Ted Lasso 3.04 nate and ted

‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 4 in conversation: Pain is like carbon monoxide

Ted Lasso season 3, episode 4 sees Richmond finally face off against West Ham, meaning that Ted finally faces off against Nate and Rebecca finally faces off against Rupert. Rebecca’s pressure on Ted is at an all time, rather maniacal high, and Nate’s regrets about the way he left Richmond factor into his nerves in advance of the clash. Read on for our review of Ted Lasso season 3, episode 4, ‘Big Week.’<!–more–>

“Big Week” was dedicated to American sports journalist Grant Wahl, who died in Qatar while covering the 2022 World Cup. Wahl, a fan of Ted Lasso, wrote about joining Beard actor Brendan Hunt on a walking tour of Richmond not long before died, and his book, The Beckham Experiment, is seen being held by Coach Beard during the episode, presumably, in-universe, being read as a resource for the Richmond coaches when it comes to managing a major superstar. Filmed well before he passed away, the book was a planned nod to Wahl as the journalist was integral to the Ted Lasso writers when they were constructing the story of Trent Crimm and his experience following a team for a season. In this episode, Trent embeds himself even further into the fabric of Richmond by being the person who brings the security footage of Nate ripping the Believe sign into play when the coaches are at a loss for ideas regarding gaining the upper hand against West Ham.

Nate is as concerned about the match from his perspective, as we get our first real shades of remorse from him regarding his departure from Richmond. His softer side is showing, but his complicated feelings are dismissed by Rupert, and when Nate tries to make peace with Ted before the match, his apology is interrupted by his new boss. There’s no doubt Nate is coaching some excellent football — the game is evenly matched, but it’s Nate’s superior tactics that allow West Ham to quickly gain a 2 goal advantage.

Related: What ‘Ted Lasso’ gets right about football, what it gets wrong, and what it should include in season 3

With Ted distracted by his own mess and Richmond rattled by the quick changes from West Ham, Beard and Roy use the tape to motivate the players at half time, a move which backfires on them when the Greyhounds, with little time to process what they’ve seen and what it means about their former coach, entirely lose their heads, and the match along with it. Three red cards and a final score of 4-1 leaves Richmond feeling decidedly worse for wear, and while Rebecca tries to take it on the chin, seeing Rupert up to his old tricks again adds a new layer to her misery.

Still, not all is lost. Despite Shandy doing her utmost to undermine all that Keeley’s achieved, Keeley seems to make a good impression on her big boss Jack Danvers (guest star Jodi Balfour) and Jamie’s extra training with Roy is off to a good start as, after a sleepy start, the young striker shows a dedication that impresses his former captain. Most importantly, Ted is able to take some of Beard’s advice about pain and express it in a way that serves him — though not towards Nate. It’s Michelle on the other end of Ted’s stilted but heartfelt description of his anger regarding Dr Jake, a conversation that goes better than he expects it to. Hopefully, freeing himself up in this way will allow him to actually shift his focus back to coaching the team. Just in time, because after this episode, we suspect Zava’s not long for Richmond. Catch up with our Ted Lasso conversations so far and read on for our in-depth discussion of ‘4-5-1.’

‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 4 review in conversation

Natalie: So Ted Lasso season 3, episode 4, written by Brett Goldstein, was indeed a Big Week. And while returning to Nate’s point of view with a much more sympathetic lens doesn’t surprise me, I think before getting into any of that we’d better get the major distraction out of the way. At the season 3 premiere, Brett Goldstein teased that we’re getting “a little bit of naked” from Phil Dunster this season. I think people thought it was a joke. Or a shirtless scene? Nah. That man, as a writer, chose to shine a spotlight, literally and metaphorically, on Jamie’s bum.

Megan: That’s two episodes in a row now where we’ve seen someone’s bum in the opening scene. Is this going to be a trend? Who do we hope we’ll get next week?

Natalie: I did think about that, yeah. Colin’s is more incidental. Jamie’s was like, the point, the joke of the scene.

Megan: You could say that in this scene it was…the butt of the joke? I’m sorry.

Natalie: So incidentally… I want to say Rebecca but for some reason I don’t think they’d do it to a woman. I don’t know. Maybe Beard? And then as a joke moment, Zava peeing again with his jeans shoved around his knees. For aesthetics? Dani.

Megan: I agree, there’s really not been very much female nudity in Ted Lasso. The closest we’ve really gotten is Keeley’s photos in the pilot, and Ted makes a point of covering those up!

Natalie: Female orgasms and no female nudity does seem like a mission statement.

Megan: They should put that on the promo posters.

Natalie: Anyway, we are getting off topic. Already Only one bum to focus on right now, and yes it very much is the butt of the joke. Before we get to that, how excited were you to get an opening that focused on Jamie, in his house? I didn’t think to expect it, even though we knew for a fact that his plotline was set to start maybe the earliest, timeline wise, in the future. 4am, the day after the dinner. We were told. Jamie didn’t think to expect it either, to be fair.

Megan: I was more excited than Jamie was about him being woken up at 4am. I think I assumed we’d see them partway through their training — I hadn’t imagined it would start like this. But I very much enjoyed it. I would have liked to have seen more of Jamie’s bedroom, design wise, but the fact that he has what looks to be a leopard print headboard felt right to me. And I found it interesting that he’s still in the same house that we see him in season 1, that he kept it even after being sent back to Man City.

Natalie: Yeah, there’s actually a lot of things to talk about in implication in this like, minute of footage. The house is very clearly the same house we visit back in season 1 — same hallway that Keeley lets herself into and walks down during 1.05, and at the end of the corridor, the glow of the same hanging light fixture over the dining table. You see it in 1.04, that arrangement of like 10 or 12 lanterns globes. This would imply that he either owns the house or didn’t bother to break the lease when he left Richmond. It isn’t uncommon for footballers to rent a luxury place rather than own it, depending on where they are and for how long. Most will still own some mansion in the suburbs or countryside of their hometown, be that England or another country. I am sure Jamie owns something in Manchester, and he should have bought his mum a place too — more on that later in the season. If he was at Richmond on loan, he could have rented a luxury house if he thought he was only there a year. That’s not unusual. And places like that are heavily and stylishly furnished, not just the “corporate housing” blankness we see mentioned in regards to Sharon’s flat. So, Jamie leaves London in a hurry, like, overnight. Didn’t bother to break the lease. Planned to sort it out in the summer, went on the TV show, never got done. He could afford to leave it sitting there empty. Or, similar deal if he had bought it on a whim. Planned to put it on the market, didn’t get around to it, came back to it later. He left Richmond in March-ish 2020 and returned in Octoberish of the same year, so not that long a turnaround, with a lot of chaos in between.

Related: Phil Dunster of ‘Ted Lasso’ delivered one of 2021’s greatest TV performances, and Emmy voters need to remember that

Megan: All those scenarios work, and with everything happening it probably wasn’t the top of his list to deal with, given how rich he is! Regardless of whether he rented or owns it, I do love seeing some of the small – if occasionally bonkers – decorations and things when we see his house in season 1.

Natalie: I’m very fond of his house. It’s modern but full of life. I love all the plants he keeps in his kitchen and those dangly light globes. I spy some changes in decor, so hopefully he has gotten rid of the gun lamps, but I love his Jeff Koons dog by the door, and I hope he still has that.

Megan: The dog is incredible, and I love the transformers too, but I would have liked to have seen more of his bedroom. Maybe we’ll revisit it later this season!

Natalie: When we get Roy’s angle, I did see a potential new car there? A yellow sports car next to Roy’s G-Wagon (as well as another car under a car port.) Maybe Jamie’s starting a collection but I really hope he still has the maroon Aston Martin, it’s much classier than whatever that yellow thing is. But as a Transformers fan, maybe he wanted a Bumblebee.

Megan: The bright yellow is a bit much for me, but unfortunately it feels very on brand for a footballer.

Natalie: I actually have to admit, when the episode opened — before we got the scene of Jamie sleeping, and we just heard someone leaning on the doorbell over a black screen, I thought this was basically, well, this, but reversed.

Megan: Roy being woken up by Jamie?

Natalie: Yeah. Like Jamie being a keen bean. Jamie was at Roy’s at 4am, and Roy was like “fuck.”

Megan: That would have been fun, not least because I really would love to see Roy’s house.

Natalie: The insistent doorbelling made me think of it. But I like this better, because it shows how keen ROY is. He REALLY doesn’t have to be doing this at 4am, getting up at probably 3.30am or earlier for him to drive over there.

Megan: Agreed, he’s very committed. Once Roy decides to do something, he’s very all or nothing, and apparently that extends to coaching Jamie. On a rewatch, knowing that Jamie is standing there in just a t-shirt, it does make me laugh that Roy immediately says “Right, let’s go”. Let the man put some sweatpants or something on first, Roy.

Natalie: Yeah, the power of the humour in this scene really hinges on the fact that Roy knows Jamie is naked from the waist down the whole time even when we don’t. Why would Jamie answer the door like that? He’s pretty shameless, I guess. And I think he probably knew it was Roy by the time he got to the door. He’d have a security camera linked to his phone, like Nest or Ring or something. Footballers get robbed all the time because everyone knows when they travel, so cameras are a must. And he probably remembered the “joke” about 4am from last night. Roy would have seen him naked hundreds of times, so no real worry there for either of them. But fuck it’s funny. Brett Goldstein, what did you do this to your nice friend for?

Megan: Look, I was already delighted by this scene — the many different ways Jamie says “it’s 4am” made me laugh more each time, and then he turns around and it pans out and we see that he’s half-naked and I just died. Brett Goldstein has odd priorities, but I won’t complain about them.

Natalie: This is how men show love, question mark?

Megan: I guess??? Anyway, the first time I watched it, when Roy threatens to flick Jamie’s balls I had no idea he was actually looking at them while saying it, so that was a fun reveal too.

Natalie: Jamie has already been almost naked on the show before, in 1.05, when he had a one night stand with that nice girl, after Keeley. Bare aside from a very small pair of pants that, I’m sorry, his arse is falling out of. I won’t be too lewd but I know Phil has talked about his own big butt plenty of times, but they really gave him very small undies. Brett Goldstein wrote that episode too. Anyway, Phil’s lower half being so developed from rugby, the butt and thighs, is really good football authenticity for Jamie. Big bums are an asset in the game.

Megan: Butts are very important for footballers — they need to know how to use them to their advantage. Phil was very good casting in that respect.

Natalie: That scene in 1.05 was, you know, hot. This one is just adorable. “This is perverse.” But yeah, Roy would have easy access to make good on that threat. I really, really enjoyed Roy being like “How is that a joke?” Because… fair. Did his face look like it was in the mood for time based jokes last night, Jamie?

Megan: Hah! Phil’s delivery on both “fucking hell” and “this is perverse” was great, and then of course the crowning moment was Roy literally shining a spotlight on Jamie’s bum as he walked away. Just in case we’d failed to notice it.

Natalie: Roy’s so practical. He’s thought of everything. That, plus the deep literalism… That man is a double Earth sign at least. Star signs aside, what do you think it says about Roy that he is this committed?

Megan: I like that it shows he thinks Jamie’s worth the effort and the commitment to get him to be the player Roy thinks he could be. Obviously in season 2 Roy talks about how Ted fucked Jamie up as a player, and he knew back then what Jamie needed to change to get that back. But by this point in the season it’s clear that the way Jamie has acted in response to the Zava situation — which I think Roy is starting to become a bit uneasy about — has impressed Roy. And so now he’s all in on trying to get Jamie to the level he needs to be to make Zava irrelevant. Even if that means waking up at 3:30am to go to his house.

Natalie: There was an interview that came out last week where Brett does talk a bit about what Roy is getting out of it — actually he and Phil both claim their characters are getting the most out of it — and it did make me have a feeling. Saying they actually like each other is going to be like the last step in this relationship, isn’t it? But they care so much. Brett talked about a lot of what we said last week, actually, the impact of Roy feeling responsible for Jamie’s success. It’s unfortunately not a big plot point in this episode, just a funny flash of their journey beginning. It sounds like it will go on much further into the season. I know that Brett a) doesn’t like to pitch a lot of Roy stories, and b) struggles to work with Phil Dunster because he can’t keep it together due to how funny he finds him, but I would have loved to see him write a bit more of the Roy/Jamie story in the long run. I know they probably break all the ideas as a room, so the stories aren’t the independent work of any one writer. But I would have loved to see what a serious conversation between them, a meaningful one, looked like in Brett’s final script.

Megan: The fact that three of theTed Lasso writers also play lead roles must make for an interesting dynamic in the room. Because you will instinctively know in your head what feels right for your character, but also probably have to be careful about not claiming too much ownership over them in what’s supposed to be a collaborative space. But I agree, I really would have loved for Brett’s episode to have included one of the more serious moments that I am sure will be coming for them, getting his words with his perspective of Roy and how he interacts with Jamie.

Natalie: Well, what we did get in this episode was Roy’s first ever pleasant conversation with Jamie. Like, ever. They’ve had several non-angry conversations that showed they cared about each other, but never an idle, casual, chatty conversation. In this case, it consisted of Roy, several hours after picking Jamie up for extra training, based on the sunshine levels, asking about why he sleeps like Pooh Bear. Sadly he doesn’t use that wording.

Megan: Honestly, they really missed a trick there.

Natalie: This is apparently what he’s been dwelling on for the past two to three hours while working Jamie to the bone while he’s hungover. Just eating his toastie and drinking his coffee and musing over why Jamie sleeps naked from the waist down. He’s pretty normal, Roy Kent.

Megan: The idea of Roy spending three hours forcing Jamie to run and drill and do so many burpees he ends up vomiting, all the while considering Jamie’s clothing arrangements while sleeping is both utterly ridiculous and yet also very on brand for pretty normal Roy Kent.

Natalie: I do want to say that I feel like the vomiting is a product of the open bar Jamie was so excited about. I feel like he should be able to do 200 burpees without puking when fit!

Megan: Yes definitely! Of course we don’t know what Roy made him do before the 200 burpees, but Jamie is pretty fit, so the alcohol was probably a key factor in the vomit. It can happen though. Last summer, Spurs were doing pre-season in South Korea, and I don’t know if it was the weather or what, but Harry Kane definitely threw up from it, and multiple other players including Sonny just collapsed on the ground. All in front of thousands of Korean fans who got to watch the training. What a treat for them.

Natalie: Yeah, they’ve been at it for a few hours now, based on the fact that this is a bustling morning in Richmond, with people around. 7am or something? Roy is not barking orders at Jamie, just counting him off quietly. Jamie is being very obedient and not complaining. I think it’s hysterical that they’re doing this in public. Like, forget about people at the club finding out. Everyone knows who you are, Roy! This scene was papped filming in real life, and Roy Kent is WAY more famous than Brett Goldstein.

Megan: Photos of this would have 100% made it onto Football Twitter, and I would love to know how fans reacted. Those poor people of Richmond though. There they are trying to have a peaceful morning on the Green, and instead they get Roy Kent bossing around a hungover Jamie Tartt, who is puking his guts out.

Natalie: Sometimes I sit and think about how their friends to lovers relationship looks in-universe to football fans. We love so many real life football friendships — there are people in the AFC Richmond universe who are absolutely obsessed with the Roy and Jamie story. There would be enough stuff from TV broadcasts to go off. Like, that promotion celebration would have been caught on camera.

Megan: I was going to say! There must have been some interesting reactions to the headbutt and hug.

Natalie: Phil Dunster mentioned how good this storyline is for Roy/Jamie shippers. Well, the same goes for inside the universe of Ted Lasso. From if a young Jamie Tartt ever mentioned admiring Roy in an interview, to their bad season together at Richmond, to the Spurs match… Fodder. Anyway, their first ever back-and-forth as friends consists of Roy casually asking why Jamie sleeps with his tits covered and his dick out, Jamie answering earnestly, and Roy being like “Yeah, makes sense.” The start of a beautiful friendship, that they both may soon admit has existed for quite some time. I cannot BELIEVE this is the first nice conversation they have ever had. Like, the chat in 3.03 was deeply kind, but not nice. I mean nice as in like light, casual, friendly. They’re so stupid.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 3 in conversation: I weren’t being ironic, I was being hypocritical

Megan: Yeah, the scene at the restaurant had kind and meaningful intentions on Roy’s part, but they’re idiots, so it was still mixed with insults. This was just them having a nice chat about a ridiculous topic in a ludicrous setting. We’ve gotten this much of their relationship six minutes into the fourth episode. I cannot wait to see where they take it next.

Natalie: It’s all tied up at the end with a mirroring scene of Jamie being enthusiastically ready to go, his own headlamp in place, some evening later that week when Roy shows up at his place before dinner. Roy’s very encouraging in his tone, and he gives a look of approval of Jamie’s commitment, and the implication of just how much time they are spending together is… mad. I know Roy doesn’t have a lot else going on in his personal life and I wonder if part of Jamie eventually asking “Why are you doing this for me?” is him saying, like, “You have too much free time because of Keeley.” I do think Jamie will be involved in the Keeley-Roy reunion, but I would like to think Roy would do this for Jamie even if they were still together. She’d probably appreciate the free time, and the friendship between them.

Megan: Part of it honestly could be that it gives Roy a distraction and something to focus on outside of wallowing over Keeley. Given Roy makes a point of saying “one more time before dinner,” I like to imagine that they maybe start getting food together afterwards, a chance for Jamie to ask him why he’s doing it. I would really love for that conversation to be shown at some point. But even aside from Keeley, Roy has been focusing on Jamie so much this season, and the interview you mentioned earlier backs up the fact that it is important to Roy independently from any Keeley-related free time. Keeley definitely monitors Twitter for mentions of the various players in order to head off any potential PR disasters. If she’s seen photos of their early morning training sessions, she’s going to be SO confused.

Natalie: I’m genuinely wondering what Roy and Jamie liking each other is going to look like on screen, because Brett and Phil like each other the MOST. They like each other so much and the world knows it. Playing up the animosity while trying not to laugh is one thing, but what about fondness bleed through? That one trailer with a future scene of them together is CRAZY fond.

Megan: God yeah. It’s going to be such a different vibe to their scenes so far. I don’t think their relationship will ever lose the digs and the barbs. It’s honestly just the way both of them communicate. Jamie likes to mock, though these days compared to season 1 there’s no actual malice in it, and Roy likes to be gruff and angry at all times, and I don’t think that will change. But with the direction it’s going, when their interactions start to be underscored with actual friendship and affection, it’s going to be so interesting to see what that looks like.

Natalie: Somehow I don’t think Roy will make fun of Jamie by breathlessly insisting how fit and funny and pretty he is. But I would like to see it.

Megan: At this rate, I can’t fully rule that out as a possibility, but you are probably right. Unfortunately.

Natalie: Jamie possibly secretly does think Roy is hunky and smells good, but he would keep that to himself. I do try to be sensible about this, but they make it difficult. I will say, in earnest, that I think the story of how they met is truly magical and I get why Brett said it was “destined through the ages.” To write such a small, tiny play that only a few people saw, there has to be several hundred thousand if not millions of tiny plays no one sees written by up and coming artists. To have it capture someone enough to want to re-stage it a few years later is rare. Then for that person to have cast Phil in the role that Brett wrote for himself, and them meet when Phil was like… 19, maybe? Because Brett, the writer, came to the performance. And to reconnect 10 years later on Ted Lasso, being like “Nice to meet you… actually we’ve already met“??? I mean, that is such a story, and so deeply personal. My opinion is that Brett should stage that play again, re-work the female lead as another guy, and they should star in it together in London.

Megan: Yeah I mean the way the two of them first met could be the plot of a film, it is pretty ridiculous. Richard Curtis would be all over that. I would definitely go and see that play with the two of them in it. How do we make that happen?

Natalie: Subscribe to Brett’s patreon? I don’t know. But I do hope they keep working together forever.

Megan: The wider plot of the whole episode is the Richmond v West Ham match, but before we discuss that from Nate and Ted’s perspective, let’s look at the third side of the OT3 triangle, because Keeley’s story isn’t related to the football stuff at all, but it does veer back towards the boys.

Natalie: Yes, in a slightly surprising manner. Or maybe not surprising? Anyway, my fears from last week are both peaking and dissipating. But Keeley has a bunch of other problems too. All happening in the background of the West Ham match, but not massively impacted by it.

Megan: At KJPR, Rebecca is halfway through angrily reading a new quote from Rupert out loud while Keeley types away at her computer and I get the impression this has been going on for a fair while at this stage. Keeley is doing a great job at humouring her, but she seems to be just as busy as she was in the first episode and Rebecca probably isn’t helping. In the beginning of the scene it does seem like Keeley has found her feet a little bit more, and for a while it looks like Shandy is settling in better too. She’s come up with a good idea for Bantr and has been given the responsibility of directing a promo video for it. I know last episode you had some concerns about Shandy. Did this intro make you feel a bit better about her?

Natalie: Well, the introduction made me SO excited about the prospect of social media promo videos. Just like your article mentioned!

Megan: Yes! I would love it if after the episode airs they release the actual promos on the AFC Richmond Twitter!

Natalie: Footballers doing sponcon is truly, truly a great joy in my life.

Megan: Some of them are so good at it, some of them so bad, all of them are entertaining and awful.

Natalie: On a scale of Trent and Robbo’s KFC Wingmen to KDB’s McDonald’s run, how good would a Richmond Cheeky Nandos series be?

Megan: I mean Kevin’s McDonald’s run was so awkward, which obviously means I loved it. I reckon Richmond’s Cheeky Nandos would probably rival Wingmen for ridiculousness, so I’m going to back the Greyhounds for this one and put them on top.

Natalie: Colin and Isaac could pull it off. Jamie, to be fair, would also love it.

Megan: Richard is very French. He might find Nandos to be an abomination against cuisine. But at the same time he’s not a snob about wine, so maybe he can embrace peri-peri chicken too.

Natalie: His reviews would delight me. Maybe he could do wine pairings for each menu item.

Megan: Oh my God. Perfect. It would be the fanciest Nandos ever.

Natalie: Anyway, I did think Keeley’s enthusiasm for Shandy here felt more real than earlier. Genuine encouragement. I truly don’t know what to make of what Keeley makes of her.

Megan: I think Keeley does generally see the good in people. She felt backed and supported by Shandy when she needed it in the Coffka shoot, and she probably felt very protective of her after Barbara’s comments. At the same time, I think she can see that Shandy is a bit of a loose cannon, and does have some concerns and regrets. They clearly hadn’t seen each other for a while when they first reconnected, and I feel like Keeley has probably started remembering exactly why she didn’t hang around with Shandy much. But she knows she’s made the choice to hire Shandy and wants to make sure she has the support and encouragement to do well and see it through, anything else would be unfair on Shandy. I really feel for her about the whole situation because now that she’s hired Shandy, she kind of has to see it through.

Natalie: Using the players to do Bantr promos was really only a matter of time — football has so many social media videos of players asking each other questions, “who knows who best,” “who am I describing” and so on. Bantr could provide some classics of the genre there, like the guys sharing what questions they’d ask to get to know a person without revealing personal details. Keeley could and possibly should have come up with this last year? Maybe she’s so swamped that she’s like “Oh, yeah, been meaning to get to something like that, sure, that’ll do well Shandy.” I don’t know.

Megan: Keeley came close to the idea when asking the players to all sign up in season 2, pointing out that it would really help the site gain traction if there were some young hot footballers on there. So I do feel like Shandy could have pitched it and it reminded her that she had done something similar, and using it as an actual promo would work.

Natalie: As all this unfolds it’s clear that Keeley isn’t quite as trusting and enthusiastic as she makes out, coming to the club to effectively check up on her, but before that, the Bantr promo is mainly used as a device to let us know that Rebecca is still deeply Samstruck.

Megan: I don’t know what you mean, Rebecca is really casual when she asks if Sam is one of the single players who signed up to do it. She thinks it’s “so fun” when she hears he’s dropped out for reasons unknown. But in all seriousness yeah, Rebecca’s feelings from Sam’s restaurant party are obviously still there. I still don’t think I’m going to get my Sam and Rebecca endgame, but I do like that they aren’t just pretending it didn’t happen or that it wasn’t deeply important to Rebecca.

Natalie: Why do you think he dropped out? Do you think he is actually not single, as in, seeing his chef? Or did he just, maybe, when he thought about it, not feel so great about playing up the whole Bantr experience after his own?

Megan: I DO think Sam might be uncomfortable doing the Bantr promo, given that’s how he met Rebecca. But it is also really feasible that he’s in a relationship with Simi the chef. Ted Lasso is very good at both telegraphing really clear signs of relationships in some places and also throwing in red herrings to misdirect — like the cut between Rebecca and Ted texting in season 2 that made people think Ted was Rebecca’s Bantr chat. Honestly, the Sam and Rebecca stuff so far seems to be doing both. On the Sam side, they do seem to be implying some sort of attraction or relationship with Simi, which could either be an intentional sign or could be a red herring to throw us off course from my beloved Sambecca endgame. On the Rebecca side, they’re clearly showing that she’s still hung up on Sam, which could mean they’ll get back together in the end, or could be a misdirect so that when she realises that she’s in love with someone else, people are surprised.

Natalie: Rebecca does really seem to want romantic love, so I do wonder about what that will look like. I don’t really feel any way about it being Ted or not, aside from the fact that I don’t think he should stay in London and I do think that she should. I’d prefer it was someone else, but I do think she really wants that love story.

Megan: Yeah, I think the show has to end up with Ted going back to Kansas, and I strongly feel that Rebecca is the kind of person who would not thrive in America. She likes Ted, she is reluctantly charmed by him, but being surrounded by that much Midwestern Charm 24/7 is not a life I picture for her. I also think that right now she is still so impacted by Rupert and everything he did and continues to do to her, that she probably isn’t in the right place for a proper relationship. That’s part of the reason she ended it with Sam, and I don’t think that’s changed yet.

Natalie: I will say, that if Ted Lasso does end up going full Tedbecca, and Jason and co were like “of course it was there all the time, duh” — I, as a fan, would be SO pissed off about the way it’s been spoken about so far as a misdirect. Especially Hannah Waddingham, who I love, and who Tedbecca fans love, consistently being like “Why on earth would you assume that? How pedestrian, how gauche.”

Megan: Yeah, it’s one thing to have the show itself put in misdirects and red herrings. It’s another for the cast and writers to point blankly deny it and criticise the concept.

Natalie: If their way of covering up their plan is to talk like they’re violently against it, it won’t look nice at the end. That’s another reason why I’d prefer it wasn’t Ted, that blowback. Well, we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.

Megan: Yeah we’ll put a pin in that for another eight weeks.

Natalie: Right now she’s definitely just quite hung up on Sam, and I mean, Sam is great, so why wouldn’t you be?

Megan: He is only getting more wonderful.

Natalie: But the other aspect of Rebecca hanging out in Keeley’s office — such a cute role reversal —-is that Babs now fucking loves her. To the point of shaming Keeley in comparison. Come on, Barbara.

Megan: Keeley probably should know the name of her boss, in Barbara’s defence, but come on Babs! Remember two episodes ago when Keeley told you off for putting people down? Do better!

Natalie: Barbara is clearly anxious about making sure their little company is seen as doing well in the eyes of the big boss. I don’t know who Keeley was dealing with when she first got the Bantr gig, but I guess not the head of everything. Due to official casting announcements saying that Jodi Balfour would be playing the venture capitalist called Jack, the twist they were going for here was not really a twist for me. But we will get to that. The one thing about the Barbara request that I found kind of sweet on Keeley’s end was that the way Keeley asked “Who’s Jack?” and Rebecca giggled — they definitely thought this was Babs making a personal request. They wanted to hear about her booooooyfriend. Girl talk time! Sorry Keeley. Not today.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ hair and makeup designer Nicky Austin on season 2’s character journeys and what she and Juno Temple want fans to know about Keeley

Megan: Yes! Maybe Keeley is excited to bond with Babs over something else on a more human level, like the snowglobes moment. I do love Rebecca coming to Keeley’s rescue here, she’s very kind, but it does of course only serve to highlight, in Barbara’s eyes at least, the difference between them both.

Natalie: I do think Barbara will crack, sooner rather than later. Katy Wix is too likeable an actress to not have her be adorable in the end. Maybe her new fave Rebecca will show her that posh snobs can love Keeley too.

Megan: Everyone can and should love Keeley. Get it together Babs. But for now we meet back up with Shandy at Richmond as she directs the promo video. As an aside, it did make me a bit sad seeing Colin finish up his shoot, now we know that — assuming nothing’s changed with Michael in the interim — he isn’t single and this is just his cover. But outside of that, Shandy does really seem to be doing a good job here! Her confidence serves her well, she’s very comfortable in charge, and she does a good job at putting the boys at ease.

Natalie: Yeah, her handling and control of the logistics of the shoot is definitely a worthy skill. There’s definitely a real level of no-nonsense professionalism there that I think is experience she gained over years of doing many promotional videos and things. Even as the talent, on a good shoot everyone would just pull together and get it done. And we know she has skills for problem solving in this area. This is a good niche. Even if Keeley does feel the need to come spy.

Megan: In terms of skills and the good side of her personality I honestly do think Shandy could do this job really well. It’s just she’s still got that mindset of a Z-list celebrity who needs to make waves and headlines to get attention and succeed. And it’s the impulse for drama and the desire to shock people that is going to come back to bite her, and by default Keeley, in the arse. I’m glad that Dani, despite his Zava imitation, is still a sweetheart in this scene. These guys, I love them.

Natalie: The conversation about Van Damme relates to an earlier scene with Zava that I have thoughts about, but I appreciate the messaging at play behind it, everyone just accepting Zoreaux’s name change without question. You know what they’re implying there politically, about the trans community.

Megan: Yes, it’s a really nice little nod. Right down to the commentators accepting it during the match later too.

Natalie: I don’t know if I’m being fair on Keeley when I say she’s spying. I’ve got it into my head that she’s really internally fuming about Shandy. But maybe she is just being nice.

Megan: She could just be checking in to be supportive and using it as an excuse to go visit Richmond, not that she seems to need much of one.

Natalie: I do think that in the back of her mind there’s an element that is like “I just wanna exert a little control.”

Megan: I don’t think she’s constantly internally fuming. I think day to day when things are going alright she’s probably fine. But then I do think there are key moments where internally she is probably angry or frustrated or annoyed with herself for making an impulse decision.

Natalie: She’s not as naturally a dominant person as Shandy, that’s for sure. What do you think is going on for Keeley when Shandy says she loves being the boss?

Megan: When she’s standing behind Shandy watching, she does genuinely seem quite proud of her. And she also seems pretty genuine with her “cheers to that”. In that particular moment Shandy IS the boss, she’s in charge of the shoot, and it would be a dick move for Keeley to say or do anything to remind her that Keeley is in fact the boss. But the role reversal here of Keeley being the one to bring Shandy coffee is an interesting one. I think Keeley has to really push herself to be confident and in charge, it’s a kind of persona she’s had to work on, and now that she’s being billed as this independent woman success story, she probably feels a lot of pressure to maintain it at all times.

Natalie: Honestly, Keeley is so adept at being manically positive when she doesn’t feel it that I’m a little stuck. But there does seem to have a more genuine tone of happy support here.

Megan: Yeah that’s fair, when the negative shows through it feels so huge for her that it’s hard to tell how big of a deal it actually is.

Natalie: Also, she doesn’t seem to know how to pull rank or act like someone’s superior, because it isn’t in her to treat anyone as if they are inferior. Even in a work scenario with a chain of command where it is normal and not like, a scolding situation. This kind of comes back to bite her later and I have no idea what the wake-up call of this episode will do for her in the long run.

Megan: I think she wants to keep things fun and light and informal so her work is a nice place to be, but it means she has put herself on the same level as people, and that makes it a lot harder to then have to be firm later.

Natalie: I think that honestly it has to change, and she has to get better at taking command.

Megan: It’s definitely something I struggle with at work, and Keeley really is so nice and accommodating that it’s not going to come easily to her, but that has to be her big learning curve this season. It’s different when you have a team, when it’s not just you.

Natalie: There’s a better chance to discuss that later, but the energy of being a boss is just not there. Right now… I mean, we talked excessively last week just about the potential of Jamie and Shandy because she went over at the restaurant. I didn’t quite expect the show to just slap it on the table like this, though.

Megan: Yeah, Shandy really goes for it, asking Keeley what his story is. And Keeley’s response is a bit of a rollercoaster.

Natalie: It’s interesting to me for a few reasons. Firstly, Jamie isn’t aware at all. They’re looking at him via the monitors from another room. Straight up creeping, one might say. But the point is, Keeley is watching Jamie in this way that means he has absolutely no artifice. Just observing his natural state of being. And she’s sort of doing what Roy does about Jamie, which is to have knee jerk reactions about his past behaviour. But it’s such a different tone. It did make me a little startled because I did think they were friends? Like maybe not hang-out friends, but she’s been very good to him. So for her to even think that she still thinks of him so negatively was strange to me. I wouldn’t talk about my friends like that, even if they were an ex. She already saw a lot of good in him, so this is weird.


Megan: Her history with Jamie to date is obviously very different to Roy’s history. There was a lot more open and honest affection between the two of them before now, but it is the same sort of response as Roy. The first thought to pop up isn’t the most flattering, but unlike Roy she is much quicker to then correct it.

Natalie: There’s two options here. Keeley either thought Shandy was asking about Jamie as a person with zero interest in dating him, maybe just about Keeley’s own past with him, OR she thought Shandy was asking because she had a deep interest in dating him, not just banging him. These have really different implications for me in terms of how she spoke. Which do you think it was? Because if it was Keeley thinking Shandy was asking randomly, then that’s Keeley being totally honest. But if it’s her thinking Shandy is interested, it feels like she’s saying bad things to warn Shandy off. Even though she’s then correcting herself as she considers it.

Megan: I think the way she answers the question is very thoughtful — she knee jerk responds, yes, but then you see her considering it, and considering it more deeply with every additional thought. My read was that she wasn’t really doing it with any intent towards Shandy, I think she just hasn’t really thought about Jamie in this way for a while. And now Shandy has asked, and she answers honestly, but honestly to herself, correcting herself after she’s given things real thought. My read was purely honest, not trying to warn Shandy off, but it’s definitely something that could go either way. What about you?

Natalie: The way she jumped straight in with a negative made me think she was warning Shandy off, like “oh you don’t want HIM.” (To be clear, because she’s possessive of Jamie, not like, warning Shandy about him.) I then kind of wondered, but the outcome of the scene is effectively the same, so it isn’t really worth agonising over. The point being made is that the conversation makes Keeley feel possessive of Jamie, and like she’s keen on him again even if she doesn’t let on to Shandy. And I mean, what a way to do it, with Jamie being such a sweet angel to look at. Such a good way to set up that situation for Keeley, being able to observe him being so lovely with the camera and make-up crew, and looking so nice.

Megan: Yeah, in that moment, we are all Keeley staring wistfully at Jamie on a screen.

Natalie: There’s a bouncy, twangy little version of “Leaving the Studio,” Jamie’s leitmotif, under the end of it, so you know it’s serious.

Megan: Keeley is definitely not enthusiastic about the thought of Shandy banging him at the end there, and not doing a particularly good job at hiding it, at least to us. I assume Shandy knows that Keeley and Jamie used to date and is perhaps slightly asking permission here. And Keeley really doesn’t want to give it.

Natalie: I guess there’s a few questions here. Do you think Keeley is really falling back in love with Jamie or is she just keen on getting love from someone she knows loves her when she didn’t ask to be dumped? Is this an expansion on the feelings Keeley may have been having for Jamie last year, when it became clear he was being a much better version of himself ? She always found certain aspects of him favourable to Roy, like his emotional availability. Fuck, I hate pitting them against each other, because I truly think the best option here is polyamory. Whether that’s a full triad or a closed V, her dating both of them with everyone agreeing to commitment even if the boys don’t kiss each other. But I’m not 100% confident Ted Lasso will go there, sadly. So in the context of one or the other…

Megan: Honestly same, and the fact that I care so deeply about all three characters makes this entire situation so hard for me. I hate a love triangle at the best of times, but I especially hate it when all three characters are so intertwined that polyamory would just make the most sense. For me, I think Keeley could very easily fall back in love with Jamie. I think Jamie has never stopped loving her. At the same time, when Keeley is feeling low or rejected, she has reached out to Jamie in the past, and he has been only too happy to be a morale boost for her. At this stage in the show, with Keeley having been dumped and really not clear on why, I think she could feel like it would be okay for her and Jamie to date again, and I think she feels deeply about him, and they would be good together. However for Jamie at this stage, his relationship with Roy might be too important for him to date Keeley.

Natalie: Shandy is definitely asking permission and Keeley does technically give it. Shandy putting it on the table like that makes me feel both slightly worried we will genuinely go there, but has me maybe equally or even more thinking it WON’T happen, because it’s being set up like we don’t want that to happen. Especially when Keeley says Jamie hasn’t been with anyone in ages.

Megan: From Keeley’s side, and given how things went with her and Roy, I think she could fall in love with Jamie again and be happy to date him. But I really am not sure Jamie right now would do it.

Natalie: It would probably hurt him to turn her down though. You mentioned turning to him as a morale booster… She has kind of “used” him, horrible as that sounds. Sometimes I wonder, after their hookup in 1.08, if Jamie thought that they were maybe going to get back together because they were communicating well. Then he had to find out she was dating Roy. I actually love Keeley and Jamie together and I’ve said before that I would be happy with a Keeley/Jamie endgame if it wouldn’t kill Roy, like if it organically grew to be those two and… Well my preference in this scenario would be Roy/Rebecca. I genuinely think Keeley and Jamie could be happy together, forever from now, if they worked at it. But I agree, I think Jamie won’t go for it because of Roy.

Megan: Honestly, at the same time, Roy being Roy, he doesn’t think he deserves Keeley right now, he thinks it would end badly for them, and he has to let her go before she ends it with him. So maybe now that he is learning to like Jamie, and because he loves Keeley and thinks Jamie would be good for her and has more to offer, maybe Roy would be okay with giving Jamie his blessing and then crawling away to a hole to cry. But I don’t want that for him either. It’s so hard, because they all fit together for different reasons, which again just brings me back to polyamory.

Natalie: It’s such a difficult story to discuss without just reverting to that, because yeah. What should happen is that Keeley and Jamie should get together now and then go to Roy and be like “Please stop being silly, we love you very much and we are both so pretty” and just repeat that, every day, until he caves.

Megan: Is it too late to get Jason to do some reshoots? We’ve waited 18 months, what’s another couple? A little mid season break while they sort that out.

Natalie: The thing is. I don’t want to fully count it out. Not to dirty this up with Supernatural, but the amount of doublethink going on at the end of that show in terms of Destiel, the “Castiel specifically being in love with Dean” side, right. Like imagine ten years of being like “Well I know what it looks like to me, in my head, of course. The obvious answer here is that guy is doing all that stuff because he loves him,” but always sort of checking yourself. Like, “But obviously that’s not the truth of the show. That’s not what the writers mean. But it’s so obviously true?” And then it was the truth of the show. I’m not writing off polyamory here, because the chance of it happening are slim but not zero. In fact I’d say of all the shows out there, if other shows have like a 99% chance of not doing it, Ted Lasso has maybe more like an 85% chance of not doing it.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ lacks queer characters, but the show may be hiding them in plain sight

Megan: Anything is possible, I’m not sure that we’ll get a bigger nod to any type of polyamory than Dani’s threesome in season 2, but it can’t be completely ruled out. I personally think what we’ll actually get for these three is Jamie parent trapping them back together, once he realises why Roy broke up with Keeley, but hopefully it will end with the three of them all being very good friends. That is my suspicion, but there’s a long way to go yet.

Natalie: Phil Dunster’s recent comments about it also just make me crazy. “It becomes a lot more opaque what the right thing to do is, and who should, if anyone should, end up with each other. It’s not as straightforward as one of them wants to be with the other; it’s far more complex, and all of the characters see it as a complex conundrum.” I won’t do polyamory doublethink. It’s a valid lifestyle. Streaming shows have done it before. It could happen.

Megan: Agreed. And after two seasons of being very heteronormative, it would be a nice way to even things out a bit.

Natalie: I would be happy with an endgame that was like, a wink at the potential. Jamie getting Roy and Keeley back together but being both their favourite person and obviously part of their family.

Megan: Yeah, that ending is the one I would enjoy the most if we can’t get polyamory. Him being important to them both, and them all being very intertwined.

Natalie: I’ll be honest, I’ve got no idea what people are going to think of this moment. I know that many really hate the love triangle element and do not want Keeley to bounce back and forth between both of them, and all that. They should take that frustration and use it to start gunning for polyamory too. But some people just really still aren’t fond of Jamie and see him as a big hurdle in Keeley and Roy’s relationship. I’m not excited about what the commentary on this moment might look like, especially because there is no next step. Neither Keeley or Shandy make a move on Jamie, we will have to wait for next time to see how it goes.

Megan: If you prefer Roy and Keeley together to the exclusion of all others it’s going to make you really unhappy. If you’re someone who thinks Keeley and Jamie should get back together, it’s going to make you really happy, and then there’ll be a bunch of people in the middle sitting here wishing for the logical conclusion of polyamory while we wait and see what happens next.

Natalie: I LOVE Keeley and Jamie together, as I said, and we talked a lot about how much they did really seem to adore each other when they first dated, in our season 2 finale reflection. But all three of them are too tied up in knots. After what we discussed last week, where do you think this leaves Jamie and Shandy? Also taking into account the plot we are about to discuss in terms of wrong moves made by Shandy. Shandy’s behaviour in this episode — the parts that were nothing to do with Jamie — made me want her near him even less. But she’s outright stated her interest. Then again, she’s pretty bluntly implied she doesn’t care about him as a person at all, so… Will that go nowhere, or will she fall in love with him too, if they do have casual sex? Would they even get that far, if he isn’t pursuing people?

Megan: I think if anything did happen between them, it would probably just be casual sex rather than an actual relationship. That seems to be all she wants out of it. However, given Keeley says he’s been single for ages, I’m just not sure if Jamie is in the place where he even wants a casual sex buddy. Especially since he’s now got all his free time taken up by Roy’s training — not to mention a potential future child if your wildcard theory from last episode holds true! I don’t know that he has time for sex with Shandy on top of all of that.

Natalie: He’s basically become Roy’s primary relationship, and Roy is a needy person. So probably not.

Megan: Roy’s not Shandy’s biggest fan so far, he won’t want to share Jamie with her.

Natalie: I think Roy is my number one soldier in the war I’m waging against the potential of Shandy/Jamie, because yeah. Like I said, her confidence has some really good sides, but the way her brain works about fame and controversy, I can’t have it for him. I do assume she’ll change somewhat if we are to see Keeley’s belief in her make good, but I find it hard to trust. It’s a very touchy issue, and again one that this episode does not really resolve, in terms of Shandy’s prospects. She makes a big mistake, she defends that mistake, and she fixes it only when Keeley begs — not orders, begs — making Keeley look very incompetent in front of her big boss. Shandy exits this episode firmly a liability, without any real understanding what it is she did that was wrong. But we will get into the details of it as we go.

Megan: I am definitely concerned about Shandy right now, and probably more doubtful of her than I was in her initial episodes. I still think she will end up in a good place, she clearly does have really good instincts in some areas of the role, I just worry that she’s going to fuck things up a few more times along the way, and I don’t want one of those things to be Jamie.

Natalie: Yeah. That’s fair. I think she will overall come out, you know, fine? But we may leave her at the end of the season sort of at the start of that new life journey, yeah? Jamie needs way more stability than that, plus between Keeley and the choice of girl he brought home as a one night stand in season 1, this isn’t much to go on, but I think he likes nice, friendly girls anyway. But this is a lot to be fixating on for something that likely won’t happen.

Megan: It’s a good thing I only believe in football jinxes, but I agree.

Natalie: Moving on to Keeley’s experience with Jack at the West Ham match — as mentioned, the surprise element is obviously a bit hacked off at the knees, though I do wonder if this is dramatic irony, like we all are supposed to know, it’s just Keeley who doesn’t? I am sure for people like my father, who do not read Deadline casting articles or look at filming pictures, it will play as a surprise. But it is a great introduction. Loved the season 1 callback to “reapplying her lip liner.” Everyone in Ted Lasso season 3 has got the shits, apparently. And I appreciate the open discussion of periods.

Megan: I loved this whole toilet scene with Keeley actually. It was I think the most Keeley-esque we’ve seen her. Around everyone else, she’s putting on a bit of a front — pretending to be okay, trying to be this new boss Keeley that she’s still not comfortable with, but when Jack is just a faceless stranger next to her offering her loo roll and a tampon, she is so much more relaxed and bubbly and just… Keeley. I really loved it for getting to see her back to her usual self, but also I just loved it for showing the universal experience of using the women’s loos.

Natalie: That’s true, it did feel more like the character we know, comfortable within her own space. In this case a toilet cubicle. It does stand out to me that we have not seen her at home at all aside from the Phoebe talk, but I guess she has no one to interact with at home now.

Megan: No, all her action is happening in other places, so we don’t have a need to see her there.

Natalie: I think it’s more complex than just circumstantial though, like her lack of down time, the new life consuming her. It’s a message as well as logistics.

Megan: Yeah. She’s burning the candle at both ends, and I think she is due a breakdown of some sort very soon.

Natalie: I mean, sure it’s part of the comedic moment, but she says in the toilet that her stress is affecting her period.

Megan: That’s really not healthy.

Natalie: It takes a fair bit to create hormonal shifts like that.

Megan: It is sometimes easier to open up to complete strangers than it is to people close to you. Obviously Rebecca knows Keeley is miserable, but possibly she thinks that’s mostly down to the Roy break-up. This could be one of the first times Keeley has told someone how stressed she is.

Natalie: The fact that Jack ends the exchange with “pay it forward” says a fair bit to me about her energy, and I no longer think that she selected Keeley for this role as some sort of weird chav queen puppet figurehead to show how down they are with the people.

Megan: Throughout this whole episode, Jack feels very chill, vibe wise. I think she liked Toilet Keeley, and would have liked to see that version of Keeley once she knows who she actually is! But of course Keeley gets too in her head for that.

Natalie: It’s a bit odd to me that she apparently knew enough about Keeley’s work to have made her this offer without meeting her. Like, who did Keeley meet with along the way to get this all set up? Why is Jack so mysterious?

Megan: It’s funny because Jack is mysterious as a concept, but in reality seems very ordinary, normal and down to earth. And Keeley is so embarrassed when she finds out she’s currently using Jack’s tampon, but I honestly think Jack is just entertained by it. I wish Keeley had owned it.

Natalie: The way Jack addresses it is kind of…. Sexy. Honestly, I’m surprised we might be going back to a Keeley/Jamie love story because I’d also thought for ages that she might have a thing with Jack.

Megan: Yeah I’m not going to lie, my wildcard theory is that regardless of what endgame relationships happen, Jack and Keeley might end up having a moment so Keeley can dip her toes back into the lady pond one last time before she ends up in a throuple with two men. Or just one of them, I guess.

Natalie: It’s nice that Rebecca is bigging Keeley up when she comes over, of course, but I do wonder what Jack already knew about Keeley, to invest in her. She heads the same VC that backed Bantr, and Bantr is such a special, emotionally resonant idea, that it sounds like Jack is really out there looking for things and people that bring true goodness and positivity to the world. But she never met with Keeley personally on the journey setting up the company, she isn’t always in London, she may not have even emailed with Keeley directly. I am curious who sits between Jack and all the companies she backs, to have done that set-up? It isn’t Barbara, it would be whoever placed Barbara. But I get the feeling that after this episode, Jack may be taking Keeley under her wing directly. Showing her how to take control.

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Megan: Oh I could see that, yeah. She clearly sees Keeley’s potential before this episode, through her previous work. And I think she likes Keeley this episode too, when Keeley isn’t in her head or having to deal with Shandy’s fuck-ups. I can see her wanting to make sure Keeley is successful, and becoming a different kind of mentor to her. Rebecca is wonderful, but possibly too close to Keeley now to be as upfront about what she needs to do differently. I’d like to see Jack doing that for her.

Natalie: Higgins is really putting his foot in it with the women in the West Ham suite, but when Jack says “No, it’s short for my father wanted a boy,” I’m like… “Okay, maybe I need Jack and Jamie to bond.” OT3 plus Keeley’s lesbian girlfriend where said girlfriend adopts one of Keeley’s boyfriends as her little brother.

Megan: A very simple dynamic, I see no issues with this.

Natalie: Jamie’s father also wanted a “boy” and he got a Jamie, so.

Megan: Of course Higgins, being a feminine junior, could possibly have argued that his mother wanted a girl. That might have been a better way for him to connect with Jack than outdated riddles.

Natalie: Great point. Come on, Leslie.

Megan: Poor Leslie. It’s not his day.

Natalie: Oh no, now I’m just imagining Jack and Jamie wearing matching trainers. Help me move on swiftly before I expire. What about Babs being manically into Rebecca?

Megan: Look, in this moment thank God for Babs, because she is possibly being odder than Keeley is, which can only help Keeley seem more normal. She really loves Rebecca. I’m with Shandy, she might want to wear Rebecca’s skin as a suit. Poor Jack, nobody is being normal around her today except for Rebecca and Shandy.

Natalie: And Shandy’s normal isn’t exactly something that would give her a great impression, given the events of the day.

Megan: No, normal for Shandy isn’t necessarily the usual standard of normal.

Natalie: Keeley’s visibly upset by it though — Babs and Rebecca that is. Is she upset that Rebecca is “allowing” it, like she is not the one being Rebecca’s special hanger-on? Upset that Babs doesn’t respect her the way she does Rebecca? I keep thinking this feels very classist. I don’t know if the show has the capacity to explain the British class wars to America in such a nuanced way, but Babs sees Rebecca as someone inspirational and worthy of respect, she sees Rebecca’s power, all that stuff. Keeley is not wielding power well or acting like a capital B Boss, so there’s no authority for Babs to glom on to. It could just be that, without class issues. But they have to be baked in there, don’t you think?

Megan: I think it’s a combination of a few things. I think Keeley’s definitely upset that Babs doesn’t respect her like she obviously respects Rebecca. That’s going to feel really shit and not help with Keeley’s stress about failing. But I also think Rebecca is accidentally showing Keeley up here. Like it’s no fault of Rebecca’s, she’s genuinely just trying to keep things moving, smooth things along, but it does naturally lead to a comparison between her and Keeley in which Rebecca comes out ahead. And yeah, class is 100% a factor there. Especially when you remember the way Barbara spoke about Shandy — and by proxy Keeley — in episode 2. Barbara is judging them both for being former glamour models, for not having degrees or the right (in Barbara’s eyes anyway) kind of experience. Keeley and Shandy are both styled and played to be very working-class, Essex girl stereotypes, and Barbara does not respect them, but she immediately does with Rebecca and the contrast is stark.

Natalie: Yeah, it’s unfortunate. Keeley is once again really just not winning here on any level.

Megan: No. God, her arc is just really making me sad this season. She doesn’t have anything working out for her, and that’s just really fucking depressing. I think she’s really got imposter syndrome going on right now, and doesn’t think she can do this, and everyone will realise they made a mistake hiring her, and so to then have Rebecca just fix things so effortlessly must reinforce her feelings there. Of course, the irony is that unbeknownst to both Jack and Babs, Rebecca is a giant mess right now too. She’s just better at hiding it around people.

Natalie: Yeah, very true. Boy is she a mess in this episode. Just a trash fire. Unfortunately, Richmond don’t do much to impress Jack either. She’s an investor in the club itself or anything, but she is the VC that funded their main sponsor! I still probably would have tried to hold her off and bring her to another match. This is an awfully fraught one. Some of these boys are doing ads for her investment, Bantr, so there’s that, the image of Richmond against her investment. But a red card isn’t a criminal offence. In general, I don’t think she can hold the match or the way the boys played against Keeley, but she can hold Shandy’s meddling against her.

Megan: No. I think Jack will leave this episode thinking mostly positively of Keeley until the end with Shandy, but also probably recognising that Keeley could do with a bit of support. I think you’re right, she doesn’t want Keeley to be some sort of figurehead, and I don’t think she wants Keeley to fail. So I hope she does step in to mentor her a bit.

Natalie: I think we’ll see her again.

Megan: I hope so.

Natalie: I do want things to improve with Barbara because she really did make me laugh by saying “The violence is quite entertaining.” What a freak.

Megan: Same! I enjoyed that. She should check out ice hockey.

Natalie: But the Shandy stuff is… so bad. It was going so well on the actual shoot, but I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting something this bad.

Megan: It’s taking her concept at the start to the extreme. Like, “the anonymous person you’re talking to could be a celebrity” is one thing. “Wanna fuck a rich celebrity???” is an entirely different story.

Natalie: To be clear, I don’t think it is malicious, but it shows a state of mind that is so, so, so problematic. And also a massive overreach in terms of like…professional autonomy? She made a call to do something that was not her level to be allowed to do. She’s acting with too much freedom, doing things she did not have the right to do. Changing the bio line for the whole company just on her own whim? She’s got ahead of herself in the sense of feeling like she can do whatever she wants, equal to Keeley in power. And she’s just not.

Megan: Yeah, it was a giant overreach from her. And showed where her instincts really aren’t okay. It’s a big fuck-up that now needs to be fixed, and the fact that it happened in front of Jack makes it ten times worse. But it’s also a bit Keeley’s fuck up, because she hasn’t established professional boundaries and hierarchy with Shandy, so Shandy thinks it’s okay and that she does have that power.

Natalie: You make a really good point about the original idea, because like… As we discussed, football clubs get their players to do viral videos and stuff for their sponsors constantly. So “the anonymous person you’re talking to could be a celebrity” really, to Keeley, probably looked more like “we are using our players to promote the essence of Bantr, because that is what the deal is with football sponsorships” as opposed to the genuine heart of the promo idea being fishing for celebs.

Megan: Yeah, to Keeley it was more about the concept — you never know who you could be speaking to! For Shandy it was very literally “Come to Bantr, fuck a footballer.”

Natalie: I am sure to Keeley it looked like a good use of “People being sponsored promoting the anonymous element of the brand” and that Shandy’s pitch was just kind of the in-house working title. Like, they all knew that wasn’t REALLY the point… right? RIGHT????

Megan: Alas. Wrong.

Natalie: The discovery that Shandy whole-ass was making this the point is a good look for Keeley’s company, and Keeley realises how far off the mark Shandy is here, perspective and power wise. Keeley knows that Shandy a) should not be thinking like that, and b) should not have been making decisions to change copy on the app no matter what she changed it to, frankly. It’s sooooo bad. How is she going to pull her up now? The way she begs her here feels bad to me too. Like “Please? For me?” As if it’s Shandy’s decision and she would be doing Keeley a favour. What did you make of that?

Megan: Her initial instincts aren’t bad. She pulls Shandy to one side rather than bollocking her in front of Jack. That’s the right approach. Unfortunately, Shandy isn’t quiet in her reply — and Jack is visibly unimpressed at that moment — and then the somewhat plaintive way Keeley says “please” at the end, she really undermines herself. Shandy does say okay, and I’m sure she will, but I can’t tell from her face if she is angry that Keeley is telling her what to do, or if she’s covering embarrassment over fucking up. Probably a combination of the two. Either way it’s an awful look for Shandy, not a great one for Keeley either, but despite that, I think Jack was sincere when she said “you too” in response to Keeley saying it was lovely to meet her.

Natalie: I think there’s possibly a lesson to be learnt here by Jack actually, that just “believing in people” is not enough. And that could be said for Ted Lasso in general, it’s Ted’s issue too. Jack wanted Keeley to make something of herself, but throwing her into a pool of money at the deep end is not exactly working out. The company may well be doing okay, but witnessing the issues up close — KEELEY is not doing okay. Her inability to handle Shandy appropriately before now has led to this. Is this something where part of the blame lies with someone like Jack, for not providing any support or even training for a brand new CEO? Like, send her on a fucking management course!

Megan: Honestly, yeah I think so. Because people don’t just need resources, they need support. No amount of money is going to make Keeley suddenly know of her own accord how to run things. She needs some guidance and coaching. Maybe Jack thought Barbara could do that for Keeley, but it’s very clear that Barbara, at the moment anyway, doesn’t respect Keeley enough to do that. Jack, however she heard about Keeley, was clearly impressed by her raw talent and ability, but that will only get her so far. So yeah, I think Jack is a bit responsible here, and hopefully she’ll recognise that and step in. But not in a way that makes Keeley feel undermined and worse.

Natalie: I’m also thinking that our theory about Shandy being the domineering bitch in the friend group and Keeley being someone who was acquiescent to that is very likely. Especially after this.

Megan: Agreed. I don’t think Shandy is used to Keeley telling her what to do, no matter how meekly Keeley did it. It makes me even more desperate to know what Keeley told Roy about her previously — outside of the hair-eating of course.

Natalie: The fact is, like the Jamie potential, I have no idea what’s next here. Keeley’s arc is extremely unpredictable to me as of now, aside from probably Jack being around again.

Megan: I don’t think any other arc so far has surprised me as much as Keeley’s. I really hope things turn around for her, and I hope Jack is part of making that happen, because I like her so far.

Natalie: Me too, on all counts. I think I could use the word surprise in relation to Nate’s arc, but it’s more about the speed of it feeling a bit jarring. No big shock that he’s being framed sympathetically against Rupert though. For me, the lens on Nate is something that I have to kind of apply my own offscreen context to, which is not something I’ve experienced with Ted Lasso before. Usually, I get what’s been aimed for with a trajectory, even when we turn away from the character for a few minutes. Or episodes. In this case, we haven’t really seen Nate since 3.01, and while there was some feeling for him in that episode against Rupert, there was plenty of negativity too, with the way he treated his team and also the press conference. Fast forward through two months for him, since before the season started to Match Week 8. We haven’t visited him in all that time, aside from a shot of him reading articles in the montage, and I’m trying really, really hard to apply the idea that during that period he may have started to act or feel differently. That in the past two months, little things have really built up for him, or he’s settled into himself more and has found some capacity for kindness at West Ham or whatever. I’m not going to lie… it’s tough. It is really tough to go from 3.01 to this, with no incremental sympathy-selling from the show, and to kind of just accept it as the truth about who Nate is, after all we saw last season.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 1 in conversation: ‘You ever wonder why we’re here, coach?

I am trying really hard to believe their intent here, because I know that they were shocked by the level of response to Nate last season. I certainly don’t agree with the people saying “I’ll fucking kill him,” but to me it very much felt like the season 2 narrative showed us who Nate was at his core, under everything, and that it was a nasty, negative sight. It feels to me like this episode is trying to now say “No, this is who he really is at his core!” And like… Brett Goldstein, I am trying SO hard to believe you, mate. There’s stuff in this episode that seems more kind and soft regarding Nate’s personality than anything we’ve seen in the whole show so far, in either season 1 or 2, because a lot of his moments in the past were incredibly hard to judge, if they were genuine good feelings or sycophantism. What I will say is that I believe this is the version of Nate the writers see. Usually, I am all about trusting their intent, but in the Nate scenario, what they did just didn’t land the way they imagined with the majority of people, and they’ve actively talked about being careful about remedying that. I can feel the course correction here, I’m not surprised it was Brett Goldstein who took up the mantle for it, and I am trying my best to take it all in the best faith way possible. Our season 2 reflection shares a lot about how we feel about Nate’s behaviour, but I guess this is the level of sympathy, or whatever, they wanted us to have for Nate all along. Sorry guys. It really didn’t come through for me personally back then. But if we are to just believe that this is their truth, which I think we have to, Nick’s performance is very sweet, in a way, in this episode.

Megan: For me, the tricky thing is that while there are moments here where he is nicer, kinder, more thoughtful than we’ve seen for a while, there are still moments where he slips into quite unnecessary meanness. So my question here is: Is the kindness and the awkwardness still the front he puts on to try and cover the harshness, make it socially acceptable, and that’s the reality of him? Or has he spent the last two months recognising that harshness in himself and actively working on it to improve, but still sometimes forgets himself and slips up?Some of that course correction was tough for me too, but there were a few moments which we’ll speak to throughout where I really felt for him.

Natalie: It did make me more confused than ever about the “real Nate,” but we can safely say he’s another mess.

Megan: Either way we kick off Nate’s arc this episode outside his flat, where we can see he still has his little green car! He’s obviously driving Rupert’s flashier gift, but it’s nice that he kept the old one. I enjoyed seeing his Subbuteo board — it’s almost a parallel to Ted with his Lego, only much more focused on match strategy. You can get specific team sets, and add on pieces like managers, but to get that level of detail, make it so obviously Ted, it feels like he has to have had some pieces custom-made. There are people out there that do that. We see the first example of the “two Nates” warring with each other when he accidentally sends Subbuteo Ted flying to the floor. The first reaction is a sarcastic oops and a laugh, but then we see the sympathetic side carefully place him back on the board, with a reassuring “There you go”. They are really throwing us straight into it here with his inner conflict.

Natalie: The car is still metaphoring away. The board itself is interesting because I very much assume he had that when he was with Richmond. Even before he was a coach.

Megan: I think so yeah. People who play Subbuteo really love it, and it’s an old school kind of game that he’s probably had variations of as a kid. I imagine he got the Richmond custom set when he first started working for them, and now he’s brought in West Ham.

Natalie: One thing this episode did for me, actually, was properly sell me on the idea of how much Nate actually loves football. It was obviously implied. Obviously! He worked for Richmond, he thought about it all the time. But for some reason, I never got the feeling of true boyish passion from him about it until this episode. Both with the board and even later when he’s coaching during the match. A lot of that football related happiness doesn’t feel like spite or power, just joy and satisfaction at performing good football. It’s a more open happiness on his face. In the opening scene, he’s wearing a kit shirt. We’ve never seen that on him before. The coaching uniform, yes, but not a player’s kit, like the shirts fans will buy. It made me think about whether he ever tried to play football himself as a little boy, or if he wasn’t encouraged to do sports or maybe just not included in those groups at school. Is he like millions of other British boys who had a big childhood dream of being a footballer? This episode, I felt… yes. Before this? Never considered it.

Megan: I wonder who his team was growing up. Was it always Richmond? Or is that just where he ended up working? You don’t have to be a fan to work for a club — one of the chefs at Man City is a Man United supporter of all things — so it could be that Richmond wasn’t his club as a kid. Maybe it is West Ham, maybe this actually is a bigger deal for him than Richmond.

Natalie: Note to self: investigate allegiance of chef who fed Spurs lasagne.

Megan: And whoever gave the Dutch team food poisoning last month. But yeah, maybe Nate has been a West Ham fan all along, because wearing the kit in the privacy of his own home isn’t performative. He’s just doing it.

Natalie: If Tooting is where he grew up, geographically I think that’s Palace territory? But allegiance isn’t always strictly regional. Brett is from Sutton and the family is Spurs all the way.

Megan: No, see me and my seven teams spread out across the country.

Natalie: It would be really interesting if he was an old school Hammers fan.

Megan: I know some people think Nate will come back to Richmond at the end and have to leave West Ham in disgrace, but I think a more interesting end would be him ending up doing well there, and Rupert selling the club in a flounce because nothing is going the way he wants. That is getting way, way ahead of ourselves though.

Natalie: Indeed. The way he laughs to himself about flicking Ted off the board, and then him yeah, fixing it and sort of fondly reassuring mini Ted… yeah. It is a very clear indicator of what we are dealing with here, emotionally.

Megan: A big old mess.

Natalie: Just this small moment, the toppling and replacing of the Ted piece, took such big steps in how it framed Nate to the audience. It didn’t take much at all to paint a picture of his feelings very carefully. It seems like his heart’s not in it when he does that “whoops” thing. Like hating Ted is an act that he’s trying to maintain, but can’t. I think, you know, it’s a tick in the column that Nate truly loved Ted, even though I think he was really just happy to be treated with value by anyone who would bother. I guess that’s as good a reason to love someone as any. But distance from his outburst apparently has made him feel odd about it, which is a big part of the episode. I wonder if Ted’s words at the press conference have made any difference either. He seemed angry at the time, but Nate’s anger is so irrational, as we know.

Megan: Yeah it could have been anger at Ted, but it also could have been anger and frustration at himself for fucking it up and playing it wrong. Except, of course, the way he played it is what Rupert expected from him, so it would have been hard for him to do it any other way and still retain Rupert’s favour.

Natalie: It is frustrating to me that Nate gets any sense of validation from Rupert’s praise. But I think by the end of this episode that will change. It is kind of up to Nate what to do about how he’s being treated.

Megan: I agree. I think that’s really key for me about Nate in this season in general. Nate needs to decide the kind of person and manager he wants to be and be that person by himself, without seeking validation from people he sees as superior to him. And without blaming those people if things don’t go the way he envisioned them going.

Natalie: Sidenote: can you imagine if he had looked across while driving and seen Roy and Jamie?

Megan: I wish he had. He would have been SO confused.

Natalie: Part of me thinks he would have laughed and scoffed, part of me thinks the part of HIM that once said he believes Richmond could do anything, might have been happy to see that between Roy and Jamie. Not sure Nate ever really got fond of Jamie, but the Roy and Jamie story is a blockbuster movie to everyone involved with Richmond, so…

Megan: He would have been impressed with the significance, even if he doesn’t care for Jamie.

Natalie: Nate is driving his new car to work, while having managed to rescue his old one somehow and get it back to the car park at his flat. What do you think Rupert would have done if he saw Nate’s flat?

Megan: Paid someone to burn it to the ground probably.

Natalie: Does it surprise you he hasn’t upgraded himself already?

Megan: It does a bit. I suppose it’s early days, but the lowest paid Premier League managers make over £1 million annually, and the current West Ham manager in real life is on £5 million. Nate’s coaching salary at Richmond would probably have been decent, six figures or close to it, but housing in London is expensive, and if he hasn’t been on the West Ham salary for long and saving up to buy, I suppose it could make sense that he was still in his old flat.

Natalie: Emotionally, I wonder if it’s in that headspace of “Can’t spend money, this might all go away.” Same with the car.

Megan: Yeah, I think that would work too. When you get a lot of money where you previously did not, you can go one of two ways, either you go mad and spend it all at once, or you cling to it a bit and get scared to spend it. So maybe Nate is in the “can’t spend it” camp.

Natalie: Also an element of, despite claiming he earned his position, both to Ted and at West Ham, not feeling like that in his heart. Like, he obviously has impostor syndrome. He doesn’t have the confidence to believe it naturally, it’s like he has to become his spitty self to wear the “believing in self” hat. I will call it his llama hat from here on out. We are aiming for Nate to have confidence and self possession sans llama hat.

Megan: Shriek. There we go, that’s a good goal for Nate.

Natalie: In the pilot, there’s that part where Nate drives Ted home and Ted mistakes his car for one of the players and he says “Oh, that one? God, no. No, couldn’t handle that.” His knee jerk to that lifestyle is “That is not for me, I couldn’t be that.” And like, not everyone has to have Colin’s lambo.

Megan: Colin should not have Colin’s lambo, let alone anyone else.

Natalie: And sure, all certain people genuinely want is a small flat of their own. But with Nate, what we are shown about his lifestyle vs his position is that he very much still thinks the world he is living in is Not For Him. And in order for him to act like it IS for him, he has to put on the llama hat. This is quite a problem.

Megan: Next time we see him it’s back at the Taste of Athens where, after walking nervously back and forth a few times he goes in to speak to Jade. I really don’t know what to make of her. She does not give anything away facially. Or verbally. Unlike Nate, who won’t stop trying to fill that silence. I also don’t really know what to make of Nate’s interest in Jade really. From what we’ve seen, she’s only ever been extremely disinterested in him, and Nate knows nothing about her, so the interest does feel like it’s purely based on the way she looks. Personality wise she’s very different from Keeley, who’s the only other woman we’ve seen Nate show an interest in much as I hated that moment and the way he acted, so I’ll be interested to see what happens between Nate and Jade this season.

Natalie: Such an odd situation.

Megan: Jade does seem a bit harsh, but I also know that, as a woman, when you work in places like bars and restaurants it’s not uncommon to have men hit on you a lot. So she’s probably built up a bit of a well in situations like this.

Natalie: There was something in the way she said “It sounds silly, maybe you should quit,” that I have no idea how to interpret at all. Very weird, challenging energy from her. Something cheeky behind her eyes.

Megan: Agreed. I know I spoke a lot in our season 2 finale piece about how Nate’s treatment of women, and the way he speaks about them, has been the thing I will struggle with the most when it comes to any sort of redemption arc. Maybe Jade will play a role in helping him address that. Maybe even by turning him down, and calling him out on something he does in relation to her. Who knows.

Natalie: It absolutely blew my mind that Nate was buying lunch for his whole staff here. Keeping in mind that Taste of Athens is in Tooting and West Ham is in Stratford, what do you think this is all about? Nate wanting to see Jade again and look important? Nate genuinely wanting to treat his staff, from a restaurant his family loves? What was your first read on this?

Megan: Wanting to treat his staff is one of the elements that makes me really want to know how things have been at West Ham the last six weeks, and if Nate is still treating everyone the same way. I have to assume he hasn’t been, because they’ll otherwise be very confused when he rocks up with lunch for everyone. So maybe he genuinely did want to treat them, but I think Jade played a role in why he selected that restaurant, because it’s so far out of the way otherwise.

Natalie: Weirdly, when he made that joke about the trainers being like cows and then saying they’re lovely people — I did actually believe that. As in, that he thinks the’re lovely, and that he is getting on there. But yes, this is one of the scenes that made me go “Huh?” because it’s a sharp deviation from how we saw Nate treat people at West Ham in 3.01. To be fair, he and Disco seemed to have a somewhat brusque understanding, but obviously he was horrible to the players and the office staff. This is trying to either paint the picture that he is a good leader, or that he really wants to see Jade and will use this as a reason, or, a secret third option… He wants to show his face there as a lead up to getting more recognition to impress his dad? I don’t think he’ll have any trouble at Taste of Athens in future if that is the case. The manager is very excited. Again, it’s strange. It’s like Nate is bashful about the attention, but gives Jade these knowing glances, like “I’m a big deal.” He seems both “Playing Embarrassed” and genuinely embarrassed at the same time. Like he wants this and doesn’t. It’s very complex.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ composer Tom Howe on creating the white noise of Ted’s anxiety, the rawness of Jamie’s heart, and the warning of Nate’s descent

Megan: There’s also one of those moments where you see Nate make one of the unnecessarily nasty little asides. When the restaurant manager says “from one manager, to another” to be supportive, Nate replies that “It’s not quite the same.” It’s cruel, but it probably does come out of his genuine embarrassment and awkwardness. I really do not know what to make of Jade’s face as she’s looking at him though during the exchange with the manager! She is such an enigma. She just has resting mysterious face.

Natalie: The whole thing is awkward and confusing. I think Jade probably finds the manager annoying and it’s clear Nate does a bit too, so there’s that. I feel like that if Nate wants to date, there are a lot of women who would be interested in either his bumbling side or his mean side. The combo is a bit of a rollercoaster.

Megan: Or people who know what West Ham are and why it’s a big deal that he’s their manager. He does say he’d like groupies in season 2!

Natalie: True. I mean, that desire is a bit of a red flag to be honest, but…there you go. Nate is clearly pretty uncomfortable to hear his Ted shittalking lauded and praised loudly, especially in front of Jade. I think he doesn’t like to see himself as a horrible person.

Megan: Yeah, and you can see that really weighing on him this episode.

Natalie: The scene where he talks to Rupert about it is fascinating to me. Because on the surface, if you are talking about merely a man leaving his job and taking another one, it’s perfect advice. But it’s so… not that. We can assume that Rupert doesn’t know the ins and outs of what Nate said to Ted, but even so, Rupert isn’t going to earnestly give good advice here anyway. He’s just trying to keep Nate away from any soft feelings for Richmond.

Megan: Yes! Because to an outsider, of course it’s normal for you to outgrow positions and if there are no further development opportunities at one place of work, you move on! It’s just normal and a part of life. But of course we know that Nate didn’t just move on, he acted inappropriately with Keeley, he outed Ted’s mental health to the press, and then he unloaded a year’s worth of built-up resentment on him in that monologue. It was not a normal situation.

Natalie: I’s not just a man leaving his job and taking another one. It’s a man rage-quitting his job with an abusive rant to his direct boss, then going to work for his big boss’s abuser, the person who most obviously wants to harm Richmond.

Megan: Rupert clearly resents having to give Nate this advice. He wants Nate to be that killer person he praised in the first episode. He doesn’t like doubtful apologetic Nate one bit.

Natalie: I am still so confused by what Rupert believes about Nate here. Like, if he really does think Nate is a killer, it means Rupert believes in the Bad Nate, the one full of bitter resentment fueled by being wronged. He thinks that is the real Nate and he wants that guy and believes he can win. Or this whole thing is an elaborate scheme, he knows perfectly well what Nate’s weaknesses are, and he has some other aim.

Megan: I really don’t know. It all comes back to how much of a Richmond fan Rupert really was to have then bought West Ham. Why is he doing any of this? What is the point?

Natalie: Yeah. Well, here, the point is — would Nate owe Ted an apology for taking a new job with new opportunities? No. But that is not what Nate would be apologising for. The fact that Nate does open up to Rupert and seek that guidance, someone to kind of help him out in that way… I just don’t know why he thinks Rupert is in any way on the “right side” of anything going on.

Megan: I suppose because Rupert is validating that side of Nate that isn’t good, the side that wants power and to be recognised as great.

Natalie: Yeah, it strikes me the way Rupert asks how Nate is feeling about the weekend and he gives a genuine musing answer, which was the wrong answer. Rupert does not want to mull over thoughts with you, Nathan.

Megan: The cold little, Mr Mannion at the end of the scene. Oof.

Natalie: Yeah, I really feel like if beyond this episode Nate isn’t shown as constantly deeply troubled by Rupert’s behaviour, I will be really annoyed. Because obviously, he got told he could call him Rupert when he was pleased. Here he’s been cut back to that servile “know your place” role. But later, when Nate obeys that demotion in public, Rupert corrects him, just for show. Nate has to know he’s being strung along at that point, right?

Megan: I think you have to hope so, but he’s also gained entry to an exclusive club and is being flirted with by a very attractive woman, so he may still be able to overlook it for another few episodes before properly acknowledging what’s happening.

Natalie: Ultimately, I think what I would like is for Nate to actually bond well with the West Ham team and somehow go on to do something or other in spite of Rupert. It may turn out Rupert does not care about West Ham at all and this was all some weird ploy. But then Nate is loyal to the team. Unsure, it’s all very odd vibes here. Nate is clearly quite genuine in his anguish about Ted, with or without Rupert’s shit advice. How did you feel about him apparently having reached this place, five months or so after the big promotion match in the season 2 finale? In prior moments this season we have seen him react to Ted with anger, looking at articles and stuff. Do you think it’s been ups and downs the whole time, soft moments and hard ones? Or was it all bitterness that has now finally dulled?

Megan: I think it’ll have been ups and downs. I think this whole episode shows how quickly and easily he can go back and forth on his attitude and his actions, from kind and bumbling to cruel and cutting. So I think the past five months have just been more of that. He clearly is doing well as a manager, West Ham are on a similar good streak as Richmond, so hopefully that has made him feel more confident. It’s also possible that the players accept his behaviour, because they’ll put up with a lot from a manager as long as it’s working. But he is still clearly very focused on Richmond, so I don’t think the feelings there have dulled. He’s just conflicted.

Natalie: I think I disagree. I think he’s focused on Richmond because he’s so overwhelmed with his feelings about what happened, but I don’t think that bitterness to Ted is still there. I think he just is now in the stage of being so embarrassed that he does not know how to face it. Like “Oh my god, I made a fucking fool of myself.” Here’s the thing. Nate seemed to believe a lot of the stuff he said about Ted in the season 2 finale because believing those ideas made him feel like his own negative emotions were valid or grounded in reality, and that Ted deserved to be punished for causing them. But these things were not grounded in reality. They were largely delusional. When he had some distance from a situation, you’d think that maybe, if he was a decent person, truly — which Ted Lasso itself definitely thinks he is — you would get some new perspective that maybe you didn’t behave so rationally.

Related: Coming out of the dark forest: The ‘Ted Lasso’ season 2 finale in conversation

Megan: Yeah I think that’s valid too. I don’t necessarily think that the feelings are necessarily bitterness still, but I do think they are still strong. But it could be the strong feeling he’s having right now is embarrassment, because if I was him and I was remembering the things I said to Ted, with that new distance, I would definitely be feeling mortified. So I think that’s a pretty good read.

Natalie: Onboarding embarrassment like that can be powerfully horrific, shameful, and instead of owning that shame, it could re-bitter you against the other person. But Nate truly doesn’t seem bitter now. Just really anxious about Ted because of what he did. I think ups and downs are still very possible from here on out, because in the trailer he looks so angry at seeing Ted and Henry attend a match. But at the end of this episode he seemed ready to make amends. Argh, it’s awful.

Megan: It is a really bad situation for Nate to be in, and you have to feel for him whilst also being aware that it is a situation largely of his own making so he has to be the one to unfuck it.

Natalie: The idea that he’s embarrassed is somewhat heightened by the fact that when he next crosses paths with Ted he tries to hide from him. Unfortunately, this is not that viable in an empty lift.

Megan: Yeah. I did laugh at “Oh, hi, I didn’t see you there.” Well no, Nathan, you’d put yourself in the naughty corner and hidden your face in the wall, so you wouldn’t.

Natalie: Ted is a saint for pretending that was a totally normal way to find someone.

Megan: Ted is so good at throwing people off course and hiding what he really thinks that I genuinely don’t know whether or not his niceness towards Nate here is real. I know that Beard and Roy are desperate for Ted to be angry at Nate, but I honestly don’t think he is. And I don’t know if it’s because he’s completely forgiven him, or if he thinks Nate was right about him in his rant last season, but he is so disarmingly kind. I do think, when you compare it with his greeting to Rupert, it really is probably genuine with Nate, but he is so nice about it. I wish Nate could have said what he wanted there, without Rupert interrupting. For both his and Ted’s sake, it would have been good for that to have been said.

Natalie: Ted’s arc this episode is all about that, yeah, and we will discuss. But honestly, just from the look on Nate’s face and the way he says “Look, Ted, the way I left…” I think that is all Ted needs. He deserves more, but that’s all he NEEDS, in terms of him coming to terms with whatever feelings he has towards Nate. He knows that was the start of an apology, something he always said he would let come to him in his own time.

Megan: Yeah. He knows that’s what Nate was going to say, and he’s okay with it.

Natalie: It just depends on if Nate will do anything else that is a low blow after this.

Megan: Yeah.

Natalie: The next time we see Nate is on the day of the match, speaking to his team in the dressing room. We don’t hear it, just see it, as part of the montage. He looks firm, but he does not appear to be raging or scolding them. They are very attentive. He looks genuinely powerful and in control. One thing is for sure, he can definitely do the job, and I think he can do it without resorting to the dum-dum line. I don’t want him to coach at Richmond ever again, where he will always be dogged by the memory of those issues with Ted, or remember being bullied, or have the players hate him. But somewhere that does not have baggage? He absolutely can and is doing the job well. It’s weird that at the start of the season people were predicting Ted to come last and Nate to do so well when in reality there would be so much more “The kit man? Yeah right”-ing, but maybe it’s fully known by the whole industry that Nate was the football brains there.

Megan: Yeah agreed. Maybe now that his work is paying off with actual wins, he’ll feel more confident in his abilities in the role and won’t have to fall back onto bullying the players, but I do think there is too much baggage at Richmond for him to go back there, at least while the current players are all still at Nelson Road.

Natalie: Did you notice one of his coaches is a woman? Last episode, I think in the Manchester United match, there was a female linesman, a lineswoman, helping to ref the game, which I don’t know whether is true to the Premier League, though is happening in men’s football elsewhere. But I don’t think anyone in the Prem has a female assistant coach or trainer.

Megan: I missed that! That’s good. Yeah I can’t think of a single team that has a female staff member on the coaching team, they’re more common in the medical side of things.

Natalie: It’s a Black woman with braids standing part way back in the room, dressed as the other coaches are. Only Disco comes out to the pitch, so she must be one of the vegetarian personal trainers.

Megan: I can’t believe Taste of Athens didn’t have any vegetarian options. Hopefully Nate picked them up a salad from Pret on the way back.

Natalie: LOL. The match goes very well from Nate’s perspective. Obviously. There’s a lot to say here about what goes down, but it’s more from the Richmond angle.

Megan: They’re very evenly matched for the most part in the first half, and then they get those two quickfire goals in at the end and that changes things for them — and for Richmond.

Natalie: As far as Nate is concerned, it seems like in public in front of the crowds, he needs to be very strict with himself. Ted’s handshake is warm and genuine, but Nate can’t or won’t speak, then he pulls himself together in an almost military rigidness.

Megan: Yeah, he doesn’t trust himself to show any kind of emotion where people are watching, and you know every interaction between the two of them will be analysed closely by fans and journalists. So he’s very reserved here.

Natalie: He is not shouting abuse at the players, though. A welcome change.

Megan: No, that’s true. Good job Nate.

Natalie: Like even when Van Damme makes a save, he is frustrated, but he doesn’t get aggro. I wish we had spent more time in eps 2 and 3 seeing little glimpses of his team’s development. But maybe we are getting like a Nate-centric episode that tracks back over it? One that will make all this new development make even more sense?

Megan: I hope so, because without that context I just have no idea how Nate got to this place, both in himself and his confidence as a coach, but also how he’s managed to improve that team dynamic. Right now I just have so many questions about how he got here.

Natalie: He and his team understand each other perfectly, though. The eyebrows and hand signals?

Megan: Yeah, that was some great communication. No need for written paper notes that the player then has to eat to keep secret on Nate’s team.

Natalie: I just realised I have no idea if signalling is a thing in football. There’s never close ups of managers doing that when I watch a match. Usually they just yell what they want at each other loudly.

Megan: Honestly, I don’t really think this is particularly true to football. Mostly they just yell, and then yeah if a player comes on they will sometimes bring a note out with them to give to another player on the pitch. Which a player was once caught eating. Clearly he didn’t want the other team to read it and learn their secrets.

Natalie: Is note passing allowed, eating optional? Signalling is very much how it’s done in baseball, and so on.

Megan: Yes, note passing is allowed, but most don’t eat it. There was also a funny moment during one of England’s matches in the Women’s Euros last year where the German manager sent a note out to one of her players, and Alessia Russo tried to lean over her shoulder and read it. I have to assume though that the note was in German, so I can’t imagine Alessia learnt much from it. Anyway point is, note passing is more common than coded signals like this I think, but it’s clearly working for Nate and his team here.

Natalie: Yeah. They don’t seem to be living in fear of him, which is good. Just very focused. But I really want to see how we got here. I feel a bit robbed of it actually. Perhaps Declan Rice had a word about the dum-dum line.

Megan: I like that theory. Dec sat him down after training one day and politely read him the riot act about not being a prick to the team. Until we get more scenes showing what Nate has been up to, let’s go with that.

Natalie: Nate’s goal celebrations are also very reasonable. He didn’t even throw a water bottle at anyone. All in all, he seems to be doing well in terms of acting a respectable way.

Megan: Yeah, it’s a far cry from the Nate who got carded at Wembley last season.

Natalie: Do you think he was holding off on letting them score though, as a mind game? Or just the evenly matched half was real?

Megan: Hmm. I did wonder that, but I wonder if it’s more that he knew this tactic would work better if Richmond were already reeling from a first goal.

Natalie: Probably, yeah. And like, he can’t be blamed for the second half. That is all on Roy and Beard. Well, and the players for not knowing how to play angry without getting carded. I mean it’s on Nate in the long run, I guess. But not on this particular day.

Megan: Richmond don’t tend to play that rough, bless them, they didn’t know how to pull it off so they didn’t get punished. Those poor West Ham players getting caught up in their rage.

Natalie: Nate does look a little affected when the Greyhounds walk out and all stare at him with such hatred. Like after the first couple, he is very taken aback.

Megan: He’s not sure what changed at half time, but he’s very unsettled.

Natalie: I’m a bit like, “What did you expect anyway? Even without the sign, you nurtured them as a coach for a year and then told the world they were shitty.” He hurt them very publicly. Not just Ted.

Megan: Yeah, even if the team didn’t know about the sign till now, and probably don’t know that Nate was the one to tell the media about Ted, he’s still acted in a way that is considered poor form. When you see people like Mikel Arteta speak about Pep and City, it’s only ever with respect and praise.

Natalie: Side note: Jamie looks so fucking hot here doing that side-eye and looking away. To quote Phil Dunster’s twitter bio: features jutting out ALL over the place. That slo-mo glare has his cheekbones popping

Megan: It really does. He looks very, very good. And very judgy.

Natalie: Nate is slightly smug to the Richmond coaching staff when the match goes to shit, like “Oh dear, look at your mess.” He didn’t need to do that, but he’s still drawn to that kind of superiority making him feel big thing. And managers have had worse tussels.

Megan: Yeah, at that point he’s enjoying it, but later he starts to look pretty stressed out by just how violent it’s getting.

Natalie: He looks very worried and confused. I mean it is quite insane. I honestly think Nate did well not to scream at Richmond about his players getting hurt.

Megan: These kinds of things do happen, where players completely lose their head. The most recent example with this many cards was the FA Cup quarter final between Man U and Fulham where there were three red cards in about three minutes. But this is very extreme. Nate’s happy at the end again though, and ignores Ted’s handshake to go and celebrate with his team.

Natalie: Fulham got three reds that match but one was the manager. Three players being sent off from one team hasn’t happened in the Prem in nearly 20 years.

Megan: Yeah I enjoyed that the manager got sent off, because at least it meant he couldn’t berate Mitrović too much for losing his head and shoving the ref. You can’t tell someone off for doing exactly what you just did.

Natalie: Anyway, Richmond were not doing well here , but on Nate’s side… Okay. Look. Here’s where they are really testing me. Do you think it’s intentional, the way they did it? For the episode to suggest to viewers that Nate snubbing Ted as an actual snub, then surprise us by saying he didn’t mean it? Or are we meant to buy that he was genuinely just distracted the whole time? Surely we are meant to think it’s a snub. And honestly, we would have no reason not to.

Megan: I think we’re meant to think it’s a snub, and I’m not sure I 100% believe him when he says he didn’t mean to. I feel like that could be him covering himself because he realises the reporter thinks it was poor of him. However I guess he is very excited and screams at the end when they win, so maybe he really does just want to get out there and celebrate.

Natalie: I do 100% believe him, which is what makes me feel so stretched here. I think that the show thinks he means it. But I struggle to buy it.

Megan: Yeah, maybe I struggle to believe him because we’ve skipped too much of him in the last six weeks for me to feel confident about what he’s saying here. Because I genuinely do believe he is sincere about wanting to apologise to Ted, but he does seem to be enjoying his victory a lot in this press conference.

Natalie: The press conference was another moment that, like his response to the goals in the first half, and to winning at the end, does channel that vibe I got of truly, more than I ever saw with Richmond, feeling that Nate is a ride or die footy fan who just loves it so much.I know it’s stupid to say, because we obviously had circumstantial proof of that before. But I don’t feel like we ever captured moments of his face or energy or anything that really were about him being passionate about the game, in that heartfelt, delighted way. Probably some people would scold me for that and just say I didn’t pay attention to him before, but I really do think it’s got a new flavour here.

Megan: I would say obviously the moment in the photo, where he jumps into Ted’s arms to celebrate a goal. That’s pretty passionate and heartfelt. But the rest of the time he mostly seems angry or stressed on the sidelines. Not happy like this.

Natalie: Yeah, but honestly I am also including his happiness when celebrating those goals when he was kitman and coach there. That was obviously like, success for the team. I am not talking about how he reacted to winning matches with Richmond even. I’m talking about the way these moments made me feel about his wider relationship with football for football’s sake. I feel it way more now. Don’t know why.

Megan: No, I get that.

Natalie: I absolutely think he was being honest in that interview, and he goes to try and remedy the mistake. But fate intervenes. It’s so interesting to me that he watches Ted talking to Trent of all people, and is going to approach him to say his piece. After all that’s happened, having Trent as a witness would be quite heavy.

Megan: Yeah you’re right actually, the way he says “Excuse me a minute” and then immediately goes to find him does make it more likely that he was honest. Trent would have loved to have witnessed that, it would have made for such a good moment for his book. But alas, it was not to be.

Natalie: Nate really steeled himself and decided to go and do the right thing, but he keeps being pulled onto the path towards Rupert’s dark side even when not actively taking the steps.

Megan: Yeah. He let himself get caught by Rupert, and now he’s really struggling to get away. Which is exactly what Sassy said Rebecca did back in season 1. It’s just how Rupert operates clearly. I do think this moment in Bones and Honey has to be when he starts to shake himself free a bit. Both as you said because of Rupert’s performative “call me Rupert,” but also he doesn’t seem impressed to see Rupert cheating on Bex.

Natalie: Who knows the intentions of the Russian actress? This is very literally Nate in like a den of vice, you have entered a new circle of hell, situation. It’s so far from Richmond in terms of energy, except for the fact he still can’t handle a Martini.

Megan: Look, fair. All alcohol tastes disgusting to me so I’m with him on that one. At least he managed to spit it out without her noticing. I’m curious to see what his next move is, but I do hope whatever it is it includes seeing more of his actual day to day dynamic with the West Ham team, and how much it’s changed since the start of the season.

Natalie: I said before that I think that’s the key to his arc for me and yeah, I feel like it’s needed. Overall, I feel like he’s in a place where the scales have to be falling off about Rupert, but it doesn’t make that the fault of West Ham’s footballers. We obviously will have to see the Richmond home game for West Ham later in the season. Do you think it’ll be the last match of the season?

Megan: Narratively it would be very satisfying for it to be. And also very stressful for everyone involved, both on screen and myself watching it.

Natalie: I think it could make a lot of sense, but I am wondering if Nate will be “back in the fold” before the end of the season. Given that I really don’t want him back in the Richmond dressing room with this crop of players, it’s still plausible. But I am expecting a very different energy from the next Richmond v West Ham match. Hopefully it’s a “fuck Rupert Mannion” energy from all sides.

Megan: Agreed. I don’t really want to speak it into the universe, because it’s a football jinx, but it could be that Nate is back in the fold in the sense that they have all forgiven him and made up, but Nate is still at West Ham, the match ends with a draw, and it’s that one point that means West Ham wins the league, because Richmond needed the whole three points to do it. Or some similar scenario mathematically. But because they’re all good again, everyone is happy for Nate despite West Ham winning.

Natalie: That seems really possible. Maybe you’re like Chris Powell, making predictions that are always right. Are you the one making things happen?

Megan: I don’t want that to happen, so I really hope not!

Natalie: I feel like Richmond and West Ham could both like, not win, but both get to the Champions League, and it ends with Roy and Nate being like “see you in Europe,” (despite the fact that by the time they played each other in the CL, they’d be in the semi finals and it would not happen in Europe…) I don’t know. Anyway, Ted is obviously not thinking that far ahead. In terms of how things play out for the Richmond folk this week, were you surprised that Sassy did go home with Ted? It was a question mark last week.

Megan: Not really. The two of them clearly have a good enough time together that as long as they’re both single, if they see each other at an event I tend to assume they’ll always end up going home with each other. I love Sassy, so I am always all for it when that happens and we don’t normally see much of the aftermath of their hook-ups, so I really enjoyed this scene for seeing more of that!

Natalie: As much as they do like each other, I think Ted asking her out was a bit “going through the motions” because Michelle has a boyfriend. Like, “Hey, I could try this, right?” Not to say that there couldn’t be a good relationship there if they chose to enter one and develop that vibe further, but…

Megan: Oh yeah, 100%. Like Sassy’s response pretty much put an end to me entertaining any thoughts that they might end up together, she very much does not want to be the one to fix Ted, which is extremely valid of her. But I don’t think he really wanted a relationship with her beyond what they’ve got. I think it’s Ted feeling like he needs to move on in the same way Michelle clearly has, and given how much fun he and Sassy do have, well why not? I do love how utterly horrified she is at the thought though. And it’s not that she doesn’t like Ted! She is just very aware of how much of a mess Ted is and knows it’s not what he needs right now. She’s also probably smart enough to realise that, given he told her about Michelle and Jake last night, Ted is asking because he thinks he needs to move on and start seeing people. She doesn’t want to be his “Look, I’m doing so well at being divorced” girlfriend.

Natalie: It’s fair. And funny. I think Ted feels like this could be a potential, and he is kind of stung by it throughout the rest of the episode, but I’m sorry. How does he not know he’s a mess?

Megan: Well I think he’s probably always been a bit of a mess, and he managed to make it work for a fair while with Michelle despite that. Maybe he thinks being a mess is fine and normal and shouldn’t have a bearing on whether or not he’s dateable.

Natalie: Yeah, I mean offering to drive for the Uber guy is a sign of him being a mess that he isn’t aware of, I guess. A toxic pleaser.

Megan: I used to have a five star rating on Uber. And then it dropped down and I still have no idea what journey caused that, but I’m so sad about it.

Natalie: It’s weird to be a five, Megan. As established. Are you also a toxic pleaser?

Megan: That is a trait I can sometimes have, yes. I’d just like to know what I did wrong in the past! And you can see Sassy trying her hardest to be like Ted when she gets into her own Uber — maybe she’s gunning for a five too!

Natalie: Definitely trying to get the average up, at least. I loved how they used this as a way to communicate issues, and Ellie Taylor’s delivery on that line” Oh God you’re a five, aren’t you? Of course you’re a five. How the fuck are you a five?” was one of my favourite moments of the show so far. It’s one of those really specific slice of life things.

Megan: Yeah I cracked up, and then immediately thought about the fact that I used to be a five and got a bit concerned about what that said about me. It was such a good line though.

Natalie: Next time, offer to drive.

Megan: Yeah. that’ll do it.

Natalie: Also very specific, the 2011 casual sex film references. This is a classic of rom communism. Notably both those couples do end up together in the films. No Strings Attached, with Portman and Kutcher, is a particularly brilliant romcom written by the woman who went on to create New Girl, Elizabeth Meriweather. But that mix-up always gets me, especially now that Kunis and Kutcher are married in real life.

Megan: Yes! I always forget which is which, and Kunis and Kutcher do not help. Sassy clearly doesn’t remember the ending of those films though, otherwise she might have been less emphatic about the fact that the two of them should not date.

Natalie: Maybe this is a clue that they are MFEO?

Megan: Look, of all the potential people that Ted could end up with, I do think Sassy’s personality would be best for him. I think she is not afraid to challenge him and call him out on shit, and make him address what he’s thinking and feeling, as we see in this scene. We’ll talk about the Rebecca-specific scene later, but I think her issue is that she is just as repressed and therapy shy as Ted is, and I worry that the two of them would end up enabling their worst instincts there. Sharon I think would be similar to Sassy, but Jake and Michelle have put me off that relationship.

Natalie: Yeah, great point. Someone with a therapist’s brain but not his therapist.

Megan: Exactly.

Natalie: And the element you said about repression is key for Tedbecca being a bit of a minefield. It’s something we have already seen disrupt relationships in Ted Lasso. Roy and Keeley, for example, even last season, they both struggle to say what they mean and feel. I was stunned to see Keeley erupt and scream at Roy in 2.07, but in retrospect it makes sense because the more I watch the show the more I see how many things Keeley sits on and how much she holds back. She isn’t very open with her feelings or good at expressing them. Neither is Roy. They imploded. We still haven’t seen what their breakup actually looked like, if it was a fight or what, but generally when someone is very, very repressed, their best partner is someone who is really not like that at all, and who can open up easily, maybe providing the space for the repressed person to take steps that way too. Two repressed people just curl further in on themselves. Side note: This is why Jamie Tartt is Ted Lasso’s best boyfriend material. Not Ted the character. The show. Had to be said.

Megan: Yes thank you, for a second there I thought you were really throwing a curveball in for where you wanted Ted to end up, relationship wise.

Natalie: Well, and Sam, of course. But Jamie is extra-charged with self expression. But Sam and Rebecca could be good in that way. His openness allowing her to become more open.

Megan: I think Roy is a bit better at forcing himself to do it when he really needs to. There are key moments throughout where he does do it — talking to Ted about Keeley and Jamie before they started up, saying how the Vanity Fair article photo snub made him feel, obviously the recent scene where he talks about leaving Chelsea. But it also seems like he also hasn’t forced himself to properly talk to Keeley about why he broke up with her, so he’s still got plenty of work to do.

Natalie: Yeah, and none of those examples were talking to Keeley. It doesn’t count. I am not talking about their ability to express things in general. I’m talking about the way it happens when they are together, how the things they do affect one another. Roy and Keeley can bitch to other people about their feelings as much as they want, but they do NOT express how the other makes them feel TO the other. Ted and Rebecca, while they do open up in their vulnerabilities sometimes as friends, may fall into an even worse version of that trap. Sassy would make him talk about his feelings on their relationship. Jamie would make Roy and Keeley both do it, hence why throuple is the best option for them, Jamie would help their dynamic a lot. But two repressed people would just end up mirroring each other’s behaviour. There’s a great line in Brett’s other show, Shrinking which took me out. Which is when a very stoned Harrison Ford gave this newly engaged couple marital advice. He says “Stay open. Stay open. If your defences come up, you’re fucked. But two vulnerable people will always find a way to connect.” Ted is at HIGH risk of not “staying open” within a lot of relationships. So is Rebecca, so is Roy, so is Keeley.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 2 in conversation: There’s a part of me thinking maybe I should have stayed

Megan: Yeah that is really true. And we do see some of them taking strides to be better I think. We see Ted do it at the end of this episode with Michelle a bit, and I think Roy tried a bit in the season 2 finale. His “You’re not going to have time for me anymore” and “are we breaking up?” were him voicing his worries, but Keeley brushed them aside, and I can imagine he didn’t then push to discuss further. I think the determining factor for me as to who any of them should be dating by the end of the season will be how much further along they have all gotten when it comes to staying open and being vulnerable.

Natalie: Yeah, that’s true, and we will talk about Ted and Michelle because that felt like a big change there. Roy and Keeley… Honestly I think Keeley has more issues than meets the eye, but we will see.

Megan: Keeley is more outwardly positive than Roy, but it’s a mask to cover up what’s going on inside and I think it means people fixate more on Roy’s issues than hers sometimes. But yeah, I have no idea what will happen next with her arc!

Natalie: In this circumstance, Ted is bummed out enough by Sassy’s rejection to be asking everyone about it, but his team have other problems to worry about, namely losing their minds trying to outthink Nate. This episode highlights Beard and Roy as a unit in a way I adore, but it’s possible that maybe they’re kinda bad for each other. Beard can be both super wise, and super toxic. Neither of them are risk averse men. They could get into real trouble together depending on which brain cells are driving. They could take in an arthouse film, sure, and then beat up some thugs in an alley together. This episode obviously has them sharing one of the bad braincells.

Megan: Hopefully the end result will be a bit of a wake-up call for them, about how to best challenge each other and hold each other to account in a professional setting, and then if they want to go watch a film and fight people outside of Nelson Road, who are we to stop them? Right now they are really far too focused on playing and beating Nate, not West Ham as whole, and it’s really gotten into their heads. They are one of my favourite duos to watch, but if I’m going to keep rooting for the season to end with Richmond manager Roy and his assistant coach Beard, I’m going to need them to get a grip on that! I think Ted’s advice generally, that they need to calm down and chill out and “Keep It Simple Smartypants” is probably right, but he could then be a bit more proactive in helping them reach an answer, outside of just “an answer will show up.” He keeps going back and forth this season between being very proactive and firm as a coach, like when he made Roy fix things with Trent, and being very hands-off and checked out. I feel like this episode was one where he should have been a bit more hands on at times.

Natalie: Well, that’s a big part of what’s said here. He’s pretty detached from the situation they’re facing and it’s hard to tell if that’s because he truly is so Zen about Nate that he’s acting like this is all just a normal situation, or if he’s so deep into it that he’s delusional. The Diamond Dogs are very insistent that Ted should be hurt and angry about Nate. Like, forget Sassy, they take Ted’s mess question and slap Nate right on top of it as an example. They’re all totally convinced that he’s really fucked up over it, even Roy who is pretending not to listen. Roy will participate in Diamond Dog-like activities, like ooooohing at Ted getting laid, and rating Julie Andrews, as long as they’re not labelled as such. He’s out if you try to put a collar on him though.

Megan: Perfect. Great way of putting it. He’s still stubbornly trying to pretend he isn’t a Diamond Dog and fooling absolutely nobody. Before this episode I did think Ted should let himself be more angry about Nate, but now that we’ve seen it all play I genuinely think his approach is the most healthy. He really is doing okay with Nate. I do think Roy is right to call Ted out, even though he 100% isn’t listening, to a certain extent. Because saying “Nate didn’t hurt me” feels like a bit of a lie. Ted might not currently be hurting, but it had to have been painful at the time.

Natalie: I don’t know. I think that… I think that if he is okay with it, he shouldn’t be? Like it could be such a deeply locked box of pain that just isn’t obvious to him?

Megan: Yeah and maybe that’s why he says “Nate didn’t hurt me”, maybe he truly believes it. Especially because the Michelle stuff is the bigger wound.

Natalie: Like he can’t truly be balanced enough for this not to have hurt him. It has to come up again. There is no way that they’re not having a conversation about it. I do think that he’s ready to forgive, that he does want it all to be good, like we said in the elevator. But it is literally unbelievable to think that yeah, what he did didn’t make him angry and hurt. And in ways it’s almost unfair too, on everyone else. Nate’s betrayal and shit talking IS something that everyone in that dressing room 100% has the right to be upset about. Ted being like “No, what he did was fine actually, no big deal” is bizarrely unfair to everyone else it impacted.

Megan: Yeah that’s true. Ted isn’t the only one Nate hurt, he shouldn’t get to forgive and absolve him on behalf of everyone. He can only do that for himself. You can see how much Roy has been impacted by it for instance. Maybe if Ted had done more to acknowledge Roy and Beard’s really valid anger, things would have played out differently later on.

Natalie: For sure.

Megan: But because he’s decided they aren’t angry with Nate anymore, Roy and Beard don’t have a healthy outlet and they go very rogue.

Natalie: This episode is a big failure on Ted’s part due to his unwillingness to engage with some of the hard stuff.

Megan: Okay you have convinced me, I have come full circle and no longer think his approach was the most healthy.

Natalie: I wasn’t trying to! I just feel like it has to be there.

Megan: Well you did it anyway!

Natalie: I want to talk for one second about Roy’s anger. Not later, here.

Megan: Please.

Natalie: Roy punching the board when Higgins questions whether Zava will do their plan… I mean. One, fuck Zava, the idea that they don’t have control over the players in a formation is just so bad. But two, did you take Roy’s behaviour here as like, narratively a problem? Or just like a joke? Because I really can’t work it out. It’s obvious that Roy has these knee jerk outbursts that are sometimes violent in the sense of being destructive. Like trashing the board, throwing the food at the wall, all that. Lunging at Jamie and being held back by four players. Are those moments comedic beats to you, or a sign of like, a problem in his behaviour? Because Ted Lasso has never narratively called it out. I really feel like they think it may be a comedy beat, like “oh, this is what Roy does, he acts out.” But if you put those exact actions, like someone throwing food at the wall while scolding someone, someone punching a wall or whatever, in this case flipping the white board, to express anger, if you showed that scene in a straight drama, with tense music, you’d say “That person is a threat. That’s fucked up.” In Ted Lasso, I do think it’s a joke, like in season 1 when Roy nods approvingly at Nate elbowing the door and breaking the glass. But it’s a bit hit or miss. That’s the kind of thing we should be seeing him in therapy for, but I don’t think we will. It’s obviously a product of his upbringing and it doesn’t, thankfully, impact how he treats women. He doesn’t have anger issues with Keeley or whatever. So I think we will just see this as How Roy Acts, and everyone knows it’s harmless. Is that okay with you?

Megan: I think that the way they have the characters react to it shows that nobody around Roy thinks it’s actually an issue. Keeley makes jokes in season 2 about if Roy murdered Jamie — she’s laughing because she knows he wouldn’t. Jamie laughs at Roy yelling at Trent, because he knows Roy’s not going to do anything, it’s just him being Roy. With the exception of the players holding him back from Jamie — who again isn’t shown to be scared, just wants to make it known he didn’t say anything — I think the way they show how everyone else reacts, with a kind of fond eyeroll, means that nobody actually thinks Roy will act with violence towards people. And I do believe that of him, so it’s not something that bothers me from a “I think Roy is aggressive or a threat” point of view. I do however think it feeds into his inability to express his feelings, in the moment, in an open and vulnerable way, unless forced. So I would like to see him address his repression in general, and I do feel like if he can do that more widely, the random punching of inanimate objects will probably happen less. If he does take over as manager at the end he will have a lot more power and a lot more responsibility and at that point in time it would be better for him to not have so many violent outbursts, because future new members of the team and staff won’t have the same level of amused acceptance.

Natalie: Yeah. I can’t have him lunging at Jamie like that, for instance, if he’s the manager. He was still acting like he was Jamie’s peer there, in their weird bubble, and I’m sure that bubble will remain, but he CANNOT do that as the manager. We know that some managers have done some very abusive stuff to players, Roy will not be one of them.

Megan: Yeah because even if Jamie remains unaffected, it’s not going to look okay from the outside to other younger players. And we know that Roy is protective of the players generally! That was a huge theme of episode 2! So again I think they show us in other ways that he isn’t a threat, but at a certain point he needs to change that behaviour.

Natalie: He’s very good with children. Once they are his children, he will change.

Megan: I think, as with Ted’s avoidance issues and forced optimism, Roy mostly only hurts himself with this way of dealing with things. But just like Ted not acknowledging Nate’s hurt has implications on all of them here, sometimes Roy not channelling his emotions into less angry expressions will have a knock-on effect on others sometimes too. The way they all bark at Roy though, and make “Here boy” sounds and gestures to him when he slips up and engages in the Diamond Dog conversation. God, it cracks me up. That is a room full of people that could not be less scared of that angry repressed man if they tried.

Natalie: They’ll get him in the end. Barking and all. It’s a good thing Trent’s in the dressing room with the team, because if that moment made the book… God, Roy would die.

Megan: He would have to quit his job and move to a remote island somewhere and hide from the world for the rest of his life. In the dressing room meanwhile, we have a return of two of my favourite Jamie elements: his ICON hat, and his inability to sit properly.

Natalie: This is maybe my favourite Jamie fit ever.

Megan: Until the next one?

Natalie: He is repping the Richmond colours here, telling us visually that he is embodying the team. And it’s such a cool outfit. But so is Isaac’s and so is Zoreaux’s.

Megan: I like Moe’s too! There are some really great looks here.

Natalie: Jamie’s sneaker soles are so thick they’re basically platforms, and I also enjoy that. But this is another busy scene with a number of small moments that matter. For starters we have Rebecca Lowe and Jermaine Jenus on the TV, talking about the match. When Jermaine supports the Greyhounds, Isaac says “That’s my guy,” and Colin is clearly pushing the boundaries there about what he can get away with, assimilating into the gay joke culture while also testing how people will respond. Trent is extremely aware of it.

Megan: Yeah, the way he looks up at that moment… I know a few people are concerned, based on how episode 3 ended, that Trent is going to end up outing Colin, and I think this moment will only enhance that fear for those people, but I feel pretty confident it won’t go that route. And in the meantime, the rest of the team laugh along with Colin and just think it’s all a good joke. The next moment with Zoreaux is interesting too. I know that there will obviously be some team members that will feature more prominently in storylines this season, but I do enjoy that they’re giving us a bit more about some of the other more side roles. Richard and his fine wine, and now having Zoreaux be the one to step up and tell them all to stop focusing on the TV because they have work to do. I appreciated Zava backing Zoreaux up, and I also liked that despite the hero worship, Zoreaux still tried to correct Zava on his name pronounciation. I say “tried.” Zava obviously didn’t respond in the usual way. The background expressions of the team here are so good! The way the rest of the team move their heads from Zava to Zoreaux, shocked that Zoreaux would correct him. And then Jamie’s disgusted face when Zava talks about his kid’s name is incredible. These big group dressing room scenes have been some of my favourite moments so far this season.

Natalie: Important things on a few levels here. Zava is making Zoreaux feel validated and special with the name thing, when he’s actually just worming his way out of being corrected. He’s not willing to just say it right, he has to reinvent the wheel about it, all so he doesn’t have to say he was wrong.

Megan: Yes! He’s being very faux wise and philosophical about it, and everyone except for Jamie falls for it.

Natalie: And when he stood up and says Zoreaux is right, he really just wanted to be The One People Were Listening To — and it worked, everyone treated Zava’s statement with so much more depth even though it was a wanky way of saying the same thing. He is exhausting.

Megan: He’s entertaining to watch, but he makes me want to smack (nearly) everyone around the back of their head and tell them to wake up. Jamie is of course one of the few exceptions to getting a smack, but even he’s forced to agree with Zava that they should just stay focused on the game. I love that once again he’s stepping into that leadership role in the dressing room, though I imagine he’s been a bit side-lined in recent weeks because of Zava.

Natalie: They kind of still sideline his thoughts to just appreciate Zava, but boy is he trying, and he isn’t above saying he agrees with Zava on the matter. The matter being, ignoring the punditry even when it’s in their favour, and just focusing on their job. This is the poopeh message that he’s still retaining, and I just can’t wait until everyone has to bow down and be like… “Jamie… we understand now… you were right all along.” It’s weird that no one other than Roy has seemed to notice or care about Jamie’s issue with Zava. Like, Jamie is still good friends with everyone, but they all follow Zava around, and Jamie doesn’t. Is no one like “where’s our baby boy?”

Megan: I guess Zava is still a bit of an enigma. Like, he shows up late to Sam’s restaurant, I don’t know that I get the impression he hangs out with them all outside of Nelson Road. And even at the club, I imagine they don’t all follow him around like ducklings 100% of the time, so they probably still hang out with Jamie at points. However, Jamie’s not the most subtle when it comes to hiding his confusion or disgust at some of Zava’s antics, so they have to be picking up on it! Maybe they just think he’s jealous, but as long as he’s not making trouble they’ll let it slide.

Natalie: They are all falling for this absolute bullshit like “Dream big and you may never wake up.” Jamie is a bigger person than me if he comes out of this still respecting his friends. Like, he must feel so isolated, and like they’re all just nuts.

Megan: He does have some experience of losing himself because of the impact of someone on his life. It’s a very different situation of course, but he acknowledges in season 1 that the reason he acts the way he does is because he wants to get his dad off his back, but that his behaviour was nothing to be proud of. He understands that people can do very weird things when influenced by others, and I think he also has to know how much of a big deal Zava is, even if he doesn’t personally care. He would have met some huge names when playing at City, maybe there were moments where he was starstruck — though hopefully less ridiculous about it — so he can understand that element. But even so, it has to feel shit, and I would privately be very pissed off at them all.

Natalie: Yeah, I know he will forgive it, but I really hope someone says something about how right he was, LOL. Even things like, you know, Jamie getting up in his Richmond tie dye hoodie being like “We’ve got to do this and that,” yeah, and Isaac joining him being like “he’s right!” but he’s pointing at Zava’s departing back… God. So annoying. Now comes the moment of truth when they discover the sign has been ripped. Nice fix, Ted. You could have just made a new one. This moment is one I was SO wrong about in the trailer! I assumed Isaac was high-fiving it as a goodbye! Not so. This is just our way of learning that the sign is structurally unsound. Because half of it falls off the wall. And poor Jamie nearly gets chopped in half along with it.

Megan: Jamie’s muttered little “Oh shit” when he sees the sign cracks me up. And then the exchange between him and Isaac! He is so offended that Isaac could have chopped him in half! So offended! And his little “no” as he shakes his head at Isaac’s apology. Just brilliant. My other favourite element though is Moe “Follow the Money” Bumbercatch being the one going over to investigate — giving Jamie’s shoulder a little squeeze as he walks past — and determining that the sign was ripped in half. I’ve always found the Richmond himbo scenes funny, but they really really have stepped it up this season.

Natalie: Bumbercatch is really becoming a sleeper hit.

Megan: He and Trent could team up and become amateur detectives.

Natalie: Given football superstition, I’m kind of glad they did find out the truth, that it was ripped, rather than assuming another curse.

Megan: Yes that is true! I dread to think what Colin would burn next to try and break the curse.

Natalie: What do you think of Trent here, taking the matter to his new best friend Roy (plus Beard) and finding out the answer? I don’t know if Trent is meant to be impartial or something, but he is definitely not taking the nature documentary “observe only” approach. He’s meddling, suggesting things, helping. Getting quite invested! Again, some people really seem to still not trust Trent, but I do completely. Don’t know why anyone would suspect he isn’t a Ted loyalist after the season 2 finale.

Megan: He might not be a journalist anymore, but he clearly still likes to snoop and find things out! And now that he has, well I guess he needs to have someone to give that information to! I could see him feeling quite responsible still for the bad press Ted got, probably quite guilty about it, and as such wants to try and make it up to him in some way. I definitely trust Trent. Interestingly, two casual viewers I know, who don’t follow any online theorising and know nothing bar what they see on their screens each week, messaged me to say they were nervous about him, so that does seem to be a fairly widespread concern. But not for me. I have slightly mixed views about the whole ripped sign storyline in general, but that might be better touched upon when we get to the match itself. I found the video really painful to watch though, just so incredibly awkward.

Natalie: Yeah, the desperation and farce of it is really tough. It paints Nate as so angry and so ineffectual. A choice was made, by the show, to have him failing, falling off the chair, showing that determination that looks foolish and gives us second-hand embarrassment. They didn’t have to do it like that. They could have just had him manage it cleanly the first time. Choosing to make this footage from the day of the promotion match so ridiculous, allowing Roy and Beard to snigger at it, and Ted to very much not, that was a very specific choice made by the Ted Lasso writers in how they are framing this moment for Nate.

Megan: They snigger, but at the same time they’re shaking their heads and both sound disbelieving. They’ve obviously watched it multiple times by now, and are still so disgusted with it, but you can sense how betrayed they feel about it. I guess in the list of things they knew Nate had done, Ted must have kept the sign ripping from them both and just repaired it himself. I think part of the reason I found it personally so difficult to watch is because it felt almost too manipulative a choice for me. Making him look so foolish and desperate made him such a pathetically sympathetic character, and I didn’t like being hit so hard over the head with it. Especially because the team gets SO angry about it when they watch it, which feels inappropriate given how Nate comes across. I guess for the players the sign is their talisman, and when they watch it they are all amped up from the game anyway so they’d react more angrily, but in this moment, I felt like I was being pushed too fast to forgive Nate.

Natalie: That’s interesting. Yeah, the destruction of the sign is very much a symbolic gesture — it isn’t the thing I’m mad at him about! — but they really leaned into the “just a little guy” element. It didn’t have that effect on me, what you mentioned didn’t cross my mind, re: manipulating the audience. I mostly felt surprised at the fact that they were choosing to make him mockable, showing people laughing at his efforts. I see your point, but the in-universe people watching it are not going to be like “awwww, he’s just a little guy,” except Ted. I can imagine how Nate would feel if he knew people saw that undignified moment and he would just lose it completely. Making us feel sympathy for him by doing that may have been their aim, but if you felt that was what they were asking yet didn’t FEEL it, and I didn’t take it that way at all, I guess not that successful an angle. I’m still really wondering what parts of Nate’s story we were meant to feel sorry for at the end of season 2, what parts make Brett Goldstein say he wants to give him a hug. Not being facetious, I would really like this explained from their perspective. Because applying their future knowledge of Nate’s arc, or their knowledge of his backstory, isn’t helpful in terms of what the audience sees now. I want to know, from them, in a spoiler free way, what there is to feel sorry for at the end of season 2 aside from “Sorry that you’re so delusional,” which doesn’t make his actions any better.

Megan: God, Nate would be so mortified if he knew they’d all seen it. He wouldn’t ever want to come back to Richmond. I think maybe it is right for me to bring up the crux of my issue with the sign storyline for me, because essentially I’ve seen people reference a few times that they think the thing that people are most angry about with Nate is him ripping up the sign. That it’s the reason people hated him so much. And sure, maybe there are some people out there who have that as their biggest reason for disliking him right now, but for me, as discussed previously, it’s his treatment of women, and also his decision to out Ted’s private health issues, that leave me feeling so negatively towards him. And so in this episode we see the video of him ripping up the sign, and then later we see that action turn the players so apoplectic with rage that they completely lose their heads and self-sabotage the game, and then at the end the lesson we take from it is that Beard and Roy were wrong to show them and everyone was wrong to get so angry about it. It’s really possible that I am reading way too much into this, but it feels like the messaging from the show is that we, the audience, should chill out about the sign. I worry that the writers aren’t going to address the real reasons people might still take issue with Nate enough for a redemption arc to land with me. I don’t feel this way about any other storyline, but because the Ted Lasso writers have said they were so shocked by the anger towards Nate, and because we’re expecting them to lean into trying to address it this season, I guess I’m just more aware of it.

Natalie: I feel pretty confident that the show isn’t going to just like… say “Okay Nate is fine and we are all working to forgive him.” I don’t know what kind of things he will have to do or address, but I do feel sure that anger at Nate is not being narratively dismissed with this episode just because “playing with hate” was a bad move. Regarding the issue with Keeley and with women in general, this episode showed two attempted flirtations I guess, with Jade and then with Anastasia being shoved upon him. I think the season will include some Nate dating antics, which may or may not address your issues incidentally. I don’t know if the message here was people were wrong to get so angry about the sign, but I do think the sign is a symbolic thing to focus on that is nowhere close to the real issue. I also think that if Roy and Beard had showed the video to the team several days before the match, and given them that fire but then honed it into how they were going to play, not sent them out there with freshly flaming heads, that may have gone a lot differently. Maybe Ted was the one who was wrong to deny them the first chance — playing Devil’s Advocate here, I know that isn’t the message. But Nate was happy to use a video of Jamie being a twat to anger Richmond in the season 1 finale, so even at his best, even Nate himself may have backed this move if he was still with the team and not the subject of the video.

Megan: It might not be the message we’re meant to take away from it, but I think you are right! That if they had shown them a few days beforehand, let them learn from it, but then go with a new drive to win, it could have gone very differently. Nate uses anger to motivate more than once in season 1 — he does it with the pre-Everton roast too — so he’s not adverse to it as a concept, but he would hate to know people had seen that video, and I think he’d lash out at someone because of it. In season 2 it’s Will he lashes out at when he feels foolish about the Wonder Kid comment, this would likely be the same.

Natalie: I really don’t see Beard and Roy ever coming around on Nate, in the long run, do you?

Megan: Honestly no, at least not enough to ever work with him again. I think they’ll get to a stage where they could be civil around him at matches, but I think he’s lost their trust and respect.

Natalie: It doesn’t surprise me that Ted brushes off their idea. I’m more surprised at the idea they thought he would go for it.

Megan: Honestly same. Maybe they think being faced with such visual evidence of Nate’s betrayal will spur him into action, but I don’t know why they’d think that.

Natalie: Ted’s focus is just not anywhere on the continent of Europe right now, even for this. This episode has a lot of moments that kind of tie Ted and Nate together. At the start, after we finish up at Nate’s flat, it’s the photo of Nate on Ted’s dresser that brings us into Ted’s bedroom. Later, it’s mutual phone scrolling, both looking at the same article. We go from Nate seeking counsel from Rupert to Rebecca visiting Ted in his office. Ted’s been looking at his phone and there are a few delightful Easter eggs in there — aside from the extremely incorrect dates, that I am begging everyone to ignore (for the record, it is NOT 2022 in Ted’s world, we are in October 2021, season 2 ended five months ago for them in May 2021 per the video camera footage of Nate and the dates written on last season’s whiteboard) there’s some real gems. I promise you that Ted did not text Nate in November 2021 saying congrats on the new gig, namely because November 2021 hasn’t happened yet for Ted, but it’s nice that he texted at all. The fact that his last communication with Sassy is Liking a pic she sent is very eyebrows. With Roy, it’s Ted hearting a “No.” Keeley, there’s her hearting a message preview to her saying “Just making sure you got home,” presumably “safely” or whatever — dying for more about their friendship. In 3.02 she got a text from him asking her out for drinks to commiserate about the break up. I wonder if she took him up on it. To Will, “Thank you so much, bud, you’re the best.” To Trent, “Did I really say that???” To Sam, “Everything was delicious, I’m blown away,” To Isaac, “I don’t think that’s a good idea, bud,” and then his last text to Jamie, many months back, just says “Exotic.” WHAT. A real deep cut is a birthday message to Ron Fowch, the friend from elementary school who pooped in the Butterfingers wrapper. But the point is, Ted scrolls all the way back to the (timeline-accurate) autumn of 2019, to look at Doctor Jake’s appointment texts from the period of marriage counselling before Ted leaves the US for England. He’s really dwelling in that situation when Rebecca pays him a visit.

Megan: I would personally like to dwell on what exactly was the context for “exotic.” That is going to haunt me forever until I know what was happening. Alas we don’t find out — not in this episode anyway. Rebecca goes there initially to make it clear to Ted just how much she wants to win against Richmond, but the conversation once again turns to Sassy calling Ted a mess. She really got to him with that comment!

Natalie: Rebecca pulling out the Oklahoma at the worst possible time. Ted has been open about this Jake issue to some people including Sassy but I get the impression Rebecca does not know. Why do you think he hasn’t shared? They are usually fairly open about things as friends. This year, though, I guess she’s so focused on winning and he already knows his head isn’t in it, he might not want her to think he’s so distracted.

Megan: God right? Like on the one hand, it’s a nice throwback to season 1 and one of the first times he properly opened up to her. On the other hand, that is really really bad timing Rebecca! Honestly I think it’s the reason you’ve put. There’s been a bit more distance between them so far this season. She has such tunnel vision about beating Rupert, and he just can’t seem to make himself care that much, and I can imagine that means he’s a little wary of hunting her down for a heart to heart. As an aside, the fact that Rebecca and Sassy clearly discuss Sassy’s hook-ups with Ted in at least some level of detail is one of the things that makes me feel the most doubtful about Ted and Rebecca being endgame for Ted Lasso. Because unless Rebecca honestly has no idea at this stage that she has romantic feelings for Ted, I feel sure that some of that would come out in her conversations with Sassy, her oldest friend. And that Sassy, as she has made clear she has no interest in dating Ted, would then stop seeking Ted out in deference to Rebecca’s feelings.

Natalie: Yeah, no matter what happens next, I am sure that right now Rebecca does not consciously think she has feelings for Ted and vice versa. It could pop up, but I do not think that is a conscious thing either of them are thinking as of right now. Her response to whether he’s a mess is pretty kindred spirity, but the fact they’re both messy doesn’t fill me with hope for a great love story either. Her reason for coming down is to remind him how much this victory means to her, and that of course is its own mess. It feels like Ted just isn’t trying, like, well, like depression really. When you know you have to get up and do this thing, you see it coming at you, but you just… don’t… do it.

Megan: Her saying “Of course you are, that’s why we get along” is part of what I said earlier about the two of them enabling their own worst instincts of avoidance and repression if they ever got together. I will say she enjoyed his pun — a work in progmess — a lot more than Sassy enjoys his earlier attempt. So maybe at least where his puns are concerned, they’re a good fit. There was a brief moment in episode 2 during the Chelsea match where it felt like Ted was a bit more invested again, and even when Zava first arrived in episode 3 he was on board with trying to get him to integrate with the team. But the second he found out about Jake, he’s been thrown off course, and he’s just going through the motions again.

Natalie: I want to know how Ted genuinely expected to handle Nate. Not even the emotional side. The “winning the match” side. The fact that the opposition knows their moves. He wasn’t that interested in Beard and Roy’s plans. His contribution is “something will come up.” He doesn’t want to use the video to motivate the team. How was he expecting to win this match? Because it seems to me like he tries to fob Rebecca off by saying she already won, and she is very much like…. “No.” Ted was not motivated here at all, despite everything to do with Nate, everything to do with Rebecca. He seemed to have no thoughts at all about how to best win this match, even just in terms of trying to win a normal football game. Again, the depression avoidance thing, this big overwhelming issue that is just coming at you and you’re like “Uh uh. No thanks. Won’t look.”

Megan: Two potential thoughts occur to me. The more surface one is that maybe he’s just hoping that Zava is such an unknown wild card that it will throw Nate off course with how to account for them. You can’t predict what Zava will do, so Nate won’t be able to strategise for that, and it means Ted can continue being distracted by Jake and Michelle and what he’s still doing in London. But I think the deeper thing is what you’ve just touched upon. If he’s hurt by Nate, but still trying to wait for Nate to come to him, to practise radical forgiveness and act like he’s above the anger, he can’t do that if he has to focus in on how to beat Nate. Because that will involve digging into how Nate thinks, how he works, what he learned — or didn’t learn, when it comes to the way Ted is as a person — at Richmond. And if he has to think that deeply about Nate, it’ll be so much harder for him to keep the hurt and anger at bay.

Natalie: Well, either way it does not leave him well placed to help Richmond win and to help Rebecca feel like she has some sense of power over Rupert. Whether or not this is a healthy aim for Rebecca, I don’t know, but I think it’s a valid aim in this case, to really want to bring it all and win this match.

Megan: Yeah regardless of Rebecca’s obsession, it’s generally considered good for a football manager to want to win every match!

Natalie: Upon arriving at West Ham, Rupert is as fake-nice as usual of course, but the connection between Bex and Rebecca stands out in a surprising way. We obviously learn in this episode that Rupert is cheating on Bex, because of course he is. But he does not seem keen on the baby any more, or the way Bex sasses him and makes fun of him. I would love to know what Bex sees in him, but she seems like a genuine person and Rebecca recognizes that. Rupert’s little facial reactions when talking about the baby drooling and poo-ing, and when Bex says she takes after her father… I mean. I don’t know if the Jamie baby daddy idea will come true, but after this episode I feel certain that Rebecca will help Bex in some way. Rupert is clearly over Bex’s humour and age jokes, and the baby’s mess and dependance.

Megan: Where Rupert is concerned, Rebecca is really sticking to her mum’s advice about not stooping to his level. Despite how messy we know she is right now she does such a good job of staying composed when talking to Rupert. And I really enjoyed Bex and Rebecca’s interactions. Bex never slept with Rupert when he and Rebecca were together, as far as we know anyway, so I think Rebecca genuinely doesn’t bear ill will towards her. And by the end of the episode she goes out of her way to stand up for Bex and tell Rupert not to fuck around on her. I think she maybe sees her younger self in Bex, and doesn’t want her to get hurt like Rebecca did. I loved Rebecca in that moment, she really didn’t have a reason to care about Bex, and her fierceness was so glorious. And the way Rupert said “she’s already walking, can you believe that?” did make me pause for thought given your baby daddy theory. Did Rupert say it that way because it’s surprising she’s already walking at her age, implying she’s older? Or does he just not have a clue what’s normal for babies at various ages because he clearly doesn’t care about her?

Natalie: Yeah, her going to bat for Bex, saying that Rupert should stop fucking around because his partner and daughter deserve better, was really an amazing moment because she doesn’t owe that to anyone, it’s just decent. The baby-walking did also make me do some maths! I think they can walk by nine months, depending on the baby. Some take double that amount of time. Not proof by any means, but lampshading her age and development did make me wonder about my crazy theory. From Ted’s perspective, the Nate Rupert elevator moment … I think what stands out for me the most is the fact that Ted is worried about Nate being fucked over too. Ted knows how awful Rupert is. I wonder if he’s been concerned about this all along, or just not thinking about it. If Nate was anywhere else, these worries would not even be a thing. Just an assistant turned rival manager. But Ted knows that Rupert is a horrible manipulative groomer. He’s seen a stronger person than Nate — I think it’s fair to say Rebecca is more naturally “empowered” a character than Nate — admit the specifics on how Rupert dismantled her defences and ruined her life. He has to be worried about what Rupert will do to Nate in this regard, and even if he’s not been thinking about it before, he is definitely thinking about it when he sees Rupert affect Nate so much in the lift. When they both watch Nate walk off… I would say Ted is extremely concerned.

Megan: Yeah he can see Rupert watching Nate leave, and not looking very impressed by him, and he turns Rupert’s focus onto him instead. It leaves more space between Rupert and Nate — Rupert isn’t someone who would chase someone down a corridor to catch up. That’s a theme for this episode with Ted and Rebecca, both of them looking out for someone they don’t currently owe anything to, trying to protect them from Rupert. When it does go badly between Rupert and Nate, Nate won’t have the same status Rebecca had, and he certainly won’t be entitled to the club. Rupert could completely destroy Nate’s career and he would not have any sort of support system to fall back on. And that is an awful thought. No matter my current feelings about Nate’s past actions, he really doesn’t deserve the kind of damage Rupert could do.

Natalie: I wonder if this is something Ted would ever speak to Rebecca about. Getting Nate out, somehow. Or maybe even something Bex would bring to the table, if she bonds with Rebecca.

Megan: Yeah if Bex has some kind of dirt on Rupert that they could use to protect Nate. Honestly I could see the baby coming into play here. Rupert is the kind of man who would hate to be seen as a laughing stock — if word got out that he had been tricked into raising another man’s child, even for just a short while, I think he would hate that. So if Jamie WAS the father, or even if someone else is, that is the kind of thing Rupert would probably want hidden.

Natalie: Something is afoot with Bex and that baby, I can tell. Maybe not Jamie, but something. She actually reminded me a little of him here, with her old-man jokes. Maybe the reason Jamie knows her is because she’s his cousin. So, not his baby, but he’s like the weird uncle.

Megan: Bit weird asking your cousin to bid on you for an auction date, but Jamie can be a bit weird sometimes so maybe!

Natalie: See, here’s the thing — not if it’s a PR stunt, no one knows, and you were never planning to fuck her. It’s actually really safe. Like even with the built in “No, Keeley, not cheating, see,” safety net.

Megan: Plot twist — she’s his half sister, James is her father and they never knew until this season up in Manchester. He is extremely relieved he never slept with her, but also determined to help her leave Rupert. That might be a step too far in the direction of soap operas though.

Natalie: Good Lord. This is really throwing some wild shit at the wall and seeing what sticks, but yeah. Her cheekiness just reminded me of his a bit.

Megan: It’s making me think of that troll white board Jason sat in front of for an interview that one time. The one with post it notes that said things like “Jamie is a ghost”. We’re a bit less out there than that.

Natalie: This is a bit of a sharp segue, but not sure when else to talk about it — before the match, we do see the guys at the Crown and Anchor, and we see Mae yell at Baz for inviting a West Ham friend. The friend acts like there is no issue that they are rooting for different teams, but Baz is peer pressured into kicking him out. He then has a private, deeply troubled look on his face. Do we have time for a Baz storyline here? I think exploring the fans’ perspective and what’s kind of healthy fandom or too extreme or all that could be fun. But that also feels like a whole other show. I did like the guys getting to go on the pitch in season 2, it is implied they watch at the pub because they are too poor for tickets. I hope in the final match of the year they get to go in person. But what on earth is going on here?

Megan: Oh I found that so sad actually! I know a lot of fans enjoy having a rivalry with their friends, and having it be very mocking. A few of my work colleagues love to rib each other on a Monday morning about how badly each other’s teams have done, and I really hate it! I’m always dropping into the conversations trying to get them to be nice to each other and they probably find it very tedious. So I loved the fact that Baz wanted to watch the game with a West Ham supporting friend until Mae ruined it. His face was so crushed and sad and I’m not going to lie based solely on that face alone I thought “Maybe Baz is gay and that man is his boyfriend or someone he wants to be his boyfriend” but it’s more likely Baz was just really sad at having to kick his friend out. Either way I hated it and the type of football fan attitude it represents. I am too soft for football.

Natalie: It could very much be a boyfriend. Baz could be gay and this could be about him, in the long run, being affected by Colin’s arc. It was weirdly nuanced and I would not be shocked at all if we came back to this moment even if it’s not gay. Baz clearly invited him there and at first acts to the others like it’s all good. But he learns his football friends are not okay with “marrying out.” I think we may revisit some more football fan dynamics, because it felt loaded in some way or another.

Megan: I really hope we do. And I actually feel certain we will if Colin is publicly outed, though that element will likely be difficult to watch in the ways we discussed after last week’s episode. In the meantime though we move on swiftly from Baz’s star-crossed friendship to see the match from Richmond’s perspective.

Natalie: Ted Lasso is making the most of all its Premier League access to showcase the atmosphere of a West Ham match, bubbles and all. Beard and Roy look daggers at Ted just for shaking Nate’s hand. I feel like nine times out of ten I will side with Roy over Ted about any issue, but come on, guys. What was he gonna do?

Megan: Yes! Roy should know better than anyone that at the beginning of the match, you shake hands with the other team’s staff. Come on Roy, behave.

Natalie: The first half of the match is pretty messy, just in terms of not much getting done and the team being held against West Ham quite a bit. But on a scale of 1-10 how excited were you to see Dani as the draught excluder?

Megan: I was at about a 100. For those who don’t know, when your opponent gets a free kick in a dangerous position, right in front of the goal, all the players line up and try and block the net. Historically the players would all jump as the ball gets kicked to try and stop it with their heads, but then players started anticipating the jump and kicking the ball underneath their feet and into the goal that way. So to counter that one player will now be designated the “draught excluder.” They lie down behind the line of players, so if the ball goes under their feet they can block it with their body. In episode 2, Dani’s face scored a goal. In this episode he puts his balls in the line of fire, ready to block one. I don’t know how the team decides who gets to be the draught excluder at any given time, but it always makes me laugh as a concept. There’s a clip of Zinchenko being in that position for a City match and I guess Dias decides he’s not in the right place, because he turns around and drags Zinny along a few inches, essentially by his head. Football is so stupid, I love it.

Natalie: This is a relatively new tactic and old-school people are annoyed by it, which is dumb, because it is hilarious.

Megan: It’s so funny, these people just hate joy.

Natalie: Usually the draught excluder faces away, Dani should be putting his butt towards the ball, not his balls. But it made me so happy. And then Jamie takes that shot on goal which rebounds off the crossbar, instead of passing to Zava. Rebecca was angry about that and I worried about consequences for Jamie, but in the long run she has bigger issues. Jamie making a “selfish” move that does not pay off… Do you think that was on Roy’s advice? Like, just go for it whenever you can? Or is Jamie just getting frustrated? He did cost them a goal, possibly. Zava is very angry about it, Jamie isn’t stoked with himself either. Eesh.

Megan: I hope Rebecca doesn’t hold it against Jamie, she probably still owes him a little bit of grace given as far as we know he’s never found out she was the reason he got sent back to City. The way Roy speaks about Jamie in episode 3 definitely implies he doesn’t yet think Jamie is better than Zava, and Roy is very desperate to beat West Ham here so I’m not sure Roy would have given him blanket permission to veer too far from the “get the ball to Zava” tactic. I think it’s probable Jamie either got frustrated or maybe overconfident after a few days of coaching with Roy. Zava is really angry here, and he seems really unhappy at the end of the match too. If Zava kicks off I could then perhaps see Rebecca penalising Jamie in some way, but I’m not too worried about her at this moment.

Natalie: Jamie’s face when it doesn’t go in… Now that Jamie is openly acting like sweeter person, his guilelessness is so cute. Rather than scowling or cursing, his default is like :O There’s another one later, but I love how open his face is. It’s something that has happened over the last three seasons, Phil Dunster literally loosening his face muscles gradually as this kid unwinds.

Megan: I know the Jack Grealish comparisons are coming thick and fast this season, more so than usual thanks to the new haircut, but that shocked “Oh no!” face is very reminiscent of Jack’s when he misses a goal that he can’t believe didn’t go in. I think this is the most detailed match scene we’ve seen so far, and the commentators are really going into a lot more detail about the positions and the action on the pitch. I’m really enjoying it, but it feels a lot more in depth than the football scenes in the first two seasons. I like the attitude of the pub lads after the first goal, when it cuts to them. They’re being supportive, telling them to rally. When you go 1-0 down in a match like this, where you’ve previously been on fairly equal footing it can be easy to come back from it — and Richmond have done it before! It’s just the speed of the second goal that shocks them I think.

Natalie: Yeah. They literally look shellshocked when they come back into the away dressing room. Ted doesn’t join them, because he has to handle Rebecca. Beard and Roy take his distraction as a cue to move forward with their plan, but Rebecca here is… wow. Wow. Intense. What on earth was that?

Megan: Completely unhinged. She is desperate to win, but she’s worried her pressure is the reason they aren’t doing well so she’s, I don’t know… trying to reassure Ted just how intensely she believes in him, but also no pressure, she just really believes in him and wants him to know that in this key, pivotal moment. Unhinged. I love her. The way she shouts after him as he walks down the corridor is so much. He is extremely unnerved, and then he enters what should be the relative safety of the dressing room to find all hell has broken loose there. Poor Ted, he’s going through it.

Natalie: Rebecca’s behaviour here does not scream “I’m trying to relieve pressure.” It screams “I am here to put a lot more pressure on you and this is the nicest way I can do it but we both know what I mean.” It’s terrifying, Ted knows that she’s fully snapped and is on the verge of a breakdown. She is out of her mind, we have never seen her like this ever.

Megan: No. It is very very entertaining to watch, but I also think she has to take a step back soon right? I feel like this will be the episode to bring her back down to earth a bit. She’s faced Rupert now, it’s done until the replay however many months away. And I think seeing him cheat on Bex has also brought it back down to a more human level. So I do think and hope that after this she will be a bit more level-headed. Even if I will miss the humour of watching her. Back in the dressing room, all the individual reactions to Nate ripping the sign are just as unhinged. Pausing and looking at every single player’s individual face is a joy to behold.

Natalie: I went over it about seven times, tracking individuals. Jamie’s perfect O face. Zava’s blankness. Isaac, Sam, and Dani.

Megan: Will clasping his head in despair.

Natalie: Oh, Will!

Megan: Jan’s rage. And yeah, behind them all Zava just standing there, extremely blank, and internally probably very confused, but I imagine showing confusion would go against his whole vibe.

Natalie: Roy and Beard are pretty proud of themselves, but not for long.

Megan: Roy and Beard are very convinced their plan is the right one. Ted…not so much. Everyone is making Ted’s life very difficult today, when all he wants to do is mope about Michelle and contemplate how much of a mess he is.

Natalie: I found it interesting that Beard says, quite clipped, “Frankly Ted, sometimes that’s good” about the team being “killers.” This whole “not trying hard enough to be competitive” thing is a big deal for Beard. He is clearly more naturally competitive than Ted and honestly that quality is why Ted isn’t meant for this in the long run. He’s been great for morale, but you cannot be this lax about competition with this much money on the line, putting it bluntly. I’ve spoken before about how Ted idolises the pyramid of success by John Woden but refuses to reach the peak of it, which is “competitive greatness.” Beard, on a broad scale, isn’t wrong.

Megan: Yeah. Beard often does speak frankly at moments where Ted most needs to hear it – from the benching Roy discussion in season 1, to telling him he should confront Nate in season 2. We are used to Beard being the voice of reason in these moments, but in this particular instance he has ever so slightly missed the mark.

Natalie: He’s just wrong on this very specific scale. These boys are not used to playing angry, it isn’t something they know how to usefully channel.

Megan: I do think your point from earlier is a good one. That if they had shown them this video a few days before the match, so they overcome the immediate rage and let it harden into resolve, the outcome might have been different. So while Roy and Beard were wrong to do it here, overall it’s a symptom of Ted’s refusal to address the hurt and betrayal head on. Football is a rough game, you do tackle people, fouls happen, you do shove other players when you get het up! But you need to be able to stop before it goes too far, and these guys right now are way too angry to know when to stop.

Natalie: The way Ted walks away from them all shouting… Honestly I think this move allowed him, internally, to wash his hands of the whole match. There is a real “not my problem” vibe here. Like, this was not his choice and it is now truly not his responsibility any more. Except for the fact that it is.

Megan: Yeah. He created the problem by avoiding the situation. Now it’s escalated into this chaos and he’s walking away right when he’s most needed to step up. Come on Ted.

Natalie: During the chaos, we see Moe, Zoreaux and Richard all sent off. To be clear, when a goalie is sent off, you get another one subbed on but you have to sit another player. I am thinking that player was Jamie, because he is not involved in the fighting at all. It would not shock me if he just steered clear even if he was on the pitch.

Megan: I think so too. I was trying to look out for him, but I can’t see him involved in the action.

Natalie: He isn’t there, I think they sat him, and I am kind of glad for it.

Megan: Outside of his and Roy’s usual shoving, Jamie’s not someone I imagine getting particularly rough in a match. He’ll obviously egg people like Barnett on to get rough with him, but he doesn’t retaliate.

Natalie: No, Jamie never puts hands on people first. Even with Roy.

Megan: Sam and Dani are two others I would say usually aren’t fighters, but even they’re seen joining in here.

Natalie: Yeah, Sam getting involved tells you a lot, but guys, what did you think was going to happen here? Like, literally grabbing people and throwing them to the ground? What? How does this help you with the football?

Megan: It doesn’t. It doesn’t help at all, because at this moment they are not thinking about the football. They are angry with Nate, feel betrayed by Nate, and are taking it out on the poor West Ham team.

Natalie: Well, it doesn’t work. And now they’ll be playing their next match without three of their starters. I guess that means Colin will come back on, at least? To fill Richard’s spot.

Megan: Yeah that’s true! Colin will get a shot. And we’ll see O’Brien back in goal. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely convinced Zava will still be there next week. He really does look extremely unimpressed at the end. He shakes Armando’s hand — though refuses a shirt swap — and looks almost shaken as he walks off. I could see him leaving Richmond off the back of this.

Natalie: I think he might be gone by the end of the next episode, yeah. His interview, though. Sorry, but I loved it. So soulful in defence of Van Damme. “Sometimes it is also a fruit.” Okay buddy. You fucking maniac. I have no idea what kind of contract would allow him to walk, but given that he signed it with “You’re welcome” I am sure that whenever he walks, he will get away with it. Which is kind of unfair because I wanted to see Jamie show him up.

Megan: God, it was so good. I actually really love watching him. Maximilian Osinski is so good in this role. I might not want him at Richmond anymore, but I actually don’t want to stop seeing him generally.

Natalie: Here’s my theory. Zava leaves. He goes to West Ham, maybe to Chelsea, or even possibly City. He is around for the rest of the season, improving another team. And a crucial match later in the season will see Jamie go head to head with him and beat him. The most logical thing would be if he went to West Ham and we saw inside the dressing room that way, through Nate or even Armando. I bet Nate won’t cave the way Ted did to Zava’s demands.

Megan: I like that as a theory. I can’t imagine Pep ever signing Zava, let alone putting up with him, but I do think he’ll go elsewhere. It would be interesting to see how he does at West Ham with Nate. Nate historically has not done well with people that make him feel small, but he has been doing very well so far with the team. You have to imagine that this long in football Zava has come across managers who could, well, manage him. If Nate refuses to give in to his demands would he handle that? Would he ignore Nate and do it all anyway? Would Rupert undermine Nate by giving in? If he ends up at West Ham, it’ll be interesting.

Natalie: Beard and Roy begging for punishment is one of the funniest moments ever, they are so idiotic together and it is just great. Yes, Ted is going to hit you and call you pieces of shit. That sounds likely. You guys have issues. Ted’s right, though. One loss in eight matches isn’t so bad and there are a lot of games left. It’s just this loss has like, depth to it. Also, red cards. So many red cards.

Megan: I died, they are so stupid here. Far from hitting them and yelling at them, Ted just stands there and listens while they beg for their comeuppance and eventually they stop and it’s just so fucking funny. I do love them together, but Beard and Roy need to work at being a useful challenge to each other’s worst tendencies, instead of egging them on. For some teams that many red cards, while always bad, wouldn’t be the end of the world, if they have enough squad depth. Sadly Richmond is not one of those teams, so they will struggle. But you (and Ted) are right. They are in the top four, they have surpassed everyone’s expectations, even if Zava does walk he’s given them a nice boost to the start of the season. They can shake this off! But it would be nice if ahead of the next match, Ted could actually engage with their strategy.

Natalie: Do you think his “carbon monoxide venting” conversation with Michelle will help at all there? He took Beard’s advice after all. Just at the other person upsetting him.

Megan: I really hope so. It definitely can’t hurt, and this has been hanging over him for weeks now.

Natalie: We don’t talk a lot about Ted’s drinking problem. Ted has a drinking problem. Maybe not a desperate addiction, a compulsion, but he definitely gets lost in the bottle when upset. Self-medicating and all. He’s definitely been doing it lately, and we see him here very clearly make a different choice.

Megan: He’s not someone who has to have a drink every day to function, but when he is feeling particularly low it is what he heads for. But his choices tonight — putting the glass down, and being so upfront with Michelle about how he feels, are definitely much better than his choices the rest of the week. I was actually really proud of the way he spoke here. For him, it was very firm and very open. But it was also fair, he didn’t attack Michelle, he wasn’t harsh. But he was really open about how he felt and I think he deserved to be. What did you make of it?

Natalie:I think he was pretty scared, like he didn’t have a right to be expressing himself, like he was expecting a bad reaction. Like flinching away from an explosion. But it didn’t come, and hopefully that is something that bolsters him to keep doing this. We didn’t get much back from Michelle aside from the implication that she accepts his feelings as valid. Maybe this wasn’t the moment to go back and forth about it.

Megan: Yeah, he’s really forcing the words out, but what he does say is said very well.

Natalie: But honestly I don’t think Jake will be sticking around long term. I know he’s set to appear again, but I do not think he will be a permanent addition to Henry’s family. In fact, this made me wonder if Michelle might fall back in love with Ted, if he is able to express himself like this.

Megan: I actually thought the same thing. Her face, in the closing scene. She looks really affected by Ted. And I feel like this is what she’s wanted from him for a long time – for him to be open and upfront with how he’s feeling. To acknowledge when things are bad, and to not hide away from it. Her expression is so hard to read. She looks upset, but also like she’s smiling a wry smile. I don’t see Jake lasting, but after this episode I do feel like there is potential for Ted Lasso to end with Michelle and Ted trying again.

Natalie: Gosh. I don’t know how people will feel about that, but I can see it. For now, it at least frees Ted up a bit to really look at the team again properly. I’m interested to see where he goes from here, will he apologise to the other coaches for being absent? Change things up with the players? Maybe that is why Zava leaves, the West Ham defeat AND Ted being like, actually, new plans. Roy’s still working one on one with Jamie, but I feel like that has to carry on longer than one more episode if Zava leaves, also? Maybe just working to improve Jamie overall, Zava or no? Ted has some catching up to do.

Megan: I think it would make some people unhappy, if they did go that route, but I really could see it happening. I’m not sure if Ted will apologise, but I do think he could change things up with the players. If he tries to go back to the original 4-4-2 formation, and Zava doesn’t like it, but Ted stands firm, it could be the final straw for Zava. I think the Roy and Jamie coaching will last longer than this. With Zava gone, Richmond will need someone to step up and fill that gap. Jamie was good before, but now he and Roy seem really dedicated to making him the best he can be. I don’t think Zava leaving will change that.

Natalie: Next week’s episode is called “Signs,” and the synopsis mentions a Man City match. “With their season in a tailspin, Richmond try to right the ship against the mighty Manchester City. Off the pitch, everyone faces their own setbacks.” The still in the preview is of the coaches sitting at the Richmond bench, so this is NOT the Etihad match, it’s Man City at Nelson Road. From the trailer, we saw that one shot of our regular footballers, led by Colin and Isaac, walking morosely off the pitch with some sky blue uniforms in the background. I’m going to assume that Zava has left and that the match does not go well. Not sure if that episode will show a bunch of time passing, and Richmond sinking down the table, because one loss against West Ham isn’t enough to knock them out of the top four. But it may be a real downer. “Everyone faces setbacks,” Very non-specific and unfun. But still. Citeh! One clue that time may have passed is the fact that O’Brien is on the bench in the still — if Man City is the next match, Van Damme couldn’t play in it. But maybe Ted Lasso will not bother with that level of accuracy. Feels like it should, though? As I suspect we will be seeing a red card suspension play a role later in the season. Maybe it’s going to be like, the episode opens with a match against, I don’t know, Villa, and Zava is still there but just walks off, and leaves, then they are spending the week prepping for City without him.

Megan: If they do have a match directly after the West Ham one I hope they don’t forget about the red card suspensions — that is the kind of football continuity that will really bother me! I definitely feel like Zava will be gone from Richmond by the end of the next episode. I’m less sure about the why, and if he’ll go somewhere else in-universe that means we see him again.

Natalie: I am 100% sure we will keep him in the show for the rest of the season.

Megan: I hope so! He’s good fun.

Natalie: I really hope he doesn’t go to City, asking me to believe that Pep would tolerate ego like that is a step too far.

Megan: Yeah, I just can’t see a world in which Pep would sign him.

Natalie: Well, Pep has managed Zlatan in real life, at Barca. It did not go well.

Megan: I did not know that! In what way did it not go well? Were there public fights?

Natalie: There is a very public one sided grudge, yeah. Zlatan has accused Pep of having an ego that, I guess, dominated his own. It sounds to me like it’s more that he would not put up with Zlatan’s and refused to rise to him or cater to his desires. Pep has been very polite when speaking about him in return. But Zlatan said something nasty last year about Pep holding Erl back and Pep was very Pep about it.

Megan: Oh! I do remember that! I had no idea that was him!

Natalie: That was indeed him, because of their past issues. “I don’t like it when Erling scores three goals and all the highlights are for him. I’m so jealous! Honestly, I’m so jealous!” That.

Megan: I completely forgot that was him, but I remember Pep being very sarcastic in a press conference afterwards!

Natalie: Yes. That was him. Pep definitely has a powerful sense of self, but ask any other person if he ever held a player back. Like, for fuck’s sake.

Megan: Yeah okay, unless they have Zava go there, flounce after two weeks, and then have Pep cameo to recreate this press conference, I just can’t make myself believe Zava would go to City.

Natalie: It would just kill me if they did it. I would have to quit the show.

Megan: At the very least I’d send a strongly worded tweet. As a title, “Signs” makes me think of Ola Obisanya’s advice to Sam in season 2 finale. About looking for signs from the universe. Given the synopsis I feel like we can expect a lot of soul searching from everyone. And maybe in Rebecca’s case signs that match up with Tish’s predictions. (“It was a pleasure to coach Zlatan,” Guardiola said in September 2010, “I learned a lot from him. He has been playing at the top level for eight to 10 years, while I have coached for only two.” I think what Pep learnt is not to sign egotistical maniacs)

Natalie: Yeah, “Signs” definitely makes me think of Rebecca looking out for things, but the whole setbacks thing feels like the Simpsons meme, “What’s the matter sweetie? Is a book character having difficulties?” I am curious about what setbacks people might face at this point. Keeley, work related and maybe Jamie turning her down? PLEASE no backward motion for Roy and Jamie, PLEASE. Maybe Colin gets dumped? Ted was kind of on the uptick here, so I am worried about what this means for him especially. Most importantly, do you think we will get Pep content?

Megan: Honestly that’s probably my biggest wish for the remainder of the season, that whatever happens with Roy and Keeley and Jamie, Roy and Jamie’s relationship specifically does not go back at all. With Ted, this episode he was too focused on his own issues to worry about others. But he thrives when people need emotional pick me ups, so maybe now he’s confronted Michelle he’ll be in his element next week. As for Pep…God I hope so, and maybe some good social media content from the Man City Twitter account. But I think they might save that for the away match.

Natalie: Still, it’s got to throw up some stuff for Jamie, right? Do you think his dad will be there? Or do you think Richmond has banned him from the premises? This would be a great opportunity to see a bit of the aftermath of the “Man City” trauma, maybe between Roy and Jamie, even though I do think the Etihad match is the bigger deal as you say.

Megan: I would love for Roy and Jamie to revisit what happened at Wembley in one of their training sessions. It is one of my biggest show gripes so far that we didn’t see any follow up from that, and this could be a perfect moment to do it. I really hope Richmond have banned James though, I think they kind of have to after “Man City”. That could be another nice moment actually – Higgins letting Jamie know that his dad has been banned and acknowledging that his advice the previous season had been wrong. There is a lot of potential here. I’m excited.

‘Ted Lasso’ season 3 is streaming on Apple TV+ now. New episodes air Tuesdays at 9pm ET.