally though. One thing about this season is it feels like they’re kind of depending on a DEEP level of subtext in terms of character’s behaviour, like you’re meant to psychically know all the reasons, without anyone ever spelling things out. This was magical, but I would love to have them tell each other something lovely in words. Still, their faces… pretty great.
Megan: The way Roy says he loves it, and then nods, and then Jamie nods and ducks his head, and then Roy nods again while stealing a quick glance at Jamie who isn’t looking at him. Says a lot without words, even if I would have liked those too.
Natalie: I mean, the amount of beats they rest on Jamie waiting for approval, the expressions he goes through, it’s a fucking joke. Like that is not normal. That is rom com behaviour.
Natalie: I could not believe how they shot and scored it. I might be being queerbaited, but I am enjoying the fuck out of it. Roy’s poor sister. She knows they’re both freaks. You know, she’s probably used to seeing Roy unable to accept good things, to be honest. Seeing him soften over Jamie is a new and interesting development.
Megan: Yes! I think she’s enjoying every second of this frankly, because as soon as Jamie is gone she will be going IN on Roy. This has given her years worth of material for giving him shit. He is never going to live it down.
Natalie: I feel so happy they finally got to at least imply the use of cunt. I’ve been trying so hard not to say it while doing these reviews.
Megan: The amount of times I’ve gone to type it, and then had to take it back. It’s been such a struggle.
Natalie: I heard it’s the one swear word that Apple vetoed, because Americans are weak as shit. Sorry, Americans, but get over it. And it’s funny because they seem to be reclaiming it in a different way lately, the whole “serving cunt” meme means it in a kind of BDE way. But that is not what it would mean in relation to Roy Kent. No way should Ted Lasso have been allowed to end without getting to use the word cunt around Roy in some way. It feels so wrong that he doesn’t say it. He says it in my heart. He says it 50 times a day offscreen.
Megan: Correct. It’s actually the word that has earnt Phoebe the most money, not fuck. The many facial expressions of Phoebe trying to figure it out.
Natalie: Jamie is so perfect for this.
Megan: Just the best boy.
Natalie: A sick cunt.
Natalie: Roy is very overwhelmed when dealing with this realisation of how much Jamie loves him, I think. It’s something I don’t know if he’s thought about head-on, as I mentioned. But now that he has, I feel like he has to have some level of… I don’t know. Fierce, fierce responsibility, to protect that. Like obviously I ship them, but Jamie has also been shown before to slightly be a mirror for Phoebe in Roy’s life, someone to do right by and look after. I don’t think that makes Jamie his nephew – Juno Temple has also compared Phoebe and Keeley as people who share common things that are brought out in Roy. It’s not a straight up “You are my kid thing.” But in “Man City,” the story Roy has about using his power over Phoebe is directly related to why he steps up later with Jamie. It’s all one story. And here, the fact Phoebe and Jamie both give him the same item – a shirt about his name – that’s a similar comparison. This is Roy dealing with the fact Jamie is apparently someone he would commit murder for.
Megan: Yeah, and like, we know that Roy feels protectiveness about players, so there is probably an element of that there. But Jamie has always worn his heart on his sleeve when it comes to Roy. I don’t think Roy has really noticed it before the last few months, but it’s probably been harder and harder for him to not realise. But this? Jamie’s heart has moved from his sleeve, he is staring at Roy with full on heart-eyes. And Roy is honestly staring right back at him with, if not heart eyes, one of the softest expressions I think I’ve seen on him. I don’t think Roy is the best at being careful around Jamie. Not that I think Jamie is delicate or so sensitive he needs treating with kid gloves, but Roy is so casually aggressive, and I think Jamie would love the occasionally kinder, softer treatment. I really want that to be something that changes in their dynamic from here on out.
Natalie: I’m so glad he was able to be open with Jamie about loving the gift, with his extremely emotional voice without any performative harshness to it. Like to actually show his feelings.
Natalie: And we cannot under sell how big a deal this is for Jamie in terms of it being The Roy Kent.
Megan: No. Like you said, if Roy just said three nice things to him a year he’d be happy, but something like this? So fucking huge. He’s going to go back to Birmingham absolutely buzzing. Which isn’t going to help the Three Lions gossip mill.
Natalie: Hopefully if Roy goes to see the second game of International Break in person at Wembley, he wears the kit. The show has done a really great job in showing supporter shirts from different eras and that continues this episode when they watch Jamie’s game on TV, so Roy wearing the 2014 Kunt shirt as a spectator would be perfect. And Brett looks so good in white.
Megan: Yes, okay, I am now choosing to assume this happened. Apologies to any children who sat behind him. It does! Like, he looks good in black too, but I loved seeing him in that shirt.
Natalie: What I found fascinating about Phoebe’s gift is that his sister had to warn Roy to behave. Like, in some weird way it made me think that maybe this year he’s really been suffering in isolation and his filter has totally broken. Like about the stupid comment he made to Keeley. We know Roy is amusingly blunt with Phoebe. “No, that’s dumb.” But he really had to try and be fake nice here. All he managed was a seething “thank you” – Jamie did the heavy lifting with his enthusiasm. And his sister’s face was very telling. Roy really fucking struggles with a filter even to Phoebe. Kind of funny. Kind of sad.
Megan: That did stand out to me too. He’s clearly not someone who believes in lying to anyone – even if they are a child – but the fact that he needed to be coached through this makes me think that there has been something of a learning curve with him and Phoebe, that he’s messed up in the past where he hasn’t managed to filter things enough to be appropriate for a small child. I feel like he’s probably been too blunt before and upset her and his sister has had to give him a bollocking. So she knows he can be a bit shit at times – and as you say, maybe it’s been especially bad recently with his mental state – and has to prepare him, to make sure he behaves. Oh Phoebe, she’s such a sweet summer child. And like Jamie, she’s happy with anything Roy gives her emotionally, because she accepts his thanks like it was way more effusive than it actually was.
Natalie: Jamie is very cute to Phoebe too, it has to be said. Like with the swearing money, the compliments, not talking down to her.
Megan: We know he’s good with kids from the little bits we’ve seen, but this extended moment of Good With Kids was lovely.
Natalie: Yeah, exactly. He really nails it. Like. He is definitely going to be invited to Roy’s family birthday dinners. And probably Phoebe’s.
Megan: Roy watching this unfold and knows that his future is going to hold SO MUCH Jamie Tartt, whether he likes it or not.
Natalie: Good thing he likes it. Just tell him you like him, idiot. In words!
Megan: The first Roy family dinner with both Keeley and Jamie in attendance… That’s going to give Roy’s sister so much to talk to him about. Please give her a name. I’m getting so bored of typing out “Roy’s sister”.
Natalie: Listen. I never thought I would say this. Ever. Because the idea has been theoretically raised in fandom spaces before we met her, and I was like, no. But if Ted Lasso is determined to not let Jamie and Roy kiss. I would be okay with him marrying Roy’s sister, so Roy is stuck with him forever. Also because that woman is my hero, my mother and my wife, and she should get all the Jamie benefits if I can’t have them myself. It isn’t my first preference, but I absolutely would enjoy it.
Megan: Yeah look. LOOK. When I’ve seen it in fandom spaces I’ve been like, “Nooo that’s a cop out, why do they want that.” But now that I’ve met her. Now that I love her. Yeah, they can date. Jamie can just be there, always. She is everything I wanted from Roy’s sister and I’m so happy.
Natalie: Truly, truly, blessed.
Megan: I have questions about the performance. Mostly, how dare you tell us about it, but not show us Roy and Jamie reacting to it. But also just like… What the fuck?
Natalie: How long did it go for if it needed an intermission? Was it songs? Dances? A play. Jamie loves plays.
Megan: Roy doesn’t blink, is this a common occurrence? Do they put on a show for every big occasion?!
Natalie: I dunno, maybe he’s shell shocked.
Megan: He’s had a very confusing five minutes.
Natalie: But the way his sister tells them is so fucking funny, again, just amazing vibes from very little screen time. Even the way she scrunches her nose at Phoebe in affection and bounces, rather than walks, after her. I have a horrible feeling that next time, Jamie will be roped into the performance.
Megan: Oh noooooo. I think you’re right. And I think he’ll LOVE it. And Roy would want to die.
Natalie: Season 4, just set five scenes at the O’Sullivan house every episode. Oh, Megan. We’ve never seen Phoebe as a mascot. They’re not ALWAYS kids that the players know, but they CAN be on certain occasions. She can walk out with Jamie in the finale!
Megan: NATALIE. Why would you put that image in my head? God. Well now I need that to happen too.
Natalie: Look. We have to move on, unfortunately.
Megan: Can’t I live in this scene forever?
Natalie: These were the greatest three minutes of Ted Lasso ever. But alas, no. Look, obviously Roy wearing the tie dye shirt is first and foremost extremely funny. And he looks way better in tie dye than he has any right to. It truly looks great on him. The colours reflecting off his skin or whatever, like, it’s mad, but the colours look good. But I feel like there’s some sort of… I don’t know. Him pushing through with the shirt seems like it actually has a deeper meaning. Did you get that at all?
Megan: Later on, there’s obviously a specific encounter where he does his classic “fuuucckkkk” realisation face. But him choosing to wear the shirt, and trying to ignore the reactions already feels like a specific choice he’s made. He does not have to wear it to work, he knew the reaction it would get, but something has made him decide to try and be less stuck in his ways, even before that later scene. Maybe it’s still the effect of Rebecca’s bollocking last episode, maybe it’s seeing Jamie be so good earlier has touched him, but yeah. THis scene is hilariously shot from a comedic point of view, but internally it’s quite a big deal for Roy. It’s not just him wearing a bit of colour.
Natalie: It isn’t just a bit of colour, that’s for sure. It’s a chaos of colour. It’s extreme, and it’s not a moment he’s seeing Phoebe. He does not have to do this – we know he always wears funny socks that she gave him, but they’re tucked away.
Megan:Maybe he feels guilty afterwards that he couldn’t bring himself to be effusive in his thanks, so his punishment is wearing it in public, but I don’t think that’s it!
Natalie: For me, yeah, the scene with “Red Right Hand,” it did feel meaningful as well as hilarious. Not the stuff the next day – the stuff at Richmond. It felt like he was pushing himself on purpose.
Natalie: In some ways, kind of wearing his heart more openly, like showing sentiment. Not that he explains the choice to anyone. They all just have to stare. And he can’t quite cope with it, he does end up getting upset at being so seen, and rips it off. But he has another go. Pushes himself again, the next day. Ted and Beard though. And Trent!
Megan: That whole bit was just! Look, I was already dying at the interactions between Beard and Ted, and Roy just being like “Hey” as if they – like everyone else – aren’t being incredibly weird. But then Trent arrives and the way he takes his glasses off to stare. Just. 10/10 everyone involved. The acting, the shots, the music choice. Brilliant.
Natalie: It’s amazing, from those three, the way Ted and Beard move in sync from their chairs. It’s just very very very funny. And during the Canada-Mexico match Isaac is looking at it with a bit of envy I think. He loves tie-dye. So does Jamie to be fair. What if Jamie steals it and shows up wearing it one day. Not knowing Roy wore it to work while he was away…
Megan: Oh my God. The Richmond gossip mill would explode. I really love this scene of them all sitting and watching their teammates play together. Sam aside – because his is a different situation – I enjoy that there’s no obvious sadness or resentment from the players who don’t get picked. They’re realistic, and just so proud to see their teammates go.
Natalie: The commentators say it best – Dani’s a different player in a Mexico shirt! He seems to have broken Van Damme’s nose.
Megan: Poor Thierry, he’s really had a difficult time of it. I loved the very Canadian commentators. And everyone’s reactions to the incident. Maybe O’Brien will finally get some minutes while Van Damme’s nose heals up.
Natalie: Even Roy winces. You’d think he would be stoic about violence. But not tie dye shirt Roy. Being perceived was very hard on him and being twinning with Kenneth the Bus Driver seemed to be the final straw. That man loves to be shirtless in that car park. Or rather, the show loves to make that man shirtless in that car park.
Megan: I love that the show loves to make that man shirtless in that car park. I hope nobody fell for the driving off fake-out and didn’t know he was going to immediately come back and get it. To be fair to Roy, I’m not sure I’d want to be compared to Kenneth either.
Natalie: It was a given but I was still like, “oh no, Roy!” I think it was a really great, albeit subtle moment of showing that deeper level going on with Roy. Like, he was just not coping with being seen as something other than the Roy Kent armour. And in the Roy Kent armour he doesn’t have to deal with things. People expect him to act a certain way, not ask questions, not bother him.
Megan: Yeah, it protects him from having to expose himself. And whether or not he lets the real Roy and his feelings out is such a constant internal battle for him, but it’s nice to see him finally starting to win over it.
Natalie: He gives it another go the next day, when he’s actually seeing Phoebe again, and encounters Ms Bowen. I have a lot of thoughts about what happens there. I’m glad to see her again because I always thought she was a cool character. But the amount of people during the hiatus who were genuinely convinced that this was like an endgame for Roy… People saying he should invite her to Marbella… Folks, I am not sure you understand why characters like this exist. They are there as devices, to point something out about a main character, not to be people in their own right. So I did slightly worry that if she showed up again, people would be stupid about her again. But this is pretty clear.
Megan: It was baffling to me how enthusiastic people were about the idea too! Like, I really like her as a character, and they did obviously have a good connection and a flirty moment. But that seemed to be enough for people to decide they were perfect together. I did have one moment of like.. “Oh no they aren’t actually going to go there are they?” when I saw her, I must confess, but I didn’t really think they would. I think the speculation just got to me momentarily.
Natalie: This WAS honestly slightly a confusing moment for me in regards to the Roy/Keeley story though. Mainly because the stuff she said to him like… Is this not stuff Roy already knows? It was weird to me that this was the “Ohhhh” moment for him. Or the “fuckkkk” moment.
Megan: Maybe it’s the fact that someone he’s barely interacted with can see it? That’s a wake up call for him. Like he knows it and he’s been coming to terms with it. But when someone who’s name he didn’t even know, that he’s had a handful of interactions with, can call him out that easily. That’s got to knock some sense into you.
Natalie: Maybe he really is so buried in his own head that all he knew was FEEL BAD.
Natalie: The whole thing is kind of fun, and I maintain that the issue last season was not an issue – if you’re committed to someone, I think you can acknowledge attraction and flirt with someone just for the sake of it, even if it’s not going anywhere, if you’re open about it. But like
Megan: People still have eyes, people can still sense sparks! It doesn’t mean a betrayal or anything like that.
Natalie: Basically, she says that he seems lighter in and of himself, and last time she saw him he was stuck – and he was like “Hang on, last time, weren’t you flirting with me? You wanted me even though you knew I was fucked up?” And she said, you know, she doesn’t mind cleaning up a mess. No Leann. Don’t do that to yourself. You deserve better men than that. But crucially, she said “I hope the mess didn’t cause any damage!” As in, she hoped whatever issues he had did not make things worse for himself or other people, I guess. And I’m a bit like.. After all this stuff about Roy, the scolding from Rebecca, the Chelsea speech, Keeley clearly not understanding or agreeing with his reasons for dumping her… I don’t understand how these are not things Roy already knew about himself. Like, he knew. He knew he dumped Keeley because he was assuming she would dump him, that he wasn’t good enough, that he shouldn’t have things. I’ll expand on the stuff with Keeley later, but I just don’t massively understand how this is the lightbulb moment. I don’t know if I agree that it’s “Even someone who doesn’t know him” – I very much thought in his twisted brain he knew how he felt, but maybe he really was even more repressed than I assumed. And I think we have to talk about why he apparently seems lighter now – pre Keeley reunion. Like what, in the last year, has made him less stuck, more open, or whatever.
Megan: Yeah if I’m honest I really do think that there were many, many moments earlier this season where he could – and should, and did – have that realisation about who he was, and why. Maybe the realisation he’s having here is that he’s actually seeming better. Like maybe he thought that the mess he’d previously been, and the damage it had caused, had been irreparable, but her saying he seems lighter makes him think “Oh, actually I do feel lighter. Maybe I can actually move forwards, and fix something.” As for what caused that lightness, the only thing that’s really changed day to day for him is Jamie. Being around Jamie so much, and seeing him being so open and quick to express himself and support people. If Uncle’s Day is him realising how much Jamie loves him – and how much Roy cares about him too – maybe this is him realising that Leann is right, he is lighter, and Jamie is a huge part of why.
Natalie: It really does seem like THIS is the thing that Roy is learning from Jamie – how to open his heart and how to want things or feel he deserves things. Because Jamie is so fucking open about how he feels and what he wants. Roy has had a weird year, he’s had to confront those feelings about Chelsea – and at the time I said like “Now I don’t want people to only use this as a metaphor for Keeley!” But it definitely also was one, hence me thinking he knew what was up. We know that Roy has been clearly struggling in his day to day at work, if Rebecca gave him that bollocking. He’s been putting all this effort in with Jamie, but honestly, it feels like what’s happened whether he realises it or not, is that he’s letting himself be loved by Jamie. The impact of someone being like “You’re so good, you have so much to give, I’m so grateful for you, I love spending time with you,” on and on and on. Jamie’s open heartedness has to have been the thing that impacted him and changed him, because Ted Lasso season 3 does not actually show us anything else that has impacted him or changed him. His whole plot has been increasing levels of intimacy with, and attention paid to Jamie. Like, if there’s something else that is meant to have made him gradually change how he acts and sees himself, point it out to me. Because it isn’t Phoebe – I mean he’s always good with Phoebe, but it isn’t something changing with her, and Leann says, it’s not the shirt (a Phoebe metaphor) – it’s you. I think it is absolutely fundamental to Roy’s change of heart that he has properly accepted Jamie’s affection for him. I think that had to happen before he could move forward, rather than keeping on pretending it wasn’t important.
Megan: Yeah, there’s nothing else, nothing new, that could explain this change. Maybe a combination of first letting go of any still lingering past suspicions and hesitancy he had around Jamie – feelings that are still there in episode 2, where he accuses Jamie of wanting to ask Keeley out – and then accepting that not only is Jamie someone he can trust, Jamie is someone that cares so much about him, regardless of whether or not Roy thinks he deserves that.
Natalie: I’m really, really curious to see the aftermath of Roy and Keeley from this episode and what they say about Jamie. We know that they’re both going to be dealing with stuff to do with him next week but I am so curious if Roy will spell out like, “He really helped me.” Because I think the fact that Jamie is so free with his feelings – towards Roy, but also towards everything – is a bit what Roy has gotten infected with. Like Jamie sets a good example of how to NOT be stuck, in the way Roy was. To express yourself properly and to go the extra mile when doing so. Jamie puts in the work, every time. He puts in the effort, to do things out of love. That’s been a big part of things for him this season, those extra mile speeches and gestures. He found Roy his windmill, all that. And so much of Jamie’s arc is about how he’s accountable, he understands the issues he’s caused and is able to speak directly to them. Given the contents of the letter we hear later, I actually think that maybe when talking to Ms Bowen, Roy has this realisation when she says she hopes his mess didn’t cause damage, that like… Maybe it’s not even that he didn’t know he was stuck. Maybe it’s more that he didn’t think he had hurt Keeley that badly, because he assumed he was so shit, and she was so much better, that of course him leaving her wouldn’t affect her. Wouldn’t make her doubt herself or feel bad about herself. And so maybe it’s that he realises that how he’s acted has hurt her and made her feel less than, that his mess did cause damage that he didn’t think he would be able to, because he hated himself so much and didn’t consider his capacity to hurt her because he’s worthless. And maybe that’s why he’s trying to write this letter of apology. And that’s why Jamie, the king of gestures and apologies, is still connected to Roy getting that right.
Megan: And he doesn’t write the letter because he thinks it’s going to fix things between the two of them or anything, but he knows it’s the right thing to do. And seeing Jamie go on for England, with his gesture, is what helps Roy know exactly what he wants to say.
Natalie: I do feel like he should have been paying slightly more attention to Jamie at this moment to be honest. But I like the idea that he needs Jamie to make things with Keeley work. Because of reasons.
Megan: I have no idea what those reasons could possibly be. He better watch the match back later and take detailed notes. You know Jamie is going to be texting him asking what Roy thought about how he played..
Natalie: I feel like he will, and Keeley would want to see it too, she’s just got a lot to deal with. I do feel quite upset that we didn’t get a shot of Jamie’s face going onto the pitch. I really feel like we should have spent a moment with him, just a moment, about what it meant for him, not just for Sam. That feels slightly unfair to me.
Megan: Yeah that really is my one big complaint about this episode. I love what we got so much, some of it was beyond my wildest dreams, but I would have loved a little bit more dwelling on this huge moment for Jamie. He deserves it.
Natalie: Honestly when I saw him in the 24 it took me a second to register that this had a meaning because 24 is just about the right number he would be given on the squad. In fact, I’ve thought before he would probably wear 24 at say, the World Cup, because Callum Wilson, the substitute striker for England for the tournament, got 24 among the 26. This is a sensible number for him to have, it wouldn’t have taken much for him to request it among the numbers in order, given they run straight through 1-26. But it is a beautiful gesture for him to have wangled it. He is really making a lot of adorable requests of Southgate.
Megan: Yeah it took me a moment to realise the Sam significance. But it was so lovely.
Natalie: It just made sense to me that as a brand new call up, on the bench, his squad number from this match would be somewhere in the region, so it took me a second but then Sam’s face! That’s Jamie’s second best friend!
Megan: Hahahahahhaha. I love how excited they all are when he’s about to get subbed on, and seeing the ones who chose to wear an England shirt for the occasion. And the little double hop that Jamie does before running onto the pitch – I took this to be some sort of superstition, like so many of them have before stepping onto the grass.
Natalie: It’s the English ones wearing England kit, all different eras of it. Roy could have worn his Kunt shirt today too but he opted for the tie dye again. Maybe he didn’t want any new questions. He’s already got people used to the tie dye.
Megan: He’s saving the Kunt shirt for the Sunday match. He’ll debut it there.
Natalie: I hope he gets photographed a lot. But yeah, the way he watches Jamie go on – his head SNAPS up when the room starts cheering – and hears the commentators mention 24, looks at Sam being all cheered up, nods to himself decisively, and starts to write the proper letter? What the fuck was the nodding to himself. What did Jamie make him feel in that moment? Why why why why are they doing this to me personally.
Megan: Right? I don’t know, maybe it reinforced that this was the right thing to do. He saw the direct and immediate impact it had on Sam. Maybe it affirmed to him that gestures and things like this are really important.
Natalie: It makes me crazy. Not to mention this is all happening during Rebecca’s speech about the beautiful game, which we will come back to, but it’s a part of that emotional beat – the way this is impacting them all.
Megan: Yeah with a soundtrack provided by Nate. It’s just an incredible sequence all around.
Natalie: I’m not sure why Roy chose a letter over just speaking to Keeley, but I guess it gave her a reason to find him unexpectedly. Like he just wanted to, I suppose, leave this for her – not a request to take him back, just an apology for how he acted and an affirmation of how good she was. But then he has to deal with her in person and have her read the letter in front of him. Or rather not read it. We will truly know Roy has changed for good if his handwriting ever becomes big and scrawly and expressive. It’s so compressed! I never expected his Believe poster writing to have a follow up moment in how clenched it is.
Megan: Maybe he thought that an actual conversation would be too much pressure for her to respond or reassure him or something. He just wanted her to know how he felt, and know that she did nothing wrong.
Natalie: I’m not the biggest fan of the whole “You are ‘your name.’” affirmation. Like no, Roy, I don’t think you made her doubt her identity. But I get the vibe.
Megan: Yeah and it might have been needed for her right then, if she feels like everything she touches turns to shit, she feels like a failure. Roy doesn’t know about any of that, but it might have been good for her to hear anyway.
Natalie: I think the fact that Roy doesn’t know about that is why I feel a bit unsure about the fact they slept together. We need to go back to the start and follow what she’s been up to before this moment, because he catches her when she’s in a really low place. Very very low. Hearing this might have made her feel a bit better, and Roy clearly wasn’t expecting anything, but if you watch closely- I missed it the first time, so got the same surprise as Rebecca – there’s a beat just before it cuts away, a split second where they show her moving to follow him down the road. To call him back. And presumably kiss, or have coffee, then kiss.
Megan: Yeah I spotted that, and I wasn’t sure it would mean sex immediately, but hoped it meant they would continue talking. I would hope that enough time passed between that moment and Rebecca showing up that they had something of a conversation at least.
Natalie: Well it reminded me of Jamie in 1.08, and we discussed what that meant for Keeley in our article about 3.08. So I feel very unsure about it.
Megan: But yeah, Keeley’s not got the best track record when it comes to thinking things through when she’s feeling low.
Natalie: It would have felt better for me if this with Roy had all happened after Keeley had refounded the PR company, but let’s track back over her side of things.
Megan: It’s not remotely important, but I LOVED the green blazer and shorts outfit in her first scene this episode. That colour is glorious.
Natalie: It’s fantastic, one of the best. Shame it has to come with such a sad scene.
Megan: Fucking Jack.
Natalie: As soon as I saw moving men coming out I knew what was happening and I just… Fucking hell, what a cunt. They really do a lot of work to show us just how awful she is, like leaving the news to Barbara – intentionally, I am certain. Her text to Keeley later, nothing she could do? She’s the head of the VC!.I know they have a board, but like… Come on!
Megan: If nothing else, like Rebecca, she could fucking fund it herself! I mean, I’m glad she didn’t, but she has the money!
Megan: And I think Barbara realised how much Jack threw her under the bus here – not for the first time – making her break the news to Keeley. What a shitty human being.
Natalie: All of this is intentional behaviour from someone who refuses to be accountable or culpable or the bad guy. She is rich enough to just make uncomfortable things go away.
Megan: She’s never had to actually see the direct impact her actions have, because she pays someone else to handle them.
Natalie: It sucks SO badly and once again I’m left very upset that we had to deal with this plot at all. This is skipping WAY ahead, but I’m so mad that KJPR wasn’t always ultimately what it ends up being by the end – Barbara and Keeley, an odd couple, making this small firm work, with the investors not being horrible. Like, why was this not always the plot? Keeley doing various clients and bouncing off Barbara about office culture, in funny but harmless ways, but showing an upwards trajectory of her business? Why did they want to take Keeley down so bad? Roy should have come back to her begging for a crumb of her attention while she was thriving. Why did they need to make it that she ruins everything she touches?
Megan: Yeah it really… I found it interesting at the start of the season, the idea that she would struggle with it. And I think there could still have been some struggles in this version! But the fact that they drove her so low is really hard for me to cope with.
Natalie: Why are things only allowed to rise again once she gets back with Roy? It troubles me.
Megan: Yeah, this way round, it lets Roy off the hook a bit. Like, I think the bigger challenge for him and his mental state would be for him to see Keeley riding high, and for him to trust that being with him isn’t going to drag her down, whereas if he gets back together with her when she’s at a low point, well, the damage won’t be his fault if she’s already in a bad place. And I have to trust the plot of this episode that he really has moved past his stuckness, and will stop getting in his own way. But it does kind of sit badly that this reunion happens when Keeley is feeling so low.
Natalie: I hate that this happened to her, but Keeley’s day drinking on the Thursday – when she goes into work, can’t do it, and ends up at the pub – is some of the best drunk acting I’ve seen. Those scenes all felt tonally quite different to normal Ted Lasso.
Megan: Yes! Like, it’s a hard thing to get right and not overact. She is so perfect in it. Like, she keeps it pretty understated and just like, the hyper focus that I think you can get when drunk. I really wasn’t expecting the Keeley and Mae match up, but it was SUCH a good scene.
Natalie:The way she spoke about the Midas shits was very, very upsetting to me. Like, look at her. Things failed with Jack, with Roy. They were both, in their own ways, cruel to her. Now the company is ruined. She had a sex tape online, making people talk shit about her again. She broke up with Jamie and watched him grow into a wonderful person that she had regrets over dumping. It feels like she’s not sustained anything good.
Megan: Everything is just so fucking shitty for her right now, and it is so awful and uncomfortable to watch. And of course she feels like she is the common denominator in all this. And look, things seem like they’re on the up again at the end of this episode, but I didn’t need to see it get this low first.
Natalie: Yeah, I have no idea why they wanted to take her to rock bottom. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out next week. Or if it’s all meant to be happy and good for her and Roy and the company. It feels like… I don’t know. Not quite right.
Megan: Yeah. I kind of think at this stage in the season it’ll probably be shown to be happy and good, but I really would like a conversation. Maybe one with Phoebe, where they have to explain it all to her again.
Natalie: I don’t want that. The whole issue with that first conversation is that it wasn’t the truth. It was the version they told a child. I want the fucking truth, LOL.
Megan: Haha no you’re right, I want that too. I’ve just got Phoebe on the brain. I’d say maybe we can have both, but I think that would be pushing it.
Natalie: No, they won’t repeat things unnecessarily just to be indulgent. But never mind. The chat with Mae is very interesting, when she talks about being a boss. When Mae says, “for some it’s better to follow your gut than pretend to be excited by following someone else’s” – it’s funny because she’s talking about yeah, being the boss is hard but some people, like herself, need to do their own thing not work under someone. But it’s also like – Keeley getting that offer in the first place was following someone else’s gut. She didn’t set out to make a firm. She was told to do it, basically. Someone else did it for her. It was not actually an independent decision or an idea she had considered – much like Ted getting the offer to coach Richmond, actually. But then I thought maybe this would be a moment Keeley thought “Oh, I’m not cut out to be a boss actually, I should not be doing this, I don’t like leading.” And honestly at this point I would have been like, “Fair enough. Maybe you just need to go work for Rebecca forever.” Of course this wasn’t the point but there is something to be said for how much she struggled with authority and leadership and how little we saw her achieve. So I did wonder what the hell was being said here.
Megan: Yeah. Here’s the thing. She was doing good stuff with people like Bantr of her own accord before KJPR came along. I just think maybe the full company launch was too much. But I guess Keeley realising she’s not cut out for it is probably a bit of a bummer message for Ted Lasso to send. It just feels like such a waste of screen time in some ways for her to end up kind of right back where she started, just with a whole load more heartache and doubts.
Natalie: I was not really expecting Mae to start spouting Nietzsche here, but like, go off I guess. Honestly what I took from this was that Keeley was NOT ready, but I don’t think that’s what they were going for. But possibly that was just because she looked so unwell.
Megan: She really did. I think Mae’s instincts about getting food in her were very correct. She looks awful!
Natalie: She spends many hours in the pub, based on her phone clock and the texts from Rebecca.
Megan: Poor Rebecca. That’s been a bit of a habit this season, Keeley not answering her calls or texts.
Natalie: Yeah, it really has. Poor Rebecca. She is a hilarious texter though. But apparently Keeley decides to walk home and goes down the paved street in Twickenham doing a tightrope balancing act on the road lines. Very normal behaviour. Then she sees something in a shop, which I immediately guessed about.
Megan: I did not guess! Not until she walked in to see Babs in the next scene. I did think that perhaps, given Roy had just left the club when it cut to her tightrope walking, that Roy might like, almost end up hitting her and drive her home. But I didn’t suspect the purchase. A much less dramatic end to the scene than near vehicular death.
Natalie: LOL. No, I knew what she’d seen. I did not think Roy was going to hit her with a car.
Megan: Not actually hit her! Just like, see her walking drunk and helping.
Natalie: I would not have liked Roy saving Keeley while drunk, that would have felt quite skeevy to me. I was not expecting Babs in Juicy Couture though.
Megan: No, that was a delight. She likes clothes that tell the truth! And she is juicy!
Natalie: Barbara, I have always felt an unfortunate kindred spirit hood with you, but never more when you were unable to act grateful about a thoughtful gift. You and me are the same. I mean, she does act grateful, but she can’t hold back from why it isn’t quite right.
Megan: She can’t just accept it as is.
Natalie: It was very nice for me personally to see Keeley take this in stride. It made me feel hope for myself. Me and Babs can be accepted just as we are, no matter how intolerable.
Megan: Look you are very Babs, but there are Keeleys out there who can roll with it. And I like that Barbara doesn’t apologise for it. She is who she is, and if you like her, great. But she’s comfortable the way she is regardless.
Natalie: I think she knows it’s kind of off-putting, but she can’t help it. And I think why she likes Keeley is the fact Keeley has sort of just let her be like that and met her where she is. Much like Ted and Roy a lot of the time.
Megan: God, yeah that’s true. And like, Keeley does call her out when she goes from just off-putting to downright mean with Shandy back in episode 2! But when she’s just being Barbara, Keeley is fine with it!
Natalie: When the light of the neon went off I really thought that would be it. I did have a hunch Keeley would start from the ground up and might get Babs back, but I didn’t think it would happen this episode. And I thought she might rebrand, but that surely the clients who already liked her would keep their files with her.
Megan: No, that resolution came a lot quicker than expected. I suppose she chose that name because she liked it. Maybe she didn’t want to pick a new name just because Jack was a dick.
Natalie: Look, sure. I would probably want to move to a new office though. One I didn’t have sex in. But we will see in the next couple episodes how it is all going. As we discussed, she comes home to find Roy there, and he wasn’t expecting her because it’s the middle of a work day. And she is in a better place than yesterday but still very much in a “My company was shut down because of my sex tape and my girlfriend didn’t speak up for me” place.
Megan: Yeah kind of forced cheer. But at least she’s sober.
Natalie: I don’t love that we don’t see her and Roy discuss any of that, what’s happened to her. Anything. Did they go to bed together before he found out about her mental state? I feel like if he knew and still fucked her, I would question him. But if she didn’t talk to him and just fucked him, I would question her. It reminds me too much of her using Jamie in 1.08. I don’t trust it and I find it weird we didn’t see a kiss or like the big romantic reunion. People wanted them back together, do they feel robbed? Something feels off to me about it. Maybe she’s going to decide it was a mistake and she needs to be on her own. Because if they just decided that yes they’re in love and committed to each other – if I was Roy and I heard all of what Keeley had been through – like, not to rob her of her autonomy but I’d probably be like “I don’t really want to just jump into bed, we should talk and go on some dates but I don’t think having a comfort shag right now feels good for me.”
Megan: Yeah look. Given this is, in theory, a resolution to one of the biggest plots of the season it really was a bit too “cut away and leave it up to our imagination.” Because there are so many interpretations, and a lot of them could be a bit dodgy.
Natalie: It’s clear the sex was frantic because his shirt was still downstairs. This shirt is on the kitchen table, her lavender jumper is on the floor by the stairs. So it looks like they got all grabby and couldn’t wait. So I feel… I don’t know. It feels weird.
Megan: I think if it was frantic, it’s probably a bit more likely it went the 1.08 route, and then maybe afterwards had some sort of conversation. But based on the preview for next week I think it’s likely they’re going to be interacting a fair bit, so hopefully whatever their status is, we get clarity there. I also think it’s highly likely that this is all we get in terms of them getting back together, and next week they’ll just be a unit again, with no further discussion.
Natalie: I also feel very weird about the whole Rebecca visit. I loved it in some ways. I’ve wanted to see Rebecca hanging out at Keeley’s. but I feel slightly odd about the fact that Rebecca can just swoop in and save Keeley’s company. I mean good for her if she wants to invest but it seemed like a bizarre fix to me in some ways. It also made me judge Jack, again, because we’ve established Jack is richer than Rebecca by far. but Rebecca thinks the investment was small. So would it have killed Jack to just let that money go? She wouldn’t miss it.
Megan: Yeah, for me it’s like… this is such an easy resolution that it makes how low Keeley falls seems so unnecessary. Why did she have to go through all of this, just to end up right back where she started with a huge knock to her confidence? And so while the fact I love Rebecca for doing this, and I’m glad Keeley is happy, and I love that her and Barbara are working together still, the journey we all took to get to this point? It just feels like a waste now we’ve got here.
Natalie: I found Rebecca just saving the day for Keeley slightly reductive in the sense of like, this stuff Keeley had been so so so so so tragic about, Rebecca is kind of in some way minimising it by doing this. I thought we would see Keeley go from the ground up, just based on the income she’s made so far from clients. That being said, if you have rich friends who love you, they should definitely give you money. It was a weird fix for me, one I wasn’t expecting.
Megan: Yeah, we know she didn’t have a huge number of clients! So actually if she kept just like, the ones she knew she could do the best work with – and maybe charge the most for – she could have done a lot of it by herself or with like, one other good hire. Rented a room in a WeWork or something. And just been properly independent. But also yes, letting rich people give you their money is a motto I can live by.
Natalie: Given Rebecca offered, I’m glad she said yes. I don’t like when people refuse money help when the giver can easily afford it. But I wasn’t expecting it to swing around this way, because it just seems square one rather than full circle. Like what was any of it for?
Megan: Yeah, exactly. I think you could have hit some of the necessary emotional beats both for her and Roy without all of this. Though I did really enjoy the visual of Keeley doing her little movie scene moment, writing it down on a postcard and handing it over all dramatically. Very cute.
Natalie: The other thing I felt strange about was the way Rebecca spies Roy as Keeley talked about Rupert. The joke there, the tension there? It leans on the idea of Keeley being a hypocrite. Like,Rupert and Roy are not comparable in their crimes, but I do think it was meant to be that hypocritical level when Keeley is like “can you imagine if you fell for it and got back with him when you were at the bottom of your emotional barrel?” We are meant to relate this to what Keeley just did with Roy, and the way Rebecca is looking at her. Did that feel weird to you? Does that mean this was a mistake?
Megan: I did wonder about that, but I landed on no, in the end. I don’t think Ted Lasso is saying Roy and Rupert are the same, just using the hypocrisy of Keeley saying that with such conviction when Roy was upstairs chilling. While I did feel a bit weird about the circumstances around them falling straight into bed together, and while I do think that next week we aren’t going to get much more in the way of showing their reconciliation, I didn’t watch this thinking it was meant to say “hooking up was a mistake.” Or well… Not if it does end up with them still together next week. If in next week’s episode, they’re not back in a relationship, maybe this scene IS telling us they made a mistake.
Natalie: It’s hard to tell, but at least I got another sexy salute out of it. If the show let Rebecca and Roy have more scenes it would be an unstoppable ship. They’re both too sexy.
Megan: Yeah, I think the sexy salute is what told me it was probably going to be okay. I don’t think Rebecca would do a sexy salute if she was judging or dubious about the situation. Maybe should have come down butt naked, just to prove once and for all to Rebecca that his arse isn’t hairy. He missed an opportunity there.
Natalie: Imagine when Roy is manager and he looks up to the owner’s box after an amazing win, like the first match of the new season or something, and tosses her the sexy salute. The work husbandism of it all. It would be so good.
Megan: Roy will have a work wife AND a work husband in the Prem next year. Love that for him. I also love him in a pink Versace dressing gown. Spoken content aside, this scene has some very good aesthetics.
Natalie: Do you think Jamie is his work husband? Because I think that’s his actual boyfriend. Beard is his work husband, maybe.
Megan: Oh yeah, that’s a better shout. Beard is the work husband, Jamie is the real boyfriend.
Natalie: Trent is the dirty secret work mistress. But look, that dressing gown was a choice he made, rather than putting his shirt back on.
Megan: I love him for that choice. He’s really embracing new styles this episode. And you know what, it works for him.
Natalie: After this, seeing Roy continue with the tie dye choices but slightly more muted? Very nice. When did he have time to pick that up? Who knows what he might wear next time. I’m sure Jamie has tips.
Megan: Something with a nice graffiti pattern maybe. Jamie can sit down with his best friend Isaac and they can do some shopping for Roy.
Natalie: I’m really glad we got to see Babs choosing Keeley, to stay on and help and build something with her. We haven’t got to spell out exactly what the fuck Babs thought of Jack and what she’s put up with before, but clearly what happened here was not a situation Barbara liked at all, and she’s willing to follow Keeley despite it probably being a much more unstructured situation as things get going without a full corporate plan. Rebecca will put in money but she isn’t going to set Keeley up with staff, you know? Keeley and Babs working things out as they go will be a good time.
Megan: Yeah, this does make me think that Keeley clearly did impress Barbara with her actual work and skills. Because I don’t think she’d join Keeley otherwise. So while she may have made some bad decisions around people like Jack and Shandy, Keeley IS still good at this job. I think she and Babs will be so good at this.
Natalie: It’s a shame we didn’t balance out any of her failures with any competence about the company’s success.
Natalie: But we’ll see. I’m sure the finale at least will show some progress for the new KJ PR. And Babs loves Rebecca. Maybe that’s why she came back. She trusts Rebecca as an investor. LOL.
Megan: I mean, fair. Same. Haha.
Natalie: I wonder if Babs caught the Mexico-Canada game. She would have enjoyed the violence.
Megan: LOL. Yes, all that blood. Poor, poor Thierry. Do you think Barbara gives Keeley a hug allowance? I feel like she’ll be allowed a max of one hug a day, maybe two if she wins a particularly big account.
Natalie: One hug a day feels like too many hugs at work! Maybe one a month.
Megan: I will compromise with one a week. Keeley is a hugger, I think she needs that. At least until they can hire another staff member who is also a hugger.
Natalie: She can always hug Rebecca when she visits Richmond.
Megan: Hmm. Fine.
Natalie: But yeah, if Ted Lasso is to carry on, I would like to see at least one more new hire – maybe a designer, to come up with the pitch decks for clients. They could be a hugger. Someone to round out the dynamic. But I don’t think Dan’s getting his job back somehow. Whatever it was.
Megan: No. I think Keeley can do better than Dan.
Natalie: We’ve got a little time to see what KJPR 2.0 looks like, I guess. And I am glad Rebecca is involved if there was no other option. I guess when you think about it, Bantr were a client and their money people believed Keeley was worth investing in to do more. AFC Richmond is also a client, and I guess their money people believe Keeley is worth investing in too. Money people being Rebecca. It’s not that weird, and if Keeley and Rebecca ever sleep together I’m sure it won’t be as disastrous as all the Jack stuff.
Megan: LOL. Keeley wishes. No it’s not really weird at all, it’s just frustrating we didn’t always have it happen this way if this is where it’s going to end up. But I guess… Keeley never considered this a possibility, so she was never going to ask Rebecca for the money in the first place to open a PR firm. It took someone else investing – and then taking it away – for her to think of all this up. And so when it looked like it was going away, that’s when Rebecca stepped in.
Natalie: It’s definitely a choice Rebecca can feel wholly good about, after an episode of slightly uncertain ones. Something changed for Rebecca this episode, and I’m not completely 100% what but I have a good hunch. In a lot of ways this felt like a direct follow on, for me, of 3.02 – do you remember in that episode we talked about how it became clearer than ever that whatever was up with Rebecca, she still wasn’t over Rupert? Like he’s been such a huge villain, but part of her issues surrounding him is still that pain of having fallen for him, loved him, been cast aside? She hated him, but she wasn’t over him or what had happened? And do you remember I also said I was SURE that Rupert still had a very pure love of football, of Richmond, that wasn’t just Evil Bad Guy driven? Well, [gestures at this episode.] I wasn’t expecting a Super League to be the thing that changed everything for Rebecca in terms of moving on from her marriage, but there you go.
Megan: You are, it turns out, very good at watching TV.
Natalie: I know I am, but thank you.
Megan: I really loved that it delved into the whole Super League issue but yeah, this episode was SO GOOD for Rebecca. And I think really, for me, balanced the idea of like…Rebecca as a business woman who has sort of against her will fallen in love with football – that last part is relatable to me – and Rebecca, the person who wants to be loved, to be in a relationship worthy of her. Sometimes this season it’s felt like she’s swung from one to the other in a not very healthy way, but this was Rebecca at her best, uncertain decisions and all.
Natalie: Ultimately I think what this episode did was spell out quite loudly that any of the things that we’ve seen her do romantically before were done in a state of mind where she wasn’t fully open and ready for it. Where she wasn’t going to be able to truly trust and let herself properly go for it. And getting this closure with Rupert, I think she now is. Whoever that might be with.
Megan: Yeah whether that’s Sam, Boat Guy, even Ted, she is in a place now where it would be healthy and secure and she’s just fully comfortable with herself.
Natalie: I want to come back to this, because I have more thoughts on it, but going back to the Super League – I loved the fake-out about girl talk that turned out Trent was there too. He’s doing such a good job, and so smug about it.
Megan: He’s so good at everything, it stands to reason that includes girl talk. Scuttlebutt and gossip are the same thing Ted, just with different gender implications. Don’t be sexist.
Natalie: This episode showed us a warmer, softer side to Rupert, but I have no doubt that he will do something else dire before the end of the season, given their gossip about inappropriate workplace behaviour at West Ham.
Megan: Yeah I still feel like the Bex of it all is far from over.
Natalie: They all seem to still take Nate in good faith when wondering why he’s left the club. They’re sort of mildly curious. Not the same kind of vitriol as we see from Beard later.
Megan: I did find it ironic that they were all adamant that Nate could never be involved in inappropriate workplace behaviour given Ted, and I assume Rebecca at, know that he kissed Keeley! I might still be Beard in this situation.
Natalie: I think we have to accept that moment from Nate wasn’t exactly borne of the same place as Rupert grabbing his assistant’s ass.
Megan: Yeah I know, I’m just still bitter. Like Beard.
Natalie: It’s valid.
Megan: Sidenote: do we think Biscuits With The Boss is going to make it into Trent’s book given he’s there for this? This book is going to be bonkers.
Natalie: Yes, I think it’ll be part of the whole Lasso Way thing. If the book’s publication is in the finale, that means a time jump, so… I don’t want that. But I do assume we will get some sort of overview of it.
Megan: No, neither. I guess I could cope with like a season two style, two months later time jump. No big amount of time, just a little check in where no extreme changes have happened.
Natalie: The book would talk longer than that to publish I feel, but on to the Super League. As soon as Higgins mentioned it I was so shocked that we were going there. So shocked! I’m not sure the episode spelled out exactly what it was properly, especially given they don’t really mention the Champions League at all – and Richmond must be in contention for the Champions League this year. But I was surprised to see this happen at all. In the long run, very happily surprised, as it directed the story to be about why football matters. Because this is a show about football. Despite what some may think
Megan: Even if they don’t win the league, I have to assume they’ll make it to the Champions League. I’ve seen a bit of confusion online about why the Super League would be bad and all that different from other leagues, but I really don’t think they went into enough detail about how a Super League would be fixed, in terms of teams included.
Natalie: Let’s talk about this a bit, because this matters to the broader context of the episode. I don’t think they explained why it would make more money either. First of all, the Champions League (as opposed to the Championship, the second tier of English football) is the European competition that allows the top few clubs of each country’s domestic league to compete in a European “best of the best” competition. In a similar way that Richmond were relegated to the EFL or Championship (just go with it, they’re unrelated) based on points, the top 4 teams of the Premier League table win a place in the Champions League. This doesn’t replace their Premier League competition – they play in two leagues, the CL is far fewer matches and it’s done like a tournament – group stages then a knockout. So while playing in the 2021-2022 Champions League, Man City would also be playing in the 2021-2022 Premier League and trying to secure a top 4 finish to make the NEXT year’s CL. So that’s how the current European Club competition goes. Chelsea, in real life and the show, won the CL in 2012, meaning Roy has won the Champions League, it’s a big achievement.
Megan: It’s a big enough achievement just to get into it – Spurs, my poor babies, will basically consider a season a success if they lose everything but manage to come fourth in the league and get into the CL.
Natalie: But the whole point of promotion and relegation in league football is that those top 4 spots (or the bottom 3 for relegation) are not fixed. The Champions League of any given year, it’s not always the biggest teams, or the most popular teams with a lot of international fans due to marketing, or the teams with the best players due to club wealth. In theory, any team from the 20 in the Premier League could make the top 4. They just have to play well and get the points.
Megan: Newcastle are set to make it back into the CL for the first time since 2003. I get the impression Richmond have probably not been in it any time recently – if at all.
Natalie: The top 4 at the end of the season usually do include some of the famously big teams, due to their ongoing success that makes them stable enough to be able to have the best facilities and best coaches and buy the best players. But not always. Any players can pull it off if the team is gelling.
Megan: Yep. And once you’re in it, because it’s a knockout there is always a chance of a few fluke wins, meaning even small teams can go quite far. Because it’s not like you need a full season of sustained, consistently good play to build up enough points like in the Prem. So while there are always favourites, it doesn’t always go their way.
Natalie: However, one of the ways the clubs get money is broadcast rights, and it’s often the most popular teams – not popular to their local community, popular on a global scale the way that Manchester United was popular for celebrity Beckham reasons – they often are more desired to be broadcast. Big teams with lots of wins in their past, who are “easy” to support by the John Wingsnights of the world because they often win. Those big teams have passionate historical communities too – Man City was actually a big underdog team until they got bought by billionaires a bit over a decade ago, so they were historically the “less good” team to support that United. But as things go more global, there’s more desire for the John Wingsnights of the world to see Real Madrid play Liverpool every fucking week or whatever, rather than engaging in the actual highs and lows of the league system. The Super League, and this was a real thing that happened in April 2021, right around when I got into Ted Lasso actually, was a proposal for the top flight teams – the six richest and most popular teams, who sell the merch and have a lot of casual fans – to withdraw from the Champions League system and play with some other popular clubs from Spain and Italy, like Real Madrid and AC Milan and Barcelona, in a Super League. Which was, on its first proposal, effectively a closed league for people to watch the “best” teams in Clash of Titans matches. The fact that it was fixed would mean these popular teams would be getting this sort of status, and the broadcast income even if they didn’t finish well. Chelsea, for example, are not going to place this season. They will not win a place in the European competition. They haven’t got high enough points in the Premier League. But if they were in the Super League, they would have a guaranteed spot for these extra high value matches for broadcast, matches that were pretty inaccessible to local fans. And the competition would just be… for nothing. And with no chance to “earn” a spot in those top competitions, smaller clubs would lose out on both achievements and money.
Megan: It was such an obvious money grab, and just utterly went against everything that I think fans of the sport here in Europe care about most.
Natalie: Why don’t you talk about what happened that week a bit.
Megan: Oh god it was insane.
Natalie: It was very, very emotional even for me and I was a new football fan.
Megan: The backlash this proposal had in England…I cannot describe it, it was just universally hated. We had a campaign against it, even people that didn’t really care about football knew it was bad. And the actual fans – from all leagues and from all clubs, including the six English clubs that signed up for it – were outraged.
Natalie: Because unlike Ted Lasso, the top 6 in England did publicly announce they were doing it. It wasn’t killed in the boardroom. And no one was consulted from the club communities – not players, managers, or fan associations. They just dropped the news.
Megan: The amount they kicked off… I don’t think the owners of the clubs involved expected this level of backlash. They knew it would be unpopular, but I don’t think they knew how much. There were protests up and down the country and outside the clubs. Managers also kicked off. A lot of them didn’t seem to know anything about it until after the plans were announced, and during press conferences they made it clear they didn’t think it was a good idea. I remember Jordan Henderson called for a meeting of the captains of the Premier League clubs so they could decide on a collective response. I don’t know what response they agreed upon, though, because three days after it was announced, the Super League was basically dead because of the amount of outcry. All the England clubs pulled out, and it’s basically been in limbo ever since. Jordan has since said he was shocked and angry when he heard about it, and a number of players spoke out during the three days of chaos. But yeah it was…I cannot explain how much this announcement dominated the news cycle in the UK for those three days.
Natalie: One thing I think people didn’t quite get was the element of like “Well these are the most popular teams, why wouldn’t that be a good thing, if most people want to see those teams?” And that idea seemed to stem from a misunderstanding about why people like football in the UK, or European leagues, which is the David vs Goliath story Higgins mentions. All of the competitions, the FA Cup too, are set up in a way where everyone has a fair go. Where smaller teams may get the chance to play in big games and improve their fortune. This is similar to Ted not understanding why promotion and relegation matters, because in America, you aren’t at risk of losing your place in the league. Of course people are excited when a big game between rivals is on, but usually that’s more about an old location based challenge like a Merseyside Derby – Liverpool vs Everton. These days Liverpool is definitely the bigger, richer, better team, but that game is probably more important to the club than, I don’t know, Liverpool vs Arsenal, unless that specific match at that specific time is a needed points battle. The drama of football is in the potential it has to rise and fall. This is all kind of what Rebecca meant in her speech, she just didn’t spell out the reasons why it was bad, because everyone she was talking to already knew.
Megan: It’s the history of these clubs and their rivalries that plays such a huge role in why fans care so much. So this proposed Super League style team would just have no history, no meaning. Yeah, worldwide I’m sure a lot of global fans would enjoy being able to watch Man City and Real Madrid go toe to toe every over week, but to so many people that would just be meaningless.
Natalie: James Corden is a person who has become less popular with the internet in recent years – I’ll always have a soft spot for him due to The History Boys – but when the Super League happened he used the opening of his show to do a very raw, very thorough, very passionate monologue to his American audience that is worth watching, and he was straight up saying to the studio audience “Look, I know you don’t care, and don’t understand, but I do.” But to translate to Hollywood, he said like… if Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sairose Ronan and Viola Davis went off and made their own break away Oscars, that one of them would always win, no matter what movies they’d been in that year. Like even if they were shit movies, and other actresses had done amazing movies. You’d never get Michelle Yeoh coming in with a triumph like Everything Everywhere All at Once. It’s a fake competition designed to make money from broadcast to appeal to the most casual fans. Very shallow.
Megan: I still can’t believe that those six English club owners thought this was something they’d get away with. That the backlash would just blow over. Idiots. Even now writing all of this out I’m so furious all over again.
Natalie: The thing is, it isn’t just the fact that they – like Chelsea this year – wouldn’t have to qualify for the competition. It’s that the money from the Super League would make the clubs bigger and richer than ever before.
Natalie: Killing the domestic league, because they’d be able to buy the all best players and best things. It would make the gap too far in terms of the resources available to clubs in the Premier League. No other team would reach the top of the table – it would literally just change the levels of domestic competition. And yeah, the smaller clubs never being able to get into Europe on merit, no chance of European broadcast money to boost them would mean they couldn’t use that chance to make further progress.
Megan: Honestly there is already too much money available to some clubs probably, including ones that I love and support. We still, despite that, have upsets in football and surprise twists and turns. The Super League would have destroyed that.
Natalie: It’s just a mess. It was the worst kind of greed. And all those clubs – they still have local history. They still were borne of the working class and mainly have working class supporters filling the stadiums in the UK. It’s removing the club from the local people and being like no, this is to entertain cable viewers in America, or Dubai, or Singapore. And like, sure, there are foreign supporters. But it was all about the broadcast money being too tempting to maintain domestic integrity for the owners. Especially since in the last couple of decades the owners have more and more been foreign wealth, even state-owned by Gulf states, rather than local owners. Honestly, Rupert is somewhat of an outlier. But the foreign owners and foreign fans, even, are doing this instead of spending their money on, or being a fan of, teams in their own countries. It’s almost like the Super League is a performance. Like putting on a show for people.
Megan: Yeah. Like, choreographed football for the masses.
Natalie: Anyway. I think we’ve explained this to death. It didn’t end up happening, the six British clubs all pulled out within a couple of days. Thank God.
Megan: I am sure that to some American viewers this really wouldn’t seem like a big deal, in part because it was based on American sports models, but here in the UK, it did not fly, LOL. And I am so grateful.
Natalie: There’s so much more I could say about how sick it was that this wasn’t something the participants – the players and coaches – had any say in, but they often don’t. Anyway, Edwin wanting to start a global Super League made a horrible amount of sense.
Megan: It really did, I wasn’t expecting it, but it happened and worked perfectly.
Natalie: Rebecca suspects that Rupert is involved and gets a call from him that she ignores, but he still manages to sneak in to see her, right after she’s had a strange, lovely interaction with Sam. Truly going from the best man she knows to the worst. Sam has been really down about the Nigerian national team obviously – the coaches were talking to him about it and he sort of sliced through Ted’s inspirational metaphor with his sad, sharp, level of detail. But he and Rebecca… It’s now March. They’ve been broken up for a year. How often do they have these little moments? They must run into each other. Does she always play with his hoodie strings?
Megan: Her calling him wonderful.. .and the strings! I confess I forgot all about Boat Guy in this scene, it was just so lovely. I do still love them so much.
Natalie: I thought this was in the grave but the fact they haven’t had him start dating Simi when they’ve had the opportunity to… Something is still there.
Megan: I wonder if anyone else at Richmond notices their corridor moments because I think you’re right, they must have happened more than just this one time. I bet Will has seen it. The use of “wonderful” did make me think it could maybe still happen, because of their conversation in the airing cupboard at the funeral in season 2. I don’t really think it will, but I got a little spark of hope here.
Natalie: And because of what Rebecca said in 2.01. “I need to be brave enough to let someone wonderful love me, without fear of being hurt.” What happens with Rupert in this episode, and her re-hanging the Hockney, I feel like that’s all meant to mean she is ready. So… is it still Sam?
Megan: Yeah, that’s very much how I felt by the end of the episode. That she’s ready. Whether or not it’s Sam she’s ready for I feel much less sure about. But either way I was so happy to get this little moment between them.
Natalie: The face she makes when they fake punch each other, like she knows it’s ridiculous and awkward and fond, like “Oh my god still overwhelmed by memories of you but this is so awkward.” And she let him see that, like her “this is weird” face. I don’t think it was bad weird. It was just like “Arggggh!”
Megan: No haha. Like I think she did the hoodie string pull, realised it might be too personal, overcompensated with the punch and then was like “Oh fuck it, yes, this is weird I’m sorry.”
Natalie: His smile and touching the back of his head too. It definitely felt like both of them are still very into each other, there was no chill to be seen.
Megan: Yeah. Like, I am managing my expectations when it comes to the next two episodes, but I like that it’s not being written off as something that was meaningless or a mistake for either of them. God, he really is very cute.
Natalie: She’s still smiling to herself about him when she gets back to her office because of course she is, he’s wonderful. Rupert – less wonderful.
Megan: It seems fitting that he can only access Richmond via sewers these days.
Natalie: Honestly, this was such a good scene in terms of how harshly Rebecca took it and how softly all those things return later, in terms of how she views Rupert or his connection to Richmond. I wasn’t expecting the role the Hockney would play later, but the whole thing was very interesting.
Megan: What did you think about Rupert’s motivations, inviting her?
Natalie: I don’t think it was for the reason she suspected. I think that he cares about Richmond and doesn’t want them left behind, and thinks Rebecca is doing well at the job. I really do.
Megan: I also wondered how much he actually thought it was a good idea. Like… he thinks Rebecca is doing well, and he knows she’ll speak her mind. Maybe given his background, given we discover he isn’t old money, maybe he thought having someone like Rebecca in the room might make a difference in making sure the right decision was made. And that isn’t to say he definitely thought it was the wrong decision. Just less convinced than he could have been.
Natalie: Yeah, when he says “It could be great for the game” – I think he wanted to hear the story, and ultimately see. I think that if it was for sure happening, he wouldn’t want to be left behind.
Natalie: But I truly don’t think he cares about money more than football, which is what the ending does conclude. I do think he’s absolutely caught up in his horrible billionaire wealth and would be easily swayed the wrong way, but I think there’s also part of him that maybe wouldn’t want to be. He maybe isn’t strong enough to fight it himself, but Rebecca can fight it for him. Basically also I think he still cares about her and definitely Richmond, and he wants her/Richmond in the loop rather than out of the loop.
Megan: Yeah, like… I don’t leave this episode thinking Rupert is a good guy or anything, but I did appreciate the way it showed that he’s less two dimensional than we’ve previously seen. And that it confirms the earlier signs of how important football is to Rupert.
Natalie: I certainly don’t think he was inviting her to in some way belittle her and bring her down.
Natalie: And I don’t think the reason for inviting her was diversity. Not for him, anyway
Megan: Hah! Definitely not.
Natalie: Rupert doesn’t seem like a checking boxes kind of guy
Megan: No, and he’s also not someone that seems to often see much value in women outside of whether or not they’ll sleep with him. Good for Rebecca, I suppose. Rebecca is clearly very thrown by his invite, and suspicious of it, and I do not blame her for one moment.
Natalie: When she asks about Nate, I wonder what level of truth she was expecting there . It does look like Rupert genuinely did value Nate’s skills, or at least wanted to remove those skills from Richmond, right? And oddly, I feel what he said was a bit true. We don’t know exactly why Nate quit, what things lead to it – was it just being pushed into that “female company” guys night? But Rupert says, some people just aren’t ready for it when they get their shot. And from what we see of Nate this episode… This is more for that arc, but with his state of mind, I feel doubtful about him returning to a high stress situation, a public eye situation, anything like that. What Rupert meant by that comment in his standards, I probably don’t agree. But there’s some truth in interpretation.
Megan: Yeah. I think Nate quit because of Rupert’s behaviour – whether or not it’s more than what we’ve seen I don’t know – but that doesn’t mean that Rupert’s wrong when he says Nate wasn’t ready.
Natalie: He said words in an order – not for the same reason that I’d say them – that I think might be a fair call. It depends on what happens for Nate next really. But it’s interesting, and it’s got an element of repetition with the Nietzsche quote from Mae later. I think the idea of that sentiment – are you ready for the moment when it hits you – is also part of Rebecca’s story. The idea is a seed planted that could grow in a few different ways. It’s a little odd to me that Rebecca doesn’t immediately hit Rupert with like, “how could you think of joining a Super League,” when the scene with Ted and Trent kind of established them as bad. But I think everyone just wants to be in the room for themselves even if they aren’t particularly pro. It is interesting to watch Rupert’s face during that meeting, compared to some of the other men. But we get to see Edwin before the meeting, though – he comes to visit Sam at the restaurant. Hooray. So fun.
Megan: God. Poor Sam. He is so stoic and polite in this whole scene, which is probably the right approach, but Jesus Christ I wanted someone to punch Edwin. I would love to know what Simi thought of all that. And how Sam explained it to her afterwards!
Natalie: This makes me think that Edwin is either returning in the finale, or that Ted Lasso definitely has a season 4 or spin-off planned. Because Edwin has shown to follow through. He is out to ruin Sam’s life. A new competing restaurant?
Megan: I really hate that, I hate the idea that he’ll never get to be on the Nigerian national team. And this competing restaurant bullshit. I really need him to talk to someone who can help. I mean, it’d be good TV. But it is so painful to think about!
Natalie: And truly, when Sam told Rebecca earlier, oh I could have worked harder – why why why didn’t he ever say about Edwin’s past threat?
Megan: I guess it happened when they were broken up and he didn’t want to bring it up or whatever. Or he genuinely just didn’t take it seriously because the original threat was accompanied by Edwin pretending to shit on a Sam shirt. But now it’s played out, and he can see it was genuine…I really need him to talk to her.
Natalie: The show really likes to hammer home that the Nigerian government is corrupt. I still don’t know how this affects the football team. But it seems plausible at this point.
Megan: Them accepting the money feels very plausible, especially since they’re already likely not Sam’s biggest fans.
Natalie: None of Sam’s issues regarding Edwin are solved this week, it all feels a bit hopeless. I have no idea how he would get this fixed, but…
Megan: Maybe since the restaurant attack he’ll have security cameras in there with audio too, and he can use that to reveal that the Nigerian government took money from someone to stop a player from joining the national team.
Natalie: That would be a good bit of evidence.
Megan: I feel like that would cause outrage among everyday Nigerians who wanted their team to do well. It would be hard to dispute that evidence! And Edwin not even being Nigerian himself would probably make people angrier.
Natalie: But surely he would immediately know that he’s got that on tape, rather than just hopefully putting a card of the national team in his locker.
Megan: I think when it comes to himself Sam probably likes to be a bit of a noble martyr. Maybe Simi can be the one that leaks the evidence. If it exists. I have just invented it.
Natalie: She is very confused and angry about this. I have actually decided I don’t ship them. She feels more sister-coded. Him having to be like “settle down” and hold her back. I don’t like the idea of a het couple where the guy is like “settle down” to the girl.
Megan: Neither. Yeah I think I prefer them as sibling-friends rather than romantic. I think I’d rather see Sam single at the end of this season than sort of neatly paired up with her. Maybe Rebecca’s actions later will inadvertently help Sam. Maybe Edwin will switch his anger to her and forget about Sam…How many grudges does he really have time for? And I feel like Rebecca might be better equipped to go up against Edwin than Sam would.
Natalie: I would hope she could. I really hate him. He makes Rupert look loveable.
Megan: He’s quite entertaining to watch, but they always push it 30 seconds longer than I need to see.
Natalie: He feels like a very weird caricature that they invented to let their friend Sam Richardson just go to town on the absurdity, and yeah, it’s not my flavour of funny. Francis is quite funny though.
Megan: I did love the Francis bit so much. Sam pleading with him not to do this. Poor Sam. Poor Simi. She just wanted to cook some good food, she didn’t sign up for all of this.
Natalie: Sam’s so tired. I wonder if they’ll try to steal her. Surely she would say no.
Megan: I can’t imagine she could be bought.
Natalie: Not when she’s had to see this ridiculousness go down.
Megan: No, she’d have to be mad to work for Edwin after seeing this.
Natalie: I feel like we might get another Edwin episode to sort this all out. He had two last season so maybe two again.
Megan: I would like it to be an episode that neutralises his threat, rather than leaves it looming ahead of any potential spin offs. But we’ll see.
Natalie: Rebecca is certainly in his bad books, as is, I guess, all of English football? But honestly when she was trying to work out whether she should go to the meeting, I was a bit confused as to why she was considering it, and Leslie was encouraging it, after he had established it was bad news. Just better in the room than out, you think?
Megan: Yeah I think a bit of that – knowing the plans means she can get ahead of them if needs be or whatever. But also maybe just sheer curiosity. About the league, but also about Rupert’s motivations. She really is getting more into this club ownership lark, so she might just want to know what’s happening.
Natalie: I love that this episode had a call back to Higgins being not the first choice on the list for advice, like with Keeley – but in this case I think it’s showcasing the fact that he should have been. He is the director of football operations after all. I don’t think Keeley, Sassy or Ted could have helped as well, they didn’t have context.
Megan: Yes! And despite being portrayed as a bit bumbling at times – see his network of masseuses – he is actually pretty good at his job! And he clearly cares about football and the team, he knows what he’s doing!
Natalie: It felt SLIGHTLY weird to me that she said she didn’t want to be a part of the league because she thinks she’s only included because she’s a woman. What about the ethics, Rebecca? I suppose she doesn’t yet know what it may look like. People have issues with how the UEFA Champions League is run. It could be that this was legitimately a better option. Spoiler, it isn’t.
Megan: Yeah UEFA isn’t perfect! None of the leagues are to be honest. But…this is extremely bad.
Natalie: But Leslie’s reasoning is better than Rebecca’s and his comparison to Willy Wonka kids is spot on. Those children are dead.
Megan: They are so dead. RIP those children. And yeah, I don’t think Leslie thinks it’s a good idea either, he knows football too much for that. But I think he’d want to know what was happening.
Natalie: Seeing what’s what is kind of the best possible idea. And like I said earlier, I think it’s interesting that she “couldn’t find Ted.” I love Leslie and Rebecca as friends and sort of co-parents of Richmond on the business side, and I think this episode shows that Ted is basically now erroneous. They could have made her talk to Ted about it, they chose to show that actually Leslie is a great person for her to have there, a work partner. It seems less and less like Ted is involved in the causality of things that happen at the club. I really liked his brief scenes in the episode, but nothing happened because of him. His presence has helped set all these wheels in motion, strengthened other relationships- Roy and Jamie, Rebecca and Leslie, etc, but he’s sort of done his bit to make the environment self-sustaining. Bye bye Ted.
Megan: Yeah, he’s done his bit, he’s had a positive impact on everyone. I think really at this stage the only person left that I think his work isn’t really done around is probably Nate. I can’t imagine Nate’s arc is going to end without a scene or two with Ted this season. But otherwise he’s there, he’s doing his job! He’s engaged! He wants Richmond to win! But I think everyone will be okay without him…
Natalie: Yeah. It feels inevitable now that he will leave. They could still pull a fast one, but I don’t think I’d enjoy that. I like things to feel inevitable and then happen. Making the audience feel like a conclusion has been laid out to then swerve is not very satisfying.
Megan: Yeah, I don’t mind twists and turns here and there within that, but actual, firm endings I like to be able to see them coming and then enjoy the journey of how we get there.
Natalie: Like, if the Ted Lasso writers wanted him to stay, they would play it like, he’s super involved, this is obviously his home, we can all see this is where he belongs… But then he has some doubt that means he says he’s leaving and we all say no! And Rebecca says no! That isn’t what’s happening. They’re paving the way for it to feel right that he leaves.
Megan: It really isn’t. If they have him choose to stay after all of this, I just don’t know that I’d buy the reason behind it.
Natalie: No, it feels very inevitable for him to exit, it feels like the obvious story that’s being told, and obvious isn’t bad. This is a good segue into Rebecca’s next move which is to look for her phone in her bag and pull out Ted’s soldier jammed into Sam’s matchbook. I groaned at this pretty badly, because I didn’t really want to hear the fallout about it. But I want to talk about it in terms of things being inevitable or obvious. At this point in Ted Lasso, especially after this episode where Rebecca is now ready to move on and open herself up to the world, it is not impossible to me that it could mean she finally sees Ted in a new way. It’s definitely plausible that that’s her romance. However, for me, in this episode, we saw obvious attraction with Sam. We’ve discussed that we’ve never felt a spark with Ted and Rebecca, never felt chemistry. I’m not going to shit talk all the Tedbecca shippers for shipping it, but I know what they think about things being romcom coded for them and I just don’t see it. I know what things they think mean this is all fated to be, and I simply don’t see it, not without actual moments of zing in the air as well, and I’m slightly annoyed that the ONLY reason I would ever try to analyse “Oh, does this mean Ted?” is because there are sort of deep dive claims about these things having meaning that I legitimately don’t agree with. The only moment I’ve ever thought the show was framing it like that was the red herring Bantr texting. That’s the only time I ever, for a second, thought, “Oh gosh, are they going there?” And I think that Rebecca is now placed in a way that yeah, she could Realise Something. But it’s not something I ever felt was simmering there without her realising. No special looks, no moments of tension in that special way. And I feel fairly certain that Ted will leave and, after this episode, Rebecca is more dedicated to her football club than ever, so she won’t follow him to America. So honestly, seeing the matchbook and the soldier like that, I really hope this is just meant to be “symbols of two good men who both mean a lot to her and helped her,” just like the painting is a symbol of Rupert and what he gave to her – her passion for and understanding of football. Because honestly, if it’s Ted, romantically, at this point – I could buy Rebecca having a sudden realisation but it wouldn’t feel inevitable to me. It would not feel like it’s all been leading to them. Because things like her wearing a scarf that’s a similar colour as the biscuit box? These are not clues. Not really. Symbolism is all well and good, but you have to also have some actual text, on top of the subtext. A scarf is not a vibe, and for many many many audience members, the vibe is not there, and they won’t even have noticed the scarf. It isn’t going to feel inevitable if the only people who think that way about them are scarf conspiracy level shippers. And the episode contained actual frisson with Sam. So yeah. This whole… thing… I don’t think it means anything about Ted romantically, not really, but if it does, I don’t think that endgame is particularly earned. And I know there are people who would set my house on fire for saying that, but sorry, it isn’t, not to people who aren’t scraping the barrel for clues about bits of set decoration or costume. There has been nothing about what they say to each other or act around each other that feels like that’s where it is going, and that’s what the general audience would need. And that could change in the next two episodes. It could. But it still wouldn’t mean it was ever there before Rebecca had her big healing moment. Rebecca and Ted getting together should feel inevitable to the whole audience if it happens. That’s how you should do it. Mulder and Scully style. But that so isn’t where it’s at, just based on the huge amounts of people who definitely don’t sense any sort of vibe there.
Megan: Yeah, I just couldn’t agree with all of this more. And I also see a lot of commentary about how it is a rom-com and it’s been set up with so many rom-com references and we just aren’t watching closely enough. But the thing is, Ted Lasso is full of little rom-com homages and symbolism, because of the kind of show it is, just for the hell of it rather than a plot point. And not just rom-coms – there have been at least two West Wing tributes that I’ve noticed so far! I don’t think the show is going to end with any of them running for President. Maybe Sam, back in Nigeria I guess. As you say, none of these references, to me, feel like a sign that Ted and Rebecca are written in the stars. Because honestly while Rebecca clearly likes Ted, half the time she spends around him she’s just rolling her eyes at his jokes and puns and cheesiness. Whenever I talk to casual viewers in my life who watch Ted Lasso – work friends or my sister – and mention Ted and Rebecca as a couple they’re always surprised like… “No? Really? People think that?”
Natalie: I assume you also groaned at the matchbook soldier combo.
Megan: Yes. An audible out-loud groan.
Natalie: I resent being forced to like, try and work out whether the show is doing something that I don’t think it’s doing, because apparently it’s possible that the clues could be this subtle, without any actual moments between the characters to back it up. And I’m only even thinking in this direction because I know there’s a portion of fandom that takes it as fact. And I don’t like, disrespect their analysis, I just don’t agree with a lot of the examples, and if I shipped them I would not feel satisfied with their actual interactions. I ship people because of their interactions and their on screen vibe, and this… I would not feel “fed.”
Megan: Yeah I would never consider this relationship a thing if it wasn’t for all the apparent signs that get pointed out by people. But because they do, when I saw the matchbook and the soldier I did have a moment of “Oh fuck no, they can’t be going there.” But I landed in the same place as you did in the end with this moment. That it was more a symbol of like, important men in Rebecca’s life that she can trust to be there for her. I did think in some ways that it sort of framed both Sam and Ted as being equally unlikely to be endgame for her, because they were there on the same kind of level playing field.
Natalie: That’s a fair point especially if the Boat Guy is coming.
Megan: Yeah. I think it’ll still be Boat Guy, but I enjoyed a little reminder of my Rebecca and Sam dreams.
Natalie: It definitely flirted with the idea of them again, but the show has never flirted with the idea of Ted and Rebecca. Even the way they look at each other doesn’t hold much for me. Ted makes bigger heart eyes at Roy when Roy does something he likes. Ted’s a fond guy. I also think he’s still in love with Michelle. If things change quickly, like they both suddenly Realise, it won’t feel satisfying to me, so… yeah. If Ted Lasso thinks doing things like this is the same level of “flirting with the concept of them” as the Sambecca scene, it isn’t comparable and the GA isn’t going to get it.
Natalie: Anyway, I think that’s enough of that. Rebecca decides to go to the meeting after handling green objects. There you go. And Leslie sucked tea out of his tie
Megan: Relatable. No, that’s a lie. Even I have not sucked tea out of soggy fabric. Come on Leslie. I really loved the scene with Rebecca and her child self. She’s so magnificent, but I really love seeing her be a little more vulnerable and show the ways she builds herself up.
Natalie: The original scene where we heard her talk about this tactic when having to be the least “powerful” person in a football boardroom was a very amazing moment with her that was also funny. This wasn’t funny.
Megan: Yes! Hearing about it was great, seeing it was just really poignant.
Natalie: I feel like she doesn’t usually see her child self, that seemed to startle her, but made her feel it even more. Like she owed it to her or something.
Megan: Yeah. And she just smiles at her with such fondness and love. And just watching the weight lift as she goes through the routine. I’m really glad they showed us this.
Natalie: At the meeting, she still looks a little unsettled at the gaggle of old rich men, and honestly, it must be so exhausting to deal with.
Megan: I can’t imagine it.
Natalie: But the first thing we learn upon arrival is that Rupert has a new assistant, and while I don’t think the actress is ugly, she certainly isn’t Rupert’s type. Miss Kakes is gone, the more dowdy and less sleek Miss Bread is here. I guess that means Miss Kakes may have been one of the people caught up in the inappropriate workplace stuff.
Megan: “Skewed, dramatic” is very telling. Like, there are best and worst case scenarios there. I don’t think Rupert is like, sexual assault levels, but I can assume that he tried to end things with her, or she wanted to make things more serious with him and he ended it or something, and it all blew up.
Natalie: When we saw Rupert pawing at her, it felt like it was consensual, but I think that those situations…It can be more like someone that ultimately powerless can sort of have to go along with it. Like freezing and acting like it’s fine.
Natalie: Until you work out what to do.
Megan: His new assistant being a bit plainer is interesting too. Like… did he hire her to remove temptations because he’s trying to behave? Or did like…the Club’s board insist on it to stop any future potential scandals?
Natalie: I have no idea, it’s a tricky thing to speculate on.
Megan: This episode definitely does show the many layers of Rupert, because while it does humanise him a bit with the scenes with Rebecca, all the background stuff with Nate, Kakes and Bread shows something pretty shit has clearly gone down. More on the Nate stuff later, but I do wonder if he witnessed something more than just what we’ve seen previously.
Natalie: I think things going badly for him might be why he feels drawn to Rebecca at the moment. Like, can I get back someone who I did, questionably love, or who made me feel comfortable in my dynamic with her, or whatever.
Megan: Yeah. He certainly seems to genuinely find her amusing and engaging here. He’s enjoying being around her.
Natalie: Just leaning into the old bond, having some regrets.
Natalie: And I think the episode does really well at showing how they bounce off each other and how they may have worked. There’s a lot less cruelty to his laughter, for starters, he’s not being sly or cutting. There’s actually genuine fondness there from him – and a bit from her too, I think. Certainly by the end.
Megan: Yeah I think so. And that’s honestly really healthy I think. He is awful, he doesn’t deserve any good feelings, but she deserves to be able to let go of her anger, for her own sake and wellbeing.
Natalie: I think that it’s very very good for her to see him as just a flawed man. Not the big enemy monster.
Megan: Yeah, instead of the devil incarnate. Maybe she’ll even change his name in her phone after this to just Rupert.
Natalie: It felt very right to me. I had no idea how people would react, seeing him in a more sympathetic way, or a humanised way. It seems to have gone down well, and I’m glad because I loved it. Not only because I suspected it, about the football stuff. But because I think they nailed it.
Megan: Honestly, same. I didn’t have feeling sympathy – well not sympathy, but I guess a bit more understanding – towards Rupert on my bingo card for this season, but they did such a good job this episode with showing that even though he’s still awful, especially when it comes to his treatment of women, he’s not a caricature.
Natalie: I don’t really want to get into all of Edwin’s bullshit. Blah blah blah we will get richer. But why did he invite Roman Abramovich only to ask him to leave? Just don’t invite him!
Megan: Because he’s weird about power! I don’t know. Why does he do anything?
Natalie: I have to admit that people trying to push the pull door is a gag that always gets me. But he really didn’t have to invite him and Ted Lasso didn’t have to insert this joke about Russians… it is timely though, for March 2022.
Megan: It is! Poor fake Roman. It is funny watching Edwin actually kind of try and bond with Rebecca here, given she doesn’t know about the Sam of it all. Maybe that’s how her and Sam do get closer again, she messages him about being glad Sam didn’t sign with that prick or something, and then they get chatting. Either way yeah, blah blah blah the extremely rich people want more money. Thank God for Rebecca.
Natalie: And Keeley. Her little text set the scene.
Megan: Yes! She finally replies just in the nick of time. Again, Rupert makes a point of asking Rebecca for her opinion here…why? Is he just sucking up to her? Or does he care enough about football that he wants to give her a shot at throwing a spanner in the works and stopping it going ahead.
Natalie: I really don’t know. He looks less keen than the other men. He isn’t nodding when they are. I definitely think his question was genuine for whatever reason he asked it. There was very little artifice to him in this episode.
Megan: Yeah, agreed.
Natalie: Nothing felt leading or loaded. The moment of her seeing them all as little boys should not have worked, it had no right to work, but it did, and her initial scolding, of “What do you think you’re doing? Just stop it!” was pure school marm. Or maybe mother.
Megan: Either. Both. It was great, especially with the earlier scene of her seeing herself as a child too. But she’s right with everything she says, they really do not need this money. More than that, though, this scene…obviously Rebecca has been falling more and more in love with the team and football as Ted Lasso has progressed, but this was the moment that I really believed she gets it and she loves it. And like… not to go back to Ted and Rebecca, but one of the big theories if Ted does go back home to be with his son is that she’ll sell the club and go with him. I do not see that happening, not after this speech. She might have got Richmond to spite Rupert, but she’ll keep it because it’s hers now.
Natalie: I’m so glad that they had her give such a powerful speech – her biggest “win” moment so far – all be about the power of football. Like we’ve said before, the idea that Ted Lasso isn’t about football is ridiculous. The show is at its strongest when it is addressing the feelings about football. That people like Roy, Jamie, and Rebecca have.
Megan: It isn’t just about football, but football is more than just the setting, it has to be when it’s the motivator and driver for some of the best, most emotional scenes in the show.
Natalie: Because the power of it for the people who care about it is all-consuming. The emotions don’t have to be used as metaphors. How People Feel About Football is a valid plot, just like shows about pursuing singing as a career or something. That’s not a background work setting, it’s the whole point. And while of course Ted Lasso has other elements that are a big part of the point, the feelings about football are an important driving force for many of the mains. So seeing Rebecca go so hard on this, and having this speech – and Nate’s violin score – play over the moments of the England match, when Sam sees what Jamie did for him, for example, it all comes together in a way that really fucking matters. There’s a quote that was originally said by Pope John Paul II, and is used a fair bit by the author John Green, which is how I heard it – “Of all the unimportant things, football is the most important.” Phil Dunster is also a John Green fan, and he also cited this quote in a fantastic interview this season, and that is what Ted Lasso should be focusing on. I didn’t grow up loving sports, not at all, but I understand this. I understand the context in which it is meant. It’s quite different from the arts and music – I’m a story person first, but I do think, and the dead Pope would agree, that storytelling is one of the important things. I mean, his job was the Bible. So yeah. Story sharing is fundamental to growing empathy and teaching and like, everything about human behaviour, and I grew up on story, not sports. But when they say this, I think what is meant is that football is, ultimately, meaningless – a little competition of moving a sphere across some grass. Competing to do this doesn’t mean anything, and watching others compete to do it means even less. But like Rebecca says, it isn’t just that. It’s a sort of community catharsis, something harmless for people to bond over and get excited over. It feels like big stakes, when in fact the outcome of the match isn’t life or death. Being able to release energy via acting like it’s big stakes is good for you, and the culture surrounding it brings people together. And of all the pastimes that might happen with, football, in Europe, is certainly the biggest and most powerful. It gives people space to feel a lot of things In a way that is – or should be – safe. Rebecca’s speech talks about the roller-coaster of emotions, and we literally have roller-coasters to experience fear and thrill in a safe way. To feel like what it might be, to be at risk. To make it safe to feel that. And for people – especially men, truly, especially men – they don’t know how to put that energy anywhere else. Brett Goldstein always talks about his dad Howard, who is a lifelong Spurs fan, and how he will call him up and just tell him everything going on at the club this week. And Brett has said, “I know when he’s saying “this is what happened at the football” he is really saying “I love you.””It’s how a lot of men show their love for other men, and their physical affection. And maybe they shouldn’t need it. But if they didn’t have it, fuck knows where else that energy would go. So all in all, I get it, I get that Pope quote. Even if it isn’t MY most important thing.
Megan: Talking about football, even before I cared about it myself, was how I bonded with my stepdad. Obviously I am not a man, but it is the thing he finds it easiest to show emotion about and express feelings about. Not always the most positive emotions, but very strong ones. And honestly it’s not even just the emotional – community impact that is so important. When clubs fail it has an impact on more than that. Mae touches on it this season when she talks about the impact the club doing badly has on her pub. It can genuinely affect the economy and financial stability of towns – especially lower league teams in places that are less well off than Richmond, even aside from football. There’s a town near Manchester, Bury, that lost its football club, and it’s had a huge impact on all the shops and cafes and pubs around the stadium. So many have closed down because they just don’t have the customers any more. It can be hugely important in so many ways. So fuck Edwin, and fuck the real life people like him who tried to make it happen. I enjoyed the Rupert backstory reveal. I had always wondered whether or not he had always been rich or if he was like, self-made rich. Class wise, his accent did always sound a bit working class, but I was never sure if that was genuine or if it was him putting it on as an affectation to seem like a man of the people. But confirming that it really was his background, that he grew up working class in Richmond right by the stadium, that he used to sneak in because even back then the tickets were probably far too expensive for the most loyal fans…I think using football here humanises Rupert way more than any other arc would have I think. Of course it also throws up a ton of other questions, like how the fuck he got rich enough to buy one football club, lose it in a divorce, and then buy West Ham which would be even more expensive than Richmond, and it also makes me judge him even harder for the gross way he talks about the assumed cleaning staff member that they thought owned Nate’s car back in season 1 as he’s about to have it towed away. Like in most areas of life he’s forgotten his roots and his background and the struggle that can cause, but when it comes to football he clearly still remembers what it really means to him and other fans. But when Rebecca looks at him and tells that story there is genuine fondness there. Like, you can imagine it being one of the stories he told her back when he used to go and hang out at her bar all the time while she was working, charming her.
Natalie: Absolutely. We can’t forget that Rupert has really leant into his billionaire supervillain life and can and will be awful again. But they almost make you forget, and Tony Head is such a magnificent actor. The sheepish way he looks when he realises the story she’s telling. I always knew his feelings about Richmond and football were truly “pure” if you can put it like that – from the way he was watching the relegation match in season 1. That doesn’t make someone a good or bad person, but it does show there is depth of feeling and love. And you can see why Rebecca might have loved this man, for his childish passion. Like, “Oh, this says good things about him.”
Megan: People exist in shades of grey, and Rupert is no exception. Rebecca isn’t an idiot, yes she got swept away, but Rupert had to have shown good qualities back then for her to be willing to give him a shot. I wonder if hearing her talk about him in fond terms is what led to his later actions.
Natalie: I think so, and I worry if he will now come down harder in response. Like he realised, what, that he still loved her? Or what he lost in losing her love for him? Maybe Bex doesn’t show this much fondness? It feels like him realising what he lost, by not appreciating it. But will this make him contrite, or lash out?
Megan: I think Bex is mostly showing him disdain these days, so yeah, maybe just hearing someone talk about him fondly, someone who has no reason to at this point got to him. We have two episodes left, one we know will feature Man City again, I feel like the other has to feature West Ham at home. So I guess we’ll find out how Rupert reacts then.
Natalie: Yeah, absolutely. If Richmond are near the top, and they beat City, then it could come down to them vs West Ham for the title.
Megan: Godddd. And with Nate out at West Ham, it feels more likely that Richmond would win.
Natalie: I am sure Rupert will not react well to whatever happens next, but the way Rebecca tells Keeley about the near-kiss makes it clear that Keeley deeply understands Rebecca’s issues with Rupert include not quite being out of love with him. Like her battling to crush Rupert isn’t the only thing. She wasn’t OVER him, in any sense. But rejecting the chance to get back with him – now she is.
Megan: I think she always had too much baggage and grief and anger and confusion and love still bottled up inside of her. And now she’s let go of all of that.
Natalie: Yeah, but it really hinges on Rebecca having the chance to get back with him, not taking it, and that situation making it all clear.
Natalie: It’s absolutely about her having struggled to let go of the love in her marriage, and when she hangs up the Hockney again – she hasn’t sold it after all! – it’s a sign that she can accept that everything is over, for the best. It doesn’t hurt to look at it, and it reminds her of the good thing that came from Rupert. Her relationship with football, it seems. She wouldn’t have the club otherwise, but even before that, his passion brought her into a football club. It sounds like she credits that part of her life to him. And obviously literally she got the club from him – not quite as a gift, LOL. But she’s at peace with everything that’s happened now, and the Hockney footballer can stand as a reminder that Rupert can’t hurt her, and that there is some value in her relationship with him even if it ended. She’s allowed to take what she wants from the experience and move on.
Megan: She couldn’t let it go, like she couldn’t quite let Rupert go. But now she’s let him go, and she gets to keep the painting in sight once more.
Natalie: Of course, Ted thinks it is a literal child’s drawing. Which, on one hand, fair.
Megan: On the other hand. Come on Ted.
Natalie: On the other, the literal scorn in Rebecca’s voice is one reason why I don’t ship them. They’re a funny odd couple as friends. But she’s too snobby to him, for that to work as spouses. And it happens on a regular basis.
Megan: Too snobby, and just really very different senses of humour, hobbies and life interests. I just can’t imagine what their life together would look like – in either the US or the UK.
Natalie: Kinky spitting? Just 12 hours a day.
Megan: I… I’ve got nothing. Please no. If nothing else, I can’t allow that much tea waste.
Natalie: I’m sorry. The new, free Rebecca has a new sense of style, too. This is the first time we have seen her in a flowy dress rather than something fitted or structured, like some of the pencil skirts she’s worn she’s basically had to be sewn into. Apparently she doesn’t need that armour right now. Like her flowy dress in the Amsterdam episode. Hmmmmm.
Megan: She looks great. And yes! The second I saw her outfit in this last scene I thought of her Amsterdam dress. I look forward to witnessing Boat Guy’s journey across the channel.
Natalie: He better paddle fast. Anyway, she wants to tell Ted that she’s realised that she’s no longer driven by beating Rupert, which must be a relief for Ted. He couldn’t have handled a repeat of that hallway scene at West Ham.
Megan: Neither could I, frankly.
Natalie: She would still love to win the league, but not for that reason. So that’s nice I guess.
Megan: It’s nice to hear Ted wants that too. I even believe him a bit here.
Natalie: I feel pretty sure that the final game, Matchday 38, will be Richmond vs West Ham at Nelson Road. With Nate not available to coach, do you think Rupert might pull George in? It seems plausible to me that he might be the person Rupert would hire.
Megan: He kept George knocking around a long time at Richmond, so that seems plausible.
Natalie: That could make for some fun full circle moments. I hope Roy punches him. Especially if George says something rude about Ted or Jamie.
Megan: It would be worth the red card and ban. Last game of the season, he should end on a high.
Natalie: Maybe he could do it in the corridor. No ban. He needs to start next season on a high as manager.
Megan: Roy needs to be less violent, but this violence would be justified.
Natalie: The question is, will Nate be there? Will he be involved, on Richmond’s side? Or just skulking around? We know he can skulk!
Megan: He’s very good at it! I still don’t want Nate there, even after his journey in this episode. But I could see it happening more clearly now.
Natalie: How did you feel about learning he had departed via the news update? Did it feel anticlimactic to you, or did you come away from the episode feeling like, maybe that him vs Rupert wasn’t really the point of what was “wrong” with Nate all along? I assume the world knows he quit, because managers are dropped all the time and they don’t get followed by paps. It seems like he walked out on them while nearing the end of a very good season. Once again, I feel sorry for his players. Their feelings on his coaching are not something that Ted Lasso season 3 has ever bothered to focus on, but to me this would have been the most important for his growth. But there you go.
Megan: This whole Nate arc has felt weird to me, let alone this episode. But this episode in particular, I am still just left not really trusting that Nate has done any sort of actual reflection. Unless we actually find out – either by him telling someone like Ted, or by a flashback – what went down at West Ham, I just don’t feel like I am remotely invested in Nate’s arc or future. And yeah, like you say, getting to see what he’s like with the players outside of that one scene in episode 1 where he is shit with them, that would go a long way in telling me he had done the work he needed to.
Natalie: I think this was a fantastic episode for Nate, as an isolated piece of work. However it left me feeling like him vs West Ham isn’t relevant at all – him having a showdown with Rupert or whatever – because what I took from it is that Nate should not, for his own mental health, be returning to a football manager job in the public eye. Not at West Ham, not at Richmond. None of that should be in his near future. And I don’t mean that as a punishment for him. I mean it because digging into his issues here, his obvious depression that I am sure is long term clinical depression, and the stuff with his dad… I think I said earlier this season that I suspect Nate may be seriously mentally ill. I now feel that even more strongly, that all of his strange processing of what Ted did, all of his unwarranted responses and the way his perspective on things made him act so horribly, I think he’s pretty mentally ill and I don’t think him having a high pressure, power-wielding job in the public eye is good for his brain. If he goes back to Richmond even as an assistant coach, I will be so fucking wary. And I’ve said that before, but because I don’t think the others should have to deal with him. That is not what I’m saying now. He, for his own sake, should not be doing this.
Megan: Yeah look, as a standalone piece of media, Nate was wonderfully compelling in this. I really felt for him, Nick Mohammed was wonderful, the scene with his dad was so powerful. It just didn’t feel like the character I’ve seen up until now, and the issues it showed him dealing with didn’t feel the same as what had been previously shown either. And I just think this episode felt like a breakthrough in terms of recognising some of his damage. But one breakthrough isn’t going to fix it.
Natalie: I agree that it didn’t feel connected to what’s been previously shown, and I’m fairly sure this was intentional. This is my best faith take – it could be that it’s actually just nonsense that doesn’t track or doesn’t pay off – but for me this episode felt like the Nate stuff was maybe intended as a big twist. It honestly felt like a different show and a brand new character but I do not mean that in a bad or even like, weird, way. I mean it in kind of a good way. It more – intentionally – feels like we didn’t know him. Like we never knew him, actually. And seeing it now makes me think his ending isn’t going to be what was previously thought of, or anything to do with football coaching. It makes me now think this isn’t what his story was EVER about. And I think some people will feel that’s a sharp pivot, in a bad or sloppy way. It depends on if they stick the landing, though. If he goes back to Richmond and is back on the touch line as a coach again next week or in the finale then none of what I’m saying matters. But to me…. I feel like I haven’t quite got the whole picture, but am trying to tear through the veil to see it clearly. It’s somewhat of a sharp turn for sure, but I never once thought “this reveal isn’t good enough to make him redeemed” or whatever. It makes me think we never had a true idea of what was going on and makes me wonder if there’s something a LOT bigger to come and how it’ll play retroactively over his past behaviour. And to be clear I don’t think being mentally ill or possibly on the spectrum is an excuse for being cruel to people, but I think we were watching a different story than the one we thought, the whole time. And that may not feel satisfying for some people, it might not for you. But to me it is very interesting. It just depends on what’s next, because the Nate I met this episode feels like someone who needs a certain kind of help and going back to coach football is not that answer, for a whole bunch of reasons.
Megan: Yeah I think for me… look, throughout all of this season there has been so much debate over like, will he be redeemed, won’t he be redeemed, does he deserve it etc, etc. And I honestly think it’s all really subjective. I don’t particularly like Nate as a character, because of his past actions, and this episode has not done enough to make me like him again, BUT I do think this does paint his actions in a different light, and as you say it is an interesting one. If this was always the intended big twist then I can accept that, I can accept that Nate’s issues are not what I always thought they were, and he needs help and support and to figure out what makes him happy and what he wants to do with his life. And I definitely feel more sympathy for him than I did when he seemed to just be lashing out at Ted because of issues around power and hierarchy and awful self-esteem. But for this twist to land for me, I can’t just have the next episode be him back at Richmond like nothing ever changed, because as you say, I do not think coaching football is the job for Nate, not with what this episode reveals. Because I think if he did go back to Richmond it would be like trying to have it both ways. Like trying to justify or explain away his past behaviour with this twist that his mental health was the reason he acted the way he did, but then not actually showing him taking the steps he needs to address that, and instead throwing him back into the situation that was so bad for him so they can try and say they’ve landed this redemption arc that we’ve heard so much about.
Natalie: Yeah. Overall, the takeaway seems to be that Nate was a very gifted child, like, one of those EXTREMELY gifted children who had a lot of things that they were excelling in, and being pushed to excel in more. Maybe not a savant level, but close. And there is really well documented stuff about the impact of adult life on seriously gifted kids. Due to the pressures, external and self made, during their childhood, due to the wider world not recognising them as special, due to the things they were good at maybe not mattering or not being the thing they pursued, due to never parsing whether they like something or are just good at it. Never really working out what they want. If Nate is meant to have been gifted in the true sense of the word, then he is not neurotypical, and it goes some way to explaining why the way he receives things – emotions, information, praise, criticism – has not had typical responses. Self esteem issues are a huge factor there. Feeling frustrated that others don’t see things the way they do. Perfectionism and control issues. We talked before like, “Is Nate really meant to have been that good at football strategy or is it just that Ted sucked.” It turns out that no, he is, probably due to his ability to see patterns and stuff like that. The genius asshole trope is a trope for a reason – a lot of people really struggle with seeing the world so different to their peers and some of them act like a dick about it. This all makes sense to me for Nate, and even his bedroom is done up like that of a gifted child, so many different hobby items and interests. Jumping from thing to thing and discarding it, probably.
Megan: Yeah looking for a new challenge, getting bored when it’s no longer hard. All of that tracks.
Natalie: And of course one of the biggest things is failing to meet higher expectations. Getting a lot of praise early, being known as different, and then the fall out when maybe they don’t want to be different or to work harder than everyone else. Transitioning into adult life when they’re not in, I don’t know, an academia think tank, when they’re just supposed to be normal. It is a common problem. It feels slightly weird to me that Ted Lasso has decided to pivot hard and say “This is Nate’s deal” now, but it does somewhat make sense to me, and I’m curious to hear if this was the deal all along – and if it is, how much the next episodes will dive into unpacking this and what choices he will make next.
Megan: Yeah, being a kit man must have felt like such an abject failure on Nate’s part to someone like his dad, who did have high expectations on him, but for Nate maybe he just felt stuck under the weight of all that expectation and didn’t know what he actually, truly wanted to do or be. And that’s where he ended up. I really am very curious to see where they take it next. Because I can see it landing for me, and working for me. And I can also really see it crashing and burning, LOL.
Natalie: I think that having that job is the result of not knowing what to do, yeah. If he has a conversation with Ted about his past and how he ended up at Richmond they could really land it. Earlier in the season, I said that I felt for the first time that Nate really loved football and I could see he may have as a kid. I now take that back. I don’t think he cared about football at all. There’s nothing in that bedroom to indicate it, for a start. I think it’s more likely that he fell into this job for God knows what reason – maybe it was the furthest job from any expectations for him, maybe cleaning soothed him. Then when he was there, he started to see patterns and solves in how the game was played due to his brain wiring. And this is the main reason I don’t feel like he should become a coach again. I don’t think he actually cares about football and I definitely don’t think high pressure in the public eye is ever going to be good for him.
Megan: Yeah look, if he does end up back at coaching because Ted Lasso tells us that is what he cares about, I think that will make it harder for me to accept this pivot. He does tell his dad “I just liked playing” about the violin, during their discussion. Maybe that’s the one thing amongst all the hobbies and things he tried to do that he actually enjoyed, but his dad spoiled it for him. Maybe something in music – but not in the public eye – is what he should be doing. I don’t know, but wherever he ends up, I think he needs to start with therapy.
Natalie: I don’t think the point of the violin scene was to say actually this is his true passion, I think it was more to demonstrate that he’s really skilled at a lot of different things and this was the example they used to show us the way his dad and him had issues. But maybe, yeah. The fact that we had this conversation with him and his father is also a way of showing us how Nate takes things worse than they’re meant – not that his dad was perfect, he openly admits that. But it does seem less like “Nate is like that because of his dad” and more “Nate is like that because of his brain.” What Lloyd says is a pretty common story for parents of gifted children, too, from older generations. They don’t know what to do, so if their child has a higher capacity for achievement they assume, or are often guided, to push their child to their full capacity. But most normal kids aren’t pushed to their full capacity and we don’t expect them to be. Gifted kids are often bored and frustrated, so they are offered a lot of different things to do, but it doesn’t mean they have to like, be the best at them. But that’s often where it leads. It is kind of the opposite of what we heard about Jamie’s mother – she had a child who was a very, very talented athlete, who had that one in a million chance to be the best, but she never treated him like that. It’s better to let the kid decide how hard they want to go.
Megan: Yeah, and also, Lloyd talks about Nate having opportunities he didn’t have. Lloyd’s parents may have been newly immigrated to the UK, or just may not have had the money for the things that Lloyd and Maria’s careers afforded Nate. So even without Nate being gifted, he might have been under a lot of pressure from Lloyd to make the most of the opportunities and resources that Lloyd didn’t have, but that he probably witnessed his own parents sacrifice a lot to get for Lloyd and his future children. Combine that with the pressure Lloyd put on him to make the most of his gifts and that is a recipe for a lot of things to go wrong.
Natalie: It would have felt like Lloyd was doing the right thing, at the time. But it’s so complicated.
Megan: Yeah. He didn’t want to waste Nate’s talents or not challenge and push him. But fuck, it ended up being the wrong thing.
Natalie: It’s clear that Lloyd doesn’t have full awareness of how badly his past comments have affected Nate, how Nate has hung onto like, that one blow up about practising the violin or whatever. But he does have some idea of the damage done. Telling Nate he just wants him to be happy is probably overdue, but he might have assumed Nate was already pursuing the path of happiness in doing football stuff, given it was so left field and not the achievement Lloyd had expected. The whole episode, though, with Nate being in bed for days – the Jade part, which was great, but just coming home and being safe there. The depression element doesn’t feel like something that will get healed in the course of an episode. It felt pretty fucking real, too.
Megan: I have really taken from this episode that Lloyd and Maria are not villains, they’re not even really bad parents, not in the sense that James Tartt is, they were just really out of their depths with knowing how to handle Nate, and they made a ton of mistakes along the way, but they genuinely do love him and want the best for him. And I think deep down he knew that, which is why he felt safe going back there.
Natalie: I also remembered the season 1 part where Ted asked Nate for his ideas about Everton. Ted says “Why not? What are you afraid’s gonna happen if you tell me?” Nate says “That you won’t like my idea and it makes you hate me. Then you fire me. Then I have to move back in with my parents and they’ll be ashamed of me. Then everyone finds out back home and laughs at me until my face melts off.”
Megan: Jesus Christ Nate.
Natalie: At this point, Nate could do a lot worse than living with his parents for a while.
Megan: Yeah haha, I think it’d be good for him.
Natalie: I just really liked the element of acceptance and safety within the home. Like very no questions asked. He has moved back in with his parents and they are not ashamed of him and his face isn’t going to melt off.
Megan: They love him, they bring him food, they give him space, and when he finally emerges from his cave, they will play cards with him. I did also really liked the Jade scene too. I liked that the episode wasn’t about her comforting him beyond asking what he needed from her, and I also like that he didn’t make her stay and cancel her plans for him.
Natalie: Yeah, I’m glad this wasn’t a Nate and Jade episode, but I feel like they’re pretty fucking solid at this point. I cannot imagine what Lloyd will think of her whole demeanour, but I would like to see it.
Megan: Yes! I’m not sure he’ll know what to make of her. Although that meeting would probably fill Nate with extreme levels of anxiety. So here’s hoping Lloyd can behave,
Natalie: I really think he would have to. So obviously this episode ends with Nate back at Richmond – in a certain way. I had been thinking maybe this episode Ted would go and see him, honestly, but he didn’t. We see him reading the articles but also telling Rebecca that it’s none of his business. But with Nate in this low place, I did wonder if Ted would reach out. Not sure if I would have liked it if he did, but I was wondering. Did you have any thoughts about that as it was carrying on?
Megan: Historically, Ted has not been the best at reaching out to people. He didn’t really do it with Jamie in season 1 when he saw James throwing a boot at his head. He sent that note via Beard, but it wasn’t really inviting a conversation or a response. And he has seemed to be fairly content to just wait for Nate to come to him up until now. So on the one hand I could easily see him not reaching out. On the other hand he did seem a bit concerned about Nate at West Ham, when Rupert interrupted them in the lift, and he does seem concerned when he’s reading the articles. And he has been getting better at being a bit more direct about things – like when he calls Michelle out about Dr Jacob. I didn’t watch this episode and assume that Ted had reached out at any point during it, but maybe Nate left more than one card when he went back to Richmond, and Ted will actually come in to find an apology from Nate on his desk.
Natalie: No, we would have seen it. Ted definitely doesn’t always reach out, you’re right. He doesn’t like to meddle and I will never really forgive him for the James and Jamie moment, but in his texts we saw he reached out to Nate with congrats when he GOT the West Ham job. He seems to have vibed that Nate was ready to talk to him in the elevator. So I find it a bit weird that he didn’t text being like, “Hey buddy, saw the news, I’m here if you want to talk,” even though he doesn’t owe Nate anything after his behaviour. It would be within Ted’s right to write Nate off. But we already know he hasn’t. Maybe the show wants to let Nate come to Ted, but I did wonder about Ted reaching out, in terms of it being in character for him or not.
Megan: Actually now you say it, I could maybe see him sending a text along those lines to Nate in a way that might feel in character. It’s just whether or not, as you say, he decides he’s up for meddling.
Natalie: Either way, he didn’t. I think they’re saving all that for the finale.
Megan: Yeah, I think the next episode will probably be quite Nate lite, but the following one will have him and Ted in a room together again.
Natalie: This all feels more and more like Nate can’t possibly be coming back to Richmond, or, if Ted Lasso makes the choice to do it, it’ll feel like a bad choice. Because he has certainly had an individual arc that covered a lot of things for his mental state, for sure. But none of it had to do directly with a) his behaviour in a position of power or b) making amends with the people who he hurt. It all feels like we are seeing different sides to Nate which is fine, but for me the conclusion is that he should move on and work out, maybe for the first time, what he really wants amidst all the things he’s been thrown into. I can’t see him caring that much about being at Richmond without Ted. It all feels like setting him up to go off elsewhere. But we do see him trying to apologise to Will, so maybe they are trying to pave the way for a Richmond return. I mean he could also apologise to Will and NOT come back, but maybe they’re trying to clear the path for it. The thing about the Will thing, is a TV show is never going to spend heaps of time making someone have long drawn out conversations with everyone to apologise. Like it’s not how TV would ever frame it, especially if it was repetitive. Seeing a gesture like this is much more in line with TV storytelling. But I feel he could have written more on the card.
Megan: Yeah we saw that with Jamie even. It drew out him making amends to Sam, because Sam was the person he hurt the most and because Sam forgave him, the implication is that all is now forgiven. If I was Will, I might accept the apology, because both he and I are very magnanimous, but I wouldn’t be comfortable working with Nate again just off the back of that card. I would need more from him.
Natalie: I think that’s fair. It was a nice bit of storytelling in terms of Nate knowing the things he’d done wrong – the lavender, owning the Wonder Kid name. It was quite carefully done to show like, “Okay, he knows.” But if I were Will in the real world, I would probably want Nate to sit down and explain why he reacted like that, how he has identified it, and why being aware of it means he won’t do it again. TV is not going to show that. It is going to depend on visuals and gestures.
Megan: Yeah. Because if Nate was to return, Will is the person I’d be most worried about feeling bad about it, so that is the apology I would need more drawn out.
Natalie: I think it counts for something that he was the first. And I think it counts for something that Nate did it without thinking he was getting a job back. It wasn’t like Jamie, where Ted let him come back on the condition of good behaviour. It would be more like if Jamie reached out to Sam on his own after season 1 with no conditions. It’s just that TV storytelling means we don’t see it done as a big conversation.
Megan: Yeah, I don’t get the impression Nate did this because he was fishing for a job back. I do genuinely think he just did it because he knew it was the right thing to do, and that is to his credit. I do feel a bit anxious about how Colin might react to a potential Nate return though. Because everyone at the club knows about Colin now. It stands to reason Nate might find out. Colin has no real reason to trust Nate, and I could see him worrying about Nate outing him. ESPECIALLY if he ever found out that Nate was the leak about Ted’s panic attacks. So while I think Will is the most important one, I could see this being quite bad for Colin.
Natalie: I think we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it, in terms of Nate returning. I definitely think it’s possible. It just isn’t what I think should happen, especially after this episode.
Megan: No. I agree.
Natalie: The thing is, football backrooms do have analysts and stats people who work at the club. Ted Lasso has never covered this, but a coaching staff includes analysts. They’re not public facing. They don’t train the players. They do the homework and share it with the team. About other teams’ moves, or their own teams’ progress. If there’s a home for Nate at Richmond, realistically, maybe it’s as an analyst.
Megan: Yeah. They’re hugely important to teams and players. So if Nate really wanted to be around football because he does in fact love it, there is a way he could do that, using his skills. I’m just not sure it’s what he wants. Or what’s best for him. Given the new information from this episode. But I guess we’ll see.
Natalie: It would be better than being a coach who is in the public eye or directly having power over the players. I very much doubt this would be what happens. But it could be the right thing strategically if he does actually want to be in football and at Richmond. There was a great bit from Kyle Walker recently regarding how the analysts helped him succeed in the Champions League semi final over Real Madrid. Sending clips of the way the player he was to be marking, Vinicius Jr, was handling the ball. What tricks to look out for. It’s a pretty important job, but it isn’t something that would constantly have Nate’s name in the papers or on Twitter.
Megan: Yes! I was thinking about that when you brought analysts up! Such a good example of how important and pivotal they can be to a match.
Natalie: I’m sure Man City’s analysts have been studying Richmond as they become more and more of a threat. They’re playing them next week after all, and I’ve never been more stressed about an episode.
Megan: Even more stressed than you were last week about this episode?
Natalie: Way more. I had a fair amount of confidence that this episode would involve Jamie’s call up and it did.
Natalie: The next one, “Mom City,” – that preview picture, that synopsis? First of all, let’s get the Ted part out of the way. Ted’s unexpected visitor will be his mother. The episode is called “MOM CITY,” and we know his mother is officially cast – Becky Ann Baker – and hasn’t been featured yet. Now is the moment. How she impacts him, and what her presence brings to light, I do not know. But I’m sure the whole “meeting people’s moms, an instruction manual as to why they’re nuts” is going to come into play here. We will see how his mother’s behaviour in the wake of her husband’s suicide has impacted and very likely damaged Ted. I can see her being very repressed, very toxic positivity. Maybe even in denial about Ted’s dad. Because TED was repressed, for all this time. She clearly didn’t help him deal with stuff in the way he needed to as a teenager. Any suspicions about Mrs Lasso?
Megan: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that. I do think you’re probably right about her mental state. I did wonder though if it’ll be something like, she’s noticed how badly Henry is doing and has come to talk Ted into coming home or something. It could be a case of not wanting Ted to be absent in the way she might have been after the suicide. There are times where parents can be way more present for their grandchildren than they were for their actual children, so I did wonder if that would be a role she might play if there is like, a specific purpose to her trip. Or it could just just be she fancied a trip to the UK, and Ted has to suffer through it.
Natalie: Whatever it is, I am 100% sure that it won’t be a smooth relationship. It’ll bring up new – well, old – issues for Ted
Megan: Yeah, from the little we’ve heard about Mrs Lasso I don’t think they have the best relationship, so I imagine there will be drama there.
Natalie: But given the title, and the plot, and what we know from the season 3 trailer about scenes that could only be in this episode – they never just have one meaning, the titles, and we have the Man City pun, but the term “something-city” usually means an influx of things, like, oh, I don’t know, “Wow, it’s… ” Well, the only example coming to mind unfortunately is Boyle in Brooklyn 99 being like “It’s smudge city, Jake!” about a mountain on badly done paperwork. But you get what I mean.
Megan: Haha yes, I get you.
Natalie: So I expect more than one mother. Probably Rebecca’s too, maybe touching back in with the psychic. But I’m feeling sure we will deal with Jamie’s as the other main mom.
Megan: Yeah same, and it is probably – alongside bikes and international – the moment I have been anticipating the most. But also one that I am worried about seeing how they handle it!
Natalie: Yeah. So let’s go over what we know. They’re definitely going to Manchester to play Man City at the Etihad Stadium, City’s home ground. This would be Jamie’s first match there since he walked out for Lust, because they didn’t play them in the league last year – obviously they were not in the Prem. They only matched up with them in the FA Cup semi final, which was held at Wembley, not at the Etihad. So this is going to be a very stressful moment for him. We saw in the trailer that he was getting booed as he walked out at the Etihad and I am sure that this was about HIM, not just Richmond, fans don’t just boo the opposing team as they walk on. And this did not happen to him at the City match at Wembley as far as we saw. So either this is about his betrayal, of leaving them for the TV show, and the Ted Lasso writers forgot to make City fans mad about it last time, or this is a new issue.
Megan: It’s possible the reception for Jamie at Wembley, a neutral ground, might have been less hostile than his first trip back to the Etihad since walking out, but it is also possible it’ll be a response to something new.
Natalie: We also see him on the pitch perfecting a roulette turn to keep the ball and dance past a City defender, so I think there is a good chance Richmond will draw or win, and Jamie will do really really well, not just as the lynchpin in the middle, but we will see good goals from him. Because we haven’t, yet, seen a goal credited to him this season.
Megan: I’ve enjoyed Jamie in his playmaking role, but I would love to see him actually score too.
Natalie: It’s not like playmakers don’t score.
Megan: No, Kevin loves a good goal. But we’ve definitely been focusing more on Jamie setting them up this season.
Natalie: It goes without saying, I think, that this will be The Big Jamie Episode, the one they’ll put on the Emmy ballot for Phil Dunster. Because this has to be the same episode where we saw the clip of him walking into his childhood bedroom and finding Roy and Keeley there. Something is very much happening to him, and there are a few options. The synopsis says that Roy and Keeley become concerned about Jamie when the team goes to Manchester. I’m very much assuming that despite how zen he was about City earlier in the season, something happens that flips him out and he runs away. I’m also suspecting that now that Roy and Keeley are back on, Jamie may already be isolating himself and pulling back from both of them as friends, and that when things start to upset him, he doesn’t go to them, he just starts acting out in some way. And we have to expect this is something to do with his dad. You’ve suggested that James might go to the tabloids – is it possible he would do this in advance of the City match and this is the new booing issue? Like maybe if he finds out he’s banned from the game? But yeah. Something about playing City at the Etihad is going to make Jamie start acting weird in some way. It could be full defensive prick back sliding, it could be total dead eyed silence… But something.
Megan: Yeah I think for me there are a couple of options. We do know from the image preview that Roy and Jamie are doing a press conference together. That feels normal to me – like, the manager does a press conference ahead of every match, and sometimes they’ll bring a player along. Given it’s City, it makes sense for Jamie to be picked to do the conference alongside Roy. I think we could see either Jamie says something clumsy and that’s what gets him boo-ed, or a reporter ambushes him with some awful story that James has sold to the tabloids. Maybe Eddie Lounds, we’ve not seen him for a while. So to me that feels like a plausible set up. I guess the other option could be he gets to Manchester and then gets told his dad has died or something. That would be the most dramatic version, but I’m not sure I’d like Ted Lasso to deal with parental death in the second to last episode of definitely the season, possibly the whole series.
Natalie: I don’t think it’s going to be his dad dying, and I really really hope it’s not his mum.
Megan: Same, I don’t want that. I also think you could be spot on with how he’ll react to Roy and Keeley getting back together. Both because he really doesn’t want to get in their way or be seen to be disrespecting their relationship, but also because I think he’s smart enough to know that at least at first part of Roy’s intense focus was probably him not dealing well with the break-up. So maybe he’ll think he’s not needed anymore.
Natalie: I’m sure the issue is going to be to do with how James acts around the match, and it’ll all fold into Roy and Keeley showing Jamie that they love him, in sexy or unsexy ways. I love the idea of him running home to his mum, especially after Nate did so in this episode.
Megan: Same! I am so desperate to meet her. And also nervous.
Natalie: I want to see what that space looks like for Jamie, but I admit I also really don’t want them to fuck up what I’ve built up in my head. And as I discussed in the trailer breakdown, I have been concerned about the accidental implications of his childhood bedroom. I am absolutely 100% sure they’re doing it like this rather than just a spare room at his mum’s because they want Roy to see the poster of himself and I think that’s a great pay-off, but it implies they’re still in the same home since Jamie was a child, and THAT implies that Jamie didn’t buy his mum a house with his football money. And that is like, first order of business for players who grew up like he did. Why the hell would she still be living in a council flat? If Ted Lasso truly loves me, it will actually address this in the dialogue. Roy will say something and Jamie will say that she didn’t want to move so he bought this place on the council housing right to buy scheme. But let’s face it, they’re not going to do that.
Megan: Yeah, sadly I don’t think they will, so I’ll just have to hope every other element has enough pay off that I can forgive this one being wrong. The only other thought I had about the room, which would feed into the James tabloid story is if like… Oh I don’t know, it would be so extreme of him, but what if he staged a room in his house to look like Jamie’s childhood room so he could pose sadly in it and talk about how his dear son abandoned him? I’m not sure why Jamie, Roy and Keeley would be there though, unless to confront James. But that was a very extra thought I had when trying to figure out how the room could make sense. So I don’t think this will be it.
Natalie: That would be so fucked up.
Megan: It would be on brand for James. But a lot of effort.
Natalie: Soooo fucked up.
Megan: He doesn’t strike me as someone who puts in much effort into anything other than football hooliganism. But maybe for a big enough payout.
Natalie: I could buy it, but I don’t know why Roy and Keeley would go there to find Jamie unless they knew he was there to confront his dad.
Megan: Yeah, I could buy James doing the fake room, but I don’t know why Roy and Keeley would be there. It’s honestly all very confusing.
Natalie: And the trailer plays more like Jamie doesn’t know they were there. It feels like Roy and Keeley came to his mum’s when Jamie was out at the corner shop buying custard creams and a pint of milk and he comes back in and finds them.
Megan: Yeah you’re right. Godddddd.
Natalie: I am really curious about the press conference photo. Jamie is pointing at Roy, Roy looks annoyed or shocked at something, and Jamie doesn’t look happy or even thoughtful, he looks slightly belligerent. If this is the normal pre-match presser – which, you’re right, often includes a player in real life, the show just needed all that sole focus on Ted in the press room before – then maybe Jamie is already acting out. Or maybe this is at home AFTER, and Jamie decides to explain the theoretical tabloid articles and say his dad lied and abused him.
Megan: Yeah that could work too. And Roy is annoyed or shocked because he’s protective of Jamie at this moment. The dream scenario would include Keeley on Jamie’s other side in her role as club PR, just for the visuals, if it was after an incident. But that’s definitely wishful thinking.
Natalie: I’m so worried about the mum thing, LOL. It feels like she has to be alive, given it’s never been implied before that she’s dead, and we would really know if Jamie was grieving, if she died since he was 17 and their Amsterdam trip.
Megan: Yeah if they suddenly confirm a historically dead mum I will be very annoyed. I also don’t want a newly fresh dead mum, that’s too much trauma. I want Jamie to be soft and sweet with her, and Roy and Keeley witnessing it and being overwhelmed.
Natalie: We only know good things so far, and we assume that the good parts of Jamie, the sweet soft boy he is at his core, whatever it was his dad wanted to harden up, is due to her raising him. Like he’s a very open, very loving person, who knows how to handle his feelings, aside when it’s about the James stuff. You want to assume that’s because he had one really good parent who took care of him.
Megan: Yeah, I think that’s fair.
Natalie: But what I really don’t want is to meet her and find that she’s like, an unfair version of a council house single mum, like a really bad stereotype, possibly even an addict that he has to quietly manage and take care of. Obviously this IS a real thing for people’s families, but it’s also a big problem in terms of stigmas about the kind of people in social housing, which is many million in the UK, and covers a broad demographic. Nate’s family home looked to me like a council or ex council terrace, for example.
Megan: Yeah honestly that is my worst nightmare, even more than finding out she’s been dead all this time. I would really hate them leaning into that stereotype, especially since we kind of already have the male equivalent of that in James. I don’t want them to use it for both Jamie’s parents.
Natalie: There are so many people depending on social welfare in the UK that kind of get tarred with that brush, or worse, like gangs and crime, but lots and lots of drug crime, and horrible things said about benefit scroungers. Nasty stuff about that kind of thing. If Jamie grew up on an estate, some people would think the worst of him for it. And those problems do exist for some people, sure, but there are also a lot of people working normal jobs living quiet lives who just still don’t have the finances and are considered eligible to rent social housing.
Megan: Yeah, it’s not unrealistic, it’s just not a story I’d particularly want to see on Ted Lasso.
Natalie: And I would like it if his mother is just a lovely working class woman with a normal job who isn’t being posted up as like, the cruel stereotype. We also just don’t have time to unpack the idea of Jamie having been quietly handling an alcoholic mother or something the whole time. Dealing with that in one episode? Please no.
Megan: Yeah someone like Marcus Rashford or Kalvin Phillips’ mum if they need real life inspiration. Decent, loves her son and wants the best for him.
Natalie: Yes. Because this is the truth of so many footballers. Kalvin’s mum is the fucking best. I would love Jamie to have Kal’s mum. That would be great.
Megan: God same.
Natalie: So yeah. And for clarity, even if the next Ted Lasso episode doesn’t spell it out, when you rent a council house for a while, you are offered the right to buy it at a big discount, especially as various things get privatised. If Jamie’s mum was comfortable in their home, he could have just bought it out from the council. So that’s what I’ll have to believe if they try to claim this is his childhood home.
Megan: She liked her neighbours, liked the area, and was really happy there. She didn’t need a big house for just herself, just for Jamie to be doing well and be happy. I will have to tell myself that’s why. I will say, for all of our concern and speculation, the idea of a scene where Roy and Keeley discuss their concerns about Jamie… That is something I’m very excited to see. If it’s like, concerns coming from a place of love.
Natalie: I am truly thrilled for the three of them to finally be together on screen and culminate this intensely linked story they all have. I want to see what Keeley thinks of Roy and Jamie’s relationship especially.
Megan: Yeah, I feel like her and Jamie must have hung out since their hug after the leak. I would love for her to have heard from Jamie a bit about what’s been going on there, and maybe now she’s back with Roy for her to have heard Roy’s side.
Natalie: I am very very very excited and very very very nervous.
Natalie: And I am ready for Phil Dunster to fucking devastate me.
Megan: Get that man an Emmy nomination at the very least, please!