The legacy of the great Roy Kent is at the heart of this week’s Ted Lasso, as a warm reception from his former club and a scar from a decades-old wound lead to a painful reflection over the way he’s chosen to live his life. Rebecca tries to beat Rupert to the signature of a difficult superstar player and Keeley goes to bat for a friend from her old life. Read on for our review of Ted Lasso season 3, episode 2, ‘(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea.’
In Ted Lasso season 3, episode 2, the new football season is finally about to begin, with AFC Richmond facing Chelsea away at Stamford Bridge as their first fixture. When news breaks that Zava — a European superstar striker based on Zlatan Ibrahimović and played by Maximilian Osinski — is leaving his club in Italy and is keen to play in move to England and play in the Premier League, the powers that be at Richmond discuss the possibility of signing him. Zava’s reputation as a crazy, mercurial diva does nothing to dissuade Rebecca once she hears that West Ham is also in the running, and even though Zava has almost completed contract negotiations with Chelsea, she and Rupert both accost him on the day of the match in order to try and make him change his mind.
Even before the prospect of Zava comes to light, journalist Trent Crimm is keen to follow the club for the year in order to write a book about their story, and despite Rebecca’s objections, Ted allows it. Trent’s biggest adversary at the club is Roy, who is forced to share an office with Trent and forbids the players from letting anything slip in front of Trent at all, but when Roy’s gag order threatens the outcome of the match, and apparently more than just that, Ted pulls him up on it and makes him sort it out. The source of Roy’s grudge is specific — Trent penned a scathing review of Roy’s Premier League debut, back when he was in his twenties and Roy was just seventeen. The words wounded Roy so deeply that he’s been carrying the article around in his wallet ever since, in a mix of self-flagellation and spite, and it’s clear that he does not want Trent to spear his players in the same way.
But even after the two bury the hatchet and quickly seem to become firm friends, Roy’s inability to accept love or choose happiness is the main connective tissue of the episode. The team finally discover that he and Keeley have split up, and are baffled by it — the fact that Roy did the dumping, in particular, is met with a consistent refrain of “Why would you do that?” starting with Jamie, who tries his best to offer comfort to a very unreceptive Roy. And returning to Stamford Bridge in competition for the first time since he retired from football, Roy is overwhelmed by a loving homecoming reception from the Blues fans, a moment that we predicted in our trailer breakdown.
The moving incident, which echoes the story of Roy’s real life Chelsea counterpart John Terry, the club’s long term captain of Roy’s generation who retired out of Aston Villa and went on to immediately become their assistant coach, causes Ted to enquire how Roy felt about the experience, and what Roy dredges up in reply is as devastating a moment as any we’ve seen in Ted Lasso so far. If Brett Goldstein has a stronger episode than this one, this season, we’re simply not going to survive it. Read on for our in-depth discussion of ‘(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea.’
‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 2 review in conversation
Natalie: So, episode 2 is called “(I Don’t Want To Go to) Chelsea” and it is a lie, because I do. I very much do want to go to Chelsea, with Roy specifically, because I am utterly obsessed with the implications about his career from the small hints we’ve gotten before and I’m just so keen to centre him and his career, past and present, in this story. We will get into the events of the episode in order, but just right up the top, in terms of the title and my breakdown of the trailer — until we got this title, I wasn’t expecting the Chelsea match shown in the trailer to be their very first fixture of the season, but I am gratified to have been absolutely bang on the money in terms of my predictions about Roy’s homecoming moment at Chelsea. That blurry sign told me everything I needed to know, and yet I was still not prepared for where the episode ended up taking him emotionally. Absolutely overwhelming. Brett Goldstein’s best work on the show so far, that ending monologue. What. A. Character. Keeley and Jamie are both great, but Roy/Football really is my OTP.
Megan: I knew going into it that this episode was going to be good, but I was not prepared for how good, or how much it would hurt. More on that later, but well done for your psychic predictions.
Natalie: Not psychic! Just detail-oriented.
Megan: That too.
Natalie: I’ll tell you what though, one thing I never would have ever predicted was the way Trent Crimm was going to tie in with Roy here, even if I also very much expected the Trent Writes A Book plot to be the way we got more from the character. As I mentioned in my team-up article, if you know where to dig, this detail was hinted at very explicitly, because someone the Ted Lasso writers used as a source, the sports writer John Feinstein, who wrote a book like this about college basketball called A Season on the Brink, mentioned on a radio show that he’d gotten calls from the Lasso writers about it, because they planned to have a journalist follow the team to write a book. And then a listener of the radio show posted about it! This was back in 2021! No stone left unturned here!
Megan: Yeah, once you pointed that out, I was sure that was what his role would be, but I wasn’t expecting him back so soon! It is very good to see him.
Natalie: I think some folks were hoping we would get him in 3.01, so in a way, he’s late. Given he’s listed as a series regular as well!
Megan: That is true! But they had a lot to kick off in 3.01 I guess. I love how Ted apparently doesn’t see Trent at first, despite the fact that Trent turns to look at him with such fondness. Ted does seem as pleased to see him as I am though.
Natalie: It doesn’t surprise me at all that Trent wants to do this. Ted is the most interesting thing he’s encountered in years.
Megan: He does not understand Ted, but he really would like to.
Natalie: However, I found it, well, interesting that the group of people in charge — Big Boss Rebecca, then Higgins as Director of Operations, and Keeley as Richmond’s publicist, are all like “No. Bad idea. No, no, no.” I did enjoy the way they’re being fake nice, especially Rebecca. She is so funny this season. Like I said last time, her intensity is so extreme but it’s also flavoured with Silly Rebecca (when she’s not shouting at Ted.) And it is so cute.
Megan: She’s about as unhinged as she was in season 1, but very silly and funny with it, and this time she’s rooting for the club, not against it, so it’s just fun to watch her run wild. I did wonder about why they’re so against it. The theory I’ve landed on is a combination of protectiveness over Ted (they know Trent published the original article and aren’t as willing to forget it as Ted is,) not wanting distractions from their goal of winning the league, and in Keeley’s case, worry that if Trent publishes something rogue, she’s going to be the one to have to deal with the press fallout.
Natalie: So you think their objection is about Trent in particular being an enemy? And not more like they just don’t want anyone at all getting into the middle of things when there’s so much drama going on?
Megan: I think there’s a little bit of hard feelings still over the article, but given Rebecca is so driven to win this season, I think the distraction is a bigger part, like him being there, rooting around, stirring things up, when she wants them laser focused on beating Rupert. I mean West Ham
Natalie: Rebecca obviously has reasons to hate the media. But why do they fake to Trent’s face like it’s a good idea?
Megan: As a Brit who does not like to be direct about things, my fallback answer is they’re being very British and polite about it, and are hoping they can get the blunt American with no filter to say no. What about you? What’s your theory?
Natalie: Rebecca is pretending to be flattered, which I get. But also maybe like, again, they’re afraid of what he might do if he is rudely ejected? Keeley has told people like Piers Morgan to politely fuck off. They can manage media requests and say yes or no just fine. That’s just part of the job. This is a much bigger ask, but I don’t see why they don’t just tell him no! Rebecca has no issues telling people to take a hike. I don’t think it’s the polite thing, Rebecca is very firm. But maybe it’s fear of backlash.
Megan: Yeah, that could be it. Higgins is a bit more wobbly when it comes to saying no, and Keeley might be if she likes a person, but I don’t think we’ve seen her engage with Trent before. So backlash would make sense.
Natalie: I don’t think any of these people have an issue with saying no professionally, aside from Higgins, yeah. But the fake enthusiasm vs throat slashing stuff was surprising to me. Like, until they started with the silent nos, I thought Rebecca was acting slightly weird but genuinely pleased. It makes sense that they all trust Trent less than Ted does. Maybe that’s why Ted says yes — he likes Trent and he knows everything about the article, and they don’t? But I did assume that most of those people knew that by now. I definitely assumed Ted would have told Rebecca and Higgins, just like we think Roy knows. About Nate, and about Trent getting himself fired.
Megan: Keeley, I suppose, is the unknown. Depending on when her and Roy broke up, she might not have found out, though again Rebecca would probably have told her in case Nate being the leaker was ever made public, and Keeley had to handle a response to it.
Natalie: Their reluctance could still be a British reserve thing — they don’t want anyone nosing around whereas Ted doesn’t mind it. I don’t think it’s about the distraction so much as feeling like he may make them look bad, or things might turn bad and then the book would be an account of failure.
Megan: Yeah a permanent record of them being shit. Nobody wants that. We may not fully be able to interpret the throat slashing, but God it made me laugh. So stupid, so brilliant.
Natalie: It does really interest me that Ted goes against Rebecca directly. They passive aggressively put it in his hands and claim he has the final say, but she is bluntly telling him no. And he is like “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yes!”
Megan: To be fair, the cut to Trent and him staring up at Ted with hopeful, steady eyes — it’s a face that would be hard to say no to. But they are setting Rebecca and Ted up to be in conflict a fair bit this season.
Natalie: I’m not sure if Ted thinks this is in the team’s best interest or what, really. I don’t know why he says yes, aside from he doesn’t see a good reason to say no or he thinks “What the hey, might be fun!” But him choosing to say yes when being plainly told no means that he must be doubly keen for it to happen.
Megan: I wonder if it feeds back into his general feeling of not sure why he’s there and apathy towards things right now. Maybe he thinks Trent being there will make things a bit more interesting and shake him out of it.
Natalie: Possible. If there’s a deeper reason in his mind about why Trent being around will be good, I’m just not quite twigging it yet. It feels very “Why not?” as opposed to “There’s a good reason for this,” and “Why not?” doesn’t seem like a good reason defy your boss and clearly stress her out
Megan: No, not really.
Natalie: But I as a viewer am not worried, because we love Trent and we know what Trent would do to show up for Ted.
Megan: Yeah, whatever the motivation behind it I am thrilled to get to see him lurking around the corridors of Nelson Road for the foreseeable future.
Natalie: And it is for Ted, or because of Ted, that he is here. It’s actually fairly crucial that they get that settled moments before the Zava thing breaks, because it means — well, there’s a joke about it later, but Trent’s book was never intended to be about that drama. Throwing Zava into the works is just a new bit of chaos that Trent didn’t sign up for. But his intent was always pure Ted.
Megan: Rebecca manages to sound mostly convincing when she says welcome to Trent, so fair play to her there. And then we’re back to Ted not knowing about football, when the news of Zava does break. The joke is so stupid, but I enjoy Trent’s very matter of fact explanation.
Natalie: I love that Trent is just on the level with Ted here too, but this scene — actually quite a few scenes in this episode — are just line after line of jokes, and they’re jokes of all flavours. Ted’s intentional jokes like “Cacio e Pepe,” the very British style humour of Rebecca being dead serious about the fumes of the manicure making her overshare, Higgins fantasising about the beautiful shiny trophies. It is laugh after laugh after laugh, but Trent is totally unphased. The way Rebecca is immediately like “Don’t print that” is also indicative of the reluctance to have a writer follow them and the fact of the matter is they’re all loose units, maybe they just don’t want to expose that to the world. Rebecca’s just like “We’re messy AF, don’t tell people how we live!”
Megan: This is not the most professionally run club in the league, let’s be honest. Who the fuck knows what any of them are going to do at any given moment? If Trent had nefarious intentions there would be so much material. I think Rebecca’s immediate change of tune after Higgins mentions West Ham wanting Zava is my favourite moment, though it is hard to choose. She’s just so chaotic.
Natalie: Rebecca is very private, usually. She’s always slamming that computer shut like “Don’t look at my screen!” Even when it’s just Ted arriving. So for her to be spilling all this drama in front of a writer is… Well, a) I get why she doesn’t want it, but b) it’s also a sign of how messy she is right now, that she has those boundaries lowered. She’s oversharing and concerned about it! Trent might get too much out of her! Which, we see, he very much does, in a reverse of the throat slashing, Trent, in his own wonderful way, sums up the situation they’ve been flailing about in a succinct way — you’re going after a disloyal diva you can’t afford purely to stop your ex getting him? And she admits it and Trent LOVES it! I think Rebecca trusts Trent more after that. She gets the feeling he’s on her side.
Megan: Ted gets an instant taste of his own medicine with being ignored and I LOVED Trent’s response. I feel like non-journalist Trent might be ready to embrace the chaos. He’s not sure where this ride will take him, but he is here for it.
Natalie: There’s like this vibe he gives to Rebecca of “Don’t worry, I’m going to make you look good.” He is interested in the bold and unusual choices Richmond makes and this sure is one of them.
Megan: I can’t imagine Trent ever thought much of Rupert either. Like Ted, I feel he’d see through him immediately. So I feel like Trent can respect Rebecca’s drive to beat him too.
Natalie: This whole conversation, though, it basically spells out the question that I think will carry us through the Zava arc of Ted Lasso season 3. Zava is a diva, and more importantly he is mercurial — he walks out on clubs. 14 clubs in 15 years, meaning he’s probably in his early to mid 30s by this point in his career. Switching clubs that often is a sign of something really problematic. He isn’t going to stick around and build anything with them, it seems like clubs get him in, let him take over, he wins them stuff and then he moves on. Possibly he has skipped out early on contracts. Now he wants to try a Premier League club — the pre-make joke was another good one. But Higgins’ trophy drooling asks us this fundamental question. What will they do to win? What will they be willing to ruin at Richmond in order to win, what will they be willing to risk? The idea of winning the league via this guy immediately puts us on edge, right? The question here is what is it worth to you, to win? What’s it worth to Rebecca? To Ted? Is it worth this guy? They’re asking us to immediately think about what it would mean, to compromise the Lasso values. Season 1 was all about Ted getting the diva element out of the dressing room with Jamie, and we know from this episode that this guy is fifty times worse than Jamie ever was. He is also a striker, which slightly surprised me, we know he wears the 10 and I am personally more used to a 10 being a attacking midfielder, but they definitely can be strikers so that’s on me. But until they said it, I hadn’t thought he was one — I hadn’t thought about the fact that when he comes he will be directly replacing Jamie. Suddenly, they are all happy to just put up with a mercurial diva like Zava? When they couldn’t put up with a troubled kid who’s acting out because he’s suddenly found he’s a better player than the rest of the team for the first time in his career?
Megan: Interestingly, while Ted asks a lot of people what they think of Zava, he doesn’t seem as hesitant as you might expect, given his response in 3.01 to Higgins’ suggestion of getting some new players in. He seems very happy to be swayed by people on this, and everyone he asks has the same reaction that he’s basically a prick, but he scores goals. Which is, as you say, how Jamie was shown in season 1.
Natalie: Not even that he’s a prick — that he’s crazy. That he is a diva who is also nuts. We see more later of how zany and egotistical he is, but it is like, a LOT worse and a LOT weirder than anything we ever saw with Jamie. But yeah, Ted is on board, despite hearing this stuff. In the trailer breakdown, I wrote about that diva element — it is clear that he’s going to have a luxury corner of the dressing room all to himself and be this major status symbol. And it’s funny because usually I’d be wondering like… is Ted going to try and change this guy? Does he think he’s the one person who can get through to him and benefit from his talent, yes, but also make the guy believe in the power of friendship or whatever? Last season I would have asked that. This episode, it didn’t even cross my mind that Ted would see him as a project. It seemed, surprisingly, that Ted was just like sure, we can go ahead with this! Maybe he has a plan, I don’t know. But given last episode he was worried about messing with the team’s dynamic, the fact he didn’t voice this worry again about a known handful really stood out to me. Maybe he just thinks that this is what Rebecca needs, and that’s more important to him than the dressing room. But he is a football manager, not her emotional support animal. It’s just interesting to me that he goes along with it and doesn’t raise any concerns about the personality thing.
Megan: Yeah, it could be that he’s taking Rebecca’s previous episode outburst to heart, but he never once questions the personality. Nobody has a normal reaction about Zava, nobody, but Ted seems happy to just go with the flow.
Natalie: I honestly think he isn’t tuned in. Just not caring the way he should, head elsewhere.
Megan: Ted not seeing him as a project is interesting to me. I wonder if there’s some lingering Nate feelings there. Obviously Nate’s big issue at the end of season 2 was that Ted made him feel special, and then made him feel ignored. Ted really is quite detached so far this season. If he is thinking about home, and thinking about his reason for being there, maybe he doesn’t want to fuck someone else up — no matter how fair or unfair we might think Nate’s accusation was.
Natalie: I keep trying to work out if the handful of peanuts vs handful of skittles thing will come back around or if Ted is just being weird.
Megan: You really never can tell with him.
Natalie: Well, him differentiating that not all handfuls are good handfuls is literally the most pushback we get, so it’s just a bit odd. But I am certain the whole “we fully accept the consequences of a massive diva, even though we were on thin ice with a little baby one in season 1” will prove ill-advised.
Megan: No argument from me there!
Natalie: It may all be worth it for Rebecca’s manic enthusiasm though. Zava dabba doo? She’s fully snapped. I would watch her being nuts forever.
Megan: Hannah is so good, she’s too much. I can’t wait to see how far she takes it, because she’s already so deranged.
Natalie: I was really excited to see Keeley and Ted catching up, her expressing an insecurity and him offering her some advice about managing a group, if only in passing, because this is why I paired them together in my rare team-ups article. I was like — yes!
Megan: Yes! It was a really nice exchange, and honestly I think Ted is the best person to help her. My heart is breaking for her right now.
Natalie: Let’s actually get into why, in terms of what goes on to happen in her day. This episode actually opens up on Keeley, and a Lizzo cover mash up that absolutely fucking slaps. Sadly, the song is a lie. Keeley is not feeling good as hell, nor is she having a lovely day.
Megan: She is not, and that whole intro makes me feel fucking miserable. Barbara is so patronising, but at least there are still visible flowers.
Natalie: It’s so fucking awkward with the other staff too. They don’t even speak to her. Do they not respect her? They mainly seem confused, but also like they’re just going to go along and do the work they need to do, with or without her contribution. What is this team even doing? Barbara, at least, speaks! Though later in the episode I’ll wish she didn’t. The vibes here are so terrible, and it is clearly crushing Keeley’s spirit. I actually don’t think it is unreasonable for Barbara, someone who has been appointed to look after the money to be concerned about a CEO who has zero experience at all in running any kind of business with any kind of overhead, especially when the CEO has such a “trust in the universe” vibe. But it all feels very undermining.
Megan: Keeley is trying so so hard, and putting such a cheerful face on it, but it is so painful to watch.
Natalie: Again, I am wondering what the big bosses have even tasked this staff with — are they meant to actually defer to Keeley, or are they actually ordered to ignore her? Like “She’s just the face of the company as a point of interest, just work around her”? It’s so weird, and very disrespectful to not even speak back when she greets you.
Megan: I hope it’s not that. But the fact that Barbara says she’s worked with all these people before… Do they all just fly around and staff up new companies? At some point they leave, I assume by then Keeley will have been able to hire a full team of replacements. It is such a weird set up, and Barbara is so awful about it.
Natalie: I really don’t understand it. But sorry, we have to talk about “commercial.” They did it last week and now they’ve done it again. Last week’s “John Lewis Christmas Commercial” broke something in me, and they are persisting with it. John Lewis was particularly bad because it’s such a bastardisation of something SO English, but okay, listen. Ted Lasso is obviously fundamentally an American-made show. It has a lot of British characters and some British writers and it usually sounds okay. Natural enough. Every now and then, they’ll have something where even just the sentence structure sounds off for a Brit, or not right for the person’s accent or class. And I wish they’d work with the actors more closely to be like “Actually, the flow would be this.” But in a show that does see Ted, you know, marvel over Word Differences, a show where there is a framing device to teach the Americans the right word when needed, there’s always one or two where they just commit to making the Brits say the American version and decide “Okay we aren’t translating that.” Locker room is obviously the biggest crime of British dialogue on Ted Lasso. We are three seasons in and the Brits are still acting like locker room is the right word for that location in football. It is not. Roy, Rebecca, and all the rest should not be saying locker room, it should have been something that got translated for Ted. But “commercial” is really standing out for me now too.
Megan: Yeah, look. I am very British. I am also someone who has spent enough time in America, and consuming American media that I’m pretty good at translating from British to American. So yes, I know that some words we use aren’t the same, and that’s where we get things like parking lot and commercial. But the context in scenes would make it clear what a car park is, or an ad is. Unless they think American viewers are too stupid to get that context, why not just use the British word?
Natalie: Oh, FUCK Parking Lot! I hated that one. But “commercial” sounded SO CLUNKY in Keeley’s mouth. Just say advert! They know what “advertising” is! The context clues are there!
Megan: And yes, dressing room is just offensively wrong, because in football narrative and terminology the dressing room is such an important word and has such context. So yeah, I am with you. Just let the Brits be Brits! Trust the Americans to figure out the translations! Please!
Natalie: “John Lewis Christmas Commercial.” I wish the actors had called that out, like “I’m sorry, I just can’t say this.”
Megan: Just being too politely British about it I guess. Classic.
Natalie: Well, Keeley, after stopping by Richmond, is apparently spending the day supervising the shoot for a Coffka advert. When she asks Ted for advice about her co-workers loosening up, I mean… I don’t think ayahuasca is going to help out here, babe. But I appreciate the sentiment. But do you think them not “loosening up” is all she is truly upset about? This is kind of a horrible idea, but given Keeley’s past career as a glamour model, which is a huge part of this episode, maybe she’s used to being disrespected, and kind of expects it, despite how willing she is to stand up for herself at other moments.
Megan: I think she is the kind of person who likes people to be relaxed and have a good time while at work, so I’m sure she would like them to relax a bit, but no, I think you’re right. I think she is used to not being taken seriously, and honestly she is probably anxious about fucking up, and not being experienced enough to do this, and so probably them not respecting her just feeds that fear even more.
Natalie: She is fairly messy and insecure — it’s interesting, because she does seem to feel happy to achieve things when she was kind of winging it, even putting together Jamie’s sponsorship with Darsteiner. If she’s just figuring it out herself, she’s pleased with the outcome because it started from nothing, but with Vanity Fair, and now here, it’s like, We, The Powers, are expecting you to be Clever and Efficient and Achieve Big Things. Living up to some sort of expectation is different from just scrapping it out.
Megan: Yeah once you have a proper staff, an office and rich investors who expect results, everything becomes a whole lot more real and high stakes. And when you combine that with employees that are just so different to you and your energy, that’s just going to make it feel even heavier and scarier.
Natalie: And the staff are not supportive. They make her feel small. She is wilting. She clearly is doing the work, she is the one out there meeting the clients and the director of the advert, but this sucks. And the people working on the advert belittle her too. It is spelled out for us, basically. Like, “Do you understand.” “Yes, I totally understand.” “I don’t think she understands.” This… Oooooof. What the fuck?
Megan: I was really excited to see Coffka make a return! I thought it was such a nice moment that Keeley had gone from modelling for them to running their PR, and then the second I heard them talking about her I was just so sad for her. It’s so awful, and she can’t do anything about it, she has to just stand there and take it.
Natalie: Keeley seems to be feeling a lot more like a panda than a lion right about now, and to add insult to that, there is a new lion in town. I went on a full rollercoaster about Shandy, played by Ambreen Razia, in the space of this episode. They’ve packed loads in here. On one side, for Keeley it seems like a total positive. A lifeline. Someone who gets her and where she came from, someone she used to have a lot in common with, and still does in terms of how they see the world. Shandy is nothing but happy for Keeley, and definitely doesn’t seem to rate herself above Keeley or anything. She admires her success, looks up to her. She is fully supportive. But it’s Shandy who solves the problem on set that Keeley is faced with, and she does it without even thinking. The Coffka people are very appreciative and respectful to her about it, leaving Keeley feeling useless again. Shandy talking about how Keeley made it out “all by herself” is also significant. As she tells Keeley about their old housemates, it’s obviously painting the picture that the way most of these women “make it out” is to marry rich. The whole thing is rife with complexity about the glamour model WAG culture in the UK.
Megan: Ooof, yeah, all of this. I really loved Shandy’s introduction and how much she had Keeley’s back. I got some real feelings about the way Shandy talks about Keeley’s old friends, and being proud of her. And in that moment, Keeley doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that Shandy fixed the issue of not enough extras! As far as introductions go, I liked Shandy. I thought she seemed great. By the end of the episode… I am not so sure.
Natalie: Yeah, Keeley in the moment is happy for the assist, and for the ally.
Megan: And for not ramping up the overhead costs with a ton more actors and facing Barbara’s wrath, probably.
Natalie: Shandy seems to have a naturally bossy personality, but she isn’t trampling Keeley or anything. She was just voicing an idea from her experience of making videos, but by the end of the episode it seems like Keeley feels pretty upset about the fact Shandy has ideas, maybe because she herself is not having them? It seems like it’s easy for Shandy to just sound like she knows what she is doing, and have practical solutions.
Megan: And honestly, long term, I don’t know if it would be Keeley’s job to run shoots like this? She’s clearly doing a lot right now, possibly to learn all aspects of the company, possibly just because she’s not sure what her role should be, so hiring someone to do that for her is a good idea! I think at this stage Keeley is just really doubting herself, so she doesn’t feel able to push back and assert herself with the Coffka people. Whereas Shandy has none of that anxiety, so she feels so comfortable saying what she thinks.
Natalie: Keeley is definitely pro-Shandy enough to decide to lift her up and give her an opportunity, which is very nice. She really wants an friend at work who she can relate to.
Megan: She clearly listened to Rebecca’s advice in the season 2 finale about hiring your best friend. Shandy might not be her best friend, but she is a supportive ally in that moment, and right now that’s enough for Keeley.
Natalie: Unfortunately, this just means two people who don’t know how the fuck to run a business, giggling and eating sweets in the CEO’s office.
Megan: Barbara is NOT going to like that.
Natalie: She definitely does not, and honestly, this was fucked up. I actually came out of the episode at the end more in favour of Barbara as a potential ally than Shandy, but that surprises me, because what she did here was fully fucked up. When she sarcastically praises Keeley for hiring a former model with no prior experience or higher education, I mean, it isn’t subtle. This is an attack on Keeley too, and it’s ugly.
Megan: Look, long term, I think Shandy will fuck up because she doesn’t take it seriously enough or will make some mistake. Whereas Barbara, she does want the company to succeed, because it’s her job to make that happen. She just needs to accept Keeley for who she is and work with her, not against her. But this whole exchange was gross. So completely disrespectful and belittling to Keeley, who is supposed to be Barbara’s boss, and so awful to Shandy who she’s never even met before! She is making such awful judgements based on three minutes of interaction. But I will say that standing up for Shandy, and telling Barbara off? That’s the most confident and Keeley-like we’ve seen Keeley act so far. She might not be able to be assertive about herself, but she will on someone else’s behalf.
Natalie: Yes — this was sort of structured this way, to have Barbara cross a line in order to force Keeley to pull rank and actually take control of her office. And ultimately I actually don’t’ think Barbara is a bad person. The show kind of wants you to root for her a bit, with Keeley softening on the snow globes.
Megan: She’s a bit judgey and a bit snobby, and she needs to get over that fast. But yeah, we’re meant to feel like she’s alright under it all.
Natalie: It could be that Shandy also has what it takes and does adapt to being a client relations coordinator very well. She has confidence and good instincts. But the thing that made me come out of it being like “Hmmmm, feel like this will backfire,” is Keeley at the Chelsea match, when Rebecca asks about her. Keeley is being fake-nice, clearly a bit bothered. Were you expecting that?
Megan: Honestly, no. I liked Shandy’s introduction, I felt bad for her after Barbara’s comments, and I liked that defending her brought out Keeley’s fire. I was glad that Keeley was going to have some support and a friendly face in her office! But yeah, the second that text came through about the credit card, and Keeley’s reaction, I immediately thought “Oh, God.” I don’t know what Shandy is going to do, but maybe she’s not going to be the best hire after all.
Natalie: Obviously Barbara being like “Don’t use the card” was very extreme and silly, but Shandy then being like “use it for mimosas!” makes Babs look a bit more reasonable.
Megan: Yes! Don’t make me like Barbara by proving her right, Shandy! Please! I want to like her for her own sake, not because you mess up!
Natalie: But it isn’t just the fact she suggested it, it’s that Keeley sounds slightly annoyed that Shandy is the one having ideas and suggesting things. I don’t know if it could also be that Shandy is kind of seeing herself and Keeley as a unit of equals, where Keeley doesn’t see it that way. It could also be their past. We don’t know what their past was like but maybe Shandy was a domineering character, and Keeley trailed behind. And on her own Keeley was more, well, independent. But being back around someone who was maybe the boss of their little group, it’s like oh, Shandy taking over AGAIN. You know that feeling.
Megan: God yeah. If Shandy was the ringleader back when they lived together, it doesn’t matter that Keeley is her boss now. Once you have that dynamic it is so hard not to fall back into it. I have friendship groups like that, you can’t help it. So actually Keeley has just hired yet another person to make herself insecure and feel like she doesn’t know what she’s doing. I really felt for her this episode, I hate seeing her like this.
Natalie: Like you, I was like, “Shandy seems cool.” Until we saw Keeley respond to that text. A lot of implications are packed in there. That this is a new issue.
Megan: And then you add to that the confirmation that Roy was the one who broke up with her — as he says on many, many occasions — and you just think it must feel like nothing in her life is going right at the moment.
Natalie: What did you think about having a new character to serve, though? Keeley’s whole plot away from Richmond means fleshing out new people. Barbara, Shandy. We are also going to probably flesh out Zava some. So many new people who actually need time spent on them!
Megan: I feel like I’ll really have to wait and see. So far, two episodes in, I have loved what I’ve seen, and some of the moments with characters I care about have just been more than I ever expected, so I hope that will continue. If Barbara and Shandy are there to be more like catalysts for Keeley’s arc, or Jamie’s where Zava is concerned, I think I’m okay with it. I don’t yet care enough about them to be particularly interested in them as more fleshed out people though. That’s selfish of me, I’m sure they’re valid human beings, but if this season is the last time we see these characters that I already love, I want to get as much time with them as possible each episode, not new people.
Natalie: Yeah, it’s just a concern of stretching the time thin for me. But these episodes are very long compared to last season. Turning back to the part of her day that intersects with Richmond — they have a certain kindred spirit thing, Ted and Keeley, but we haven’t seen them hang out much one on one since he fed her a sandwich. Honestly, if Keeley is still Richmond’s publicist but as an external client, how is that not a full time job? Lot of shoe deals to cut. How does she have time for more clients, like Coffka?
Megan: Well she doesn’t, we’ve established how busy she is. But I feel like a football club especially has so many rogue characters involved it’s definitely a full time job.
Natalie: Isaac has very specific desires for his brand. Only Rolos, and all shoes.
Megan: I can’t with him. What does that even mean, Isaac?
Natalie: She is extremely patient, to say the least. So many men are accosting her in this hallway today, but Jamie… I mean this is all very interesting. There is something I think we need to establish before moving on, which is, well, 1) At this point, where are you on the whole telling her he loved her thing? Do you think he meant romantically, or do you think he’s just never had a close friend he loved and didn’t know how to define it? A more general “I love you” that even if he thought he meant romantically, it actually… isn’t? And then 2) Wherever that answer lands, just from this interaction, do you think he still feels the same way?
Megan: In 2.11, I think he meant romantically, but I don’t think he wanted or expected anything to happen off the back of it. I just think he got overwhelmed by the day and wanted to say it. In this interaction, yeah, I think he still feels the same way. He’s very shy and tentative around her in a way that could just be because he still feels awkward about the funeral, but I think it’s because he does still feel the same. And then of course, when he spots Roy he ducks away, which I take to be him making sure he’s sticking to his promise in the finale to respect Keeley and Roy’s relationship.
Natalie: I’ve gone back and forth on it in terms of the funeral. I think that HE THINKS he meant it romantically, for sure. I’ve questioned whether or not that is truly what he feels, or if he just doesn’t know how to assess his own emotions. I believe he is extremely emotionally intelligent. But I don’t know how many friends he has deeply loved.
Megan: Hmm, yeah I agree with that. I think he definitely thinks he’s in love with her romantically, but is he just not quite able to differentiate it from the way he loves other people.
Natalie: He is acting very crushy here though.
Megan: He is acting very crushy, and very cute.
Natalie: I do appreciate how much they have always really liked each other. Keeley is very fond of him and has always had a lot of time for him. There’s never been an episode where they weren’t in a good place, ever since their break up. In 1.05 there is some tension, but she is still doing his PR, and from 1.06 they are in a genuinely pretty good place and she always makes time for him. People really should have understood, from the very beginning of Ted Lasso, that of course Jamie is Capital G Good, because Keeley isn’t an idiot.
Megan: That was always one of my big tells. She’s a good person, and she is generally a good judge of character, and she doesn’t tolerate people being dicks. The fact that she dated Jamie, and had so much time for him afterwards should always have been seen as a sign that he was a good boy really.
Natalie: Well, I don’t think anyone can deny it now. While I do love his smirks and how lechy he was with her when they were dating — sorry people, I found it hot and Keeley liked it too — the way his face is so open here, literally relaxed face muscles, being sweet and friendly and AWKWARD, is almost too cute to bear. He doesn’t really know what to say, he just wants to spend a little time with her smiling at him.
Megan: Look, fair. The awkwardness between Roy and Keeley is also almost too much to bear, but in a very different way.
Natalie: Yeah, less shy, eager puppy, more… clenched arse.
Megan: Jamie’s little head tilt to confirm Isaac’s assessment. Kills me.
Natalie: This is why Trent Crimm can’t write a book here. Everyone is absolutely too weird.
Megan: Too many secrets, too many weirdos. The world is not prepared for that book.
Natalie: Roy handing over that bag of stuff is interesting to me because it means they spent time at his place, not just hers. We never see his house, and I want to so badly. Maybe this year is our year.
Megan: Yes! Same! God. Given we’ve established football is his one true love, do we think the inside is just full of nerdy memorabilia? Does he have framed shirts of his favourite players? Did Roy Kent ever swap shirts? I have questions. I do not think I will get all the answers, but I’d like to get some of them.
Natalie: Given the area that is allegedly his street in the Christmas episode, I think it’s an old Victorian or Georgian terrace, a big one. Though that’s not hugely secure, so if anything in that area is gated in any way, that would be preferable. Very traditional designs, not a modern style. Definitely some football shrine stuff.
Megan: A little display for all his medals.
Natalie: Photos and shirts and stuff, but he may keep it all confined to one room, like one lounge room or even the gym. And he has a room for Phoebe. Anyway, we are yet to see how Roy lives, but apparently they did share time at his house, even though we only ever see Keeley’s. But anyway, Isaac is so wise. So vacant in some ways, so observant in others.
Megan: He’s so specific in his assessment of their relationship. Where was that specificity when asking about shoe deals? Jamie’s little attempt to stealthily peer around the corner is very funny to me.
Natalie: Isaac’s an enigma. And Jamie’s interest is, of course, going to be the point of all this, but I have to ask: when he follows them down the hallway, how certain, on a scale of 1 to 100, were you about who he was following?
Megan: I think I always thought he was going to follow Roy. But I’m not sure I’d say 100 percent. Let’s say 70/30 in favour of Roy.
Natalie: Really? I’m pretty sure I was 100! It all happened so fast, so maybe not, but I was very, very sure. But I think that a lot of more casual viewers will assume the opposite. It’s a misdirect that just didn’t work on me, because I spend hours of everyday thinking about this character to a possibly unhealthy degree. But it’s one of those things where I can see the subversion of expectations that writers were going for, with that little puppy crush moment and then Jamie’s interest in Isaac’s intel, and the fact they have Keeley and Roy both exit the same way. The way it’s framed is all to make a normal viewer think he’s following Keeley. But then surprise! He’s following Roy. I was not surprised.
Megan: Yeah, I think you’re definitely supposed to think he’s going to follow Keeley. I think the thing that made me hesitate was me thinking whether or not my love for Jamie, and wanting him to choose checking in on Roy over following Keeley, made me biassed in favour of assuming that. Like, I was watching it and thinking “Oh it’s going to be Roy, right… Or do I just want that to be true?” And then it was true, and I was vindicated.
Natalie: I get that. Sometimes you love something so much in your own head that you can barely believe real life is validating the interpretations that you have built up. In this case, it’s been 18 months since we left Jamie and Roy in a great place in the season 2 finale, but with no further knowledge of how that would proceed. I personally believe that everything the show has told us implies that Roy means the absolute world to Jamie, and that he always has, even when he “hated” him. That this is easily one of the most important relationships he will ever have in his life. Thinking about what I want them to be for the past 18 months meant that Ted Lasso returning poses the question: have I overblown that? Have I built it up too much? Is the show actually going to take them in the direction that I assumed we were being promised, back when Jamie asked, in that yearning way, if Roy and Dough Stashwick ever became friends? Luckily the answer is yes. We are not delusional. It’s a bit “Why am I gasping? I already knew that” meme. And while I knew Jamie was going to “choose” Roy in this moment, I still could not believe what I was seeing.
Megan: Yes! This is their first proper interaction of the series and I could not have asked for a better one. Jamie’s FACE! It’s called empathy! I shrieked so loudly at that.
Natalie: He’s so weird! But he actually thinks they are friends who hug! Keep trying, baby.
Megan: To be fair, Roy has now hugged him twice! But at least we get official confirmation of our discussion from last episode as to who broke up with who. I am less surprised than Jamie to discover it was Roy.
Natalie: I think that the fact Roy even admits they split, instead of just telling Jamie to get fucked, is a sign of, well, something. Like, Jamie pursues the conversation, and Roy… participates in it, rather than just shutting Jamie down.
Megan: Yeah, he could have refused to engage.
Natalie: He still can’t quite expect the best from Jamie. His knee jerk is still to be like, this guy wants to fuck me over. Roy, not everyone in your life is out to get you. But honestly, I think that he probably doesn’t, on the day to day, assume the worst from Jamie usually anymore, he’s just kind of triggered about this one thing. I was a little insulted on Jamie’s behalf, but he is stubborn and dedicated to the cause so he’s able to ignore Roy’s accusations and just push through, which shames Roy a bit for assuming, I think.
Megan: Look I get it to a certain extent, that suspicion, even if I think it’s unfounded.
Natalie: I also just wanna say that even if Jamie had followed Keeley, i think it would have been a similar conversation. Like “Is my friend okay?”
Megan: Yeah I agree, I don’t think it would have been from a pursuing her place. Just checking in.
Natalie: I’m not sure if it was just because he assumed Roy got dumped, that he followed Roy, or if he just knows Roy will take it harder regardless. I think it is clear to everyone that Roy is a needy partner and would take the breakup badly.
Megan: Yeah. I feel like it’d be hard to be around Roy and not realise how much emotion he is keeping buttoned up inside, even if he mostly only shows it through anger.
Natalie: I think it’s very visible how Roy shifts to believing Jamie when he says he’s seeing if he was okay — whether he likes it or not, he believes it.
Megan: Yes. You see his eyes kind of flicker towards Jamie and his face softens a bit, up until Jamie moves too fast with his hug.
Natalie: I think Roy is the kind of upfront honest person who, again, like it or not, has to admit to himself that Jamie doesn’t really lie. He really can’t hold back with the truth, in fact.
Megan: Even when it might be better if he did. Though he’s better than Jan Maas there at least.
Natalie: I’ve said before, it’s very rare to get a character who doesn’t lie. Jamie’s emotional honesty is very unusual compared to all the characters on this show who cover things up. But the hug, Megan, I absolutely lost it. If this is what we are getting in episode 2, I will not survive the season. They are so dumb. You can see that Roy regrets pushing him, too. It’s like an immediate defence reaction, then of course Jamie shoves back — again, this is very on-pitch stuff and it’s good they are doing it in private, because this is the Roy and Jamie dynamic and it would not probably not be acceptable for a coach and player.
Megan: Honestly, I, like Roy, do not like to be hugged or comforted when I’m upset, and I do not like to talk about it. So I can relate, but also know it’s probably not the healthiest way to deal with it and maybe Roy should let Jamie hug him.
Natalie: Oh, Roy wants that hug! The way he’s like “You came at me too fast.” It isn’t that he doesn’t want it, he just wasn’t expecting it. They should have had another go. Roy’s response is a bluster, because he knows he just did something stupid.
Megan: Yes! He feels embarrassed and he is blustering his way through it.
Natalie: It is NOT that he does not like it or want it, it’s that he didn’t know that was even a thing on the table and then he fucks it up.
Megan: Poor Roy, story of his personal life right now. Fucking things up that he likes and wants.
Natalie: The way he’s like you came at me too fast, is so funny to me. Because it’s like… the implication is that if Jamie had just telegraphed his movements more it would have been fine. He was just startled.
Natalie: They are so stupid. Have another go, idiots! But okay. Okay. Jamie’s response. This entire episode is hilarious, there are so many jokes in this episode and they are all funny as fuck, But nothing, nothing is funnier than “I forgot how skittish elderly people could be because of the war.” This joke is… art. It is SO funny that I had to pause the show to laugh and just do it again.
Megan: I paused and rewatched this whole scene about three times in a row, wheezing the whole way through. But it’s both the line itself, and his delivery and his stupid face.
Natalie: It’s so unexpected, and SO savage, and so smart. After poopeh, I was kind of a bit worried they might dumb Jamie down? Make him cutesy and funny, because he is so sweet. But Jamie isn’t just sweet. He’s also a catty little bitch. And I really didn’t want to lose that. It’s such a sharp joke — like obviously it’s sharp for the writers, they got to perfect and fine tune the dialogue, but in terms of in-universe realism, it’s so sharp and witty from Jamie.
Megan: Agreed, but he’s just as spiky as ever here. It’s just interspersed with him caring about the people around him and wanting to help them.
Natalie: It’s SO funny, and it reminds me of season 1 him telling Roy to take his sweater off before he hits the showers, that kind of sarcasm. But so much funnier, and so automatically snarky even though he adores Roy. I was not ready for it and it took me the fuck out.
Megan: I was also not ready for the callback to William accidentally watching the two of them in the boot room. The second Jamie turned to point at him, I DIED.
Natalie: This was already a perfect scene, and then they did this. This is the best RoyJamie scene in the history of Ted Lasso, leaving aside the emotional terrorism of Wembley, which just floats above all things on a miserable cloud. Roy reverting to aggression when he can’t handle tenderness is obviously not great, but Jamie is willing to follow his lead. But the Will reveal was… fucking hell, they didn’t give me a chance to recover.
Megan: The hits just kept coming. And then Will’s response!
Natalie: Charlie Hiscock… I have to say, out of every character on Ted Lasso, Will feels the most like he is just a real guy who wandered in and is reacting in real life. He never sounds scripted. It’s almost like you couldn’t script it. HOW could you script that?
Megan: Wandered on set one day and got given a pile of towels and told to look busy.
Natalie: If Jamie’s elderly people was the funniest joke, this was the best delivery. FISHBOWLS!
Megan: The way he said it had me screaming. But also desperate for a scene of the three of them, out in a bar, sharing one giant fishbowl with three straws. You can’t make me picture that scene and then not actually give it to me.
Natalie: I believe in the power of Single Guys Club. And I want to see the tweets from when strangers in bars recognise Roy Kent, pushing 40, giving it the big one on a night out with two 25 year old twinks, one who looks like a statue of a Greek god, one who looks like the ghost of a Victorian child. Weird taste he’s got.
Megan: Sharing fishbowls and resolutely Not Talking about it.
Natalie: I can literally see them lined up along the bar with a cocktail each before it all Escalates.
Megan: God. I can picture it so clearly and I want it more than ever. Would Roy be sat in the middle? I think he’d have to be.
Natalie: Oh, any combination works. Roy knows how to have a good night out, he can take them all for crepes with his drag queen friends. But there’s definitely a universe in which they were somehow put in a position to take Will up on this suggestion, and then they drunkenly end up in bed together. With Will or without him, either way.
Megan: You’re not making me want this any less with this scenario.
Natalie: Like I said, if this is where Roy and Jamie are starting, with Jamie thinking they are cuddle friends and Roy maybe regretting his impulsive reaction to not let them be cuddle friends, I am unprepared for where they’ll end the season.
Megan: Unprepared, but very excited.
Natalie: I think it’s possible Jamie is the key to Roy and Keeley getting back together. But we shall see.
Megan: Alas, Roy and Jamie don’t seem as keen as we do on Single Guys Club drinks, and Will ends up agreeing he’ll just keep his mouth shut and not say a fucking word. I refuse to believe Jamie wouldn’t love to go and get fishbowls with Roy though.
Natalie: He’s following Roy’s lead, but he is secretly grieving that night out. But I do think Roy and Jamie look interestingly united here, very on the same level, even height wise — for once, Jamie is standing up straight. They both look so handsome and powerful, glaring down the Victorian ghost child. The show tends to do something with them that really sets them apart visually when they are interacting as peers compared to when Jamie is Roy’s player. Might just be a matter of kinesics, LOL. He also calls him Coach and Roy in different moments, like he has a Friend Hat and a Player Hat. The friend hat is a lot less “respectful,” in that Jamie has a lot more freedom when wearing it to cross lines that he would not cross when being coached by Roy. And I like how they do it. Because Roy feels it too, he knows they have a weird personal relationship and he acts with Jamie in ways that he wouldn’t when doing his job. Sometimes not great ways!
Megan: No! Less shouting and shoving wouldn’t be a bad idea!
Natalie: But it’s like, I said in our season 2 reflection, they slip into their own little bubble where they are still more peers than anything, so Roy thinks he can shove with impunity . Whatever power dynamic is at play with them is so, so odd. Completely addictive to watch, obviously. It’s extremely unprofessional in some ways, yet I think it will also be so important for Jamie’s career.
Megan: Roy was already pretty invested in Jamie as a player, even before he liked him as a person. Having that investment coupled with actually liking him is going to be fun to watch.
Natalie: He definitely doesn’t think he likes him yet, but he can’t help it. So yes. It’ll be personal and messy, but I am very excited to see these two back together for season 3. I am sure actual hugs will happen.
Megan: I hope so.
Natalie: That messy and personal definitely still spills over into work though, because half the team has to hold Roy back from going for Jamie, when he assumes Jamie told the dressing room about the breakup. (He didn’t, it was Isaac.) But this is only one small part of one of the longest and most elaborate “bits,” or set pieces, I can recall being done on Ted Lasso. It’s a huge, frenetic scene with line after line of jokes and I am glad they are utilising the footballers for humour more now. But man, this scene just keeps going.
Megan: It was off to a good start, with Beard just as flabbergasted as I was to see Ted reading a football book. And it only goes uphill from there. I loved our first introduction to Zava via the medium of Veggie Dog Vigilante.
Natalie: No idea what to make of the fact that Zava knocks out criminals, but I guess it means he is decent in some way? Like not ethically evil?
Megan: Using his physical powers for good?
Natalie: Very strange though.
Megan: More importantly, Ted said football without even thinking about it! Love that growth.
Natalie: But the whole scene in the dressing room, the back and forth is just mad. I invite you to point out your favourite joke from this chaotic mess of a scene because there are some doozies.
Megan: I’m cheating and picking two, but one is verbal and one is physical so I think it’s allowed. My favourite verbal joke is Zoreaux loudly asking “Why would Zava write a book about Trent Crimm?” because it is just so stupid, and at this point I was already in fits. And then my favourite physical joke is Ted faking fainting — actually fainting? Who knows? But it was great, as was Beard and Good Boy Jamie helping him back up. But it’s just totally non-stop, so ask me again tomorrow and I may have an entirely different answer.
Natalie: I have two as well. But the whole thing is just three minutes of farce. My first one is Dani being like “I just wished for this 30 seconds ago!” after Ted’s running bit about 11:11 that the boys did not hear. I guess this means that Dani is a big, big Zava fan. My second one is “What’s a CD?” Sometimes those kind of Zoomer humour jokes fall flat to me. But as mentioned, Charlie Hiscock is a genius.
Megan: So, so, so good. Plus, as established, he’s a Victorian ghost. Why would he know what a CD is? If I had to pick a third favourite, it’s the collective “Awww” from everyone on the team when Roy walks in.
Natalie: I suppose a third one for me would be Dani again, changing from “Woo!” to “Fuck off, Trent Crimm!” It reminded me of 2.03 when the team is yelling at Jamie and Dani joins in just to join in even though he liked Jamie
Megan: Yes! Maybe that’s my third favourite too. Fuck it, I love them all.
Natalie: So, in seriousness, it’s established to the team that they MIGHT be getting Zava. And that they’re DEFINITELY getting Trent. And that Roy and Keeley have split up.
Megan: And Roy was the one who broke up with Keeley.
Natalie: The “awwww” is very funny, as is the general investment in the relationship. I mean it opens on Sam furiously being like “Take it back! Why would you say that! Don’t joke about that!” They’re all nuts.
Megan: Beard coming in for his third shriek after hearing Roy was the one who did the dumping. I can’t, Nat. Sheer farce.
Natalie: Roy assumes Jamie told, which he didn’t, and some of their personal weirdness spills over into the work space again when Roy lunges at him. Jamie is so patient with Roy being stupid, honestly.
Megan: He really is.
Natalie: He’s just like “Oi oi oi, it wasn’t me, I also just came in and they were talking about Zava.” Jamie insistently defending himself while Roy is being caged in by six players is very funny to me.
Megan: He is very unphased by the threat of violence, he just needs Roy to know he didn’t say anything!
Natalie: Everyone is very tolerant of Roy’s behaviour in a way that in real life, I’m sure they would not be, and I can’t work out if the show will ever therapise him for it, but Jamie isn’t concerned, just standing his ground indignantly. I think he would like Roy to stop assuming the worst, but he is extremely tolerant of how Roy acts.
Megan: He’s not afraid of Roy, but he would like Roy to trust him just a little bit.
Natalie: I enjoy that when Beard runs in and crashes into Jamie, Jamie is gesturing about Roy doing the dumping in this way that’s like “You idiots got it all wrong, I already knew that, I am the superior Roy-knower.”
Megan: Yes! Between that and him apparently telling Will what a CD is behind Ted”s back earlier, background Jamie is doing a lot here.
Natalie: And then Roy’s day gets so much worse when he finally gets the news that Trent will be following the team. I was not expecting him to go off on one like this. At all. I know he’s in a bad mood, and I know he’s hated Trent in the past. But this level of “Don’t fucking talk in front of him,” and their utter obedience, shocked me.
Megan: Poor Trent. It was really very harsh. I just assumed Roy didn’t like Trent before because he doesn’t like journalists in general. I imagine he was probably in and out of the tabloids when younger, so I figured it was just that.
Natalie: He gets the team on a short leash, and Ted kind of doesn’t know what to do — down the line, obviously Ted bosses Roy around over it, but in the moment, this level of anger and control exerted by Roy is extreme. Everyone is frozen, except Jamie, who thinks it is HILARIOUS. People have been wondering whether that was scripted or if this was just the best take they could get of Phil Dunster trying not to laugh, but I fairly quickly landed on scripted and one of Ted Lasso’s editors later confirmed that. It fits for me that Jamie would find it funny.
Megan: Either way, he is LOVING Roy’s tantrum. He has that line later about it being funny when he yells at other people.
Natalie: I did initially assume it was intentional and in character, and only afterwards saw people claim it was corpsing. Please! Phil’s held it together in much worse moments! But I am loving that he loves it. Oh, another hilarious moment is Higgins being like “Don’t worry about it” to Trent. I think Roy is a character who has big feelings and big reactions and maybe knee jerk reactions especially. Huge meltdowns. But afterwards, it’s sometimes like “Was that just venting, or do I really feel this still, after I’ve calmed down? Am I snapping and acting like it’s the worst thing ever and then letting it go? Or am I really, genuinely, lingeringly mad about this?” And honestly, despite Jamie’s giggles, I think this was the angriest we have ever seen Roy. There was a new level to it.
Megan: Yeah, he is absolutely furious.
Natalie: At first I thought maybe he was acting like this because he was taking out his bad mood about Keeley, but by the end of the episode I no longer think that. It’s a total pivot in his drive. There’s some connective tissue, but ultimately Trent triggers something else he feels very strongly about, while he’s already in a bad place. It is its own massive thing, but I think the rest of the group misjudge that, and they think it’s just a silly tantrum he will blow out of and no longer care about when he calms down. The way Higgins assures Trent, as an example.
Megan: Yeah like, you think initially maybe it’s just Roy not wanting Trent to talk about the breakup in his book, he doesn’t want that making it in. But it’s so much more.
Natalie: What do you think Jamie laughing in this situation actually means, about how he sees Roy, or whatever? I don’t think it’s mocking him. He does spell it out later, that when it’s not turned on him, he thinks it’s funny. But what does that mean? Like, does it mean he thinks Roy is ridiculous?
Megan: I think it’s that.
Natalie: Or is it more like, he’s laughing at the victim of Roy’s wrath
Megan: No, I don’t think it’s about Trent at this moment. I think it’s just him finding Roy’s ranting and raving really funny.
Natalie: For some reason I can’t quite make it click that it’s about laughing AT Roy though. Like in a way that’s dismissive, or I guess belittling.
Megan: No I don’t think it’s like, mocking. I think he’s just entertained.
Natalie: It feels like there’s a bit of awe in there, like he’s enjoying watching it not because Roy is a joke but because he’s powerful, maybe. Like “Whoa, look at him go.” Like it’s kind of impressive or something, or maybe just like, you know, a cartoon version of the Roy Kent Idol in Jamie’s head
Megan: Yeah a bit of awe, and a bit of tension relief. Just like us, they’ve all gone on several rollercoasters in the last few minutes. Roy’s outburst is just the final straw.
Natalie: Poor Trent, he’s so awkward. He was such a smooth character in the past, but Trent Crimm, Independant, on the back foot is so twitchy. I adore him. The boys are so obedient to Roy. It’s funny because I don’t think they’re doing it literally because they think Roy will hurt them, do you? He threatens the headbutt but that’s just his dumbass way of speaking. When the guys are blanking Trent, it doesn’t feel like they are doing it out of fear of a headbutt. Just obeying Roy’s orders in general, loyalty to him and doing what he commands. It’s not “Roy says I can’t and I don’t want a headbutt.” It’s just… “Roy says I can’t.” That’s the whole thing. That is his power over them, due to who he is.
Megan: Yeah, I don’t think any of them for a second think Roy will actually hurt them. They just don’t want to let him down.
Natalie: Jamie pulling the handshake, like “No, you can’t catch me!” This is all made worse and so much more awkward because it’s soundtracked by “A Well Respected Man” by the Kinks. I am a huge Kinks fan and this works so well for Trent’s energy. His hands-in-pockets “Cool…” about them all blanking him when he compliments training… The poor guy.
Megan: Look. With what we find out later, I can understand Roy’s reaction. But watching this was rough! Poor Trent. He still looks very cool and suave, but his first day is not going well.
Natalie: His whole vibe sits differently now, though. It’s obviously coming from a place of less power, and he’s just less authoritative than he once was. He’s the nerdy new kid and he’s an awkward hipster among 25 jocks.
Megan: Yeah, that is true.
Natalie: And of course Ted is making him share Roy’s office. It makes sense, Nate’s spare desk, but do you think this plan was made before or after the tantrum?
Megan: Ted loves to benignly torture people, so I feel like maybe it was made after the fact.
Natalie: Also, how did the staff of Richmond rustle up so many sympathy gifts in one afternoon? I guess if they had a few hours — Trent arrived post gym session and before the outdoor training, and this is now after the on-pitch session. So they had like three hours to shop for him.
Megan: They probably sent Will out to all the nearby shops. He knows what a card is, even if a CD is beyond him.
Natalie: Who sent the white orchids though? Who would know that is his favourite? Higgins? Jamie, anonymously, because he somehow read it in a fan magazine sixteen years ago?
Megan: Let’s go with that one. It’s my favourite option.
Natalie: Do footballers often mention their favourite flower in Q and As? Anyway, it’s a sign that the news is spreading because these ridiculous gifts are from like, random admin staff.
Megan: The fact that he bothers to read the cards is kind of nice though! He doesn’t just sweep them all off into the bin. That would be rude.
Natalie: I have to say, I was not expecting the Trent story to take such a Roy focus. But I LOVE it, especially how it all turns out at the end. But Trent suffering and awkwardly lying to his publisher while Roy pops the balloons… Fuck it’s funny. What a pair.
Megan: Same, on both counts! I imagined he would be far more focused on Ted, but here we are. Roy is not his best self so far in this episode, but fuck I love watching it.
Natalie: I love it. I love how they build it up. Trent doesn’t rise to it, he pretends he isn’t bothered, and he tries to talk to Roy about meaningful things, like the upcoming match — this is how we learn that Chelsea away is their first match of the season. Trent is incredibly perceptive of Roy’s emotions in their scenes honestly, maybe just because he has 20 years of watching Roy as a player and he, like we do from the trailer, knows what to expect of Roy’s return to Stamford Bridge for his first time there in competition since he retired. There is precedent for these things that Trent would be aware of.
Megan: I think it’s a bit of watching Roy specifically as a player, but also yeah, just knowing from years as a sports reporter what that return can be like for a former player.
Natalie: Trent knows what may be on Roy’s mind, and it’s a consideration that Ted, for example, has no clue about. Then later, he keeps trying to reach out. I love how Trent starts to see the shape of Roy’s issue. He gets so close to the heart of it — he says he understands that Roy is protective of the team. We know that Roy gave up being a pundit due to coming to terms with how much he hated judging the players in that way. That he thinks it is nasty to just make comments about people and not be, you know, using that feedback to lift them up and help them. His whole speech leaving Sky spelled it out.
Megan: He might rant and rave and yell, but as a coach we never see him belittle the players out on the training ground. That’s not him.
Natalie: I think the idea of media judgement is very abhorrent to him. But we learn the core of that. It’s just interesting to me that Trent gets so close to the answer here.
Megan: At least with pundits, a lot of them are former players, but someone like Trent isn’t. He has no idea.
Natalie: Well, in Roy’s opinion. There’s a role for writers in sports, but Roy has his views.
Megan: Yeah. On a side note, Roy and Trent both love to lurk in car parks. They really should get on.
Natalie: Trent makes those lovely comments about the players respect Roy and how much he admires Roy finding fulfilment in a second career. He’s just trying so hard, and clearly truly rates Roy so highly. Which makes the reveal that much tougher.
Megan: We will get to the reveal, but God. I know we’re only two episodes in, but I feel like this is the one Brett will be submitting to the Emmys. He kills me in it.
Natalie: If he has a stronger episode than this, this season, I am scared of what it may be about. I definitely think it’s his best episode so far, and that is a big call after “Rainbow,” “Man City,” “All Apologies,” and “The Hope That Kills You.” “Rainbow” is also about the Roy/Football OTP, but I honestly think this is better even though it’s less huge and dramatic. It definitely taps into similar emotions, but deeper and sadder. There’s so much more to say about this as we go on.
Megan: Honestly I agree. It’s not as joyful as “Rainbow” ends up being, it just hurts in the best kind of way.
Natalie: Well I think it’s also a promise, in a way, of what he needs to do or where he needs to go. So it may get an “answer” episode, later in the season.
Megan: I hope so. We’ll see how that competes.
Natalie: I am honestly not sure anything is going to compete, for me, with what happens when Roy walks out on the pitch at Stamford Bridge. Even though I predicted it pretty much exactly from the trailer — that banner from the Chelsea home fans gave it away — and even though it was more of a passing moment than his climactic return to Nelson Road in “Rainbow,” this meant more to me. Is that weird? Maybe it’s because Richmond is fake and Chelsea and City are real clubs, but I tend to get way more emotional thinking about the idea of Roy’s feelings about his legacy from his Chelsea career, or the idea of Jamie’s complicated feelings about losing his relationship with City, than I do about either of their feelings for Richmond. I think knowing what those clubs meant to them is fundamental to understanding them both as characters, and this episode really fed that for me for Roy.
Megan: No, I don’t think so. I think with both of them, while Richmond is the team they’ve ended up at, the team that is their home now, their history and emotional ties to Chelsea and City are so deep and have so much of an impact on who they are now. So I think it makes sense that you feel so strongly about their links to those teams.
Natalie: In this, we learn — officially, people have assumed in the past — that Roy was not only a star at Chelsea, he was their long-serving captain, so if anyone didn’t read my trailer breakdown, it’s basically confirmed here — in the Ted Lasso universe, Roy Kent filled the leadership role at Chelsea that John Terry filled in real life, even if he played in Frank Lampard’s box-to-box position. He is THAT level of legendary player, and what happens here happened to John Terry in real life, the first time he returned to the Bridge as a competitor (as assistant coach of Aston Villa) after retiring. They’ve riffed on that event for Roy, and this is one of those “What if” events that I have very literally dreamt up in an imaginary way before, like “By all the laws of football, this is what would happen the first time Richmond played Chelsea away, now they’re back in the Prem.” You and I have literally talked about this what if, and mapped it out as a potential before. And then they fucking did it.
Megan: They really fucking did, and I loved every single second of it. But with Roy, even the start of this sequence — Roy sneaking up behind the steward, knowing him by name, and clearly comfortable being playful with him — demonstrates how embedded he was at Chelsea, how much a part of the fabric he was. He was clearly so loved, and that gives so much extra context about his state of mind in season 1 of Ted Lasso.
Natalie: The smile he gives the steward is the loveliest, gentlest, most pure Roy smile in the whole series. It tells you everything you need to know about how he feels, what this means, about how at home he feels, even. As much as the Richmond team are dedicated to one another and as much as it’s probably the right place for Roy to be right now, you can’t erase this history or even claim he cares about Richmond “more.” He clearly does care about Richmond in terms of leading those lads as a coach. But he didn’t as a player, not a chance. This is his real home.
Megan: He is fully invested in Richmond right now: winning matches, not getting relegated, even beating Chelsea today. But emotionally, it’ll always be Chelsea.
Natalie: And that’s common enough with football.
Natalie: If a player has a real legacy with a club, it’s in their heart forever and ever and sometimes even playing against them is an emotional conflict, like how when Jack Grealish joined Man City, he said that he would not do any goal celebrations if he scored against his boyhood Aston Villa. In a dream world, players would always stay with their “heart” club, but that sometimes conflicts with their personal ambition to win trophies, or otherwise, the club’s finances.
Megan: Yeah, there have been players that have even wanted to stay with their club after relegation, like James Milner at Leeds, but the club needed the money they could get from the sale more than they did the player. So he got transferred.
Natalie: And this “heart” club thing is why I have extremely complex emotions about Jamie and Man City, which I suspect will be the subject of another episode. Because Roy may be a Londoner, so a local boy, but he wasn’t actually a home-grown Chelsea academy player, we know he was trained in Sunderland. He was clearly with Chelsea for ages, and it still means the world, but Jamie was a Man City player from childhood — very likely since before he knew his father. The most probable circumstance there is that his dad’s hooliganism and abuse ruined Jamie’s own adoration of his boyhood club that he was proud to play for. The way he feels about that City has to be absolutely chaotically emotional. But that is not today’s problem.
Megan: No, we’ll save those emotions for another day.
Natalie: The fact that we get that lovely, sweet, wholesome smile from Roy, seeing the tunnel guard… I said it before, but it just tells the whole story about this place, the familiarity, everything he’s done and achieved and felt here. Just that handshake, and Roy’s face there, is one of the most special moments in all of Ted Lasso for me. And that’s before we even get to the guts of it, how he feels, at the end of the episode. But of course, Roy can’t have one nice thing.
Megan: No, because amongst all the emotion we get Bruce knowing that Roy and Keeley split up and offering his sympathy. Is there some sort of Chelsea staff Whatsapp group where they share gossip about players past and present? Either way this made me cackle.
Natalie: Fucking Bruce. Poor Roy. But of course, when he walks from the tunnel to the bench, that’s when fans get to see him. In real life I think there would be more of an announcement, the tannoy would be listing the players emerging and so on. But they do have Arlo and Chris commentate the significance.
Megan: Yeah, for the John Terry scenario you mentioned above there was a whole bit in the matchday programme about him and all. This is a bit more spontaneous, but so lovely.
Natalie: Let me tell you, when he is sitting on the bench listening to the growing amount of noise, all the things people are calling out and then chanting — when he is just sitting there trying to shoulder it and not react, I was ugly crying. Like, gulp-sobbing. And I yelled at the television. “Do something, you fucking idiot, get up!” This was not pretty, for me. His Richmond reserve players on the bench, patting him and all, giving him supportive vibes. Christ.
Megan: No, I can imagine. I’m sorry. Most of my tears happened at the end of the episode for Roy, but this is just such a mix of utterly joyous and so heavy. It means so much to him, but it’s so hard for him to properly share how he feels. His little salute is the best he can do, but that was probably the moment that set me off the most in this scene.
Natalie: And it’s hard to overstate how much Roy would mean to a club like this. What he’s achieved for them. If you take reality as a guide, he would have led the team to about a dozen trophies over a decade or so. I think the banner has a picture of him holding the Premier League trophy, they’ve made the real life 2012 Champions League win canon to the show, Chelsea won the double in 2010…
Megan: Roy, more than anyone else at Richmond, knows what it’s like to win football competitions, knows how to win football competitions. I really hope this visit serves to boost his confidence there. He’s a living legend, he deserves to have faith in his abilities.
Natalie: Yeah. If you want to talk about people who’ve gotten “a trophy from this millennium,” as Rebecca says when she hired Ted, Roy has them all. As a captain, not a coach, but he knows. He’s the kind of player a club would commemorate with a statue at the venue one day. Chelsea’s pretty old-school, so maybe not until after he’s died.
Megan: Oh no don’t, you’ll make me cry again.
Natalie: They’re not tacky like City, putting them up now. No, I don’t mean it, I love you, City. It’s just that the Etihad campus itself is very new.
Megan: They get to make their own traditions, like honouring players before they die. On the one hand, nice for the players to see that. On the other hand, bit risky. If the player ever does something really morally wrong, will they have to tear the statues down? Bit embarrassing.
Natalie: Yeah. But another example of this kind of celebrated return happened this past weekend for the FA Cup Quarter Final, when Vincent Kompany. former Man City captain and now the manager of Burnley, made his first competitive return to Etihad since leaving the club. And there’s an absolutely fucking MASSIVE statue of Kompany at the entrance to the Etihad. I would be so embarrassed if I was him. So would Roy. Like “Please don’t do this.”
Megan: Roy would both HATE it, but also secretly a little bit inside love it.
Natalie: Yeah, he would probably love it a bit. He is so conflicted about his ego. But the salute was, I think, the best thing he could do, or the only thing he could do. Applauding them back would be an option, but this was right for him. Maybe do a circuit of the pitch to salute the Shed End, too, the truly manic home fan area… Though again, that involves him making the choice to centre himself, which.. Probably not. But man. Roy. His little face, when he’s trying to handle it before he stands up.
Megan: It’s a constant push and pull for him. He likes being Roy Kent the footballer, he loves the game, he has given his whole life to it and likes that being acknowledged. But he is also deeply deeply repressed, and unable to express himself and his feelings. There were two interesting reactions to this from the stands, I thought. First, there’s Trent, with his knowing little smile — he knew something like this would happen. And then there’s Keeley and Rebecca. In last week’s episode I posed the question of whether or not Rebecca is pissed off at Roy on Keeley’s behalf for the breakup. Her face when she sees Keeley watching and takes Keeley’s hand in this moment suggests to me that, while I’m sure she still likes Roy, and is professional at work with him, she might be harbouring some anger there.
Natalie: Trent I think truly respects Roy on a deep level and yes, given the precedence of these honours in football, expects it. Rebecca, I think she’s being supportive to Keeley here, like “I know this is probably emotional in a sad way, I’ve got you.” Keeley is happy for Roy, but sad too because she isn’t with him and she probably knows how this will rip him up inside.
Megan: It was the little tiny pursed lip head shake that made me think maybe Rebecca would like to go find Roy at the club one day, shake him, and yell at him for being an idiot. Keeley’s face is so much. She’s clearly so proud, and yeah, just really fucking sad.
Natalie: I would have loved to have gotten a shot of Jamie here, while warming up, watching it happen. But you can’t have everything.
Megan: They missed a trick there, but what they did do is lovely. Right up until the moment we get our first in person shot of Zava, who steals all the attention away from Roy. Regardless of how we’re later supposed to feel about Zava, I had instant hatred for him here for cutting off Roy’s moment.
Natalie: He would love a statue of himself outside the stadium. He hasn’t played for Chelsea yet, but they may as well start building.
Megan: It’s in his contract for every new club he signs to. There are 14 statues of him dotted around European stadiums. He leaves trophies, chaos and over-the-top sculptures behind. Probably gold plated ones.
Natalie: I do feel a little short changed that we get the players’ reaction to Zava but not a shot of them also pausing to applaud Roy. If there’s a scene of that cut out in editing, I want it. I would really be okay with just 45 minutes of admiring Roy, really.
Megan: Just 45 minutes of people singing his praises while he sits there and gets more and more uncomfortable and overwhelmed. Yes please, sign me up for that.
Natalie: Finally he tells everyone to fuck off and leave him alone then goes to a cupboard and breaks down in tears.
Megan: Who wouldn’t want to watch that?
Natalie: Zava would not break down in tears. He is loving the attention, in a very calm, zen way. He expects it.
Megan: It is his right. Just like the statues I’ve invented.
Natalie: He clearly thinks of himself as some sort of god, or like a Roman Emperor at the Coliseum. Just… this is his due.
Megan: Jamie’s reaction to Zava is my reaction to Zava. So what man, Zava who? Roy Kent is RIGHT THERE.
Natalie: Dani, in particular, is thrilled in a very pure way and I swear, if this man fucks Dani up, disillusions him, I will be coming for the throat.
Megan: I will be right there with you.
Natalie: Jamie is a bit annoyed that Dani is so giddy over it, which is slightly harsh, but I think Jamie does not have a lot of time for superstar ego in this way. Despite his own past behaviour, Jamie is a very working class, very Northern, very salt of the earth guy. Pointing at his shirt and repeatedly yelling me is a thing of the past. but even at his worst I can’t imagine him doing this kind of stuff — for one he hasn’t earned it, he hasn’t achieved that many accolades. And also I just can’t see a British person ever doing this, LOL. European football ego is very different to English football ego, right? And the culture around matches, too.
Megan: I agree with that. Partly because as you say, of Jamie’s background and general Britishness, but also because Pep isn’t the type of manager to put up with that level of ego from his players. I think it might come from the fact that in the UK at least, most of the most successful footballers here have working class backgrounds, and that, combined with our Britishness in general means that when I think of the biggest English names in football, they are all very ordinary blokeish men. Wayne Rooney acting the way Zava does in this scene would just look ridiculous. Same goes for John Terry. And English football fans would find it ridiculous too.
Natalie: British football fans usually abhor ego. But it depends on the person. Not many people left in Cristiano Ronaldo’s corner by the end.
Megan: No. Fuck that guy. I was never in his corner. Way ahead of the curve.
Natalie: Of course we don’t know if Zava is a trash talker. It could be that he’s beloved for being super nice as well as successful, and just likes playing up to the crowd. But he clearly thinks he is very important, and utterly in command.
Megan: We do know he’s nuts, according to Roy, and a handful according to Rebecca, and leaves chaos in his wake. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad person. Just…a lot.
Natalie: What we see of him this episode, I don’t hate him. They could have made him a more write-off able dickhead. There’s something very soulful about him. But I think he’s absolutely nuts. One of those celebrities who has lost touch with reality.
Megan: No. Outside of him pulling Roy’s focus, he’s not obviously a dick. Just a little bit detached from normal.
Natalie: The reason he’s there, of course, is because he’s planning to sign with Chelsea. He turned down Richmond’s meeting, and West Ham’s.
Megan: Shout out to Higgins’ very organised and reliable sources.
Natalie: Rebecca thinks the rejection will make Rupert want him more, and she’s obsessed with Leslie jinxing it. He keeps jinxing it!
Megan: I don’t believe in jinxes in any part of life outside of football. But in football, it’s very real, and Leslie must stop.
Natalie: I know this is true, because you don’t let me theorise about what will happen.
Megan: No. Remember when Jack scored in the Manchester Derby and you said “I hope that’s the only goal of the game, and he’s the reason they win” and then the ref made a dodgy offside call and United won 2-1?
Natalie: I am sorry for jinxing it.
Megan: He will never forgive you. I might, one day. We’ll see how the league table looks at the end of the season.
Natalie: Someone, I can’t remember who, but someone who is a good writer and likes football — it may have been John Green — I remember them saying that the narrative is always set in football. As much as you might think that the results of the match is merely due to how it’s played or whatever, somehow, things always end up taking a turn that makes the best story. Seems like the kind of drama worth making a TV show about.
Megan: Yeah, someone should get on that.
Natalie: I said this to you on the weekend, about City v Burnley — the draw for that round, Burnley could have drawn any other of the opponents, but fate danced on the bowl and said no, the best drama is if you draw Man City, and Kompany makes his return to the Etihad as a manager in a knockout round. The story was set, it had to be that. So maybe I don’t believe in jinxes. Maybe I believe in football fate.
Megan: Well fate is a harsh mistress for denying Jack his Derby-winning goal.
Natalie: Neither Rupert or Rebecca are keen on fate either, it seems.
Megan: No, they are very set on diverting its course. Were you surprised with what we learn about how Rebecca and Rupert first met? Some of the details did surprise me a bit!
Natalie: Extremely. The whole thing was deeply miserable. We knew Rebecca was traumatised by the divorce but the level of damage that’s still there, what she shares about him here… Like Ted, season 2 was not so much about those wounds for her, but this was horrible.
Megan: I also wonder if there’s some guilt there too. Because while she originally turned Rupert down, probably due to his wife and her anger she had over her dad’s affair, he wore her down, he got to her and she ended up saying yes despite that. And then of course, years later he did to her what he did to his previous wife. Maybe she feels like it’s karma somehow, that she deserves it for being the other woman first.
Natalie: Jesus Christ. Yeah, I mean the ex-ex wife explains the age gap more. I had never thought about the fact that Rebecca may be his second or third wife. Never even crossed my mind.
Megan: Neither! But she was, and she was the mistress first. The other thing that stood out to me was the setting itself of their meeting. Based on her parents’ house that we see in 2.10, and Rebecca’s, well, everything, it seems pretty clear that Rebecca comes from money. So hearing that she was working as a bartender surprised me. I would have assumed a different career route from her. The best theory I’ve come up with to explain it is that maybe she was too angry with her dad about the affair to accept financial help from him while hitting a rough patch or something.
Natalie: Maybe she just found it interesting. Private clubs, exclusive places, like to hire very elegant staff. We don’t know if she had any other career, or studied, or whatever. But classy people still do service work in classy places.
Megan: Yeah could be. We don’t really know what Rebecca might have been doing with her life, or wanting to do, before she married Rupert and ended up owning a football club.
Natalie: Maybe we’ll find out, but the way she talks here is extraordinary and goes a long way to also explain Nate. If Rupert makes people feel like the most important person in the world, that’s all Nate wanted.
Megan: Yes that’s so true.
Natalie: We discussed Ted being still in love with Michelle — I think Rebecca is, unfortunately, still a bit in love with Rupert. She’s deeply vulnerable about him anyway, that he affects her so much, and I think she is still grieving the loss of him or who she wanted him to be.
Megan: Keeley’s line here — “there’s a fine line between stalking and romance.” I think it’s also a fine line between love and obsession. I think she really did love him so much, and now he’s ruined that the love has turned to obsession. She is obsessed with beating him, with winning. Maybe once she beats him she can finally get over him.
Natalie: I fucking hope so. But I also think that she needs him GONE. Like, just never be around him again. I think he will trigger her forever. Maybe Ted can murder him.
Megan: The season ends with Ted’s face, from inside a prison cell, as he gets sentenced to murder. That’s a twist I hadn’t thought of before, but you never know.
Natalie: Worth it. Rebecca has this real sense of inevitability here, like, “Well, that’s it, Rupert will win.” That’s her default, that he will always just steamroll and sweet talk and apply pressure so smoothly that he takes exactly what he wants. She kind of concedes it. That is how he automatically makes her feel.
Megan: It’s just all very sad and depressing and this might be the most I’ve hated Rupert for his effect on her. Every time you learn something new about that man, he becomes more awful. The mirroring of Keeley being the one to take Rebecca’s hand here is very lovely, except I don’t like Roy being framed the same as Rupert.
Natalie: Let’s not make that comparison too closely. They’re just supporting each other through each other’s current Worst Thing. That doesn’t mean they’re comparable.
Megan: No you’re right, I’m just sensitive about Roy this episode. He is grumpy baby.
Natalie: Well, when Rebecca goes to try and poach Zava for herself, what she and Rupert talk about taps right into what we talked about regarding Rupert and Richmond. It’s tricky, because she accuses him of like, you know, “Can’t believe you bought West Ham, I thought Richmond was your true love.” And he obviously frames that like a burn, trading it in for a newer model. A cutting comment about his taste in women. But it doesn’t track, because I would love to see what happened if you told the most philandering, awful, disgusting man in London to stop supporting Arsenal. And just move on to Spurs, or Chelsea, or West Ham. Can you imagine? The metaphor does not work, and I think that matters. I actually think that Rupert’s loyalty to Richmond is the seed of all of this. Because of his Football Man Brain Disease. I mean I don’t think he’s trying to help them, lol. But it’s the love/obsession thing for sure.
Megan: Yes. I think it’s a case of if he can’t have Richmond, nobody can, and definitely not Rebecca who stole it from him. If he can’t have it, he wants to humiliate it, and her.
Natalie: “Just like any man, I get bored with the same old, same old,” does NOT apply to football. It just doesn’t. It’s the antithesis of how Football Men feel.
Megan: No! They do not change loyalties like that, not the kind of fan Rupert is.
Natalie: They will support their club through every up and down of their life and however many affairs. I am SURE he is still, internally, Richmond. But the fact she’s spoiled it means it has made him insane. I think that’s a key issue for what is going on with him and West Ham. And I think people may read this and will be like, “Well no, Rupert is a baddie and his disloyalty is a sign of this.” No. You can be the most evil villain on the planet, if you are the kind of Football Man whose wife goes for the club in the divorce because it means THAT much to you, you are not moving on. This isn’t a sign of Rupert just sucking — it’s a lie, I am sure of it. A barb designed to hurt Rebecca of course, as a metaphor. But a total lie. If Ted Lasso knows what it’s doing re: football culture, this is a lie. Club loyalty is unhealthy. Ted Lasso knows it. Look at James Tartt. They know that club loyalty is something a villain will put above a personal bond. I swear there is something in this, re: Rupert.
Megan: I really hope the show does go there, and we get the truth of that motivation — that Rebecca gets the truth of that motivation. Because so far she is the one that is framed as crazy and obsessive, but it does go both ways. We get our second following down the corridor misdirect of the episode here, but in this one, I was 100% sure that Zava is her target. Rebecca’s rant at Zava does not necessarily help with crazy framing, but God it was hilarious.
Natalie: I think she really gets him right in the goods, because she doesn’t even try to lure him, she’s just like “you suck.”
Megan: She’s not sure she can beat Rupert in the charm offensive, so she just goes for offensive.
Natalie: Ultimately what she’s suggesting is that if he was truly the star he thinks he is, he would play for somewhere where he would be solely responsible for winning. Which does not bode well for our team vibes.
Megan: No, she’s very much willing to throw team dynamics under the bus here.
Natalie: Don’t go somewhere that’s good and would win anywhere, go somewhere you can prove that you, single-handedly, can win the league. I don’t even know if think she was doing this with an aim of maybe possibly manipulating him or just expressing her feelings of outrage as a lost cause.
Megan: Yeah, it very much could go either way on that.
Natalie: But she did make an impression and get the gears turning for him. At his age, he would privately be questioning his own abilities even if the rest of the world still rates him. We get a mirror of that in Roy at the end. Past 30, players start to worry. Ancient decrepit trolls that they become. Is he really still an excellent player, or is he coasting on name recognition and overrated hype? Zava is very clearly styled to have a vibe like Zlatan Ibrahimović, which is why I get a sense of the archetype they’re creating here. Zlatan is still playing at 41. But he’s a player where like the narrative of what an absolute maniac he is, his cult of personality, did take over from like, is he actually good?
Megan: I think it’s harder too when you’ve been such a legend and had such an impact. Like, James Milner, apparently my favourite player to reference today, he’s 37. He still gets some minutes in most games, he is a solid and reliable player and when he does retire, possibly at the end of this season when his current contract runs out, it’ll be sad, but he’ll be satisfied with what he’s achieved and likely feel content. Someone like Roy, or apparently Zava, who reached such legendary levels, the crash is going to be so much harder. I can see why the opportunity of taking a shit club and making it win the league would appeal to Zava at this stage in career.
Natalie: Look at how ungracefully Ronaldo went. What do you actually think of Zava so far? I think Max Osinski is hilarious. They’re really going hard on the Zlatan thing, like he also refers to himself in the third person. That level of delusional ego, do you find it entertaining to watch?
Megan: He is so funny. I think I do because it’s not embarrassing. Like… I don’t like delusional ego when the person in question is awkward or humiliated or not actually very good. But with Zava, while it remains to be seen how good he actually is, he’s just very smooth and calm and so his ego trips are just deeply entertaining. I don’t hate him! I don’t see myself ever loving him as an actual relatable human character, but so far he is making for very good TV. Which is actually probably the best way to handle introducing a new player at this stage. He doesn’t pull love and affection away from an already large number of characters I want to see more in-depth storylines from, just adds some new conflict and humour for them to engage with.
Natalie: He really won me over when he asked the Chelsea owner politely if he could keep the pen.
Natalie: I’m not saying he’s a deeply emotional person who will move me and become someone who has a deep point of view. But there is more nuance than just A Diva. He has an interesting energy.
Megan: Yeah, I was initially concerned that the main conflict from him would be that he would be a giant prick. I’m now not concerned about that, there’s a few more layers to him. This scene is so ridiculous though. The way he just stands there constantly pissing while Rebecca gets in his face and yells at him. I cannot. And then the asparagus comment at the end. I fucking died.
Natalie: Pissing with no hands. Just watching his dick.
Megan: I can’t. What a guy.
Natalie: Max must be having so much fun playing it. Just a total nightmare man. From what I’ve seen on social media throughout the filming period, he really gelled with the lads off camera. He’s part of the Richmond team now in a big way, even if he does ruin everything on screen. So I can’t wait to see more from behind the scenes, of people having fun with this ridiculousness.
Megan: I would love, once season 3 is over, DVD-style extra content. Bloopers, a behind the scenes documentary, cut scenes. I don’t know that we’ll get it, but I want them.
Natalie: I hope they do release an actual DVD box set with a making-of documentary and all.
Megan: I love physical copies of my favourite things. Hate that streaming popularity makes that less likely these days.
Natalie: I think Rebecca may have just been venting. Her sour yelling, that is. Because when Zava is doing his conference, she very much assumes he is going to West Ham. I think maybe she was just expressing her feelings, and her honesty paid off. If it was a tactic, she didn’t have high hopes for it.
Megan: Yeah she does not think she has actively won him over, but she maybe feels a little better about herself. And then of course he drops the live press conference bomb that he will in fact be going to Richmond.
Natalie:Maybe her mother’s psychic could have given her a heads up.
Megan: I may believe in football jinx. I am not yet a believer in psychics.
Natalie: The stellar parenting on this show continues as Deborah tries to outsource her maternal guidance to Tish the psychic… Results yet to be seen.
Megan: I do not have high hopes. But maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Natalie: You know who else believes in jinxes though? Mae. All this Zava drama is going down while the team are trying to get by in their first Premier League match of the season. And the fans are back in force. But the top hats may be bad luck, because Chelsea open the scoring a minute into extra time of the first half. It’s all the hat’s fault, Megan.
Megan: Yeah, that sounds reasonable to me.
Natalie: Like how Spurs only win if you can bear to watch them play.
Megan: Oh no, we’re back to them sometimes winning when I don’t watch them play. They’re all over the place, superstition-wise and in general. I can’t talk about them right now. Poor boys.
Natalie: Ted is not blaming any hats or jinxes or anything though — just inoffensive playing. I really like the vibe in this away dressing room. It seems more grounded and real than a lot of the football scenes of the past, especially when the guys start discussing the tactics. I’d like to think that means that the football element of Ted Lasso is actually going to be more in focus this season. You know, how to win matches — not just an emotional pep talk, but like, football details. This may bore others but I am like GIVE IT TO ME.
Megan: No, I’m the same. I want all the football details. “My face almost scored” is another comedic highlight of this show, and I was so excited for Jamie to be sharing tactics that I almost hated Trent myself when he walked in and everyone went quiet. Let Jamie speak!
Natalie: But Roy looks so smug. Don’t you prefer him obeying Roy? But yes. I too was thrilled to see him properly engaging with ideas and observations about the match. And Ted is definitely sharper about reading the match, too. He kind of knows what he’s talking about with the sport, it’s a new tone for him really. Usually he is reciting ideas in a folksy way with intel Beard taught him. This sounds more naturally like Ted actually does see how the game is played and won.
Megan: Roy is SO smug and it cracks me up. But I agree on Ted. He may not be feeling sure about his place in the team, but he is starting to learn his stuff and while it took him long enough, it’s really good to see.
Natalie: After the press conference last episode, that’s quite noticeable.
Megan: Yeah. I also actually really appreciated Ted taking Roy aside and being SO firm in telling him to cut it out and fix it. Outside of telling off Jamie in season 1, and the times he yells at Nate in Liverpool and Rebecca in “Two Aces,” it’s probably the most firm we see him be. But unlike the other times when he loses control a bit, this is just some very good people management.
Natalie: Roy looks really surprised. He takes it, but he is startled. The way he follows Ted, being still all smug and presumptuous, making comments about the Hallmark films, he isn’t expecting a telling off. And yes, the Jamie moment was heated, the Nate moment was in a bad personal mood, and the Rebecca moment was genuine fury at her. This is just Ted pulling rank in an authoritative way. He also recognizes that the players will probably always follow Roy’s orders, because of his whole… Royness. Ted could have just been like, “Hey, don’t listen to Roy, listen to me. I am the actual boss, and I am saying don’t do what Roy says, do what I say.” But that isn’t what he does — he makes Roy tell the players that he has changed his mind. And Roy takes it. He really just takes it with grace, does what he needs to fix things with Trent on his own terms, then rescinds his order. I’m not sure what that says about Ted’s authority over the players, but it avoided the issue of challenging or shaming Roy in front of the players, and divided leadership always weakens a group.
Megan: I think that if Ted had challenged Roy’s authority, if he had called him out publicly and demanded the players talk to Trent, they would have listened to him — they love and respect him. But Ted also likes and respects Roy too much, hence taking him to one side. I really love the fact that Roy takes it with such good grace though. He could have dug in and been a dick about it, but he didn’t.
Natalie: Roy does respect authority within the structure of a football team, and here it feels like, you know, he was happy to have his way because Ted wasn’t calling him out. Like, he wasn’t being told NOT to do this, so he was gonna keep doing it. And Ted never usually pulls him up — I think Roy respects that Ted treats his way of expressing things, like his anger or swearing, as if he had said the same thing in a normal, polite way. Ted never tone polices him. He takes most of what Roy does totally in stride. Ted is so polite and cheerful and fluffy in his language and tone, and the fact that he treats Roy’s way of expressing himself as valid counts for a lot, I think.
Megan: Agree. It’s another example for me of taking our cues from the other characters in how we judge Roy’s outbursts. A viewer or two may not like the idea of how harsh he is, but the people around him — Ted, Beard, Higgins, Keeley, Jamie — they all know it’s just how he communicates, in the same way they know that Ted communicates via a bunch of references that none of them will understand. They don’t ever really hold it against him. And in this scene, aside from the fact that Roy was always going to listen because he respects the football authority, the fact is, Ted is the manager, he should pull rank when he needs to, and there are a few times in season 2 where he definitely should have stepped in. Again, he might have lost some of the passion for the role right now, but in some ways he’s actually doing it better than he did the previous season I think.
Natalie: I also wonder if Ted’s thinking of the future, because he has that very curious line — that if Roy doesn’t cut it out, he’s going to sabotage something a lot bigger than “a silly football match.” I have a few theories about this, but I am not quite sure. One is that Ted has a feeling about the book, or has had a private chat with Trent about it. He knows what Trent wants it to be and what impact it might have. No idea what, but he is genuinely worried about Roy ruining the book for Trent, or for whatever impact he thinks it’ll have on Richmond. Two is that it’s just the simple united leadership front — if you don’t fix this, I will have to throw you under the bus in front of the team. Three is related to two, but in a much more extreme way —- Ted already knows he wants to leave Richmond and he knows he wants Roy to become the manager. He is telling Roy to get on board, for his own good. Maybe even knows the focus of Trent’s book will feature Roy’s impact, or just wants to see Roy step up to a less petty, bossy form of leadership. But then also, kind of four… The way Ted dismisses the football match makes me think the thing Roy is sabotaging is more than football. Otherwise Ted may have said something like “More than just this one game,” or whatever — or rather match, another example of football language becoming more natural to Ted. But not dismissing the premise of the team’s success as silly. So, a wild card option — something is going on here that is far beyond the sport. But what did you make of this when you first saw it?
Megan: So in general I was just really impressed with the way Ted handled it, and the way Roy responded. And then just really charmed by his whispered, accurate, summary of Hallmark films. On a second watch I definitely wondered about what exactly he meant there. I think for me, I lean towards theory one or theory three. Theory one, if Trent has really sold Ted on the book I could see Ted referencing tha, and wanting to make sure it goes well for Trent and for the team too down the line. But my favourite is theory three, because if, as I am sure he will, Ted does leave at the end of the season, Roy is who I want to take over and seems to me to be the best fit for it. So that is what I hope Ted means. The other option of course is Ted knows how much Rebecca cares about them winning this season, and she might not appreciate Roy’s grudge sabotaging it. But I don’t think Ted would think Rebecca would ever retaliate against Roy, so that feels less likely to me.
Natalie: That still feels tied to the result of the match though. What’s getting me is that this is about more than the football results. Whatever it is, I think it’s very, very important. The fact he mentions Roy’s ego is what makes me think this is about what Roy is sabotaging FOR HIMSELF, though. So yeah. Three. And I think Ted reverting to his explainer of Hallmark movies is very much a sign of him telling Roy “I’m not mad, it’s all fine, just get this done, we are good,” – this assurance on top of making sure not to reprimand him in public. He knows how Roy feels about being challenged or embarrassed. It’s great, though I do think most people know what Hallmark movies are even if we don’t get the channel, just due to American media referencing them.
Megan: Yeah it’s his way of kind of breaking any residual tension and it really works. I love his almost puppy dog eyes expression when he says “now go fix this, please”. Just a very good moment for Ted and his growth as a football manager.
Natalie: And he lets Roy sort it out his way. Roy doesn’t just have to put up with the issues he has with Trent. He is allowed to take the steps he needs to become okay with the situation, to put his emotional needs first. Luckily Trent is decent enough to pass the test, or whatever, but this is so complex and unexpected. Yet all the pieces were there.
Megan: Yeah I don’t know what I was expecting as the explanation, but this? Oh, this hurt.
Natalie: It was all there!
Megan: And yet yes, the second it happened, it all slot into place and made perfect sense!
Natalie: Roy has hated Trent since day one. Says he’s always been a prick. Sure, we knew enough about Roy’s opinion of the world to see how he would hate a snobby reporter.
Megan: Sidenote: Jamie’s “It’s actually quite funny when he yells at other people isn’t it?” cracked me up.
Natalie: Yes Jamie, we know you think this.
Megan: Your sniggering earlier in the episode kind of gave it away. But yeah, I always just thought a journalist isn’t the kind of person Roy would have time for, especially a snobby one, especially one getting all up in their business at a time when Roy is feeling vulnerable.
Natalie: And then — look at his speech, leaving Sky Sports. Look at what triggered it. The picking-apart of a 17 year old player’s debut. That’s what sets him off. All the commentary on what this kid will do, how he will perform.
Megan: Yeah, the callback to that moment is SO well done. Like, the amount of mapping out of storylines in advance to have it lead to this moment.
Natalie: And Roy is like, “Fuck this. This is bullshit, we don’t know shit about shit, we aren’t there with them on the pitch or dressing room helping them, we are just on the outside, judging them.” I’ve always felt so strongly about that moment, about how Roy feels about his career and the chance he has been offered, to lift others up and help them. To use his experience in a way that matters to the players and continue to impact the outcome of matches. But this, this scene in the showers, it is one of those moments that makes the whole series hit harder retroactively. It’s a moment that enhances the past.
Megan: 100%. The way he says “This fucking wrecked me” fucking wrecked me in turn. And the fact that he carries that around with him, in his wallet, at all times? This man is so damaged.
Natalie: The careless predictive analysis of the upcoming debut of a seventeen year old prodigy is what made him say “We can’t look ’em in the eyes and encourage them to be better than they ever thought they were capable of being,” which is maybe the most emotional thing Roy has ever said until this episode. The fact that he actually admits how much Trent’s review hurt him hurt ME, so badly, because there was this question in it. This “How could you do this to people?” It’s one of my new top 5 Ted Lasso scenes ever, I think.
Megan: I agree. This and the conclusion of this thread at the end of the episode are both just really wonderful and painful.
Natalie: I never expected to get a big Trent and Roy plot, but they are SO good together. It makes sense, because they’ve basically navigated the same landscape for two decades. They were not partners or teammates while doing so, but they were both observers of the same history. They share an awareness of that history. Trent’s face when Roy starts to read, when he realises. He clearly feels awful.
Megan: And Roy forgives him so easily too. Trent apologises very well, and Roy just immediately shrugs it off. “It’s alright,” he says, and you know that’s the end of it. He’s very good at that actually. In season 1, when Keeley apologises at the gala, he accepts that immediately too. Roy might hold a grudge, but the second you apologise and own up to it, it’s done and dusted in his head.
Natalie: I think he reads the apology. He can tell how the person feels about what he’s accusing them of. He likely would have been happy to hold this grudge forever and just assume the worst of Trent. This was all about seeing how Trent responds to being called out on hurting people. If Trent had defended his right to do that, Roy would have acted very different. But instead he lets Roy know that he regrets it, and Roy believes him. This helps Roy to believe that Trent isn’t out to do this to his players. Because yeah, Trent crushed Roy’s heart when he was a teenager, and my god, I ache for him. But this isn’t just “Trent hurt Roy so Roy will spoil things for Trent,” like a one on one grudge. It’s what Trent said before — Roy being protective. He’s not just using the team as pawns in his own private agenda. He is trying to stop Trent from spearing them with his pen. This is part of Roy’s whole “I hate all pundits and journalists because they are just judging lads doing their best” thing. But that “thing” of Roy’s sprung from this personal wound.
Megan: Yeah, it all connects together. Yes, Roy is hanging on to this decades old hurt that fucked him up when he was just a kid. But it’s not just about him, it’s about wanting to shelter the rest of the team from being hurt in that way.
Natalie: Trent would have been like, he said, an edgy twenty-something, trying to stand out as this cutting edge writer. I do wonder how he got into it. He looks more like he should be a theatre critic. I wonder what his story as a football fan is.
Megan: Yeah that’s an interesting question. There’s a world in which his storyline this season might just be a kind of outside observer, but I would love to get to know a bit more about Trent, and how he came to be in this profession.
Natalie: But the fact that Roy has literally — literally — been carrying this pain around with him for more than twenty years… He is a very, very unhealthy man.
Megan: I really need this series to finally get him to be better at addressing his pain and his emotions. He’s made very slow, steady progress, but if this is the end, and there is no spin-off I need it to finish with him in a healthier place. Because this really hurt!
Natalie: I have more to say about this at the end, but it’s all about how he is not someone who can allow himself to be happy. Or accept love. He struggled to accept the crowd’s love, obviously he can’t accept Keeley’s… There’s a lot to say about his fucked up brain. He also struggles to accept criticism too, but that has fluctuated due to the insane ups and downs of his ego. He hates himself, but he also loves being Roy Kent. He is messy and hypocritical like that. Sometimes, he definitely is wrapped up in thinking that he’s the shit and that everyone else sucks.
Megan: If this first review of his performance was so scarring for him, it probably has left him feeling way more defensive of any and all criticism. So that makes sense in the fucked up brain of Roy Kent. I like that Roy does his own version of a Hallmark movie ice breaker to get rid of lingering tension — only his is a bit more offensive of course than Ted’s — pointing out they both thought the other sucked shit at their job. It’s a bit less eloquent, but it does the job.
Natalie: His slightly resigned, downbeat “Oi” when he tells the team he can talk around Trent now is also very amusing. The team are so relieved. They were trying so hard to be good for him.
Megan: They are! Poor Dani especially, so hard for him to be mean.
Natalie: And we finally get to hear Jamie’s assessment of the first half. Man, this proper football chat had me chinhandsing. What Sam and Jamie are pointing out is that the way Chelsea are playing means they are not man-marking players. They’re defending space, not people, so effectively, the Richmond players are just running into them, rather than actively being pursued by them. Knowing this allows them to go against that and actually get somewhere. To quote a great man, this conversation did something to me, emotionally. It just felt more naturalistic to me than any football chat we’ve had before. Did you get that sense? It’s not overly complex but it felt more organic and real than the way characters have talked about the shape of a match before.
Megan: Yes definitely! And I really love that it was led by the players, not the managers. It follows on from last season where Roy asks for their opinion and the managers take the players lead. Not every manager is going to be Pep, predicting every move of the game, and I loved how it showed that for all that the players are, let’s be honest, pretty daft at times, when it comes to football, their actual jobs, they know what they’re doing. I also really loved that it was Jamie, Sam and Isaac that led it, setting them up to be the three real leaders of the dressing room, even if they have very different styles.
Natalie: There’s a real chief/guide/centre vibe going on there — bit of a deep cut for all the Les Mis girlies out there. I’m obsessed. It’s worth saying that in real football, the players generally vote in their captaincy team. Like, it isn’t arbitrary, there is a captain, and then a 2nd, 3rd, 4th vice captain — a set group, for who wears it if someone is ill or hurt or not starting. We know from the trailer that Sam wears the armband later this season for whatever reason — newer teasers are giving me a better hunch as to why — but I wonder if Jamie is also on that captain sheet for Richmond.
Megan: Sam I could definitely see the rest of the team voting in as a secondary captain. I’m not so sure yet if Jamie’s at that stage, but I think he probably would be. He’s very good at rallying players on the pitch — we see that even in the season 1 finale! And he is very confident, haha. I think he’d make the cut.
Natalie: I think it’s in his future, for sure. Here or at another club.
Megan: He’s had a few moments now already this season, just two episodes in, where he’s leaning into that leader role. I’m excited that’s the direction he’s going this season, and really looking forward to seeing how it plays out in later episodes.
Natalie: I like that we are seeing the team speaking intelligently about football — I love the himbo silliness but I do very strongly believe that no matter how thick some players may seem, on screen and also in real life, they usually speak so smartly and technically about the game itself that it sets off a major competence kink for me. You can call Jack Grealish, I mean Jamie Tartt, thick all you want for getting a word wrong or not knowing some piece of trivia. The man would wipe the floor with any snobby football fan, when actually discussing both the technicality and the history of the game itself or analysing other players.
Megan: Agreed. Though I also think Jamie possesses more everyday knowledge than Jack too. Sorry Jack. But when it comes to football, they are all geniuses.
Natalie: Also, Jamie is also not only Richmond’s best player, he’s been trained by the best manager in the world, and this has been referenced in Ted Lasso before. The Guardiola influence is canonically important to Jamie’s skill. Which makes me very happy, but also makes Jamie very smart at football. Anyway, they don’t win, but they do manage a respectable draw.
Megan: This is one of those draws that will feel like a win to Richmond, all things considered. A recurring theme for this team.
Natalie: Yes — has Ted Lasso talked about that element? I mean yes, we have seen how important draws are for them, despite Ted’s hatred. I think it’s a theme. If they win the Prem I bet they do it with a draw. But have they talked about how in football, some draws feel like wins, and some feel like losses. just in terms of how well you did against your opposition and what was expected of you?
Megan: No, I don’t think it’s been commented on by the show yet. But yeah. For a team like Chelsea — at least in the 21/22 football season, when this is set, they’re doing a lot worse in the season we are currently in — a draw against a team like Richmond would feel like a loss. But for Richmond, who everyone expects to go back down, coming back from behind to pick up a point would feel huge.
Natalie: Yes, the commentators call it an “unlikely” point for Richmond, so it’s an achievement that they didn’t lose.
Megan: And Dani’s face scored the goal!
Natalie: My favourite bit of commentary in the episode is Chris Powell’s tone of voice when he answers Arlo about whether he’s ever scored with his face. The ball took a massive deflection off Dani’s face, yes. I would not say it was intentional, but it counts.
Megan: Maybe not the most impressive goal Dani’s ever scored, but they will take it.
Natalie: Dani is very excited and he just wants to know if Zava saw. Jamie is kind of hurt by that. We know Jamie isn’t vibing with the potential of Zava, but this part actually got to me a little.
Megan: He saw, isn’t that enough for Dani?!
Natalie: I don’t think it’s quite that, like “am I not good enough?” or “hey I’m a star like Zava.” It felt weirdly personal. Jamie is laughing and hugging him, but Dani’s focus is only on that Zava approval and not celebrating on with the team. There’s something cutting about that for Jamie, and I don’t think it is just “Am I not good enough?” Maybe more that Dani is just not thinking about what Jamie thinks should matter most — but it’s also a little harsh because I am sure Jamie has been excited to show off in front of a hero, too.
Megan: I wonder which hero that could have been. But yeah, look, Dani clearly loves Zava, scoring a goal in front of him must be a huge deal.
Natalie: Given Jamie’s taste, I am willing to bet he never had any heroes who acted like egomaniacs blessing the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, as I mentioned before, Roy absolutely loves being Roy Kent. But his ego isn’t this kind of ego. So Jamie scoring in front of someone he admired, like Roy, would be more like the satisfaction of getting their hard-won approval or a “well done.” But look, Dani is excited, Jamie is hurt, to be continued. Jamie is already getting stuck in his head about this though, because when they hear they’re getting Zava, he’s like, “The fans won’t be happy about this.” He really wants to not be the only one with a Zava problem. He is looking for some high ground with it, because if it’s just him, that makes him The Problem.
Megan: Unfortunately he really does seem to be, so far anyway, which has got to feel shit for him.
Natalie: Yeah, it seems like he is definitely the only person feeling edgy about this.
Megan: Everyone else is extremely excited — yet another shriek from Beard — and Jamie is wrong about the fans too. They are all thrilled.
Natalie: Of course, he is terrified of losing his position or his value as their main striker, but he seems more unhappy on a personal level than just that. I think his comment about the fans has to do with Zava’s ego, too, like “They won’t be happy because we have good, salt of the earth fans. They won’t stand for that kind of behaviour.” They will, babe.
Megan: They are Football Men. They want to win, they’ll take anyone to make that happen.
Natalie: But yeah, of everyone, Jamie is absolutely unstoked about the potential of this personality in the dressing room. I know it’s going to look like he is jealous to not be the star, but I do not think it is just that.
Megan: No, I think that while he’s obviously still got that healthy ego, and still loves to score goals and do well, he’s moved on a bit from needing everything to always be about him on the pitch.
Natalie: One tiny element I loved here was seeing Jamie take out his tiny, child-sized shin pads. They are really just going for it, aren’t they.
Megan: Yes! At some point, Jack might have to demand some form of copyright or royalty payment from Apple.
Natalie: He wore the low socks last season, but I was just tickled to actually see the size of the shinguards.
Megan: They look so stupid Nat. You might as well just not wear any.
Natalie: Jack being in the FIFA ad talking about Ted really fucked with the space time continuum for me, because I definitely do not see Jamie’s look as mimicking Jack within the boundaries of Ted Lasso. Character wise, Jamie is too much of his own person. He would not copy the style of another current player just a little older than him currently playing at his old club. The fact that Jamie looks like this and styles himself like this is a clear visual reference, but it also means that Jack Grealish cannot exist inside the Ted Lasso universe, to me — Jamie’s image is scrubbing him out and replacing him. In the same way John Terry and Frank Lampard can’t exist because of Roy filling those roles in Chelsea history, I think both Jack — looks only — and Phil Foden, career wise as the Academy boy, both can’t exist, in order to give us Jamie. Or maybe Foden can, actually which adds a whole messy level to Jamie’s loan — he was sent away, Foden never was. Ouch. But anyway, I digress. I think that Jack slash Jamie would rather not wear any pads, yeah. But they legally have to, so they just get the smallest ones possible.
Megan: Ridiculous humans. Tiny shin pads aside, the dressing room excitement still seems to be clinging to the rest of the team when we see them back in the Richmond car park. Whether that’s the excitement of the draw, the excitement of Zava, or a bit of both I’m not sure. Probably both.
Natalie: It’s a good start to the season for them — maybe they won’t come last!
Megan: Nat. That’s still a jinx. They might be a fictional team, but you can’t be too careful.
Natalie: I absolutely guarantee that they’re not getting relegated.
Megan: No, even I feel fairly confident saying that out loud. The players might be excited, but Roy Kent is here ready to make me miserable again. Ripping up the article is a nice sign of growth though, even if it is 20 years or so too late.
Natalie: This is a heavy moment — not a negative one, but a heavy one, and we get his theme piped over it, his leitmotif, in the score. I am usually terrible at recognizing score, but I think his and Jamie’s will both stick with me for a long time. The fact that he carried that thing in his wallet for over 20 years is extremely, extremely fucked up. He’s about to tell us all about it, so it’s stating the obvious, but Roy is so goddamn fucking damaged. I can see him using the clipping as a driving force, like “I’ll show him,” but he is completely incapable of accepting happiness or love.
Megan: In anyone else I could see it being a powerful motivator, but not from him. God he is so miserable and messed up.
Natalie: He’s always drawn to dwell in the worst of his experience, and to punish himself. He HATES himself. And it’s been said many, many times by Brett Goldstein that when we meet him in season 1, he is suicidal. Like, IF he ever thought about the future, which he avoided doing, it was very much “I’ll play football until I can’t and then I’ll kill myself.”
Megan: I think this is probably the closest we get to actually seeing that level of depression on screen so far. This is the moment that I cried the most during this episode. It just broke me, the way he talks about leaving Chelsea, his mindset. He looks like he is close to tears the whole way. Like a weird little pained smile, but close to tears.
Natalie: The entire scope of who Roy is as a person is on display here. He’s the kind of person who would carry that review in his wallet for 20 years. He’s the kind of person who would take himself away from something he truly loved because he didn’t want to fail there, or fall behind, or be a pity project, even when no one else was wanting him to go. He’s also the kind of man with such a strong ego that he can’t stand to not be the best. Do you remember in season 1, when he is getting benched, he says to Keeley, “Roy Kent has been the best player on every team he’s been on since he was a kid.” Now we know that he chose to leave Chelsea when he got the first hint of not keeping up.
Megan: He couldn’t stand the idea of not being the best anymore.
Natalie: And he got a place at a less big club — whether that was Richmond directly, or another one, then Richmond, where he could still be the biggest. But what he says about leaving Chelsea — I want to talk about this a bit and players like this. Because ultimately it is about not being able to accept love. Your partner has that quote from Perks of a Wallflower tattooed and it kept coming into my mind watching this — “we accept the love we think we deserve.”
Megan: Yeah, that fits so well here.
Natalie: I think it’s important that Roy chose to share here, to be vulnerable, especially in front of Trent, who he has just decided to be okay with. And I love how he kind of defers to Trent to tell the story. To corroborate, like, back me up on the details for this idiot.
Megan: Those moments were really great, they kind of lightened it a tiny bit, though not enough to stop the floods of tears.
Natalie: This show isn’t always “about football,” but it does really matter to me when we hone in on how much the sport means to the characters who have sacrificed their health and their youth to it. What Roy is talking about, when he discusses choosing to leave Chelsea, is the situation with those legacy players, people who have done SO much and achieved such huge things during a long period of time in one club, won a lot for them, and not moved around a lot of different teams. The opposite of Zava, actually. Those guys are often given a bit of a pass on their performance and fitness. The harsher critics will say they should be moved on, in order to make space for better players and retain the prime quality of the squad. There’s an idea that they get to keep their spot from loyalty or sentimentality, just because they’ve earned the right to be there until they retire, even if they’re old and not the best and fittest athlete on the team. Roy wasn’t even at that stage of consistently falling behind yet, but this was clearly all in his head. He was worrying to himself about it, and he clearly never wanted to hear the kind of criticism that players like that get sometimes. And he says that thought consumed him for the whole season — the fear of not still being good enough to keep his place on his current athletic merit only.
Megan: I repeat. So fucking miserable.
Natalie: There are, as we know, a lot of other reasons why keeping a storied captain around is a powerful benefit to the team, even if they don’t always play every match. It is the right choice in some circumstances, even leaving aside the emotional element. Roy did not feel this way, though.
Megan: No. He can’t bear the thought that it would be even the slightest bit out of pity.
Natalie: Yeah, he says he didn’t want to be “one of those broken down footballers taking up space until they’re dropped, years after they should have been.” He did not want to accept the idea that he could have just been there out of sentimentality, without thinking of any of the good sides of that. But today… Today he’s thinking about how much he loved it, and how he should have stayed there and just enjoyed being a part of it, and being loved by these people. Fuck me, this just ruined me. Because sorry, Greyhounds, it’s obvious that this club meant more to him than Richmond. Like, yes, he’s here now, and things tend to unfold as they should, as Ted says. But Roy walking away from Chelsea was him starving himself of love. The fans, yes, but all the relationships he would have had at the club, the bonds he made and things he’d shared. He says that now, he thinks maybe he should have stayed just because it would have made him happy to be there. And that is the core of Roy Kent’s damage. He cannot do that.
Megan: Look, this is the God knows what number rewatch now, and the way he says “But that is not who I am… I guess” still sets me off. I have to believe that Ted’s “Not yet!” is prophetic, and maybe he’ll be that way by the end of the season. But for now, he is not. And you know that has fed his breaking up with Keeley.
Natalie: I knew Ted was going to say those words. Like, I could feel the reply before he said it. But yes, this is Roy’s issue about everything. His head is a fucking prison. He cannot accept love. He cannot ever just choose the thing that makes him happy.
Megan: He can’t just let himself be happy with Keeley, no matter how much he loves her. Because he thinks he’s not good enough for her, he’s holding her back, that she’s outgrown him. And even if she didn’t give him a single hint that that is true, once it’s in his head he can’t get it out. And so he breaks up with her, because he can’t let himself enjoy it.
Natalie: And because he thinks she will eventually do it first. This whole conversation is wrapped in a metaphor for his breaking up with Keeley — the whole “people think it’s better to quit than be fired” thing is basically what happened there with her. But I also can’t and won’t write it all off as just being about Keeley. This relationship between Roy and football, Roy and Chelsea, isn’t simply a metaphor or a form of sublimation. It matters to him, a lot, as its own thing. It has weight and value on its own. It’s one of the biggest parts of his identity, his life. What he’s talking about — why he left Chelsea, whether it’s because he himself scorned other players who do give into that sentimentality, or he didn’t want to ever hear the outside criticism about him being past it… You know what fans say about clubs retaining players like that, or the managers who keep selecting them.
Megan: Fans online can be so fucking awful about players that they think need to retire. I hate it.
Natalie: The fact that Roy’s career went out the way it did, with a team he didn’t really care about and never made an effort to captain properly, getting a career-ending injury in a match that saw that team relegated? That wasn’t fair. He deserved better than that.
Megan: He really fucking did. Oh Roy, you’re breaking my heart.
Natalie: Roy was never going to retire on his own, just like, “Okay, now I will stop.”
Megan: No, he was always going to play until he physically was forced to stop. I just wish it didn’t have to end with relegation too.
Natalie: But he deserved better than what he got and he deserved to have been with the people he actually loved while doing it.
Natalie: And yeah, the relegation thing, just such a downer of a last match. He is committed to Richmond as a coach, so he has a fresh chance to achieve things again. I think it matters a lot that he chose to share this. Because he really fucking thinks about it. When he talks about this not being who I am — the fact that he even shares that about himself is a sign that he is yearning for the ability to change. I do wonder if he would have shared this with Trent and Ted if he hadn’t been single — if he would have just gotten a cuddle at home and not talked about the issue, or spoken to Keeley about it in his own way. But this is the most vulnerable he’s ever been with Ted and he makes the choice to do it even though it is phenomenally hard. Even though he is steeling himself, and clearing his throat, to get it out.
Megan: Yeah good question. I think maybe because he can’t have that, and because he’s clearly been pretty introspective and pretty fucking emotional all day, he just needs to get it out somehow, to say something about how he’s feeling. Ted’s stupid fucking chinhand eyelid fluttering, and Roy’s many different facial expressions as he reacts to it — including the knowing look at Trent was just very ridiculous. I was glad of it, I needed something to make me laugh at that moment.
Natalie: Yeah, the whole “What is he even like” nod to Trent, that really got me.
Megan: Roy is glad he met Ted, even if he won’t admit it. He’s shared enough for one evening.
Natalie: I can’t believe Roy has a new best friend. No normal friendships for Roy. He can only do enemies to lovers.
Megan: His only mode. Even with Keeley they wound each other up before they started dating.
Natalie: I think it is very, very interesting that he chooses to share at all, because when Ted asks how it felt, Roy kind of glares at him, like “Can you please read my mind?” All the sighing.
Megan: The grimacing.
Natalie: But he makes the conscious choice to do it, and honestly it is the best Roy Kent scene on the show. Some of those pauses — everything he does with his face and body after Ted asks why the moment at Chelsea was sad, and before he starts to reply, and particularly the spaces between the words after “there’s a part of me,” and also between “fucking” and “enjoyed myself.” It is unbelievable work from Brett. Just completely annihilating. His strongest moment for me, by a large margin. He’s had “bigger” moments, but this was the best.
Megan: Yeah. I repeat — this is going to be his Emmy submission for this season and honestly, as of right now? I think he deserves that hat trick. And if this isn’t the submission, because there’s an even bigger Roy episode, well, I don’t know how I’ll survive it
Natalie: I bet this scene will be the one to make real footballers who love Ted Lasso cry.
Megan:. Oh God, Harry Kane is going to be in bits.
Natalie: He’s had a tough week as it is. This may well kill him.
Megan: At least he’s back with his England friends. Maybe they can all watch it together at St George’s Park. Team bonding as they weep into each other’s shoulders. Jordan Henderson watching it and thinking, “Oh no, that’s me in 8 years time.”
Natalie: This is exactly the kind of issue Roy is talking about, opinions about how someone like Jordan Henderson has earned the right to retire out of Liverpool, versus the commentary on his current ability. I think if Roy heard some of the stuff that’s been said like that, he would absolutely have lost his mind. But to bring it back to John Terry, he stayed on at Chelsea until he was 37. That’s what Roy should have done. Terry then went to Villa for one season and then transitioned from player to assistant coach at Villa. Roy’s Richmond story.
Megan: I see a lot of parallels between Jordan and Roy. I hope, unlike Roy, Jordan stays at Liverpool and lets himself be happy. But I don’t think that’s who he is either..
Natalie: Jordan has had therapy, though.
Megan: That’s true, maybe he’ll be alright.
Natalie: I am going to guess that Roy left Chelsea in his early 30s. If you want to take the Twitter videos as canon, he was apparently at Richmond for the 2016-2017 season.
Megan: I take them with a pinch of salt, but I am okay with that timeline for him. I think that tracks.
Natalie: And if you want to take Arlo White’s matchday cheat sheet as canon, he retired from international duty in 2016, and his last England match was also shit. They’ve claimed he was on the team that lost to Iceland in the Euros, seen as a real low point for the England team. He would have been about 34 then, so if he left Chelsea at the end of 2015-2016 season, and left England in the summer of 2016, that seems about right.
Megan: I think so, yeah.
Natalie: This poor, poor guy.
Megan: He’s a nightmare.
Natalie: Why do you think he chose to share this with Ted at this point? And with Trent?
Megan: I think it had been a really, really difficult day for him. From going back to Chelsea, to addressing that miserable fucking review and I think maybe it is a bit what you said about, knowing he doesn’t have Keeley to go back to. I think maybe it was all too much for him and for once he let himself talk about it. You do see it a bit in season 2, him trying to be better on that side of things. He’s the one to go to Jamie in the Wembley dressing room, he expresses his feelings about the photoshoot to the Diamond Dogs, he even voices his concerns to Keeley about her not needing him anymore. So he can do it, when pushed. I think this is another moment of him feeling pushed to do it. As for Trent… Maybe as a sign to further cement his forgiveness? The fact that he’s okay with Trent being around now. The fact that he trusts Trent with something like this, despite knowing Trent is writing a book and could choose to include it.
Natalie: He’s learning that it does slightly make him feel better.
Natalie: I just love the visible struggle he has in sharing, the tone of voice and the way he keeps adjusting his face. I know Roy loves Ted, but this is the first moment I’ve really felt it in my heart.
Megan: It is phenomenal acting from Brett. Phenomenal.
Natalie: Which is maybe unfair, because I think we do get a lot of nice Roy and Ted stuff, but this was raw.
Megan: It is the most open and vulnerable Roy has let himself be around Ted.
Natalie: And not cheesy, like “You had me at coach.” Which was one of those “big” moments. This was realer. I loved Ted so much in this moment, just for how he handled Roy.
Natalie: I think Trent being there also gave Roy some backup, like he maybe needed to say this in front of someone who actually understood the scope of it?
Megan: Yeah, there are some elements of it that Ted wouldn’t get.
Natalie: Ted gets the emotional thread, but Roy needs someone to know who like, knows. And the fact it could be in the book is huge. The way Roy considers Ted when Ted says “Not yet” is very much something that makes me feel like he wants… something here. Guidance? Hope? As if he’s been trapped in this brain of his, but he really wants not to be, can someone please tell him how to not be stuck like this.
Megan: He looks like he can almost believe it, but doesn’t dare fully hope.
Natalie: Beyond Keeley, I do wonder what Roy letting himself just be happy looks like though. Career wise. Like Trent said, sport, such a metaphor. But if applying it to the situation at hand… I want him to be the manager of Richmond but does that fit this brief?
Megan: I think it would yeah, but I wonder if managing the development team instead, where he can help those younger players like he was… In the long run, even though that may be seen as a demotion, that might be something that would make him happier.
Natalie: The Chelsea thing is like, “maybe I should have stayed and just enjoyed doing my best and being admired and all that. Even if I wasn’t the best player anymore, even if we didn’t always win.” So it’s like “I should have been able to enjoy myself and not cared so much about the stakes.” Or maybe the self pressure? I want him to manage Richmond but there is stakes and self pressure there. And there are other jobs where he would be more carefree, like coaching kids again, but Roy does need to feel level of respect and achievement to be happy too, I think. Ultimately I want him to manage Richmond so much, but I am not sure if it conflicts with this metaphor. Maybe it’s like, Roy doesn’t think he is allowed, or good enough to coach Richmond, even imperfectly?
Megan: I think he could be happy at Richmond. I think right now he’s nervous about his strategy, his tactics. But respect and success is important to him too. So I think ultimately, if we get our way and he ends up managing Richmond… I think he’ll be okay. I hope so. I need him to be okay.
Natalie: I just wish so hard he could have had a better last match. Something that was worthy of his big career and incredible self.
Megan: Don’t set me off again. But yes.
Natalie: I do wonder if he and Jamie would ever talk about that.
Megan: Roy wouldn’t blame Jamie, even if he does wish he’d gone out better. But Jamie might feel bad anyway.
Natalie: If the Roy Kent legacy and what he is going to do with it is a theme this season, I feel like we have to see a conversation with Jamie about Roy’s career, yeah. About that match or just in general.
Megan: I’m going to need us to get that, yeah.
Natalie: More chats with Trent too, please.
Megan: Also that.
Natalie: Something changed in that shower conversation, not just “I forgive you,” but “You are good, you are one of My People now.”
Megan: The team up we didn’t know we needed, but now can’t get enough of.
Natalie: I really think that Roy Kent is one of the most extraordinary TV characters I’ve seen in decades. He will endure in the zeitgeist for a very long time, and I am sure his endgame will be truly and utterly overwhelming in a way that feels fucking brutal, even if it’s good.
Megan: Oh yeah, I am fully expecting more buckets of tears down the line from him.
Natalie: But honestly, the career and self stuff is feeling more important and more powerful to me than the Keeley stuff. Because I can always imagine that he and Keeley get back together once Roy is in a better place, even if they don’t get there on screen — though I am sure they will. But on screen, I need to see him break through in terms of allowing himself things. The ripping up of the review was just a start.
Megan: Yeah, I get that. For me, feeling so sure that his break up with Keeley came from the same place of not letting himself be happy, I think their reconciliation will play a part in that breakthrough. But I agree, I can imagine it without seeing it on the screen. It was a nice symbolic start, followed by him letting himself say his feelings out loud. More of that please, Roy.
Natalie: I loved the way this played out with the Andrew Bird song, too, a very gentle and reflective ending and the mood of it was perfect, Ted thinking about what he’s just processed about Roy.
Megan: Agreed, a twist like last week would have felt jarring.
Natalie: Lyrically, it made me feel things about what was going on, and the support Roy was finding. I’m not sure what Ted’s final thoughts were, he is kind of hard to predict sometimes, but I do have a hunch that he has plans for Roy, and that this moment has him maybe incorporating that emotional state of Roy’s into those plans. Also, if there’s a lesson for him in there as well, perhaps, about his own choices and being happy. Now, next week’s episode is called “4-5-1.” Three guesses what that’s about.
Megan: I only need one guess, it’s going to be about formations. Specifically, Zava coming in and fucking up Roy’s careful 4-4-2 plans.
Natalie: Yeah, it’s a direct tell, isn’t it? Funny to think there are people out there who would see that title and not know exactly what it meant. No offence, those people.
Megan: No, it’s understandable if you’re not into football beyond Ted Lasso! But it’s very obvious, to those who are, the kind of plot we’ll be getting next week.
Natalie: We’ve got to imagine that’s Zava up front, and Jamie and Dani pushed back into midfield — or possibly one of them benched, rather than keeping them both and benching another less impactful midfielder.
Megan: Ooof. Both options there are painful. Jamie would break if he got benched. And Dani, well he’d probably be only too happy to accommodate Zava, but I would not enjoy watching that.
Natalie: And the 4-5-1 will go against not only Roy’s plans, but also kind of against everything Ted has worked on. The title is absolutely screaming about the fact the dressing room is going to be disrupted. I said in my trailer breakdown that from the hints of Zava in the dressing room, it looks like he will just be handed everything he wants on a silver platter. I can’t believe Ted wouldn’t push back about this after all we have seen, but it does seem like that’s the way it is going. Yikes. I am SURE we will have more reason to discuss this next time — there’s nothing wrong with a one up front formation if it’s the best shape for the team, but it sounds like a regression to the tactics Ted hated when he arrived, the “get the ball to Jamie” tactics. Everyone else being quite defensive, and just the lone striker being expected to score. I see no way in which this could fail.
Megan: Yeah it’s a huge change, a huge regression. I’m sure it’ll go swimmingly. No concerns here!