In Ted Lasso season 3, episode 5, new romances are afoot for both Nate and Keeley, but as the latter dives in at the deep end with Jodi Balfour’s Jack, Rebecca is left more isolated than ever in the wake of more bad news, and Zava’s abrupt exit finally forces Ted to stop going through the motions as manager. Read on for our discussion of Ted Lasso season 3, episode 5, ‘Signs.’
On the football side of the story, things have not improved with the team since their defeat to West Ham. Seven matches on, they have not yet won another game, and though they’re still in the top half of the table, tensions are high as Rebecca and Higgins even touch on the possibility of firing Ted. With the coaches unable to come up with some tactic to give them the edge on Man City, the match is a guaranteed loss, and sensing no further glory here, Zava does not show up for the game, leaving Richmond to shoulder another crushing defeat at the hands of their “sky-blue tormentors.” After the loss, Zava’s whereabouts is discovered — he’s taken one of the only legitimate routes a footballer can take to walk out on a team mid-contract, and announced his retirement, effective immediately.
It’s always difficult to discern why Zava does anything — the wide-eyed, gaze and soulful demeanour that Maximilian Osinski brings to the superstar striker makes Zava a character who is incredibly hard to read. His retirement speech could be taken entirely in earnest, but equally, the move could be seen as the player’s non-confrontational way of dumping Richmond for not delivering the results that he wanted. Zava’s diva qualities transcend mere boastfulness and instead are presented as a level of calm entitlement, but it’s always seemed like something dangerous is simmering under the surface, the moment someone crosses him or denies him what he wants. The thing is, no one crosses him. No one denies him what he wants. They offer it up on a silver platter before he even has to waste his breath asking. Because he’s Zava.
It’s hard to believe we won’t be seeing Zava again later this season, and we have to wonder whether his eventual return will reveal more of his true nature to us. Less guaranteed is the return of Ambreen Razia as Shandy, who Keeley fired this episode with the support of her VC investor Jack. Shandy’s story is a tricky one. After Barbara shamed both Keeley and Shandy in a frankly very classist way, we’d initially wanted Keeley’s faith in Shandy to not be misplaced. But ultimately, Keeley’s decision to hire her friend was framed as a mistake, and yet another way of showcasing that Keeley is just not doing well as the CEO of her own company.
Was the Shandy arc included merely to show Keeley overcoming that hurdle and taking more control as an actual boss? To teach her that she can’t just be friendly and see the best in people all the time? Kind of grim. Or is this about some further repercussion? Razia is such a dynamic actress that it seems a shame for her character not to have the chance to make good, but her presence certainly served to showcase Keeley’s weaknesses if that was indeed the aim, and after an epic Jerry Maguire-esque leaving scene, we’ve got our fingers crossed that the Shandy mistake means that Keeley will be able to step up and thrive and maybe make some good hand-picked hires.
Maybe the Shandy drama was included sheerly for the sake of pushing Keeley into Jack’s arms. But honestly, that romance was always going to happen. It was clear in last week’s episode, but we’ve been expecting it from the moment Jodi Balfour’s casting was announced. It could have eventuated in any number of ways, the question is, where will it lead? Is this another misstep of Keeley’s, a harmless stepping stone back to Roy, or a positive new endgame love story? Whatever it is, the business of KJPR and the bonding time with Jack leaves Keeley unable to answer Rebecca’s calls or attend the weekly football match, as Rebecca silently struggles with the news that she is not able to have children. The psychic’s reading has really done a number on Rebecca, and when the “signs” start coming true, she takes things into her own hands, using the psychic’s words to reflect on what she actually wants. But it’s not to be — at least not this way — and as Rebecca continues to dwell on her loneliness and focus on the green matchbook representing Sam, we ponder over what a happy ending would really look like for the Richmond boss.
Nate’s personal development continues as a lacklustre date with the supermodel Anastasia leads to a genuine connection with Jade, the cute hostess at his favourite restaurant who has never had time for his posturing. Jade could well be the key to unlocking the real Nate, who he is outside of his inferiority/superiority complex, and maybe someone seeing him more clearly will be what he needs to take strides to amend for the hurt he’s caused to Ted and the team, far beyond the ripping up of a bit of yellow paper.
And Ted’s taking strides as well. Despite his utter lack of ambition when it comes to the actual sport, the departure of Zava forces him to quit coasting and re-engage with the team on a deeper level, tearing up the ‘Believe’ sign even further as a statement to look within one’s self to find what they need, rather than rely on symbols, and giving Jamie a little credit for having seen the way forward for Richmond all along. It seems clear, though, that London is not the place Ted should be in the long term. His worries about his son are leading to continued panic attacks, and while he is shown to be able to overcome them, it very much feels like Kansas is calling him home. Catch up with our Ted Lasso conversations so far and read on for our in-depth conversation about ‘Signs.’
‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 5 review in conversation
Natalie: So, all things considered, it’s seeming like we’ve read the “signs” pretty well so far. Zava is gone, Keeley and Jack are shagging, Rebecca’s using the psychic’s words to understand herself better and visits a fertility clinic, and Ted’s getting his head back in the game at last — though that took a bit longer than expected, because we have another time jump! West Ham was Matchday 8 of the Premier League. We flash forward to a Newcastle game at home that’s Richmond’s 15th league match of the season, but they haven’t won one since Brentford, right before West Ham.
Megan: I wonder who else they’ve played in this period? Of the fifteen played, we only know nine named opponents, plus City coming up for Matchday 16. Richmond have Watford’s slot in the 2021/2022 Prem season, so from tracking the league table graphics, that leaves Brighton, Leicester, Southampton, Villa, Norwich, Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs. Spurs still haven’t made the top half of the table, Brett must have lost a bet to Brendan or something. But I can choose to believe that Spurs beat Richmond sometime in the last few weeks. For my own happiness.
Natalie: Well, the league table and the whiteboard shows that they’re on W6 D6 L3, 24 points in all and 9th place. So that’s the draw to Chelsea in 3.02, winning six with Zava in 3.03, the loss to West Ham in 3.04, and since then have had five more draws to some of those teams you just listed, and two more losses, including allegedly Spurs for your mental health, and then here to Newcastle, who, to be fair, are doing so well in real life.
Megan: I know they’re in a slump, but given the expectations at the beginning of the season, these really aren’t bad stats for a team like Richmond! They’re still in the top half of the table. Unlike Spurs. It’s just Zava being there that makes this feel disappointing. But it’s almost like a team is bigger than just one player…
Natalie: There was a football extra there who looked so much like Tripps I thought it was a legitimate cameo for a second.
Megan: I wish they had gotten real footballers to cameo in the episodes where their teams play against Richmond. That would have been incredible. Unfortunately Kieran Trippier has probably been too busy playing some very good football with Newcastle right now for that.
Natalie: I truly thought I was losing it for a second. Is this the first time this season we’ve opened on a match in progress? It must be. We’ve had Ted at the airport, Keeley’s office, and two naked bottoms. Opening in the dying throes of a match feels like a proper Ted Lasso episode.
Megan: It does. The Greyhounds are in a bit of a mess here. Even Sam lets his frustration show, kicking at the pitch. I had actually thought Zava might leave earlier than this — he really did seem unimpressed at the end of the last episode. But he’s stuck around a few more matches, not that it’s had much of an impact.
Natalie: There’s a lot of focus on the fans being angry here. A few faces in particular we hone in on while yelling abuse at the team.
Megan: It does make me think they might delve a bit deeper into some of the worse fan abuse this episode. It feels nastier than the previous shouts of ‘wanker’ we’re used to.
Natalie: This happens in more detail at the end, after the Man City loss, but I was almost a little surprised to see that level of realism in a Ted Lasso episode. I know the pub guys are sometimes yelling at the TV about them being shit, but having home fans abuse the players and not just be supportive no matter what is a sad reality. Obviously the Richmond fans were against Ted in season 1 and chanted at him, but we’ve never really seen them turn on the team or boo them. But it’s common. I hate it, but it is common. It ties into the idea that for a lot of fans, their loyalty to the club is to just that, the club. The club is this entity of its own, separate from the people who own it, manage it, or play for it.
Megan: Yes. I really hate it, but for so many football fans, the club is a lot more important than the individual players and managers. They don’t have any real loyalty to the actual human beings involved, just to the team name they’re playing under. So the second a player or manager or owner does something that — in their eyes anyway — threatens the success of a team, fans like that will turn on them.
Natalie: This concept of being dedicated to the club as a concept, an idea, without any attachment, empathy or love for the individuals is so wrong, in my eyes.
Megan: Agreed, and it’s honestly the opposite for me. If I don’t have a level of investment in the individuals that make up a team, or the coaching staff, then I care way less about the club. And similarly, if there is a player for a team that does something shit in the real world, I will not support the team for as long as the player is there.
Natalie: I mean we see it first and foremost with James Tartt. His loyalty to City is much more important than any individual, including Jamie. His love for the concept of City is bigger than anything else. He criticised Jamie for not doing well enough for City, and that wasn’t about like “My son is embarrassing the family.” It was “My son isn’t good enough for my True Love.” Like Jamie letting down City.
Megan: He’s definitely the most extreme example in Ted Lasso, but that element of club above all else is very realistic for a lot of people. Although you would hope most football fans would cut their actual son’s team a little more slack than Jamie’s does. Because he only cares about Jamie in relation to Man City. When he isn’t playing for or against them, he doesn’t give a shit.
Natalie: I was a little surprised that this episode featured a Man City match and had nothing to do with Jamie’s dad, actually. I’m sure it’s coming in the City home match at the Etihad, but the complete lack of James and the total lack of anxiety from Jamie was interesting. In my team-ups article I paired Jamie and Higgins and said that I’d like to see a follow up with them after Wembley the next time they play City. To see Higgins, on behalf of Richmond, take steps to have Jamie protected, get his father banned from the Dog Track at least. Maybe that’s happened off screen between then and now? Last week we predicted some Jamie focus in this episode and there really wasn’t. Obviously, I would have preferred that they address it somehow or other, for someone to check in on Jamie, but the lack of angst over it kind of made me happy, in the end, because of what it implied — that Jamie can play against City like any other team, without them as a club being a source of stress or fear, because his dad is nowhere near him.
Megan: I feel fairly confident that James Tartt might have a role to play when Richmond do play Man City away, but it was nice that Jamie could play them this episode and only have to worry about their on-pitch performance.
Natalie: I have little more to say about Jamie and City later, but yeah, I was surprised about the lack of focus, a little disappointed, and then realised what a win that actually is for Jamie, so I was okay with it. What I do think is that fan heckling will escalate. There was too much focus on that ginger guy, a character for us actually to recognise again. But seeing fans turning on individuals who don’t serve the club the way they want them to is a slightly harsher angle than I expected from Ted Lasso. Like you said, the harassment of Ted was a bit different. But I guess the idea has been there all along.
Megan: They’re just going to lean into it a lot more heavily this season.
Natalie: I’m kind of curious how harsh Ted Lasso has the potential to go without it reaching a point where it’s breaking the tonal “contract” with the audience. Because it had some very dark stuff. It’s a lot harsher than the way people tend to talk about it. People frame it as a feel good warm hug comfort watch where everyone is very nice to each other and like… yes, the central premise is radical kindness as a choice and it often shows us a lot of people doing their very best to treat each other well. But it’s really about trauma more than anything else. I remember last season, interviews with Brett where he quite bluntly said he disagreed with the cosy feel good label, that he sees the show as incredibly dark and I tend to agree. Within the context of the comedy genre. Like. It’s not Hannibal. It’s not Euphoria. But for what it is? Yeah.
Megan: With a few obvious exceptions like James Tartt, most of the darker themes have been about how people view themselves, rather than others’ behaviour. Nate’s self-loathing, Ted’s mental health and how he copes with his trauma regarding his dad’s suicide, Roy not thinking he deserves to be happy. So much of that is very internal. Ted Lasso doesn’t often show people acting awfully just to be awful. And so far, the fan behaviour has been a bit shouty, a bit aggressive at times, but it’s not been anywhere near as abusive and toxic and legitimately criminal as it can be in real life. It’ll be interesting to see how far they take it and how the audience responds.
Natalie: Yeah. I was watching some clips from “Beard After Hours” the other day and for starters, Beard is a very dark character internally, so the episode feels different regardless, it’s surreal, kind of Lynchian. But the scene of James, Denbo and Bug assaulting him is really, really fucked up. Obviously that whole episode is a tone shift due to perspective, but it’s plausible for Ted Lasso to handle aggression and violence in a way that may feel very nasty even in their day to day,
Megan: This scene does end with a little bit of violence — Mae smacking Baz round the head because he loses faith in the power of positive thinking. But I wouldn’t exactly call that nasty.
Natalie: It’s suggested by the commentators that the issue is with the management, not the players, that Ted has seemed rattled since the West Ham loss. We thought he may turn over a new leaf after that, but apparently he’s gone seven weeks or so without much improvement. Doesn’t sound like any of the tactics are working, or like he’s at all interested. Timeline-wise we are up to… well, it’s gotta be very late November. In real life, Matchday 15 was the first weekend in December, that season. They say Richmond lost “last month” re: West Ham, and that would have had to be early-mid October. No wins since then, seven matches with no wins. Ted must be feeling grateful for draws again, to escape straight up losses.
Megan: A point is better than no points! Even if Ted disagrees with them in principle. I think we clearly see here, with the way Roy discusses their performance, that Zava is part of the issue. They’re all just relying on him to do everything, and it means the rest of the team has gotten complacent. I suppose, in Ted’s defence, if — at this point anyway — getting rid of Zava isn’t an option, that makes it harder to fix. But you would think he could say something to the team to get them to focus. Inspirational and motivating speeches are Ted’s speciality.
Natalie: This episode makes it crystal clear that Ted is being very half-assed about that particular speciality. Until the very end. He tries to give one to Rebecca, when she comes in to scream at him and it rang so fucking fake that I was groaning. He is absolutely just going through the motions, phoning in efforts like that. His ship speech eats more ass than Higgins’ mum. I didn’t really need to know his dad was into getting rimmed, but this show always has a new adventure waiting for us.
Megan: Hah! No I probably could have done without that little nugget of information. Rebecca seems about as impressed as you were. She really is yelling at Ted a lot more than usual, this season. Last week saw a bit of a turning point in how much Rebecca is desperate to beat Rupert — she started to recognise just how unhealthily obsessed she was getting — but she still definitely wants them to win.
Natalie: Yeah, and the episode is consistently saying this is Ted’s fault, this is Ted losing his grip on the team, etc. Poor boys, they’re trying their best. But if they’re still playing to focus on Zava and Zava isn’t succeeding, maybe that guy isn’t as good as he once was.
Megan: And honestly, even if he was as good as he once was, he still can’t singlehandedly win every match. They need to change their tactics to utilise all the players’ skills, and make sure they’re supporting Zava enough to do his thing when he can. It really hammers home how precarious a career being a football manager is. We’ve seen a lot of that in real life football recently, but in reality a manager with Ted’s record so far would definitely be feeling the hit and fearing for their job right about now. Because the players they have available are set in stone, now until the next transfer window, so it’s up to Ted and his staff to come up with the best way to utilise them. And if he can’t do that, well, any other gaffer would likely be gone.
Natalie: That’s an issue that gets raised for Rebecca in this episode, but not until after she’s dealt with some more of Tish’s predictions. She can’t stop fixating on the matchbook whenever she comes across it, and she almost gets rid of it! Thankfully she doesn’t, but we learn about the shite in nineing armour. Unless each prediction has a secret double meaning and will come around a second time in a new turn of events, this turns out to be as simple as a spoonerism from John Wingsnight’s new fiancee. Rebecca dodged a bullet there.
Megan: She really really did! He was a bit annoying in season 2, but he is insufferable here!
Natalie: The internet, on the whole, was SO convinced this was to do with Jamie. So many people thought it. I wonder if there will be a subtle way each prediction comes back around, or if they’re really as dismissible as this
Megan: They really did — Jamie, and in a few cases Henry, as he’s shown to be wearing the 9 in episode 3.
Natalie: One theory that comes to mind — and this hinges on Tish being legit — is the idea that Rebecca is receiving messages to do with circumstances that are close to her, but not about her. Like the matchbook is nothing to do with her, it’s a premonition that comes because it’s near her, with Simi’s gift to Sam. Then Wingsnight here. Her getting messages about other people’s relationships, her exes specifically. Again, this really only lands as an idea if Tish is real and her spirit guides are basically giving messages for Rebecca to recognise in those people around her. But I doubt Tish is real, so, yeah.
Megan: I also doubt Tish is real. The timing of shite in nineing armour is unfortunate though. She was clearly ready to dismiss the matchbook, and the predictions more generally,
until Jessica’s misspeak.
Natalie: John wouldn’t make it out of Manchester alive if he wore that scarf up north.
Megan: He would be murdered. But at the same time, he might unite a couple of City and United fans as they murder him together, so his death could help overcome some deeply entrenched football divides, which is something positive at least.
Natalie: The Hopkins Ussie story made me want to break into his house at 4am with a length of heavy rope.
Megan: HAH! Roy would happily join you on that excursion. I can’t imagine anything John said in this scene would change Roy’s opinion of him. And the scarf, of course, would be a crime in Roy’s eyes too, even if he doesn’t support either team.
Natalie: Roy and Jamie could murder him together
Natalie: His death would help overcome some deeply entrenched etc.. Man, the Tish stuff is SO specific. Shite in Nining Armour. How can it be this specific if it’s not real?
Megan: That’s my one issue with it! Like, shite in nining armour is one where it could easily be so much less specific, and as such, Rebecca sees meaning where there is none. Like, as the internet thought, Jamie holds the door open for her one day at Richmond while in his kit. But to have someone actually say the words like that is not dismissable. Even the green matchbook is really specific. Because I’ve seen theories about that floating around online too — people speculating that Ted’s notebook that he makes match notes in is a very dark green, that his toy soldiers are known as matchbox soldiers — but the actual reality that we’ve seen so far is very specifically a green matchbook. “You’re going to be a mother” does have many routes by which it could come true, and obviously it’s the prediction Rebecca focuses on the most this episode, after her conversation with Higgins.
Natalie: This Higgins chat was one of the greatest moments of the season so far for me. It was very honest and lovely and deep, and it’s a better conversation than Rebecca is getting out of either Ted or Keeley right now. Rebecca and Leslie have an important friendship, he isn’t just “third best,” it’s unique in its own way.
Megan: Megan: Their relationship has a lot more history than Ted and Keeley’s does. Some of it is darker, given Higgins used to hide Rupert’s affairs from her – but the fact that they’ve come through to their current friendship I think makes it even deeper and more important.
Natalie: But what did you think of Leslie putting firing Ted on the table? Like you laid out in your article, the owner can do this at any time to the manager, unlike the players who are very set in their terms. Seven matches without a win… managers have been sacked very arbitrarily for something like that number. Clubs turn against managers in slumps. Even if they’ve been there for ages. There’s sometimes no trust in terms of giving them a chance to turn things around. But Richmond are still really well positioned!!! They are over performing if anything, not in the relegation zone at all.
Megan: Everything about Higgins’ suggestion to fire Ted felt very true to me. Both his hesitancy and clear hatred of the idea — hatred of himself for having to put it on the table, and the idea itself. The fact is that Ted has always been on shaky grounds at Richmond. Initially by design, Rebecca obviously hired him to fail. But lately because they have just struggled so often. So while I don’t really for a second think Rebecca will ever fire him — she is clearly very uncomfortable with even considering that idea — it is really believable as a concept, and any other owner would probably already be putting out feelers for potential replacements just in terms of this not actually being a man who knows how to coach Premier League football.
Natalie: This episode has given me some thoughts about Ted’s future that have really clicked into place in a new and firm way, and I’ll get into them later, but yeah. I agree. The group is so close-knit that firing Ted is not something Rebecca can cope with. I love Leslie’s line “what part of anything I just said makes you think it’s something I want to do,” but Rebecca’s refusal to engage with it at all is as far as that conversation goes for now. Ultimately I do think Ted needs to step away, and I think it may happen before the end of the season. And I think Rebecca may fire him, not for his performance but in like a “go home, Ted,” way. Cutting the tie, letting him go. But for now, it’s a no from Rebecca
Megan: Yeah, I don’t think she’ll fire him. I think he’ll want to leave, to go back to Henry, and she’ll see it and give him permission to go. But right now, she can’t think about that and would much rather get Higgins’ advice on psychics.
Natalie: Like Ted, Rebecca is pretty distracted by her personal life right now. Asking Leslie for his take on this was interesting and I loved that he is totally me on this. Yes he believes, a bit. But he also sees past that to say, well, pretty much what I said in our episode 3 chat. Which is that even if the psychic is fake, they can serve as a way for the person to look at themselves and their desires in ways they hadn’t before. It’s all about personal interpretation. The psychic says XYZ, and what you do with that, how hearing that makes you feel, how you respond to it? There’s therapeutic value in that. It’s a moment for self reflection, “How do I feel about this idea?” Then you have a chance to be proactive about it.
Megan: Right! And the fact is that Rebecca is shown to be even more therapy-averse than Ted, but also desperately in need of it. I think she could rationalise going to see Tish in her head as just being a silly thing she’s doing to indulge her mum, in a way she could never do with therapy. And so while Tish is never going to be as useful as say Sharon would be, going to see her has meant Rebecca is allowing herself to think about things more than she has previously. Whether that’s letting herself think about Sam again, or properly consider how she feels about being a mother, and how she might approach making that prediction come true in the most literal sense.
Natalie: Yes — with the family thing, it’s all about the psychic making her reflect on just how much she wants that. That particular prediction is the one thing that I feel like easily could have come from Rebecca’s mum, as opposed to all the weird specifics. That was interesting to me, the level of utter randomness of some of it, but this most important one being something that really could have been part of the backstory Deborah told her. The way Rebecca crosses over with Ted in the hallway is interesting to say the least and I don’t quite know what to make of it. It’s obviously meant to show that they’re kind of a step off with one another, because Rebecca calling him Coach and him calling her Rebecca is the polar opposite of their usual Ted/Boss. There’s more to it, I think, than the fact that they are being a bit “psychic” with each other, but I think we can look into it once we get to the Ted side of things.
Megan: It’s interesting because they’ve just been a bit off with each other all season so far. And it’s because their priorities right now are so different — Rebecca, fixated on winning. Ted distracted by things happening in Kansas, and I think this corridor scene is just another indicator that they’ve been out of sync.
Natalie: For Rebecca, she’s already a bit haunted by psychics so to hear it from Ted may feel a little unnerving. But she’s taken all that psychic energy and used it proactively — going to a very exclusive fertility clinic to check up on her ability to conceive. This doesn’t really matter aside from the worldbuilding element, but I found the dynamic with the doctor interesting. She knows him on a personal level, well enough that she’s ushered in without doing the forms and stuff. It felt to me like this was a family friend. At first I thought maybe she used to see him a long time ago, that he was her gyno, or that she’d been trying to conceive earlier in life with Rupert before he made things clear — maybe he strung her along about kids early in the marriage. But I came out really feeling more like this was a friend of her dad’s or something? Someone she knows personally but hasn’t seen as a client. What do you think that dynamic added to this journey for her, rather than just like, a clinic where she is a client? Or patient, rather. Everything is done for a reason — did this doctor being a friend change how this felt for you?
Megan: I definitely got the vibe that it was either a friend of her dad’s, or maybe he’s just such an exclusive doctor that he mixes in the same circles she does, like at Elton John’s Christmas party. Either way I didn’t get the sense they’d seen each other in a medical setting before. I think him being a friend both makes it more and less difficult. On the one hand they already have a rapport, he knows her background, it makes a somewhat awkward conversation a bit easier from that sense. But on the other hand, well…he knows her background. He knows about Rupert. He knows about all the affairs, and that Rupert left her for a younger woman and then had a child with that woman. So he’s probably going to be feeling sorry for her, even though he doesn’t show it, and I think Rebecca would dread that sympathy. I really liked Dr Wagner though! He did a really great job at putting her at ease, and not making her seem stupid or pathetic for wanting to find out about this.
Natalie: I think it was a really nice touch. Like, they could have just made it some guy, and the outcome ultimately would have been the same at the end. But this warmth and familiarity is such a… Well, it’s such a kindness to Rebecca from the writers, if that makes sense. That may sound silly. But they chose to make this nicer for her than they needed to.
Megan: They did. And I’m glad of it, given the storyline. It’s one that can be really fraught for so many people, and I’m glad to see Ted Lasso treating it gently.
Natalie: Narratively, it also allows her to be more open, to be understood without having to explain herself in so many words, and to feel very supported and cared for — enough that we see that gorgeous, innocent, excited look on her face at the potential as he gets her set up. I wish I understood her desire to have a baby. I absolutely don’t, but then I don’t think anyone should have one, LOL.
Megan: Same. It’s one of those storylines that I will never be able to fully connect with because I have never wanted children. But I know that as strongly as I don’t want children, there are people out there who just as strongly do want one, so I’ve learnt to make peace with plots like this. Hannah Waddingham does such a phenomenal job with this arc though. Like you say, her excited look here is so gorgeous, and her response later to Dr Wagner’s follow up call is devastating.
Natalie: Before the doctor calls her in, we see her looking at the other couples and not knowing who to put as an emergency contact. That’s another moment where you can see the whole story from Hannah.
Megan: Yeah. She doesn’t know who her person would be here. She wants to have a baby, but she doesn’t know who it would — or could — be with. It’s just a really heart-breaking episode for Rebecca.
Natalie: It’s so tricky. Obviously, people want to be loved, Rebecca deserves to be the Number One Person in the world for some lucky partner. Unless that person is either Sam, Ted or MAYBE… wildcard… Keeley or Bex, I don’t know who would be that person for her. I don’t think we will meet some new perfect guy for her. But I can’t quite fully buy any of those people that I’ve just listed either. Not 100%.
Megan: If Rebecca ends this season in a relationship, I can’t imagine them convincingly introducing someone new this late in the game. Maybe she’ll have a random meet cute in the airport after saying goodbye to Ted, and we’ll be left with that potential.
Natalie: But also, she’s a “strong,” “powerful,” “independent” woman. Her desire to get a husband and baby is very… well, in some lenses, it’d be called reductive. I don’t think it is for her, specifically, but they have to be careful with it. She obviously WANTS to be deeply and happily in love with someone. And she has allegedly always wanted kids. But she is a mess, and we first meet her at such a bad life stage, with the divorce. I’m so wary of “Put a baby in that tough woman and it’ll soften her right up” stories, but at the moment they are sure making me believe that she wants it. And I would say “You can do it alone, Rebecca!” but she clearly does not want that either. If the endgame is heading to a Ted/Rebecca place, I’m still of the opinion that — as of now, anyway — they don’t know they have feelings for each other. It’s not an active pining like she is for Sam, or Ted has been for Michelle. If it was to turn to Ted/Rebecca, it would feel like a very new relationship, because I just don’t see any point where they’ve seen each other “like that” before despite their deep bond. They probably think each other are good looking, sure. But that doesn’t actually equal conscious attraction, or a crush, or romantic chemistry, or anything. It definitely could turn out to be a “didn’t see what was in front of me” type thing, but Ted/Rebecca would be so new, if it started now, and such an adjustment for them while still both pretty fucked up, that I can’t imagine seeing them parent a child together any time soon. Unless they mean Henry, which… I don’t know. Maybe if Ted Lasso does my NIGHTMARE ending, which is a flash forward 10 years that totally obliterates any open door ideas for the future, a “where are they now.” To be clear this would be my WORST POSSIBLE ENDING, no matter what each character is seen doing. The idea of shutting down spin-offs or season 4 or even just like, fanfic type imaginings by being like “Oh yeah, Jamie did this, Keeley did this, Ted did this, but you don’t get to see the journey.” If they do that, maybe they’ll show Ted and Rebecca in ten years with an adopted kid. I would fucking hate that style of finale, but it’s possible.
Megan: I would hate that ending so much that even just talking about it and putting it out into the universe feels bad to me. There’s still time for them to cut that ending in last minute editing, if it exists. Let’s start a campaign to get them to rule that out. I agree though. Right now, Ted and Rebecca have not demonstrated actual romantic feelings for each other. It doesn’t mean they couldn’t be nurtured, but between now and the remaining seven episodes we would still leave the season with them being very new and fresh. It’s hard to picture what their future together would look like, especially since Ted really should go back to Kansas, and I maintain Rebecca would not do well in the Midwest.
Natalie: Yeah. There’s some stuff in this episode, like I said earlier, with Ted that just makes me feel, on a new level, that he is not right for this job in the long run. We will see. I suspect that next week, episode 6, may put some cards on the table about what’s going on for Rebecca’s romance. Last season, episode 6 is when we learned it was Sam on Bantr. Turning points are coming. And yeah, if anyone from Ted Lasso happens to be reading this — if you have tried to “end the story” by doing a closed-door flash forward, no matter what happens in it to which character, just delete it. I promise you it will make people happier to have the open door, even if three seasons is all we get. It is the worst thing you could do. Please don’t do it. Please. Anyway.
Megan: If they do have Rebecca meet someone new, maybe it will be in next week’s episode then. Half a season might be enough for us to buy it, even if a tiny little part of me is still holding out for her and Sam.
Natalie: The show clearly wants us to know she’s still thinking about Sam a lot. I do think she might go to him and be like… right. I’ve been thinking it over and I still love you and I think we can make it work, only for him to be like… “Ah, I am sorry, no.” Mainly because we aren’t seeing his side of this, any pining. And I will just bawl.
Megan: That’s my fear too. She goes to him and tells him she’s done enough soul searching and knows she loves him, and he’s moved on. We haven’t really seen all that much of Sam at all this season, and I’m sure it will come, I just worry it will come with some new heartbreak for me… I mean, for Rebecca.
Natalie: He did say to her, when she talked about needing to figure out why being loved scared her,”Take as long as you need.” I would estimate it’s been about six months since the funeral now. I assume they haven’t been giving each other updates about how they feel. But “Take as long as you need” feels like “I will wait for you.” Arggggh. But is it fair to have him just wait, with no communication?
Megan: No, their interactions at the restaurant opening are a little bit awkward, which suggests they’ve not spoken much. GOD.
Natalie: But then, how easily would Sam Obisanya fall out of love? I feel like there’s a reason we haven’t got his POV on anything so far this season. It must be coming.
Megan: It isn’t fair on Sam to have to wait, and if he has moved on then that’s okay. But… I hope he hasn’t, and I hope she hasn’t, and I hope they get back together.
Natalie: I feel like what I would expect from Sam, honestly, is that if he did move on and start something, new, he would go to her, or write her a letter, being like, “I know I said take as long as you need, but I have reached a point of closure and I think it’s best if I move on.” He would gently let her know he’s not waiting any longer. That is what would feel the most in character for me.
Megan: I think so. I think he’d consider that the fairest way of doing it, and the way that would most honour their relationship. Oh Sam. He really is very wonderful.
Natalie: We need more screen time of him getting more wonderful!
Megan: The only solution is a spin-off, and no future fast-forward ending.
Natalie: I’m feeling so awful about how lonely Rebecca is. She needs SOMEONE. Even when she gets the implied bad news from the doctor, she goes through that and then tries to call Keeley to talk about it — the second time in the episode we see Keeley miss her call because she is busy doing things or people at her new office.
Megan: I know. She’s going through all of this alone, and normally you’d expect Keeley to be there for her, but Keeley is off having a very different journey this episode. After the phone call with Dr Wagner I want to reach through the screen and hug her, she looks so devastated and I just desperately need someone to make sure she’s okay.
Natalie: The last time we see her she is once again considering her green matchbook and I wish she would just go and talk to Sam about what is going through her head even if it is messy or doesn’t lead anywhere. They got each other as human beings. He would understand if she was like, “So I saw this psychic, and this happened, and that, and lalala.” But this season is really showing every main character as completely isolated.
Megan: Agreed. Even if they can’t be together romantically, he would be a good person for her to talk to about all of this, he could sympathise, he could comfort her. I just wish they’d talk, even if it does result in them being finally done as a couple.
Natalie: Everyone is very alone. Ted and Rebecca are barely speaking that we see, Ted and Beard are growing apart. Roy is totally off on his own and suffering for it. Jamie is isolated within the team, in terms of Zava. Keeley is making new connections that keep her apart from things. I’m not sure which bonds will be re-forged or which may be a permanent drift. I love Rebecca’s profile picture, we saw a glimpse of it on Ted’s phone too — must be the one she set herself as her contact pic on her account, because it’s the same on Keeley’s. But seeing Keeley not being there for her… ouch.
Megan: Yeah, the first time wasn’t so bad, obviously you can’t always answer the phone. But the second one, when we know what Rebecca is going through, and we know that Keeley is actually doing probably the best she’s done so far all season? That really hurt to watch! Keeley doesn’t know, and I feel confident she would ditch Jack in an instant if she did! But that doesn’t make it any easier.
Natalie: If the show developed Sassy a bit more, I’m sure both she and Norah would be there for Rebecca whenever she needed love.
Natalie: But we don’t really see that, the narrative is telling us, you know, “Keeley isn’t there for Rebecca, so Rebecca is alone.” I think it’s interesting that the last time we see her, she’s once again considering her matchbook while Ted’s doing his speech. The line we hear over her moment is Ted talking about the belief of hope, and Rebecca seems to have decided something in her eyes. Maybe she will go talk to Sam very soon. I am extremely worried about him turning her down.
Megan: When we see her in the car at the end, I did think perhaps she’s on her way to see someone. But she’s likely off home for a sad night alone.
Natalie: I think so. Honestly, if Rebecca is going to have a kid, biologically or not, I don’t think it will be with Sam. I mean it COULD be, he isn’t too young to be a dad by footballer status. They breed YOUNG. But I’m not sure that is the show’s aim here.
Megan: No, I can’t really see her having a kid with Sam, though he would probably be a very good dad. I don’t think that’s the aim either, but right now I’m really not sure where I do think they’re going!
Natalie: I still think it’s going to be the Bex baby. Probably not with Jamie as the dad, though. Augh. I don’t know. Maybe Rupert will drop dead.
Megan: The Bex and Rebecca connection was too good in episode 4 for it to not be explored further! Whether or not it will end with Rebecca being involved in Diane’s life, in some sort of weird co-parenting arrangement with Jamie Tartt remains to be seen. But if any part of the story involved Rupert dropping dead, it will be a story I can get behind.
Natalie: The Jack and Keeley connection in episode 4 was also too good not to be explored further. They hooked up! I am so shocked. This is my shocked face: 😐
Megan: So many shocking hookups this season so far. I, too, was really so surprised. So so surprised.
Natalie: Still feeling short changed about Sharon, but… The people we thought were queer turned out to be queer? WHAT? Just unbelievable. Let’s revisit the “Ted Lasso had queer people all along” prediction article. “When the show eventually returns, I have a hunch that season 3 may start with Keeley and Roy having split up. Filming pictures show that Keeley will be interacting with Jack, the venture capitalist played by Jodi Balfour. We can assume that this is to do with the funding of her company, but I’ll be honest, from the first look filming pictures, Jack’s whole vibe is looking extremely queer to me, and she’s played by Jodi Balfour, a queer actress. I do think that Keeley and Roy will end up together in the long run, but I would like to see her take the plunge into the lady pool once more before her ultimate romantic endgame.” *stares in Sapphic directly into the camera *
Megan: Sharon could still be shown to occasionally dip her toes in the lady pond too. But outside of that, yes! Please keep them coming. We’ve still got seven episodes to go. If we’re having a new person coming out every other episode that means we’re due at least three more.
Natalie: I think we’ll get at LEAST one more — Trent.
Megan: Trent I feel is an almost certainty. I don’t actually know that we’ll get any more than him before the end, but at this stage I really cannot rule it out.
Natalie: I feel like Beard being fluid is almost just baked into his character even if they never define it.
Megan: He’s someone who even if it remains unspoken, I will just have to assume.
Natalie: Jamie is the most bisexual person I have ever seen in my bisexual life, but I have no idea if they’ll go there, especially with the Colin stuff. On the one hand, it could be cool to see him be like, “What’s the big deal, I’m bi,” when Colin comes out to the team. On the other hand, Ted Lasso is not going to tackle a Group Public Coming Out, and I’m not sure how it would look narratively to show one queer guy choosing to come out and another choosing to stay in, though I think it would, realistically, be valid and understandable.
Megan: Everyone has to make their own decision to come out or not in the real world, but narratively, it could frame the guy who chose to stay in negatively.
Natalie: The best I’m hoping for there is the implication that Roy and Keeley don’t function without Jamie in the mix, and more interviews of Phil Dunster talking about Roy/Jamie when absolutely no one asked him to do so.
Megan: If the show ends with them in this place, and NO FLASH-FORWARD, I will be content with that ending.
Natalie: Agreed. But we knew Keeley was queer, she has said she has slept with women. I am sure that some viewers have forgotten about that, or didn’t pick up on it in passing and they may be surprised. Maybe this is just meant to be a realistic portrayal of the bi woman experience, like how common it is that a bi woman can speak very openly about attraction to other women but still genuinely have people think she doesn’t mean it “like that.” But there are less grounds to be shocked about Keeley than Colin. Interesting to see if other people frame this as like, “out of the blue” or “discovering her sexuality” or something. How many people will I have to beat with a length of heavy rope?
Megan: I suppose unlike Colin, who we haven’t seen in a relationship before this, Keeley has been seen to actively date two different men. So if you weren’t paying attention to that line, or just thought it was Keeley being silly, you might have dismissed it. I think some rope beatings may need to occur, because I am sure that there will be people who will act weird about this arc.
Natalie: For my feelings about the people who do not treat moments like that as neon fucking flashing signs, please see our conversation about episode 3. Straight people are wild.
Megan: They really are. Even putting her and Jack aside, I liked this episode a lot for Keeley. It’s the first time this season I’ve felt anything but extremely concerned for her.
Natalie: Yeah, thank God for that. We see a few of the things we spoke about, her insecurities, confirmed. Some of the weaknesses she’s been having as a boss. But with Jack’s support, she’s able to really step up. Honestly, I could see them being amazing partners in like, every single way. I do think Jack will be an “I needed that” stepping stone, and a net good thing, at the end of the day. But I would be okay if they just got together for good. Then Roy and Jamie can fuck like Phil Dunster wants. Everyone’s happy.
Megan: Yeah, like, a way to get her confidence back, both in and outside of work, that will then lead to her being more proactive about other areas, like giving Roy a swift kick up the arse for being stupid. But if Ted Lasso ended with Jack and Keeley together, and Roy and Jamie too, I’d be very okay with that as well!
Natalie: One important element is that Jack supports Keeley’s vision of a boutique firm. Less clients, more hands-on with each client.
Megan: I really loved this opening scene, with Keeley holding her own with Barbara — and ending up winning that round just by having the most valid point!
Natalie: Barbara thought that the way to have more success was to have more clients and then hire more staff. It’s probably been the direction she was advised to go in before.
Megan: And often it’ll be the valid direction! But in this case it’s not what’s best for Keeley’s firm.
Natalie: Keeley and Jack both support a more exclusive brand, which is so great even just from the point of view of the workload given to Keeley. She’s new to this, she doesn’t need to handle fifty clients. Starting small is wise. Like, let’s nail stuff for these fifteen clients. It’s clearly enough income to support the company in Jack’s eyes. Babs is just a bit stressed about finances. I guess that’s just her mindset.
Megan: Well, Babs is the Chief Financial Officer. It’s right there in her title. I also think with who Keeley is and how personable she is, she probably enjoys being able to have a more personal relationship with each of her clients. So not only does she not need that much work, I think she’d enjoy it this way a whole lot more.
Natalie: Keeley’s image, in this episode, seems more “herself,” too. Her hair is less tightly pulled, which makes her look less stressed. She’s confident enough to wear a nipple ring jumper to work.
Megan: I can’t. I love her. It looks like such a professional outfit too and then… you notice… the nipple rings. I love her so much.
Natalie: The full outfit, too, the fact it’s a floor length skirt, not a mini, and so brightly coloured. Very unusual pieces, and her cleavage and the nipple ring accessories. It’s stunning. She just seems better in herself, since Jack got here. And keep in mind this must have been, as we said, at least six weeks since West Ham, if not seven or eight.
Megan: Yeah, so you can assume that during that time Jack has been around a bit more. They’re very comfortable in this episode even before all the kissing, and Keeley has clearly gotten more and more at ease with herself and her role. She looks gorgeous this episode.
Natalie: I think that’s intentional for her character design, that we are seeing her relax and look happier and less uptight. She really wasn’t doing well.
Megan: No, and I’m so relieved to see how much better she’s doing. It was such a relief to watch. She’s so at ease in her conversations, and even later with the Shandy dramatics, I feel like if that had happened six weeks ago she might have burst into tears. Here she handles it so well.
Natalie: Ah, Shandy. Well, that crashed and burned.
Megan: So hard.
Natalie: Learning that she’s spent seven weeks being angry about Bantr and is now actually coming up with a Starfucker app… Ooof. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume she did not end up bagging Jamie.
Megan: No, that fear will hopefully prove to be unfounded.
Natalie: I mean, they could still surprise us, but it seems like right now, Keeley is still treating her with kindness and encouragement, but Shandy is bitter and bitchy. Especially about being shut out of important meetings. I have no idea how Keeley has been putting up with this, but I have to assume this is what she was always like. And the tactic is to just pretend things are normal even with Shandy being a total nutter. Very exhausting friendship. Poor Keeley, trying so hard to be supportive even when Shandy mentions coming up with an app. This is clearly such a pity hire at this point.
Megan: The thing is, I really don’t think it was meant to be when Keeley did it. I think it was partly Keeley desperately wanting support and forgetting what she might have known about Shandy in the past, because Shandy was so kind to her in the Coffka shoot, and partly Keeley thinking she could do for Shandy what Rebecca did for her. The problem is it became so apparent, so quickly, that Shandy was not going to be a good fit for the role, and Keeley just didn’t feel able to do anything about it. Partly because she probably didn’t want to hurt Shandy’s feelings, but also because I think admitting that it was a mistake would just feel like another thing Keeley had failed at. Now she’s doing so much better in herself, she’s definitely in a place where she can handle that tough conversation.
Natalie: Well, her first response is to tell Jack “I can’t fire Shandy, she’ll hate me!” which — just that sentiment tells you a LOT about Keeley’s brain. She would keep encouraging someone or keep something going because she fears being disliked or fears being the bad guy. We saw this with Roy. She struggled to express her true feelings for fear of upsetting him, when she wanted him to leave her alone for a bit. Keeley doesn’t want to hurt people’s feelings, and she will keep that up until it is detrimental to herself. Also, “I can’t tell her she’s doing a bad job! She thinks she’s doing a good job.” Ooooooof. This makes me concerned, overall, in terms of how Keeley handles her own needs. Not in bed. We have proof that she trains boys very well in that department. But emotionally.
Megan: Well she did it with Nate too, after he kissed her. She immediately went to comforting him and reassuring him it was okay, and pushing aside any feelings of discomfort she may or may not have been feeling there, so it’s definitely a pattern.
Natalie: Yeah, that was really awful actually.
Megan: I actually relate to Keeley so much in this regard. In a more general sense, I do often worry too much about hurting other people’s feelings and let it go on for too long. But specifically, I have had to fire people three times while at work. Each time it was the right thing to do, but it was also really fucking hard. And then you feel guilty for finding it so hard and difficult, because at the end of the day you’re not the one losing your job! Keeley’s never had to do something like this before, and it’s with someone that she clearly has some kind of history with. So yeah, I find Keeley extremely relatable here, and I’m almost glad of Shandy’s later over-the-top reaction because it’ll make it hard for Keeley to second-guess whether or not it was the right call. I will say, we call it a shit sandwich, not a compliment sandwich. Because you put the shit in the middle, so it’s shit flavoured sandwich. Like how a sandwich with cheese in the middle is a cheese sandwich.
Natalie: I actually thought of you during that bit. With the sandwich. I assume you use that not just for firing people, but just for general feedback on projects.
Megan: Yeah. It doesn’t always work, sometimes you can tell that the nice stuff is just there to soften the hard bit, and that really devalues the compliment. So sometimes it’s honestly just better to be upfront about things. Especially when it’s not the end of the world and it just means something needs to be redone or they just need to focus on a specific area for personal development. But I can see how when you’re firing someone, you might really want to try and soften that a bit. I did love that exchange, where Keeley thought Jack was talking to her, not telling her what to say to Shandy. I got immediately that was what Jack was doing, but Keeley’s very visible near heart attack was very good.
Natalie: Poor Keeley! Is she so insecure? I mean yes.
Megan: Yes, but I think she’s getting a bit better.
Natalie: The “talent dysmorphia” thing was interesting, as was the second mention of Jack’s father. I wonder if it’s his VC firm and Jack is his representative, that she isn’t the full head of it. She’s very young to have amassed this money from the ground up. I wonder if there is a story there.
Megan: We do later hear that she went to a fancy boarding school, so there’s definitely family wealth there. She could definitely work for him, or have taken it over from him recently.
Natalie: Maybe her family are billionaires for something else and her slice of the pie went into making a VC to support ideas she likes.
Megan: Yeah, and they might not always be the things her dad would choose to support. This show does love to explore relationships with fathers, so this feels feasible.
Natalie: She’s not wrong about the talent dysmorphia, but the idea that Keeley has just been sitting there smiling at Shandy for seven weeks while she knows full well that Shandy is not doing well really doesn’t look great for Keeley. It’s not where you thought this story would go, is it? You wanted Shandy to have been a good decision in the long run. What does it mean that she’s not?
Megan: Yeah, I wanted that both for herself and for Keeley. I mentioned it above, but I honestly really loved Shandy’s introduction. You could see how much it meant to Keeley, and it was just genuinely kind. I also liked the glimpses of competence that we saw from Shandy — both how she handled the client in the Coffka shoot, and later with the Bantr promo shoot too. It was also really clear right from the get go that she would need to go on a fairly steep learning curve to actually succeed in the role, but I didn’t want Keeley to fail, and I wanted Shandy to do well too, just because I really did like her in the first meeting. So I wanted Keeley to learn to be firm, but for it to happen early enough that she could get Shandy to where she needed to be. What I do like, though, is that Jack clearly isn’t holding this against Keeley, and that rings true to me too. The first time I had to fire someone, I really drew it out. I did not want to have to do that, and I was so desperate to make it work and they just kept making the same mistakes over and over again. And I knew that my boss knew they needed to go, but he let me go at my own pace to come around to it. It was really awful, but it also meant that the next time I knew it needed to happen, I could be a whole lot more proactive and decisive about it. And I bet Jack knows that too about Keeley and Shandy. If she’d tried to be more forceful about it, Keeley probably would have felt like she’d fucked up more than she had, and also like the decision to sack Shandy wasn’t wholly hers. But by giving Keeley the tools to have the conversation and then leaving the timeline up to her, it meant Keeley was able to do it once she finally admitted to herself that she had to. I’m not going to miss Shandy, though she had moments where her brand of chaos was enjoyable to watch. I do think a story where Keeley could teach her would have been a good one, but the way it actually played out was good in its own right, and as I said, I’m glad it doesn’t seem like it’s damaged what Jack thinks of Keeley in the long run.
Natalie: I did really wonder where the situation with Shandy was going. I didn’t ultimately expect them to frame it like “Keeley made a massive mistake.” But they did, and I mean, people make mistakes. Everything about Keeley’s PR firm arc has surprised me, because I did not expect to see so much insecurity and failure.
Megan: It has been so much more difficult to watch than I had been expecting, but for Keeley at least this episode did make it feel like she was beginning to find her way out of her dark forest.
Natalie: I really, really thought, and maybe it was naive of me, that we would see her basically doing really well, with a small team of people she picked herself so got along with — maybe just her and an assistant and a graphic designer, and that the finances would be handled by someone at the VC, someone who managed several brands for them or something, and that the conflict would be her being busy and overworked. I did not expect this level of like, “Fuck, I don’t know how to do this at all,” or conflict with staff she didn’t choose. It makes sense, but honestly I didn’t think this much story would be given to her on her own. I thought the arc would be more about how her workload impacted her relationship with Roy and Richmond, and I mean it definitely is doing that. But there’s a lot more focus here. And I think that has surprised a lot of people. Anyway, Keeley may have shared more thoughts about Shandy with Jack during their lunch date, she may have decided to see how it goes, but when they get back, Barbara has some fun news about Shandy causing a real problem, making them lose a client. There’s really no way back for Shandy, and all of this cements in my brain that I was right to be so concerned about the way her brain works when I was worried about her and Jamie. I might… be Barbara.
Megan: Yeah, you definitely called her right in that conversation. I was more willing to give her the benefit of the doubt — and that she just needed a bit more time to move away from the Z-List influencer mindset and that Keeley could get her there. But you were right. You are Barbara and I am Keeley. Together, we’d nail running a PR firm.
Natalie: I feel stupid for being so worried that they would try and force her and Jamie as a funny pairing, but she did outright state her aim to fuck him, so… I really hope that hasn’t happened in the background and she will use it to do something else shitty.
Megan: I hope not, but to be honest I think Roy has been keeping Jamie way too busy for him to hook up with Shandy.
Natalie: He better bloody have been.
Megan: Although of course Pep does recommend his players have a lot of sex. Maybe Roy feels the same way.
Natalie: If Roy believes that, he can handle it himself.
Megan: That would certainly be my preference.
Natalie: Anyway, I think it’s clear to everyone that there is no hope for Shandy to grow and change in some major way here. She existed to create problems for Keeley, and as her confidence grows, she becomes more and more dismissive of Keeley. Unless the show plans to keep her around in some way and delve into backstory, we won’t learn their past dynamic. But it feels so obvious, what they must have been like as roommates. When Keeley decides to fire her and asks to see her, she says “Can you give me thirty minutes?” I mean, Christ.
Megan: Yeah, I don’t think I need to explicitly be shown their past dynamic to know exactly what it was like. I LOVED Barbara in this firing scene. She is such a dick, but so fucking funny. She’s so desperate to watch. And then Keeley turns on the privacy window and you can still see her silhouette.
Natalie: Look, yes she’s being very smug to Keeley. But I am at the point of enjoying it. Keeley does like Barbara, I think, and it feels like they are on the level here.
Megan: She is smug, but frankly deservedly so, and Keeley is resigned to it in a kind of “Yes, fine, I deserve this” way.
Natalie: The way Keeley’s voice changes when she says “Barbara” cracked me up.
Megan: They are definitely getting to understand each other now, and I really enjoy it.
Natalie: I am really keen for them to become proper friends in a very mismatched weird way.
Natalie: And it’s okay if they’re spiky to each other. Roy and Jamie are spiky and always will be, but they love each other. Even if Roy won’t admit it yet. Keeley and Babs can push each other’s buttons too but still truly be loyal friends.
Megan: Give him time. But yeah, just everything about their interaction in this episode makes me really excited to see where they are by the next one.
Natalie: I have to say, Ambreen Razia in this firing scene, I mean — she is a great actress.
Megan: I knew Shandy wasn’t going to react well to Keeley’s compliment slash shit sandwich, but holy shit. It was unhinged, But yeah, she was incredible in it.
Natalie: Somehow I don’t think her PR firm is going to get off the ground. Unless Edwin Akufo invests.
Megan: Or Zava.
Natalie: Oh God.
Megan: I do wonder what kinds of celebrities would even want to be on that app. Possibly I’m putting more thought into the concept than it merits.
Natalie: Honestly, her and Zava both seem too good to be fully gone from the show after this? I feel like she may cause chaos again? But I do not believe in her ability to either start an app or a PR firm.
Megan: I would be up for her causing a little bit more chaos as a little treat, but nothing with any long term damage. Maybe she just sends Keeley a new farm animal every week.
Natalie: I guess the question is, if she is just gone now, a failed experiment, what was the point of spending that time on her? It progressed Keeley’s role as a boss, and her relationship with Jack, but there may be new challenges for KJPR to face.
Megan: I would quite like to see Keeley handle a legitimate PR crisis. Possibly that will come later with Colin’s likely coming out story, whatever that may look like. But we’ve obviously seen her fail a bit in the role, I would like to see succeed in some way too before the season ends.
Natalie: I am sure we will. And more Babs and Keeley time.
Megan: Please. And Jack and Keeley time.
Natalie: In years to come, Barbara will be saying “Remember when you hired Shandy?” And Keeley will just sigh.
Megan: And maybe tell Barbara to go count her snowglobes and leave Keeley alone.
Natalie: I do think Babs needs a slight attitude change, but like… not too much. I want her to keep being mean and pedantic. With love.
Megan: Yeah, I think she needs to acknowledge that Keeley was chosen by Jack because she has creativity and vision. Barbara is clearly phenomenal at her job, but she doesn’t have that. So if she can learn to work with Keeley a bit more, and back her up, then I think that would be great. The reaction to Shandy’s meltdown by everyone else in Keeley’s office is so good. Just staring at her open- mouthed and shocked. And then Barbara’s “I couldn’t be less with you.” I
Natalie: Poor Dan. He’s overwhelmed by these people.
Megan: But he does try a little joke out later this episode! He’s trying to relax! Good for Dan.
Natalie: He’s hopeless. Keeley is so kind to him. I have no idea what his job is, he doesn’t look like a very PR savvy person. Maybe the lesser accounting stuff. I had absolutely no idea whether he was joking, much like Keeley. But he seems completely deferential to her, as he did in the earlier episode where he weirdly just stood up silently in respect. I kind of imagine that he’s absolutely blown away by how mysterious, powerful and dynamic she is and has a harmless crush or at least some intimidation. “Unless you… want me to quit?”
Megan: I think that’s a fair assessment of Dan. Who Keeley would love to see tomorrow. I would love to see what Barbara keeps in her desk drawer.
Natalie: She’s so weird. Obsessed with her obsession with football fighting. What do you think of Jack and Keeley kind of being “on the level” in terms of finding Babs uptight and the pair being a bit cheeky together about her? Jack is meant to be the main “boss” of KJPR in that she’s their financial backer, but there’s no real hierarchy at play in how the show is choosing to make them interact with each other. It’s technically there, obviously, like Keeley being worried Jack was shutting down the company. But there seems to be enough distance — it’s not like Jack is acting like the boss of KJPR, this is just one of her many investments and she has some useful things to contribute. She’s kind of spending time there working out of the office but not FOR the company, she isn’t overseeing things, just kind of spending some time checking out the vibe. And apparently the vibe is roasting Barbara. I assume she’s worked with her before. Her and Keeley kind of feel like equals on this project, each bringing different aspects to the table. Bit of a mentor role, but the way the show has them interacting seems to be wanting to frame them as peers as opposed to highlighting a power dynamic. I could be wrong, and it still is one on paper, but Ted Lasso doesn’t seem concerned about that being an issue so it is making the characters not treat it like that.
Megan: Barbara calls Jack “their boss” in the previous episode, but I don’t think that’s really correct. Jack is probably Barbara’s boss, in the sense that she goes where Jack tells her, but in the case of KJPR she’s an investor, Jack doesn’t actually have any say over the running of Keeley’s firm and once the VC invests they cannot just take the money back, as far as I know. So while they could decide to pull future funding, that wouldn’t necessarily end with KJPR shutting down, maybe just Keeley having to scale things back a bit. Which might not even be that big a deal since she’s trying to keep things small and personal. Now that Keeley is feeling more confident in herself I definitely think her and Jack are peers in terms of like, hierarchy and power, just Jack is a bit more experienced, professionally, so can play that mentor role. I absolutely LOVE the joint roasting of Barbara. You get the sense that Jack and Barbara have known each other a while, and Jack is aware of how ridiculous Barbara is, and just finds it a bit charming. And now that Keeley is less intimidated by Barbara, and again more confident about herself, I think Keeley is finding her funny too.
Natalie: I have no idea how much say a VC investor would have over creative choices, I think some, but yeah. Overall, it isn’t a typical work hierarchy. If I was Babs, I wouldn’t like knowing that both my bosses were giggling about mocking me, but as a viewer I find it very cute. Keeley is a playful person, she’s cheeky. The first time we meet her she fucks with Ted by making him put the sign up crooked.
Megan: I’m really glad that Keeley is making a comeback after months of stress.
Natalie: Yeah, this really seems more like herself. Which she talks about directly in this episode. She is planning to take Jack to the Richmond match, but it turns out she can’t make it due to Shandy’s sabotage. Side note: this is the only time we see her interact with Rebecca, via texts. Oddly, it’s soundtracked with a slightly upbeat version of Roy’s theme, even though the scene is a Rebecca point of view moment. Maybe it’s meant to represent being cast aside by Keeley. I can’t remember the last episode of Ted Lasso that didn’t have a Keeley and Rebecca scene.
Megan: No! They’ve been such a reliable pair. I did love the text exchange, but I hope next episode we get some real interaction between them.
Natalie: I have a suspicion we won’t, actually, if next episode is Amsterdam. I have a feeling Keeley didn’t go on the trip.
Megan: Yeah, that’s true, I don’t remember seeing shots of her in any of the leaked filming photos. Maybe in the following episode they can catch each other up on all their adventures. Shandy’s version of revenge is, in the grand scheme of things, not the worst. If this is the only way she lashes out at Keeley I think KJPR will survive. As far as revenge goes, it’s pretty fucking cute.
Natalie: It sure is creative.
Megan: It is so stupid, I love it.
Natalie: The way they always have Juno Temple gag at even the mention of gross stuff is so funny to me. Like the neighbor’s snake.
Megan: And the olives.
Natalie: I would go out on a limb and say that neither pets nor children are in Keeley’s future.
Megan: No, I don’t really think they’re something she’s overly keen on. I think she’ll enjoy spending time around other people’s pets and or children, but enjoy the bit at the end where she can give them back.
Natalie: Yeah. I wonder if that would ever be a dealbreaker between her and Roy, or if he’s okay with just Phoebe. Who may well still throw up at random moments, but isn’t quite as disgusting as a baby.
Megan: I think he’d consider Phoebe enough, he clearly worships her. I don’t really get the sense that children would ever be something that would be a contentious issue for either of them.
Natalie: I absolutely loved the contrast between Keeley’s soft wise words on romance to Edward the Lamb Wrangler. and Jack being like “And here is a giant bag of shit.” I am… in love with her? She is everything I hoped and dreamed she would be.
Megan: She is so, so good. If Jack and Keeley did end up together in a serious way, this makes a fantastic first date story. “Oh yeah, we first kissed after spending an evening clearing up lamb shit together. So romantic.”
Natalie: The second Keeley lit that candle, I knew they were going to shag. I mean I knew anyway, but I knew specifically it would be now.
Megan: Same! On both counts. I spent the whole of the build up to it just chin-handing in anticipation. Keeley is clearly SO into Jack though.
Natalie: Then when Keeley goes to get the vodka, Jack does this little kind of check on herself, like “Pull yourself together” which made me think she had a crush too.
Megan: This entire episode, every time Jack says anything, Keeley just giggles and stares at her with heart eyes.
Natalie: I know it happens when they’re a bit drunk, but I think Jack consciously has non-drunk feelings.
Megan: I definitely think Jack has feelings too. She is clearly charmed by Keeley.
Natalie: Whereas I don’t think Keeley knew that was what she was feeling until the vibe hits in the moment later. I do not think Keeley consciously had a crush, I think it was a real “energy changes in the room” moment.
Megan: No. I think she’s very like, into Jack’s everything, but doesn’t recognise it for what it is until that exact moment. Whereas Jack I think knows earlier on.
Natalie: Yeah. She was extremely enjoying Jack, but the way Jack acted when Keeley left the room… Yeah.
Megan: And then her “Keeley, you’re adorable” followed by her little brag about drinking warm vodka in boarding school. It’s a weird flex to flirt with, but it’s the kind of thing Keeley would be impressed by.
Natalie: It speaks to Jack’s fancy past. Her accent is very mixed, which makes sense — she’s been all over. The actress is South African, this is close to her real voice. But it’s very mixed. I know she can do accents properly if needed — she played Jackie Kennedy in the Crown, that is such a specific voice. So this is just Jack, really. An unusual background. Jack obviously asks Keeley for a drink and not sure what would have happened if Shandy’s work vodka — visible when Shandy is sketching her starfucker logos, by the way — wasn’t on hand.
Megan: They probably would have gone out for a drink, and then might not have ended up snogging, so on this one occasion, thank you Shandy.
Natalie: I liked that Keeley tried to make it fancy but Jack showed that she was totally comfortable “slumming it” with the warm desk vodka. Unlike Babs, Jack does not seem to have a single preconception about class snobbery or anything like that, despite being very rich. As they share it they get more and more chatty and start to bond as friends. I don’t really think Jack and Keeley are endgame. I think this is a relationship that will go back to platonic fairly smoothly with no hard feelings and just be what Keeley needed right now. Because when they are talking about exes, there is a LOT going on there.
Megan: Firstly, the clown car joke was just top notch. Ten out of ten, would laugh again. Secondly, it is so interesting that Jack thinks the last relationship was Jamie, rather than Roy. I don’t know what to make of that at all. I really don’t think Ted Lasso will end up with Jamie and Keeley together, or even having another hook-up, but they do seem to be going to great lengths to show any of us who still doubted it that it was a meaningful and important relationship for Keeley.
Natalie: Yeah. Like, this is a moment where they really didn’t have to go there at all. And it’s what made me think Jack will sort of be a safe place for Keeley to work out what she wants. Jamie and Keeley were obviously a very public, very flashy couple and Roy is more low key, but it makes me wonder how long she was with Jamie, because I think it was longer than some people assume? But they absolutely did not have to even mention Jamie here, and Keeley kind of stutters over it. It’s weird, because what she said could be interpreted two ways. Jack asks, was it Jamie Whoever, and Keeley is like… no… Well yes, but no, it was… and Jack says, “Bad breakup?” What Keeley says — “No, it was fun, 5 stars, would break again.” This… how did you interpret this? Was this her reflecting on her relationship with Jamie and being like, actually THAT one was pretty good compared to the Roy trauma? Or was this her still referring to the Roy breakup, and being sarcastic entirely about it, “yeah, breakups are so fun!” I THINK it was the latter — as in, talking about her most recent breakup. But I was confused.
Megan: So I took it to mean the latter. That she was referring to Roy, because then she starts to go into more detail, and then breaks herself off because she’s still too sad to talk about it. So I think she was referring to Roy, but clearly a little thrown by the Jamie references. Her “I used to be a happy person” was really sad to me. Just hearing her admit how miserable she is about it all. Oh Roy, you fucker.
Natalie: If it WAS meant to be her comparing Roy and Jamie, it would mean she was saying that everything about Jamie was actually 5 stars and fun and that their breakup was easy — which it was, they instantly became friends. But I got so lost. I do think she was talking about Roy though and being sarcastic, like, “Yeah, it was so fun… NOT.”
Megan: I think so, yeah.
Natalie: But then why even mention Jamie in this scene? Like you said, they really want us to think about Keeley and Jamie and how special their connection is. Giving Keeley a third love interest is even more confusing, but I did very much want her and Jack to happen. And yeah, the way she says that “happy person” line really struck me.
Megan: Part of me makes me think that her and Jack happening means her and Jamie probably won’t in any form. Because it just feels like too many hurdles to jump until her and Roy get back together to then add anything significant with Jamie in, but maybe that’s the point of it. Between Shandy and Jack, it makes her think about Jamie again and it’s actually going to end up with Keeley and Jamie together for good. At this stage, I really don’t know what to think about the three of them (and Jack) other than the most logical outcome is still an OT3, but one where Keeley also sleeps with Jack when she’s in town.
Natalie: I really, really love her dynamic with Jack, Jack flipping her off and all. This level of banter is really just the true Keeley.
Megan: Yes. Fuck I’ve missed her.
Natalie: I really don’t want this relationship to go sideways and be a mistake. This needs to end well.
Megan: I really don’t think it will. I really think it’ll be okay, like, I don’t think it’s going to be a serious thing, but I think Jack is so cool and calm and I just think it will be a nice, casual thing for both of them that ends well. There was a moment, after Keeley kissed Jack, where I did think Jack was going to let her down gently. But she didn’t and I was SO happy when she leaned in and kissed Keeley back.
Natalie: Yes!!!! I was typing the same exact thing. That beat after Keeley kissed her, where — even though I’d felt sure it would happen — I worried about Jack’s reaction. I was going to ask you, did you think Jack was going to react badly? Obviously that’s the tension they wanted to create.
Megan: I thought she was going to be like “It’s okay, but we can’t do this” and bring up their professional relationship.
Natalie: It’s interesting. Doing that, feels like they want us to think “Oh no!” when she pauses, and then be relieved when she goes for it. Framing it like that is asking the audience to want it to go well for Keeley. Putting you on the side of “OMG please don’t reject her.”
Megan: And it’s interesting, and I hate to relate it to this because I think the vibes were very different, not least because Nate obviously knew Keeley was dating Roy, but it’s so different to the Nate and Keeley kiss in season 2. In that case I also knew that was going to happen before it did, but I was literally saying “Oh god, oh no, please don’t” out loud while watching it. Which is not the reaction I was having here. And like you said I think it’s framed in such a way that the audience really wants Jack to kiss her back. It looked like a good kiss too. Jack is so fucking smooth.
Natalie: With Jack, I think there were definitely signals, but Keeley then second guessed when she kind of was like, “I’m tipsy, this is work, confusing, ahhh.” Ultimately, I am not someone that believes that all first kisses need verbal permission or consent in advance. Roy and Keeley’s didn’t. Mature adult human beings can usually read a room, sense cues, and feel if something is going on.
Megan: Agreed. It is enough to read the signs and make a good judgement call. Nate did not, Keeley did.
Natalie: Nate kissing Keeley when he was totally aware of his co-workers Roy and Keeley being in a long term relationship together is very inappropriate.
Natalie: This with Jack was a little messy, sure, but not dodgy in my opinion. You can really feel the anticipation in the room there, they have crazy chemistry. Like that vibe of knowing something is about to happen with someone new for the first time and just the buzz before it does.
Megan: Yes. God. The chemistry is honestly off the charts for them. I may not think it’s going to be long lived, but I hope we get more scenes like this between them before it ends.
Natalie: I am feeling very Rebecca Welton on Rachel Weiss and Daniel Craig about them. I want to watch their… puppet show.
Megan: Yes. Puppets.
Natalie: Hey, we get some classic shadow puppet work at the end there. Beautiful, creative, artistic.
Megan: I’ll be honest, as far as privacy glass goes, it’s a bit shit. Some poor cleaner is going to come in to finish getting rid of lamb poo, and they’re going to be able to see everything.
Natalie: Lucky cleaner.
Megan: Yeah, fair point.
Natalie: That shadow scene is a moment cut with Ted’s impassioned speech at the end, when he says “the belief we all deserve to be loved,” as in, Keeley is getting what she deserves from Jack. Then it cuts to fucking Roy, as Ted says that line “Whether we’ve been hurt, or hurt somebody else.” Roy looks like he’s just seen God or something. NOW is the moment you choose to realise you deserve love, Kent?
Megan: I know! Roy, your timing is not the best, I’ll be honest.
Natalie: Keeley’s busy. Best I can offer is a fierce little puppy practically wiggling with the desire to be allowed to roll over and get a belly rub.
Megan: What a sentence. I can’t top that, you win.
Natalie: I have no idea where this Keeley/Jack thing is going, but it does make everything a lot more complicated. Or maybe it doesn’t have to, really. This is a sex-positive show. It could be… not meaningless, but just something easy, not a source of conflict.
Megan: I don’t think it has to be a source of conflict, so I really hope it isn’t.
Natalie: I am sure some people will have qualms with the idea of Jack and Keeley from a power perspective, but Ted Lasso hasn’t really portrayed issues like that as well, issues, in the past. We’ve talked about Sam/Rebecca and Ted/Rebecca as the owner and boss, and honestly, with Sam — though of course how characters act doesn’t always dictate the narrative’s stance — the show did not seem too concerned with the power thing. Age, a bit, yeah, but the fact she was the owner and he was a player did not seem to be a massive ethical issue for the Ted Lasso writers. Like your article says, it’s happened before with Karren Brady. There is precedent. I can’t really see the show taking a hard line about Jack and Keeley in this department. I obviously don’t care. I shipped them from the moment Jack was cast, knowing full well she was the VC behind Bantr. And I’m pro Sam/Rebecca. But there seem to be a fair few people concerned with the ethics here in a way that the show’s narrative isn’t, so far. I am guided by how the show frames it — if the show tells me to be concerned I will.
Megan: No neither. I don’t think there are any big issues from a power dynamic. It has the potential to be a bit messy of course, but I don’t really see either Keeley or Jack as being the kind of person that would make things messy in that sense. Right now Ted Lasso is not giving me any signs that I should be concerned, so I’m just going to sit here and be thrilled at some excellent queer female rep. Babs, I am sure, would be less stoked about Jack and Keeley’s new relationship dynamic, just because she’s a bit uptight. But she can learn to deal.
Natalie: Keeley is not the only person with a new romance here — Nate’s arc this week is nothing to do with football or Rupert or Ted. It’s entirely about dating.
Megan: That surprised me a bit! I thought after the high of his victory last week we might see a bit more of how West Ham are doing under Nate. There is a glimpse of the table at the start that shows West Ham have fallen back to second place behind City once more, but other than that Nate’s arc is all about Anastasia — and Jade.
Natalie: Ah, Jade. Well, for starters, I have no idea why Anastasia wanted to go out with Nate. Was this a status thing? Nothing against his looks — I think he looks good with the grey hair especially. But I am confused about what this was all about for her, as a model and influencer. Was it the fact that she met a man who didn’t instantly pursue her? Was there genuine interest or what? Because ultimately she ditches him very fast. I am a bit confused about what we are meant to take from Miss Kakes saying Anastasia wants to go out with Nate. I guess we don’t know how the conversation at the party went, but could it be more of Rupert’s manipulations? Setting Nate up with someone “high status” or something?
Megan: Mostly status would be my take, yeah. He’s a good looking guy, but probably not like, supermodel good-looking! But he has been generating a lot of buzz on social media, and she might not fully understand his role or whatever, and just think “Oh, he’s someone being talked about. If we go out together, we will be talked about too.” Unfortunately for that to happen, Nate might have needed to have picked a different date spot. But Miss Kakes saying “She was surprised you didn’t ask for her number at Bones and Honey” does make me think there could be an element of like, feeling weird or insecure that he didn’t pursue her and wanting to challenge that. I hadn’t considered the Rupert angle, but he does like to make Nate look more in line with the image Rupert prefers. First the car, maybe finding him a suitable girlfriend would be next on his agenda.
Natalie: Could it be as dark as Rupert like, paying her?
Megan: That I’m less sure about, only because she was very quick to cut and run later on in the date.
Natalie: Again, I don’t mean that to sound terrible, but Rupert does kind of push her at him. It really felt like Rupert was offering her up as a “perk.”
Megan: Yeah, honestly I would believe the worst about him!
Natalie: I wouldn’t put it past him at all for this to be a manipulation.
Megan: No, neither.
Natalie: Ultimately I do land on the side of it feeling genuine for whatever reason, until Anastasia gets bored. She’s been told he’s cool and successful, and she’s into that, but Nate does not really live up to the Bones and Honey hype.
Megan: Taste of Athens and Bones and Honey are two very different vibes.
Natalie: Okay, I have to talk about the mum phone call though.
Megan: God, please.
Natalie: I understand that this was just sort of a funny way of doing things, but the result of Miss Kakes handing over the number then Nate calling straight away, asking her out, only it’s his mum and he’s practising for the thing. Is this like a NORMAL occurrence? Does it mean playing it cool was a plan, he had been biding his time to get her number and had discussed his plan in advance with his mum? That doesn’t seem quite right. But it sounds so much like this was pre-planned rehearsal between them. I think Nate and his mum are a bit odd. His dad is harsh but his mum really babies him. I’ve watched some older scenes relating to Jade and the stuff with his parents is… I don’t know. There’s something very odd about the way his mother coddles him, especially juxtaposed with his father being colder.
Megan: I don’t imagine she had any clue about the actual circumstances of that specific call, but that possibly Nate makes a bit of a habit of calling her up and practising things with her. I cracked up at the reveal of the phone call, and I love the implication that she just takes it in her stride and offers him up some feedback, but they do seem to have quite a close relationship.
Natalie: That could be true — that he rehearses things often and she takes it in stride but that there was no pre-plan. I think they are showing us that he might have different issues with both parents though. Being close to her in this way might be a bit… off
Megan: I could see a world in which his mum coddles him to make up for the fact that his father is colder. Like, the actual responsible parenting thing to do would be to tell her husband to step it up and be a better dad, but for whatever reason she doesn’t seem to want to take that route, and so instead she overdoes it.
Natalie: What you’ve just described is a common abuse pattern. We don’t know HOW bad his dad is, but a parent standing by and allowing inappropriate behaviour from the other parent then “making it up” by babying, that’s very common in parents who are bystanders to abuse and there are no innocent bystanders in that situation. I think his mum is nearly as much of a problem here as his dad, but I also think what we have seen of his dad is really a pretty subtle harshness that Nate just isn’t built to handle or brush off.
Megan: I would agree with both those points. I’ve never gotten the impression that his dad is like, an awful abusive human being, just judgemental in a way that affects Nate badly. And the dad should have seen the impact he was having and adjusted and it’s mostly on him that he doesn’t. But given Nate’s mum is shown to be close to him, the actual thing to do as the adult in the room would be to speak to his dad, not just overdo it in the other direction. I don’t think any of what we’ve seen of his parents justifies Nate’s behaviour to date, but I think it does go some way in explaining it.
Natalie: No, I think we will probably see a lot more of what is going on there later. I get that feeling undermined in small ways for a long time can wear someone down. But Nate and his parents… I don’t know. To me, it doesn’t seem like behavior that would culminate in the level of delusion or power abuse Nate has been guilty of. I think that honestly Nate could be mentally ill. His processing is out of whack, and I am wondering if the show will delve into that given how open it is about mental health. This could all boil down to his brain chemistry just not being right, like clinical mental illness that needs medication, not just a chance of behaviour? I don’t know. His family is a topic he speaks about in this episode, but very positively. The phone call with Mum, maybe it’s just a joke. But the options are, he either planned for the eventuality of asking out Anastasia and had prepped with his mum before for this specifically, OR, he practices calls all the time and she is used to it. Either one is a bit odd. But maybe it’s just for the sake of the joke.
Megan: Yeah, later on in the restaurant he discusses spending time there with his family in nothing but positive, glowing terms. The restaurant is important to him because he has spent important moments there with the important people in his life. Whatever underlying relationship issues he has with his mum and dad, it does feel like a close knit family. I think it is probably mostly for the sake of the joke, but it does also reinforce what we’ve previously been shown about their relationship — namely that it is a close one, but that she possibly overly coddles him. Either way, she has some good tips on how to be more direct when he does call Anastasia.
Natalie: It could be that his dad is a LOT worse than the few small moments we’ve seen and it’s meant to be a big “Ohhhh” when we finally realise what specifically has been wounding him.
Megan: Honestly that is possible, but it doesn’t feel to me like it’s going that way. I guess we’ll find out!
Natalie: I will say, given what he says about how important Taste of Athens when he tries to make Anastasia understand… Bit intense for a first date. You don’t need to take her to the Most Special Heartfelt Place on Day One, my guy.
Megan: SO intense for a first date. Nathan! Come on. Keep it light and breezy for the first one, don’t be hitting her with the significant family venue right from the get go.
Natalie: This is such an interesting thing too, because… Well, do we believe that earnest explanation was the reason? Or do we think he took her there to show off to Derek and Jade and feel important to people who sort of know him?
Megan: Okay! I 100% thought the reason he picked that place was to make Jade jealous. As just another attempt to impress her!
Natalie: Yes! But the explainer later feels really genuine? Nate, I will never understand you.
Megan: The second we saw them walk through the door, I was face-palming. Like. No! Nate! Come on, this is so transparent, bringing her here to show off and make Jade see you in a different light. But yeah, when he then speaks about why it’s important to him it felt 100% genuine to me. I suppose both things could be true. He could have wanted to impress Jade and Derek and I think that was definitely part of it, but he could also just genuinely love that restaurant, and want to show it off.
Natalie: This entire situation is obviously all a vehicle to move us along to a Nate/Jade place and honestly, I think I love her. I have been thinking about her a lot and gone back and watched all her scenes. Here is what I have assessed about Jade in the past. She is a hostess in a restaurant and she is obviously not interested in the clientele hitting on her. Waitresses and servers get that a lot, it must really suck. That’s fair of her.
Megan: Yeah, Nate’s hitting on her is fairly innocuous compared to what she could sometimes get, but it still builds up.
Natalie: When she first meets Nate, he comes in, and says hello, then doesn’t say what he wants. We get the impression maybe that she’s rude because Nate says “I was waiting for you to ask me if I needed anything.” But like, what is this, America? She’s patiently waiting for him to say what he needs. Him waiting for her to ask is weird.
Megan: It’s quite on brand for Nate though I suppose, waiting for someone else to go first. But yes, I’m with you so far.
Natalie: It didn’t feel like shyness there for me, it felt like he was wanting someone to be servile to him. But maybe it was just awkwardness. Overall, I get the impression that Jade does not have time for small talk, posturing, anyone being presumptuous, excuses, anything like that. It would not have been weird for Nate to walk in and be like “Hello, I need to make a reservation.” When they actually go to the anniversary dinner, the window table decision is not hers. It is Derek’s, she says she’ll have to go check. And we know now she finds Derek very annoying. Derek is clearly the one being weird about “cool people in the window table.” Jade is not impressed by Nate saying he knows Roy, all of that — she probably thinks it’s stupid that anyone cares this much about the fake status of the window table. She seems like someone who just wants to cut the bullshit. There’s an idea from some viewers that Jade didn’t care about Nate when he was a “nobody,” but I don’t see that at all, I just see someone who does not give a fuck about status at all and finds Nate trying to big himself up really silly and unnecessary, even when he’s manager or West Ham. The actress is great, she constantly has this smiling behind her eyes look that’s a real challenge to Nate, like she’s daring him to just be fucking normal. I don’t think it’s disrespect for him, it’s just this “Come on, stop being silly.” At the anniversary dinner, it sucks that he had to spit to do it, but when he goes up to her and is like “here’s the deal. We want to sit there, no one is there, we will be very fast,” she’s like “Fair enough.” Because he’s using a normal level of confidence, human being to human being, not making excuses, not posturing, not doing it to impress or throwing his weight around or name dropping. This girl just wants him to stop being weird. And again, she makes the call to let him have the table, against Derek’s wishes. In season 3, we see that Derek is a fucking nightmare, but in the last episode, when we meet him and Jade says maybe Nate should quit his silly new job… It felt flirty to me then. Neg-flirty, but flirty. Again, this challenge of like, “Stop being weird and status obsessed,” in a teasing way. The way she watched him and Derek, and the way he gave her looks during that chat? Never has the phrase “levelled someone with their gaze” been more appropriate than for Jade. She will stare that man down with a little twinkle in her eye until she makes him act normal. And by the end of this episode… it works. We’ll talk about the specifics, but what has been your impression of Jade so far?
Megan: My impression has changed a little bit with every rewatch and new Jade scene! Firstly I can imagine a divide between how American and non-American viewers feel about Jade’s customer service approach. She’s not particularly chatty, but I definitely don’t think there’s anything outrageous in her behaviour, and I’ve experienced not dissimilar behaviour from people in the service industry here in the UK. However when I compare it to the service I’ve had in bars and restaurants in the US, there is a huge difference between the UK and the over-the-top levels of positivity I’ve experienced in the States. I’m not going to say Jade particularly enjoys her job, but when you don’t have to rely on tips to survive you’re definitely a lot less performatively polite and cheerful. In terms of her attitude towards Nate specifically, when we met her in season 2 I assumed she was the one who cared about status and was impressed by that. I thought she was the one that cared about having cool people in the window, and judges Nate for being an awkward nobody. Now though, that we’ve met Derek, who is definitely the one impressed by status, and seen the way she interacts with him, and her newer interactions with Nate, I agree with you. I think she just doesn’t have time for pretence, for people putting on airs, or just being a little bit weird. As you say there are moments where she genuinely seems a bit amused or interested in Nate, but also times where she’s very impatient about him trying to show off. And honestly if I had to put up with Derek being a nightmare day in and day out, plus customers who probably hit on her in way more aggressive ways than Nate, I too would probably be a bit impatient when faced with situations like these. This episode definitely shifted me from being intrigued and a bit confused by Jade to thinking she is actually really great. If this is setting us up to see more of her I consider that a plus.
Natalie: Yeah, my main impression of her now is that every time Nate tries to say something to big himself up, like showing off what a great guy he is by buying lunch for his staff, she’s a bit like, “Stop telling me how big and important you are,” and honestly I think that’s fair. Even if Nate thinks he is just making conversation, he kind of struggles to have normal conversations, doesn’t he? Like his genuine thoughts or behaviours aren’t “enough,” he needs to bring something of “value.” And for him, that usually means showing off somehow at the moment. Honestly, even things like Nate wanting to be remembered as a regular… Look I find being remembered as a regular very humiliating. So I would never want this. But there’s a difference between a place organically remembering you, and you wanting or expecting a staff member to remember you, of all customers, and make you feel special. Ultimately, the place we get to here with Jade is that she just wants him to be fucking normal. And for me, this is GREAT, because I’ve said before that we have never seen Nate with a peer. And while I do NOT think that getting a girlfriend who is blunt with him should be the be all end all cure for Nate, he does need someone to be blunt with him. I am fascinated by the idea of someone like Jade observing the truth of Nate’s circumstance and being like, so, why did you XYZ? You do realise ABC, don’t you? Ted Lasso has no other impartial characters who will be on the level with him. And I think he needs to have conversations with someone like that, in order to see himself more clearly.
Megan: That is such a good point with Nate feeling like he needs to bring something to conversations. He says as much in Man City when he talks about thinking up lines in advance, and then again at Rebecca’s dad’s funeral when he greets her and in a panic thinks he has to say something more meaningful than just “sorry for your loss.” He is a really awkward guy, and especially around someone like Jade who is clearly very comfortable with letting a silence hang, that is going to lead to him saying weird things to fill the gap. Part of me is uncomfortable with the idea of Nate getting a girlfriend before the show addresses some of his past shitty behaviour towards women, but actually Jade is a good person for him to have a relationship with — whether platonic or otherwise — because she will call him out on stuff. But importantly she also doesn’t have the same level of past baggage and preconceived ideas of Nate as anyone else he knows does, so that won’t cloud her judgement or the way she chooses to call him out. I think what this episode really hammered home to me what we’ve discussed previously where Nate is concerned — namely that he really shouldn’t go back to Richmond. Jade aside, even with Anastasia he’s more relaxed around her. He opens up about why the venue is important to him — perhaps overly so, but he does it — he pushes back a bit on her criticism in an earnest way, he calls her out for taking all her things with her to go “make a phone call.” He can do that with her, because she’s only ever known him as Nate, West Ham Manager. Yes, at Richmond, there is all the animosity, and the need for him to make amends with people like Will and Ted which is a barrier for him to overcome, but also I think it would be so easy for him to slip back into his most awkward fumbling self when there because they all see him in a specific way, and it’ll be so hard for him to change that.
Natalie: I totally agree. Regression is a specific horror of the human condition that comes out to play when you are back within a dynamic that made you feel a certain way. A classic example is within a family situation, you can be really competent and powerful in your own adult life but siblings can make you revert to thinking, speaking, and reacting in childish ways. Nate being back at Richmond, I don’t think he would ever feel as empowered as he deserves to feel. Too much baggage. Even if he made amends, the dynamic would remain. It’s better for him to move on and be the New Nate somewhere that doesn’t think of him as the Old Nate.
Megan: Exactly that. And I think Ted Lasso will end with him in a decent place with the Richmond lot — especially with Ted. If Ted does go back home to Kansas I think he’ll take that photo with Nate back with him, and he and Nate will probably keep in pretty regular contact. Moving on and being New Nate at West Ham doesn’t mean he can’t still have a healed relationship with everyone he’s left behind. But I don’t think redemption means going back to the way things were, not for Nate. I think it will mean him genuinely apologising to the people he’s hurt, addressing the reason he acts and thinks the way he does, and becoming a more decent human because of it. I don’t think going back to Richmond would help him achieve that change, I think it would see him backslide or unable to move on.
Natalie: I would very much prefer this, yeah. I don’t like the idea of him back at Richmond for himself or for the people who maybe won’t forgive him, within their rights. Forcing people he hurt to accept him as a superior would suck. And I just don’t think Nate would ever feel healthy confidence there.
Megan: It would just be an awful situation for everyone involved.
Natalie: With the actual date at Taste of Athens, it can’t be denied that Jade is rude in assuming Anastasia is not there with Nate. But Nate being like “She’s a very famous model and we are here on a date” is… awful. I will point out that Jade is specifically shown to not have been looking at the door when they walk in. It’s not like she stared them down and made that comment as a dig knowing full well. She’s at the bar, looking away. She did not see them come in together. But still.
Megan: No, so it wasn’t a complete dig, but the obvious assumption that they couldn’t possibly be together was a bit rude. Nate’s comment is so embarrassing, and he looks so proud and she just stares at him and it’s great.
Natalie: Yeah, it’s just such a transparent thing to do. Maybe he thinks he’s just making conversation, but like… come on. He deserves that staredown.
Megan: This definitely made my initial impression that Nate took Anastasia there to impress Jade feel more likely. And the fact that even when faced with someone like Anastasia, Jade says she has to go check with Derek also solidified the idea that she doesn’t care about status — he does — in my head.
Natalie: Jade DOES have a cute head though. She’s such a nice looking person.
Megan: She does and she is! When she smiles at least, her resting face is still too mysterious for me to label.
Natalie: Once they sit down at the table, the energy pivots from that showing-off vibe to Nate really defending the restaurant when Anastasia is rude about it. Jade looks so mad at her, and she laughs at Nate trying to persuade her that the baklava is divine, and ultimately Anastasia agrees that the food is good but not Grammable and the decor is too unfashionable. She wants them both to leave, and when he just gets more intense and enthusiastic about the restaurant, she leaves on her own.
Megan: I am really, really craving hummus and pitta bread right now, thanks to this scene. Unfortunately I do not have access to it, but the craving for it is intense and real. And also for baklava, which is just as inaccessible. Nate doesn’t often enjoy people laughing at him, but he didn’t mind Jade’s laugh at his baklava comment. That was pretty cute. Look, Nate clearly feels really passionately about Taste of Athens — Zava would approve — but his speech is a little bit too intense. Please Nathan, chill.
Natalie: It’s clear here that Anastasia did have some interest in him, with the sexy feeding. She wanted them both to go somewhere befitting their joint coolness. But then she realised Nate just fundamentally isn’t cool. Ah well.
Megan: He isn’t, and that’s okay. He should learn to embrace his uncoolness, instead of trying to fake it. Jade doesn’t look particularly impressed by the feeding scene. It could be jealousy, it could also be that, like me, she thinks PDAs of that level are uncalled for. Or maybe a mixture of the two.
Natalie: It’s pretty gross, to be fair.
Megan: I’m not keen on it.
Natalie: The real moment that sold me on Jade and everything I’ve said about her above is when she comes over with the baklava for two. She is awkward about it, obviously knows Nate has been ditched, and he starts to make some excuse, some bluster about his date having to leave. She just looks at him, tilts her head, like “Come on, now.” Like “Don’t, buddy.” And he drops the act.
Megan: Sidenote: that is a ridiculously huge portion of baklava and even two people would struggle with it. But yeah, she’s not being judgemental there, or laughing at Nate, you can tell she feels bad. I really liked him owning the fact that when he’s trying to impress people he puts on airs, and the way he did it was very funny — she clearly thought so too.
Natalie: It’s very clear to me that she just really can’t tolerate the posturing and she lets him know that and when he drops it, she’s on board. It’s extremely valid of her. And her poking fun at how he spoke… Some people may take that harshly but honestly Nate needs to learn to be made fun of a little without it eating him up inside or making him explode. He needs to be able to chill the fuck out about how people see him.
Megan: Yes! That’s been the source of so much of his shitty behaviour to date. He cannot handle being teased or made fun of. To a certain extent I can understand that, I don’t like being mocked, but I know when it’s done light-heartedly that it’s not a big deal and I also not to completely overreact like he does. He’s so sensitive about it and it’s just really unhealthy. I think she’ll be good for him in that sense, she won’t let him take himself too seriously.
Natalie: I am, I can’t lie, VERY wary of A Girl Fixing Him. But I also think we REALLY need to see him interact on a base level with a peer. Not work or family. To get to the heart of who he really is.
Megan: I agree. I hate that trope at the best of times, but I especially hate it in Nate’s case given his past actions. For that reason I don’t know that I want them to date, but I definitely think she is a good character for him to have those interactions with, to help him realise what it is he needs to change about himself. And who knows, maybe he can help her learn to be a bit more patient when faced with people who are extremely awkward.
Natalie: I think she’s a bit awkward too, which is part of why she does it. It isn’t like she’s acting vivacious and witty and sassy.
Megan: Oooh, yeah, I think that’s probably true. When she says alright about joining him for the mountain of baklava she is a bit awkward there.
Natalie: Even the way she mimics about the baklava being divine isn’t like, smooth and sharp. She’s weird. I am obsessed with her.
Megan: Her and her cute head that she got from her father.
Natalie: She’s been such a great foil so far in just how blank she is. The way she lets things hang in the air basically gives Nate enough rope to hang himself with, over and over. Just her total lack of reaction, and how Nate chooses to fill that space. Now they are actually talking — and we see this montage of very friendly, animated conversation — what else will she offer the story? Presumably Nate will learn to cut out the entitled behaviour with her.
Megan: I can’t imagine she’d hang around for long if he didn’t. I think, as you say, she could play an important role in the story in letting us get to see more of who Nate is, and why he’s the way he is. For instance, we discussed his relationship with his parents earlier, the idea of him introducing her to them could be quite telling in terms of how both his mum and dad would react. But I just hope that whatever it looks like, it’s done in a way that isn’t too tropey, and is sensitive to Nate’s past behaviour towards women.
Natalie: If she does something that angers him and his knee jerk reaction is to call her a shrew, she will be out the door.
Megan: As she should be.
Natalie: I wish I could have heard the silent conversation, but it is her speaking very expressively and Nate enjoying listening to her. So that’s a good sign at least.
Megan: Yeah, so far he’s done far more talking in their interactions, so it’s nice to see that turned around, even if we couldn’t hear it.
Natalie: We’re talking like we expect to see more of her, and for this to develop further. I wonder how Miss Kakes and Rupert will feel about Nate not really impressing their hand-picked cool girlfriend for him?
Megan: Negatively, I imagine. I don’t think “woman who works at a Greek restaurant” is going to be at the right level for them. I think I do expect to see more of her though. She’s the character outside of Rupert we’ve seen Nate interact with the most so far this season, so it feels like she has more of a role to play yet.
Natalie: There are so many isolated stories this season, one reason why these chats are so long. Rebecca, Keeley and Nate all have their own arc that really doesn’t involve interacting with any of the other lead characters or the upcoming football match. So many characters to cover.
Megan: I do wonder how they’ll all get tied up at the end. But this episode especially really has followed those three very separately, and it’s only Ted, Beard, Roy and the team that are going on a fairly connected journey this week.
Natalie: Ted has his own arc within that, and I think it’s significant that he does not engage with the team at all until the very end after the Man City loss. You can probably assume that he, you know, off screen still did the pre-game stuff, but what we see keeps him away from the team. Roy is the go-between, information wise, between the dressing room and the office. So there’s a player arc, involving Zava and Jamie and Man City concerns, a coach arc, also involving Man City concerns, and Ted’s arc about Henry. The players are not particularly kind about the news story of Nate dating Anastasia, but I enjoyed the general banter. The way Jamie says baddie is sonically embedded into my brain.
Megan: They aren’t very kind, but it also feels kind of in line with the same way they rib each other generally — it’s not dissimilar to how they all teased Sam about his Dubai Air ad in season 2, “Is this an ad for ugly people?” I don’t get the feeling, from this scene, that they’re all sitting there harbouring a deep resentment for Nate still after last week’s anger. Shoutout to Isaac who continues his trend of throwing out deep insight in between his complete himboisms. “His transformation is going to be on the inside.” You’re so right, Isaac.
Natalie: His confidence that Nate will make good is kind of lovely, but also makes me worry they’d accept him back at Richmond too easily. When, as discussed, I don’t want that. I actually should have said this earlier, but I have a small gripe here with how the show treats timelines. We know this is meant to be six or seven weeks after the West Ham match when Nate and Anastasia met. Why is this tabloid story coming out NOW, and why is Miss Kakes only giving Nate her friend’s number now? The show is treating this Anastasia plot as if it’s only days after Bones and Honey, not six weeks and more. That kind of thing kind of bothers me. Do you want people to understand how many bad games you’ve had or not? Show time passing better!
Megan: They are really playing fast and loose with timelines this season. It’s never been particularly great, but it feels like there are some very silly mistakes this time around!
Natalie: I just don’t like when shows act like time has stood still between episodes, when they are trying to also say time has passed.
Megan: Yeah, it would be one thing if they didn’t say anything about how much time had passed, but in the opening scene the commentators literally say it’s been a month since the West Ham loss!
Natalie: Well no, they say they played West Ham last month — and it must have been the start of the month, October, and this is the end of November, because we know Richmond have played seven matches since West Ham and are gearing up for their eighth. Six weeks at least, if some were midweek. More likely seven or even eight. Treating the Anastasia plot like a brand new tabloid story is weird. There are better ways to reveal information than this. Anyway, it is what it is. I just think it’s sloppy.
Megan: I agree.
Natalie: Anyway, the himbos are talking rom communism again, always a good time. But I have to give another critique. Sorry, Ted Lasso. Kingsman did the My Fair Lady thing better.
Megan: This is true! That film is perfection though, everything it does is great.
Natalie: To be fair it isn’t quite making the same joke as Kingsman, but the subversive way it’s done in that movie, how it shows up class stereotypes, is so great that anything even close to comparable just falls flat for me, LOL. Side note: Jamie and Eggsy could do a clothes swap and both come out of the deal very happy. And I would also be very happy. Anyway, yes, we get it, all these boys know about romcoms, musicals, and plays. Colin and Beard can bond over the My Fair Lady cast recording with Julie Andrews. Dani… Truly the himboest of them all.
Megan: Oh Dani, sweet simple Dani. He’s not wrong though, pigs are both cute and intelligent.
Natalie: The main point of this is really to showcase Zava’s wifeguyness. Apparently he does not acknowledge either the objective beauty of other women, or… any films. He just likes to watch his wife.
Megan: Look, I know Zava was very over the top here, and Jamie’s disdain is understandable, but…I actually found it quite sweet. I think it’s the most genuine I’ve seen him. Ridiculous still, because it’s Zava.
Natalie: If he’s telling the truth.
Megan: But…it felt real!
Natalie: I mean he moved to England because his wife liked The Office.
Megan: Yeah, he’s clearly very devoted to her.
Natalie: I want to meet her — I wonder if they’d cast his real wife for it, it would be fun. Max Osinski is married to Dichen Lachman, she’s on Severance. So in the Apple family.
Megan: That could be a fun cameo then, I’d back it.
Natalie: Anyway. Jamie’s disdain about explaining She’s All That. He possibly should have said “film,” but the scorn was stronger, accent wise, giving him the extra syllable of movie to dance over. I guess the younger kids get in the UK, the more Americanisms they use. Not the show’s worst language crime.
Megan: No, I think we can let that one slide. He is so disgusted by everything Zava says and does, and on the one hand, poor guy, on the other hand, I really enjoy watching it. I also just really enjoy watching Zava, so much more than I thought I would, but he’s just so good in every scene. Sorry Jamie.
Natalie: You say that, but I have seen this episode like, four or five times now and I had a visceral reaction to him touching Jamie, to a degree that was like, genuinely concerning, every single time. I totally clenched with rage. Did not enjoy.
Megan: Okay yeah, that’s probably the exception. There have been a few times where he’s touched Jamie and Jamie has clearly hated it. I’ve not enjoyed those bits. But in general I have enjoyed his addition to the show.
Natalie: Jamie is the ONLY one Zava touches. He allows the others to touch him, like a lucky charm, but he touches Jamie in order to lower him in some way, unsettle or intimidate him. I think he knows exactly what he’s doing there and it’s all twisted mind games. But I think the thing about Zava that stops people seeing him as outright sinister is… Well, for example, the wife scene, he seems so earnest. They cast this guy who just has big, soulful, wise eyes. As opposed to someone very sly, or sharp. It really adds to his oddness — he has such an open face. It is confusing, but adds some brilliant parts. It helps with how seriously he takes himself.
Megan: Yes, and I think it means that when he does talk utter nonsense, for a moment there you kind of get swept up in it. And then when you actually think about what he said, you realise it’s ridiculous, but for a second you really believe he’s a genius.
Natalie: Yes. Yes. Unless you’re Jamie. Jamie is inherently distrustful of all people, and most acts of kindness. Which is usually a sad flaw. But in this case, offers a real sense of clarity.
Megan: It has its uses, despite being very upsetting.
Natalie: Once again, though, Jamie is our hype-man, the biggest Richmond cheerleader, stepping up when the team is moaning about how shit they’re playing. Colin cutting off Jan to be blunt to Sam is great. I am keen for more caustic Colin, he’s a very opinionated person and last season we saw him quite downtrodden thanks to Nate. There’s the potential to kind of take him as soft and sweet because we saw him suffer, but this is the guy who goes on Instagram and gets hyper-political even when doing sponcon.
Megan: I would love to read Colin’s Welsh Independence views on Instagram, I’m sure he’s got some excellent takes. I love how this continues the trend of Isaac, Sam and Jamie being the three leaders on the team, at least when you remove Zava from the equation. You have Isaac being like, team dad, telling them all how to look after themselves, Sam being optimistic — although not overly helpfully in this scene, as demonstrated by Colin’s response — and then Jamie cheerleading them again, telling them they need to back themselves. He really, really believes in Richmond, and he wants them all to believe in themselves too. But I also appreciate the matter of fact way he says that City are great. I like that he can talk about them without any angst. His speech is so good, and I slightly retract my earlier statement about enjoying Zava, because I did really hate him basically repeating Jamie and stealing his thunder.
Natalie: Yeah, this is what I was talking about earlier with Jamie’s dad. It was only small, but I LOVED how he just talked about City with that level of respect. No anger or bitterness, just acknowledgement. And not like they’re villains for being good either. The show really paints City and now West Ham as, you know, enemies, the bad guys. But like… they’re not. They’re just football teams. A lot of these guys in real life are friends with people on other teams, people move clubs, play on the national teams together, knew each other as kids… It’s a wider community.
Megan: You see it in real life. City and Liverpool fans HATE each other and have even expressed anger at the current teams for being too friendly, like Pep and Klopp being so nice and respectful and affectionate to each other and so many of the players being friends from the national teams, or even going on holiday together.
Natalie: I said in our episode 2 chat that I have a lot of feelings about Jamie and City, the way I do about Roy and Chelsea. This episode did not cover any emotional side for Jamie regarding City, and I am sure the away match at the Etihad will have a huge focus on it. Whatever happens in that Etihad episode may make me change my mind about this, but: I would really like Jamie to go back to City some day, in the future of Ted Lasso. Not within the context of season 3, but further down the line for him.
Megan: I agree. I think it was his childhood club, and his dad fucking ruined it for him, and I would like him to be able to go back and play well there, reclaim it from his dad.
Natalie: The show may change my mind about this later, but right now, how I see it is that Jamie had his own relationship with City. He was scouted by them, went to their academy, he played with them at the professional youth level, then was brought up to the senior team. It was HIS club and I am nearly 100% certain he was involved with them before he re-met his father, and I HATE that his dad fucked up his relationship with the club he grew up in and earned his place in on his own. I get why the City fans might hate Jamie now — we see in the trailer him getting booed. He’s a local boy and he walked out on them to go on a TV show.
Megan: Yeah, they’ll feel like he fucked them over, they won’t know the context with his dad.
Natalie: It would be really hard to explain the truth of that to the public, unless he sat down for an exclusive interview about his life. But I think he could explain the truth of it to the club itself, to the manager and all. This might seem odd to readers, like “surely you want him to stay at Richmond,” and like.. yeah, for now. But if Richmond don’t become a permanent top flight team, players like Jamie will always move on to higher level clubs. It’s just a fact of football.
Megan: It’s just how it works. Which isn’t to say I don’t hate it sometimes in real life, when one of my favourite players leaves one of my teams. Not least because four Premier League teams is already so many to root for, I can’t keep adding to them, but it is a reality of football. Players’ careers are relatively short, they want to be able to achieve as much as they can in that time.
Natalie: And the fact is, City are the best team in the league, but ALSO Jamie’s boyhood dream. Reclaiming his relationship with them and his home city would mean a hell of a lot to him, and to me as a fan of him, in the made-up future beyond season 3.
Megan: Yet another reason I don’t want a flash forward scene that gives a fixed future.
Natalie: A shot that shows Jamie with City could be a plausible moment for me within that hated flash forward idea, but I think most fans would just read that as him going to the enemy, so likely they won’t do it.
Megan: I think you’re right.
Natalie: But the time would realistically come for Jamie to be sold to another club and to chase trophy opportunities, consistent title races, consistent Champions League seasons. I would hate for it to be with anyone other than City. I never want to see that boy in a red shirt of ANY description. I could accept Chelsea, maybe. He and Roy could both go over, as Roy’s management career rises. But I would prefer it was City.
Megan: I’d say I’d accept Spurs too, but I like Jamie too much to inflict that on him. No, it would have to be City.
Natalie: LOL he’s not going to Spurs.
Megan: Impossible. Poor Spurs.
Natalie: Ted Lasso could, of course, really do something different when we eventually visit Manchester. It could show us the idea that he’s really triggered by the club or something, that it was a truly bad experience. But I really doubt it? Because he didn’t seem upset by them at all in this episode.
Megan: Yeah, I don’t think they would go there honestly. They could, but he really doesn’t seem affected by them in and of themselves. It’s always just been his dad.
Natalie: The issue is only how his father acted, criticising his performance and all that without any proper football knowledge. There’s also the fact that Pep is canonically still the manager in the Ted Lasso universe. And like… you cannot tell me that the Ted Lasso writers will shittalk Pep’s dressing room and imply to the world that it was a negative place.
Megan: They better not! I will kick off!
Natalie: They couldn’t do it.
Megan: The atmosphere at City just seems way more chill and positive than so many others, based on various documentaries and articles. I suppose it is easier to be positive when you win as much as they do, but Pep in particular doesn’t seem keen on drama or big egos. They’re all just happy and nice. It’s why I will also not accept them having Zava go to City if he comes back later on in the season.
Natalie: Apparently Sudeikis is a bit of a City fan. I don’t think they would have chosen that team to be so featured on the show if they, you know, were going to portray them negatively. Like, “can we show you in a really bad light?”
Megan: Alright Jason, you beat Brendan in terms of teams. Good job.
Natalie: From 2020, doing season 1 Ted Lasso press: “I always play as Liverpool or Manchester City on FIFA as I know their players the best,” he says. “But I also love the two coaches at those clubs. They seem like great people. You’d gladly have Pep or Klopp as a neighbour.” They’ve made their Pep bed, now they’ve gotta lie in it. Meaning they CANNOT show City itself to be a bad environment for Jamie.
Megan: Or else.
Natalie: Anyway, this is all very intense chat for one throwaway line. We are going to deal with this a lot more later in the season, but for an episode where they played City, a surprising lack of Jamie trauma.
Megan: I’m sure that’s coming, down the line. Right now Jamie’s trauma only seems to be coming from Zava and his everything.
Natalie: Anyway, what you said about leadership — when Jamie tries to tell the bunny rabbits off about their negativity and turn their thinking around, Isaac gives him this little look that made me pause for a second and wonder if maybe Isaac was a little…. something. Jealous, or concerned, or something, about the fact that Jamie is the one stepping up and rallying people like this. Isaac isn’t really one for big encouraging speeches as captain.
Megan: That’s true. And we also see later in the episode him being directly targeted with hate from the fans and being blamed for their defeat — it’s possible that he’s feeling the pressure generally, and wondering if he’s up to it. And then seeing Jamie stepping into this role, seemingly so easily, again and again probably is difficult for him.
Natalie: Yeah. I think something is going on with Isaac. He isn’t a very verbose guy and we see in 2.05 how he was sort of falling behind as captain, like “You’re playing like shit! Stop doing that!” Jamie being so expressive, is, in some ways, a better fit for what’s needed. Jamie and Sam both have qualities that aren’t the same as Isaac’s, and I do think he is getting frustrated with how everything is going. Stuck in his head again. Roy picked Isaac because of feeling he was similar to him. Stoic and angry. “Never stop breaking TVs.” He may know about body science, but like Roy, when Isaac is feeling a lot, he can’t express himself. This isn’t too good a place to be in, as captain. And we know something will happen that means Sam gets the captain band for at least one match.
Megan: He does try in this scene — he’s not shouting insults at the team, he’s basically telling them to take care of themselves which is nice! But it’s still not the same level of motivation that we might see from Jamie and Sam. Previously, I had thought that when we see Isaac fighting those fans in the trailer it was in defence of Colin, now I wonder if we’ll see that same fan again, heckling Isaac repeatedly until he snaps. I still think it’ll be because of Colin, but it could be that.
Natalie: Isaac is also taking a back seat to Zava in terms of leadership too. I think he may be feeling very ineffectual, honestly.
Megan: Yeah, like he doesn’t have a purpose with Zava there. Hopefully Zava leaving will help knock him out of that a bit.
Natalie: The way Zava once again just takes Jamie’s point and acts like he’s the one who should be revered for saying it… “It’s as if you were Zava.” Oh my god. The man has a chronic inability to allow someone else to inspire ideas when Zava is in the room. He has to draw the attention to him.
Megan: Fuck off with your “As if you were Zava”. He is Jamie Tartt and he is perfect. Isaac definitely looks like he’s scoffing a bit though, when Zava says “Jamie is so right”. So I think you are onto something with his arc.
Natalie: “I’m me. Why would I want to be anything else?” Cannot believe one of the teammates hits Jamie for muttering “I literally just said that.” STOP BOOING HIM, HE’S RIGHT.
Megan: HE IS RIGHT! AND HE SHOULD SAY IT.
Natalie: I knew in my heart, in my bones, and in my extremely undefined delts traps and glutes, that with Zava’s speech about how they won’t win because of him… I knew that when this moment was over, that was that. He was walking out of the club. Probably because he knew they couldn’t beat City.
Megan: Same. I was utterly certain that was his leaving speech.
Natalie: The best-faith interpretation is that he’s a nice person who wanted the team to band together and do it for themselves. Which, no. The most likely scenario is this: Rebecca had his number at the start of the season. He’s not as good as he once was. He had a burst of success at the start of the season, but even with him, they haven’t won in seven matches. He isn’t actually doing well, in and of himself. He can’t do what Rebecca dared him to do, be responsible for winning a trophy through his own brilliance.
Megan: “You will not win because of me” is pretty on the nose. Put a comma in there and it becomes “You will not win, because of me.” Which is honestly very accurate, not because Zava walks out, but because having him there all season has stopped them from being able to play well as an actual team, not ten men watching Zava.
Natalie: The fact that they aren’t winning means he just isn’t as good as people think.
Megan: Yeah, and he’s made the rest of the team worse because they’ve become complacent.
Natalie: Jamie’s face at the end of the gym scene when they all cheer. SO grumpy.
Megan: He is not a happy bunny rabbit. Dani, jumping into Zava’s arms and clinging on like a baby, is very happy though
Natalie: Poor Dani.
Megan: Sweet Dani.
Natalie: As I always expected, Zava walks out on the team without a word and just does not show up for the Man City match. They don’t discover this until he just literally never arrives on matchday, as Roy is hyping up all the lads. Also, Roy hyping up all the lads is the cutest fucking thing in the world and I feel ROBBED that we don’t get to see his regular pre-match ritual with Jamie. I’m still hurting from the self-fist- bump. Would Jamie be the one he sticks in a stew? He’s reaching Sam Gamgee cooking instruction levels here.
Megan: I wonder if Brett knows he almost quoted Lord of the Rings in this scene. He’s made his feelings about those movies very clear. I LOVED this, and especially his polite “outclass them” handshake with Sam. That’s a new wish for the season’s list though. What’s his pre-match ritual with Jamie these days? Maybe he just stands in front of him and watches Jamie give himself a fist bump. I really love Jamie’s “I don’t fucking know” face. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it, I hope it’s not the last.
Natalie: Roy being the one in the dressing room still basically the person closest to the lads gives me a lot of feelings. I think he really regrets not being a better captain. His relationship with the team is still semi peerlike.
Megan: Yeah, he’s on a much closer level to them than Ted and Beard, which makes sense, he was them less than two years ago. I always assumed he was a very good captain at Chelsea, it’s just at Richmond he was too sad to be able to do it well. We obviously saw him be the one to help Isaac get out of his funk last season. If Isaac does have another crisis of confidence, I wonder if Roy will be there this time round too.
Natalie: Obviously he has to flit between them and the coaches, and he has to be the one to deliver the news about Zava. They’ve got a fucking problem, but they’ve been having one all week.
Megan: Yep. Because going back to the beginning, no matter how many formations they suggest, they cannot come up with a strategy that they think will help them beat City. A problem I was momentarily distracted from by a throwaway line by Beard that I had to immediately rewatch to make sure I heard it right. Ted is clearly aware of Beard’s past work dancing in a strip club, but Roy seems as surprised as I was.
Natalie: Look, nothing that man could say will surprise me.
Megan: He has clearly lived many lives, and every glimpse into one of them raises so many more questions.
Natalie: Does Man City sound like the kind of male strip club that caters to the female gaze, or gay male patrons?
Megan: I am leaning more towards gay male patrons. It could be either, but that’s my guess.
Natalie: Dancing at a gay male strip club does not, of course, make you queer. But that man is the very definition of Up For Anything.
Megan: Oh absolutely. Unfortunately we don’t get to probe any deeper into this particular time in Beard’s life, because we move on to Trent, who has an idea, but he’s not sure he wants to break the rules of sadistic nature documentarians everywhere and offer his advice.
Natalie: I SAID THIS! I said last week he was being a shit nature documentarian!
Megan: He’s trying really hard! But Ted, Roy and Beard are such cute little monkeys that he can’t resist stepping in to help. Their impressions are so awful, and I was already dying, but then Roy joined in and I was gone. This show is so stupid and so brilliant.
Natalie: What do you think it says about Trent that he is having these thoughts about trying to be a part of the action, that he really feels the urge to help? It’s clearly not going through Ted’s mind that he may get fired, but Trent would know all about management changeover. Maybe he’s worried.
Megan: Oh yeah, he’s probably reported on so many of those in his time as a journalist. I think the biggest thing it says about Trent is that he made the right decision to give up journalism at this point in his life, because he clearly doesn’t want to just report on what’s happening anymore, he wants to be a part of it. Obviously he can’t meddle too much, while writing his book, but Ted was never going to let him just be a silent observer, and I don’t think Trent wants that. It’s why for as much as I feel strongly that Trent will not be outing Colin any time soon. I do think he’s going to play some sort of role supporting Colin, and helping him realise what he wants to do about being more open with his sexuality. He doesn’t just want to stand on the sidelines and observe. He wants to be involved in some way.
Natalie: Ah Trent. And his gay little mug. I love him so much. I love the way he’s all like “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly.”
Megan: Yes! Unfortunately his idea is still not going to solve their problem — City’s centre backs are too athletic — but his “yeah, you’re fucked” is very good.
Natalie: Once again, I liked the organic discussion of football tactics like Route 1, being exchanged between Trent, Roy and Beard. I much prefer specifics that feel real mentioned in passing than the generic ideas in season 1.
Megan: Agreed, and this is where Ted’s lack of football knowledge comes in handy of course. Because he doesn’t know anything and has to ask for it to be explained, and it helps audience members who are also less clued in on the sport understand. I might, for Richmond and my own sanity’s sake, want him to learn more about the sport he coaches, but it’s useful that he hasn’t from that point of view!
Natalie: Beard’s not wrong, City’s CBs are the best. Stones and Aké, in particular.
Megan: It’s true. Nathan Aké’s season has been SO GOOD.
Natalie: Beautiful woodland creature.
Megan: And then any further discussions of City or formations are derailed by texts from Michelle, revealing that Henry has been involved in a bullying incident at school. Obviously Ted and all assume Henry has been the victim of bullying, but I was pretty certain right from the get go that he would actually be the bully.
Natalie: I also knew Henry was the bully. I think this is a situation where the show is inviting the audience to immediately realise Ted misunderstood and spend time anticipating the reveal. The lack of specificity gives it away, you can tell he’s got it wrong straight away. It’s just one of those moments where I’m sure we are all meant to get the subtext before Ted gets the plain text.
Megan: I did love the instant reaction from Beard and Roy, coming to Henry’s defence. Beard having precise knowledge of which flights they should take to get there as fast as possible was very on brand. And then there’s Roy. I…he just kept going. Every time I thought “This has to stop now” it did not. How did Brett say all that with a straight face? He can’t have, right? There must be so many bloopers, but fucking hell. That was… unhinged.
Natalie: This was genuinely concerning. If I took this seriously, I would be like… My god, is Roy genuinely meant to have been this violent in his youth? Like, for real? Is he actually meant to be some sort of thug?
Megan: Was he hazed or bullied at Sunderland Academy and this is how he got revenge? I… Look, I have to not take it seriously, and assume it’s just Roy being Roy, but JESUS Christ.
Natalie: Or is this something he got out of one of his shitty pulp thrillers?
Megan: Actually it does feel a bit Dan Brown.
Megan: That one monk did like to indulge in some self flagellation. Quite graphically on the page, from memory. Maybe he did a recent re-read and felt inspired. Either way, Jesus.
Natalie: I’m not someone who can easily be like “Haha, funny violence!” in a show that does deal with like, real violence, or very serious situations. This isn’t a full sitcom with heightened silliness. It’s pretty grounded. So when they do a heightened moment like this as a joke, I struggle to fit it into the reality of their behaviour, you know? Like, the rest of Ted Lasso only works for me if Roy Kent is not a man genuinely capable of beating someone with a rope.
Megan: Yeah, I get that. I don’t think anyone in that room actually thinks Roy would do that — I don’t — but they do clearly get a bit caught up in the narrative. The very vivid, very intense narrative.
Natalie: Trent thinks he would do it. He drops his gay mug.
Megan: Trent loves an emotive narrative, he’s just caught up in the moment.
Natalie: He’s thinking, “Jesus, I got lucky if that is what he was capable of.”
Megan: Though he also doesn’t know Roy quite as well yet, maybe he does think Roy would beat him with a painted rope. While laughing. As loud as he can. For as long as he can.
Natalie: I’m taking this too seriously, but I think I’m allowed to, with how fucking serious and traumatic other moments of this show can be. I talked about this in our season 2 reflection, Roy’s anger and how the show treats it. But I have to go with thriller novel. I HAVE to. The Roy and Jamie arc only works if we, and Jamie, all know that Roy would never legit hurt him, that Roy is safe, even when he makes a show of lunging for him.
Megan: Interesting that 4am is both the time he thinks people are least prepared to defend themselves, and also the time he wants Jamie to start training. I’m probably not helping. He just got carried away with a little Dan Brown, Nat. We’ve all been there.
Natalie: Oh yeah, I was getting to that. That connection is there for sure. The 4am reveal, it all falls into place. He is getting Jamie at his most vulnerable.
Megan: He’s going to break Jamie down to rebuild him into something better.
Natalie: So we really, really, really need to believe that he would never actually hurt Jamie or do anything violent in anger. despite his bluster and explosions. His rope story deeply disturbed me while also being absurdly hilarious.
Megan: I 100% believe that. I think it’s just Roy being really melodramatic and weird. He’s so performative!
Natalie: I need to blame Dan Brown, yeah.
Megan: It clearly struck a nerve with you as a method of revenge — you’ve referenced it several times in this chat so far.
Natalie: I mean, as an empty threat, it’s insanely funny. I love Beard’s response though, to the news about Henry. They must know each other very well. Uncle Beard.
Megan: Yeah, we haven’t seen them interact yet, have we? I’d like that before the season is through!
Natalie: Well, we know they’re all going to West Ham together. From the trailer.
Megan: Oh of course! Roy’s insane monologue wiped all other thoughts from my brain. I look forward to it.
Natalie: It always amuses and confuses me, how much Ted takes Roy in stride. He never acts like Roy’s aggression is anything other than just a normal way of communication.
Megan: I know, he’s just like, “Oh yeah, sure that’s one idea! But maybe we’ll do this other thing first. Good idea though!” Honestly that’s why I don’t think we’re supposed to take it seriously. Because Ted never does.
Natalie: “Thank you for the idea!” and Roy’s like “Oh, my pleasure.” He’s so fucking weird.
Megan: The weirdest. And I love him.
Natalie: But yeah. Ted never tone-polices Roy, or does anything at all to tamp down Roy’s behaviour. He never acts concerned about Roy’s anger, he just accepts it. Except with cooling it on Trent.
Megan: And in that case it was very deserved, and well done.
Natalie: I guess he finally intervened with Jamie in 2.06, making Roy coach him, but it took him way too long. I think Roy probably does have issues that he needs help with, but the point is, you’re right. Ted is our guide through the story, if Ted doesn’t express concern about Roy, we probably don’t need to. But what, and I cannot stress this enough, the fuck, Kent.
Megan: No more Dan Brown before bedtime Roy, I beg you. Because if Trent puts that in his book, no parent is going to send their children to train at Richmond’s academy.
Natalie: Oooof. Okay, so we mentioned this in passing in Rebecca’s part, but the crossover of Rebecca and Ted when they’re both distracted but find this moment to sort of reconnect, then are shaken by the other one saying something that I guess enhances the thing they’re focused on. Rebecca mentioning bullying, Ted mentioning psychics. I don’t massively care about Ted and Rebecca becoming an item. We’ve said it may happen, may not, probably prefer it didn’t but can see how it might. But we can’t discount their sort of special connection, like the whole matching date of their childhood trauma. They are meant to have a strange link, a soulmate connection as the actors say, platonic or not. Was this meant to be one of their weird magic moments?
Megan: For me I definitely think they have a strong connection, and there are so many weird links, and yeah, I do think this is one of them. I’ve never seen their relationship as working romantically, but if it did go there it wouldn’t really surprise me. But they are very weirdly both in and out of sync in this scene. I do love the way they both realise at the exact same moment that their greetings were the wrong way round to normal. I think Ted Lasso might keep me guessing right till the end as to whether or not they will end up an item. Right now I’m still leaning towards no, but scenes like this make me think otherwise.
Natalie: I think they’ve been very disconnected all season. We have not seen them interact much. He’s still bringing her biscuits, we see the boxes, but we do not see their morning meetings and we used to see them all the time. We’ve mainly just seen her freaking out at him.
Megan: And in some ways that might imply that they won’t end up together, but actually it could be the opposite. Maybe the reason nothing is quite working for them right now is because they’re so out of step and disconnected, and if they can just find their rapport again, things will be okay.
Natalie: Yeah, I definitely think that romance aside, the disconnect between them is an issue. And here, the wrong names kind of show just how far they’ve gone. Then there’s this moment of realization and relief, like, “we’re good right?” But again, each sets the other off on their isolated, single focused path with a reminder. It’s an odd one, for sure. It’s charged in certain ways. I don’t see a lot of the things some people see when talking about Ted/Rebecca, but things like the Bantr red herring and this moment are things I would put in the pile of “the show is leading to a romance.” Either way, it kind of spooks both of them.
Megan: Rebecca is really going to need someone after this episode. I would prefer that someone to be Keeley, but maybe it’ll end up being Ted and that will bring them back together again, whether romantically or otherwise.
Natalie: She’s really not sharing her feelings with anyone. Ted IS sharing his feelings, with Beard, Sharon, and so on. He isn’t sharing a lot with Rebecca lately, but Rebecca is very isolated. More than Ted is.
Megan: Yeah. And Rebecca… I think it’s hard for her to share things. She has that British stiff upper lip, for one thing, and then trust issues for another, thanks to Rupert and the tabloid press. Ted is even sharing things with Michelle more right now! You get the sense from their phone call that things are in an okay place with them. But Rebecca is very alone.
Natalie: We don’t get to hear a lot of what happened with Henry, except seeing Ted learn the truth. Well, we also see him switch from water to whisky when Michelle mentions Jake “parenting” Henry.
Megan: Ooof yeah. Come on Ted, might be time to address the occasional alcoholic tendencies.
Natalie: But we do not learn what Henry did, how he acted. We see him at the end and hear about his apology. But do you think we will see more of this? Like, can we blame Jake for this? Has he given Henry some bad advice? Or is Henry acting out due to the lack of Ted?
Megan: We know, as you said, that Henry will be back in person later in the season. Maybe they’ll discuss it more then. I don’t know that Henry would act out because Ted isn’t there, he really does seem to be fairly sensible. But I could see him taking some bad advice and running with it.
Natalie: We really do not see where this might have come from, but it is extremely concerning to Ted. More concerning than if Henry was the victim. I definitely think that the idea of Ted just not being there for Henry and catching these things, or being the one to take him to the park, this is freaking Ted out.
Megan: Yeah, I don’t think Henry is acting out because Ted isn’t there, but I do think Ted is freaking out about the prospect. He really worries that’s why.
Natalie: I think it probably is too, honestly. Not consciously, but kids are weird. Henry’s getting older, and he’s not getting some needs met, or he’s getting bad habits with no one to clock them, or whatever.
Megan: Yeah, that’s fair. And while he doesn’t seem to have any major issues with Jake, he clearly adores Ted. So it must be weird having this guy around all the time who is fine, but isn’t your dad.
Natalie: We’ve had past incidents where Ted has really got shaken up by reminders that he is not there for Henry. In “The Signal,” he gets that call about Henry having forgotten his lunch and him still being the school contact. He has a panic attack later that episode, which is definitely partially about Henry and bad parenting. In that episode it looks like Ted sees Jamie, thinks about Henry’s admiration for Jamie and then remembering Jamie’s bad father, wonders about if he’s being a terrible father too. Not being there for Henry causes another panic attack this episode, at the end, and not even talking to the kid lets Ted shake it off. That’s jumping ahead a bit, but there’s a huge issue for Ted, in terms of parenting his son. He has trauma about his own father and whether or not he was a good dad, even before he died. He’s so affected by seeing other bad fathers that he is unable to engage with them even to protect his player. All of this anxiety from Ted really must come from his fears about parenting.
Megan: And that’s why I can’t see Rebecca and Ted as a fixed endgame relationship. Because Ted needs to be there for Henry, for his own mental health and wellbeing, let alone Henry’s. This trauma about fathers and parenting has to be resolved for Ted to be okay. Yes, fine, maybe there’s a world in which Henry moves to the UK full time, but that would leave Michelle out in the cold and I don’t want Ted Lasso to take some convenient route to side-line her so that Ted can stay in the UK. So Ted has to go back to the US, and Rebecca just would not fit there. If Ted is ever going to overcome those fears and that trauma, he has to go back to being a full time parent to Henry.
Natalie: Definitely. This episode, like 2.06, involves Ted somehow being shown up as a “bad dad” to the team too. There are parallels. In 2.06, Roy basically tells Ted he has failed Jamie. It’s Roy’s advice that helps Jamie thrive, and Ted really doesn’t seem to like what that means, whether it’s that he does not like the “prick persona” or just upset that he didn’t know the right thing to help Jamie. Ted’s instincts to make Jamie a team player held the team back, but Roy helped Jamie, and the team, to thrive. In this season, Ted went against Jamie’s objections to Zava and in this episode, it backfired. Zava walked out. Ted made a coaching choice that ultimately harmed the team. And in the background of all that? Roy’s helping Jamie to thrive in spite of Ted’s decisions. I don’t particularly buy into direct father/son comparisons with Ted and Jamie in the fluffier ways — Ted barely speaks to Jamie, even in the text chain on Ted’s phone, flawed as the date stamps are, Ted hasn’t texted Jamie privately for many many months — but there are parallels for how Ted guides the team and his feelings on fatherhood. Jamie is often centered in that, due to Ted avoiding having to confront the truth about Jamie’s father. Because Jamie was someone who was hurting the whole time, who Ted didn’t see, who Ted let “get past him.” He struggles with Jamie because of this. He’s failed Jamie a lot, actually. Not that Jamie holds it against him at all, he loves Ted as a coach. But there’s a feedback loop going on in terms of how Ted feels responsible for the team and for his son.
Megan: Yeah, this season especially you can see how much Jamie is trying to emulate Ted, and live up to his ideals, even when Ted ignores him. And it’s honestly the wrong mindset for Ted, because the team aren’t his children. The only thing he’s actually responsible for, where they’re concerned, is their careers, and his role is helping them to achieve the highest levels they can as footballers, while playing for Richmond. It’s one thing to want them to be better people, and it’s very admirable. But if you’re going to manage a football team, you have to care about them winning. You have to step up and engage with it. That is actually the priority.
Natalie: Needless to say, they do not win against Manchester City.
Megan: They very much do not.
Natalie: I felt like the commentary comparing Colin to Zava was stupid and unfair, because it isn’t a one-for-one swap. Obviously he was the only name change on the team sheet, but it isn’t as if they put Colin in as a striker.
Megan: No, they just changed their formation because Zava wasn’t there!
Natalie: It would have been reverting to Jamie or Dani up front, replacing Zava, and Colin in midfield. Colin also would have had a lot more minutes lately anyway — Bumbercatch’s red card would have been a three match ban so he would have started a few, plus I am sure they subbed him on a bunch of times. It’s rare for the same starters to play the full 90 every week. Anyway, poor Colin being publicly belittled by Arlo and Chris.
Megan: He’s a strong and capable man and they all need to be nicer to him.
Natalie: And then after, they find out that Zava fucking retired. “Maybe he’s dead.” “Fucking better be” when they were looking for him cracked me up.
Megan: Yes! Oh Roy. He’s fantasising about beating Zava with a painted rope in that scene.
Natalie: I guess retiring is one way to walk out without breaking his contract?
Megan: It’s true. Plus I have my doubts as to how legally binding “you’re welcome” is as a signature on a contract anyway. Do you think he’s going to stay retired for long? I have my doubts there too.
Natalie: Yeah, I don’t buy it at all. I think he wanted to get out of the currently failing Richmond, and pretend to do it in a noble heartfelt way. I still don’t trust his vibe. I think it’s an act. I think he could turn into a full psycho any second.
Megan: Yes I’m sure in a month or two he’ll get some sign from some deity somewhere that he is meant to be the new striker for some club and come out of retirement. Narratively it would make sense for that to be West Ham or City as Richmond’s biggest adversaries, but neither of those quite work for me. Maybe he could go to West Ham and drive a wedge between Rupert and Nate, if Nate protested his signing.
Natalie: If he came out of retirement within the span of his Richmond contract, he would legally still be under contact with them. But I am 100% sure he could find a way around it because he does what he ways. I think it could be West Ham. It makes the most sense to keep the story tightly linked.
Megan: And as we’ve already discussed, I can’t see Pep signing him. Not least because of the relationship between Pep and Zava’s real life inspiration, Zlatan. So yeah, if he comes out of retirement, my bet is West Ham.
Natalie: I really could see it. Rupert insisting, Nate not wanting to use him in the way Zava demands. But of course as we mentioned, Zava isn’t as great as he’s cracked up to be. He hasn’t been able to win. So.. we shall see. His retirement video is a pile of wank. He didn’t even cry. Only Dani did.
Megan: You call it a pile of wank, but Keeley would not wank over it.
Natalie: So true. Not wank material. Just some nonsense about getting fucked by the universe. Obviously the best part was Jamie looking up at the news sort of incredulously, catching Roy’s eye, and Roy giving the tiniest nod in human history to say “Yep, this is your time.” It would have been nice to see Jamie overtake Zava while in the same team, but I think it’ll be more about Jamie becoming their franchise player. Like, “He’s gone, you are the star now and you have to carry this team on your back.” Not that it won’t be a “team effort,” but they need that individual genius too, and star players are important.
Megan: Yeah, definitely. Think about Jack Grealish at Villa, that phenomenal season when they got promoted back up? It was a full team effort, yes, but he played a starring role in making it happen. All the rest of the team say he was the reason.
Natalie: Roy and Jamie both know the impact Jamie could bring if the team is shaped around him, and you can see at the very end — this is skipping ahead a bit, but the very last bit of dialogue in the episode is Jamie asking if they’re still meeting at 4am and Roy says damn fucking right they are. It’s not about Zava anymore, it’s just about them. And you see Jamie fucking steel himself. Like straightens his spine, puffs out a breath, and goes to his locker with this fixed look, like he knows what he’s about to shoulder.
Megan: I love that being the last dialogue of the episode, it makes me so excited to see where the two of them go next. I am so ready for it.
Natalie: I’m assuming Ted and the others still don’t know that Jamie has been holding back, or that he and Roy are taking things to the next level. Not that I think Jamie would “hold back” when they are losing, he would still be trying to win! But you know what I mean.
Megan: At this point, if Jamie tells Ted or Beard that Roy keeps showing up at his house at 4am, they might start to be very afraid for Jamie’s safety. So it’s probably best that even when he does tell them, he doesn’t go into specifics.
Natalie: Ahahahah. You’re so right. But yeah just how Jamie kind of sets his shoulders and exhales, there’s a whole fucking story there for what he knows is coming next. Which will be very full circle to season 1, in that he will once again actually be carrying the team, to a degree, but in a way that will benefit them — it’ll still be “together.” I am dying to know how Roy introduces this idea to Ted. There’s very minimal Roy and Jamie stuff in this episode, but the stuff that is there is so powerful because of how much gets said with so little.
Megan: Yeah, just a few knowing looks and one exchange, but it sets up so much for the future.
Natalie: They get each other so well. They always have but used that to torment each other. Now it’s a whole conversation within the world’s most minuscule nod.
Megan: It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out from the side-lines of a match too. If they can now get each other this well without words, how well will Roy be able to direct him during a match when it’s needed?
Natalie: God, that’s hot. Competence is so sexy of them.
Megan: It really is.
Natalie: Going back to Ted though, before he addresses the team in his first truly brilliant Ted-Lasso-like moment of the season, that panic attack he has is triggered by something pretty interesting. I mean it’s probably triggered by a lot of things. Losing the match, losing MANY matches, losing Zava, the fact that he failed the team and Jamie specifically by letting Zava in, of course Henry. But it comes on when he is staring at the Pyramid of Success. I’ve said this before. The top of the pyramid is COMPETITIVE GREATNESS. While Wooden’s definition is not just about being straight up competitive, it is the peak Ted cannot reach. The pyramid defines Competitive Greatness as being at your best, when your best is needed, and true enjoyment of a difficult challenge. Some of that is Ted-like, sure. But I think the true enjoyment of a difficult challenge isn’t. And I just don’t think he’s as competitive as he needs to be to have this job. Watching him have that panic attack staring at that sign, it made me realise that… I don’t think he will ever be right for it. I just don’t think he’s as competitive as the job requires. And that is why he should leave, and coach somewhere that really is more about helping the guys have better lives. His ethos worked at Richmond for a time, when people in a dark place emotionally needed it. But in the long run, this isn’t right for a billion dollar professional sports team. It would be interesting for Ted Lasso to play with the idea that this level of competition just isn’t healthy for everyone. Not caring about winning or losing was a nice place for Ted to start. It’s a nice thing for him to believe. It is not a sustainable attitude in this environment. And that is okay. I would like him to realise that, and resign, and go help people in a place where being a part of a team is all that matters, to help them more in that lifestyle way. The pressure of this level of competition may be really bad for Ted. That may not change, you know?
Megan: Yeah, I agree with all of this so much. Yes, man management is important for a Premier League club. Being able to get the best out of players, to support them when they need it, to motivate them, that is important. And yes you can have specialists on your coaching team that will fill knowledge gaps that you have, so it’s not even the biggest issue that Ted isn’t an expert on the game. But you HAVE to want to win. That HAS to be your biggest driver, if you’re coaching at that level. You can’t shy away from it, you can’t put other things above it in importance. And as you say, when he first came to Richmond those other things were maybe more important, but now they aren’t, and he deserves to be in a job that really motivates him — and doesn’t cause him to have fucking panic attacks — and Richmond deserve a manager that wants to win, always. And so I don’t think Richmond, alone, is a big enough draw for him to stay in London, away from Henry. Maybe Rebecca could be, in the future, but Richmond isn’t, because if it was, he would care more about their success.
Natalie: Yeah. And he may love individual players, like Sam and Isaac and all, but they won’t be there forever. The drive has to be to win and not just be pleasantly surprised when it happens as a nice side effect. Obviously he enjoys sports and is happy when they win. But we have seen so much about his lack of concern about the outcome. And so much of other people being like no, this fucking matters in this industry, Ted. I feel more and more sure that this is a core issue for his future. It would be quite a weird ending to be like “Sorry, I don’t care enough about winning, gotta go.” But I think they could pull it off in a way that worked.
Megan: I think so yeah. It is something the show has been telling us, and Ted, since the beginning. And definitely a message Rebecca has been trying to hammer home this season.
Natalie: Ted is able to block out his panic attack when Henry calls, and they have a chat that brings up Ted’s dad, so, quite tough for Ted. It does not shed light on how Henry acted, just that he forgot to act the way Ted advised him to. Which of course makes Ted feel worse. And more like he needs to be there.
Megan: Oh yeah, way to unknowingly twist the knife, Henry.
Natalie: It sounds like Henry was having issues regulating his emotions, if he lashed out in anger rather than like, cruel teasing. That is definitely due to the lack of stability in the home.
Megan: Yeah, I think that’s true.
Natalie: Henry may be a good kid, but this convo does not clear things up for Ted. The panic attack is right there waiting for him once he hangs up.
Megan: No, but Ted does a really good job at deep breathing his way out of it, which feels very much like a Dr Sharon technique.
Natalie: He’s actually saying to himself, during this, “He’s okay, he’s okay.” Not “It’s okay.” Or “You’re.” He and Sharon must have identified quite firmly that Henry is the deep trigger for these panic attacks, being away from him and having things so up in the air.
Megan: If they’re discussing that, and discussing coping mechanisms so Ted doesn’t become completely undone by it, that feels like another tick in the box for Ted realising he needs to go home at the end. I just hope that before he does, he manages to muster up enough competitive spirit to be what Richmond needs for the rest of the season.
Natalie: Well, he is able to muster enough magic to give a proper speech here that makes an impact, though it does take a few tries. His first attempt is pretty basic, and he’s about to be like see you all Monday (breaking my brain over timelines here, they specifically said this was a midweek match, so if there’s no training tomorrow and they’re back in the next day, that should be like, Friday. Please, just one scrap of timeline consistency!) and turns away, but Sam makes him address the Zava issue. I feel like Sam should not have had to force this out of Ted? But Ted does steal a few of Jamie’s lines to let him know he was right all along.
Megan: Yeah, once Ted gets into the swing of it, it’s a pretty good speech, I’ll give him that. And I liked the nod to Jamie, but he should also fucking, send him a cake or something.
Natalie: Jamie deserves a big fucking banner hung on the wall saying “You were right, sorry Jamie” but he seems to accept the acknowledgement. But is it just another example, like Zava, of people stealing Jamie’s words and not giving Jamie the credit for being the person trying hardest for them? Ted claims he does want to win, but he wants to do it with the people who wanna be there. I mean, this is the exact ethos that we and Jamie could see Ted losing sight of. It was a glaring issue and I feel like it does need more acknowledgment of Ted’s complacency. Maybe we’ll see conversations about Ted’s past slipping up when the team recalibrates next week. But I’m going to need someone to buy Jamie a “Jamie Knows Best” jumper akin to Brooklyn 99’s Gina sweater. And speaking of Ginas, finding out Beard also dated Gina Gershon, the movie star Roy once dated (he would have been her boytoy!) is AMAZING. But the whole “I’m glad Zava’s gone” is only the second level of Ted’s intensity, speech wise. It’s heartfelt but it isn’t the peak.
Megan: Roy’s little double take at Beard’s line is…everything. I’m going to need a scene of the two of them talking about that over a drink — maybe fishbowls once more, who knows. But yeah, the third part of the speech, with the sign ripping and Ted talking about the power of belief is, well, really powerful. The way Colin reacts to Ted mentioning shame is a clear little bit of foreshadowing to me. And not just Colin, it manages to strike a nerve with everyone. Ted does good speeches! Now I just need him to do more than that.
Natalie: It’s definitely a new level. Like we had level one, going through the motions. Level two, kind of earnestly aspirational, a little bit what he knows he “should” say. Level 3, after the sign, is raw, a bit angry even. It’s, I think, a new layer to Ted. It’s not folksy or feel-good. Him ripping up that sign is going to shock people. I mean we always said Nate ripping the sign was just not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a symbol. But people — the audience —are so attached to it, I’m a little like… “Will seeing Ted rip up the sign be a very mild version of all those people who named their kids Daenerys before they realised she was the big bad?” Like “Hey! I thought that meant something! Ted being like NO! It means NOTHING! Now I feel stupid!” I’m joking. It’s really not the same. The sign was a Dumbo’s magic feather thing. But it’s interesting.
Megan: Now I’m imagining a bunch of newborn children being named Believe. Or Ted. Or Lasso. But yeah, it’s a very different level from Ted, and it does give me some hope that he won’t be phoning it in anymore, not for the rest of the season.
Natalie: His speech actually mirrors the poopeh lesson, about stuff blocking you up. But instead of other people’s shit, he’s talking about internal weaknesses. The way he says “I don’t wanna mess around with that anymore.” is maybe the most vulnerable and on the level he’s ever been with the players. And the rest of his speech tracks some of the other arcs as we’ve mentioned, it flashes over different people as he says different things. “The belief that I matter, regardless of what I do or don’t achieve,” — that’s over Nate and Jade. “The belief that we all deserve to be loved” is over Jack and Keeley undressing each other behind the glass. And then to Roy, considering his life choices, when Ted says, “whether we’ve been hurt or hurt someone.” And Rebecca, turning over her green matchbook consideringly as he says “The belief of hope, that’s what I wanna mess around with.” But yeah. The sign is dead, the idea being that the message, if it’s real, cannot be ripped apart.
Megan: The sign was a good symbol at the end of season 2, to get them where they needed to be able to draw with Brentford and be promoted. But it’s just a symbol, it’s not something they can rely on (and neither was Zava) to take them all the way to where they need to go. They can only do that if they believe in themselves. Poor Jamie, it’s basically the same thing he said earlier in the episode too, but Ted’s resonates a bit more with the players.
Natalie: JUSTICE FOR JAMIE. Genuinely curious if he will have any conversations about this. Or if he mainly just communicates via nods now. I do think there’s a big story brewing there, he was the one hyping them up on the pitch at the start of the match too. But Ted seems pretty definitive about his new approach. I think he’s turned a corner and will be engaging properly from here on out. I just want to know if they’ll talk about the slump, or acknowledge the prior wrongness. Jamie-related or otherwise, the losing sight of the ethos. Feels like we all know it was a mistake, but they’re not going to say it. Unsure.
Megan: I don’t know that they’ll acknowledge it, not any time soon anyway. Maybe when he leaves they’ll discuss how his heart hasn’t really been on it all season, even though he pulled himself together from here on out. But for now I think we’ll just see him actually focusing on what Richmond needs, and not talking about the period before. I could be wrong though, and I’d like to be.
Natalie: It’s tricky to predict where they’ll go from here or if, for example, that nod at Jamie was enough to tell the audience like, “yeah, Ted knows he lost sight and that’s how we are letting you know he knows.” On one hand it would be cool if all audience members read the more subtle intention and kind of all picked up the same messages. Sometimes people really don’t feel fulfilled by a show because they’re not seeing the way a show acknowledges things as “enough.” Here I’m not totally sure what I want. I’d like them to be able to do subtle work, but for that work to be seen and recognised as a solid “proof” just as much as spelling it out does. But it really doesn’t always work that way.
Megan: Yeah, I get all that. And I think people need to be able to see that Ted hasn’t been his best this season so far. I think it’s important for the show to fully acknowledge how uncomfortable Ted is with being so competitive, and how much he checked out this season, to make it clear to the people who want him to stay in London why that really isn’t going to work for him as a character.
Natalie: He could have some massive change of heart, and he could of course stay in London but not in the job, but ultimately he needs to put being a dad first, so he needs to be where Henry is and prioritise that. Not feeling like he’s let his kid down. Not have such torn priorities. Not be in a situation where no matter what he puts his energy into, he’s letting SOMEONE down. That’s what needs to stop. From here, it’s hard to tell what will happen next for the team. Will Jamie succeed immediately? Probably not. But next week is the halfway point of the season and I’m sure it’ll have huge turnarounds. The preview confirms that it is indeed the Amsterdam trip, and it’s called “Sunflowers.” This is obviously the Van Gogh museum connection, and also Kansas being the Sunflower State. It’s tricky to talk about because we do know a fair few plot points from filming pictures and we can’t include those direct spoilers here, but in terms of what we DIDN’T know, what are you thinking might happen? It says “A friendly takes the team to Amsterdam, where a night out unlocks the truth for many.” First of all, clubs playing friendlies during the middle of the season is… extremely confusing to me. But they clearly wanted to shove this trip in one way or another. Working in a comedy club in Amsterdam is where the Ted Lasso creators met and bonded. It’s also where Brendan Hunt fell in love with football as a fan. Amsterdam is very important to the backstory of Ted Lasso, so finding a way to shoot on location there is a tribute to that I think.
Megan: Look, I am going to have to grit my teeth and just force myself to accept whatever reason they give to explain the actual match in Amsterdam. It’s not going to make any sense in terms of actual football, but I’m excited enough for some of the content we’re going to get that I will push through.
Natalie: I feel like they didn’t have to go there for a match? They could have just gone there on a trip or even a training camp during an international break.
Natalie: But no, they’re going to play against Ajax apparently. I don’t even know.
Megan: Beyond that though, I think this is going to be a reset episode. The team resetting and learning to play together again – without Zava. Ted resetting and properly committing to do his job. Rebecca and Ted resetting their relationship a bit, so they’re less out of step. I think it’s going to take them away from their day to day normality, so they can come back to the Prem and smash it.
Natalie: I think that if Ted and Rebecca are going to be the Endgame Thing, we will know it in this episode.
Megan: Yeah, I agree re: Ted and Rebecca. If they haven’t more firmly laid the groundwork for that by the end of this episode, I’ll feel like they’ve run out of time almost. But I guess we’ll see.
Natalie: Some people think they know already, but truly Ted Lasso has not really framed it as definitive, not in the way screen storytelling works. It’s not been seen universally, not by a long shot. But I think if it is, they’ll show us in episode 6 in an undeniable way, then start feeding more and more into that as we go. I think the title may mean we see Ted and Rebecca visit the Van Gogh museum together and he’ll tell her about his dad. Van Gogh also shot himself. Or maybe we will see each main character visit on their own and have their own response to the painting.
Megan: Oh Jesus. If you’re right about Ted telling her about his dad that’s going to be a heavy episode.
Natalie: Well, I think that painting, Van Gogh’s depression, and his use of yellow, his obsession with painting these bright images, there’s a big story there about bad mental health and positivity as a choice. The sunflowers were what Van Gogh wanted to be known for, and I think there’s a potential for a lot of metaphor there with Ted and his father and his trauma.
Megan: That makes sense. I’ve been really anticipating some of the more known storylines, from spoilers, that I hadn’t considered this angle. Fuck. Van Gogh makes me sad enough at the best of times. One of my favourite standalone episodes of a TV show is the Doctor Who Van Gogh episode, so this has a lot to live up to if he’s going to be a theme in it, but I’m very keen to see how it goes. Bad football logistics aside.
Natalie: Yeah, I’m also a bit like “I’m already holding space for this!” I’ve had Van Gogh feelings my whole life really, but I think it will play in here. I didn’t assume as much until they changed the title. The working title was “Every Disadvantage Has Its Advantage.” The Cruyff quote. So Dutch related still, but the new title has me thinking about all kinds of things. Side note: the most significant use of sunflowers in Ted Lasso so far is at Jamie’s house, he has them in his kitchen in season 1. Is it a sign? Probably not. But I just wanted to remind everyone that Jamie either buys himself sunflowers, or is the kind of boy whose girlfriend buys him flowers. Both are glorious.
Megan: Either option is brilliant.
Natalie: I do feel sure we are pivoting back to the Roy and Jamie story, sunflowers may or may not play a role there. But everyone else… not sure. I am sure Beard will do a bunch of drugs and maybe end up in a sex club. I don’t think Keeley will be on the trip, so we may have stories back in London. But all the boys let loose in Amsterdam for the night… a night where everything changes… I’m interested to see if this is structured like a normal episode or a series of vignettes.
Megan: Yeah, like, following different characters around for their individual arcs. The boys out for a night in the town in Amsterdam feels like a recipe for disaster, and I cannot wait to watch it.
Natalie: I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time. And I thought it may be later in the season. So having it as this turning point is just very exciting.
Megan: Yeah, it’s probably been my most anticipated episode. I can’t believe it’s finally almost here.
Natalie: Until next time!