AFC Richmond deals with the return of Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) deals with someone shadowing her at work, we meet Led Tasso (Sason Judeikis), and Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) deals with a crisis of conscious in the excellent third episode of Ted Lasso’s sophomore season.
Sometimes, you have to do the right thing, even if you lose.Nora
What an absolutely fantastic 30-ish minutes of TV. There is something that is just so pure about Ted Lasso. In a world full of TV shows intent on dragging us down into the darkest sides of humanity, Ted Lasso is more concerned about showing what happens when we expect and encourage the best of each other. Last season, we watched how Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) trademark brand of optimism and positivity changed everyone around him for the better. This season, we see how that positivity spreads to even more people, with the characters around Ted acting as the catalyst for change after having been changed themselves.
The AFC Richmond team that Jamie left last season is a completely different team than the one he is re-joining this season. They are more confident, more self-assured, and unwilling to put up with the Jamie of old. It took Ted an entire season to break through to Jamie, but it took the team less than one episode to show Jamie that this is a much different world than the one he left. There are no stars of this team, no egos, and definitely no bullies. This is a team in the truest sense of the word, and Jamie needs to adjust his tactics if he wants to fit in.
Ted lends a helping hand by giving the team a common enemy through his alter-ego Led Tasso. Though more bizarre and confusing than downright mean, Led serves his purpose and also gives Sudeikis the opportunity to do what he does best—run around full of manic energy and spout comedic nonsense.
On the other side of things, Rebecca spends some quality time with her goddaughter Nora, the expertly cast Kiki May, who channels the personality and wit of her character’s mother with the poise and talent of a much more experienced actor. There is a fantastic scene in which Rebecca is struggling to connect with Nora and runs into Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and his niece outside of a doll store. I’m really loving the pairing of Rebecca and Roy this season, and this episode dispenses another dose of Roy-wisdom as he encourages Rebecca to just let Nora into her life as it is, without the need of endless child-friendly activities; Rebecca takes Nora to work with her, allowing Nora to see what it takes to run a football club. And boy does Nora get quite the glimpse into Rebecca’s world when Sam enters Rebecca’s office with an announcement.
It’s through the storyline with Rebecca, Nora and Sam that the true emotion of the episode comes out. Sam, who has been coming into his own now that he is free from the shadow of Jamie, has just done a photoshoot for Dubai Air, AFC Richmond’s biggest sponsor. However, it’s only after the shoot that he realizes that Dubai Air’s parent company, Cerithium Oil, is not only responsible for an oil spill in Sam’s home country of Nigeria, but they are bribing officials in an effort to cover up their involvement in the disaster. After some heartbreaking words from his father, Sam announces that he wants to remove himself from the campaign.
I love the moment right after Sam announces that he wants to withdraw from the campaign. Rebecca barely skips a beat and assures him that he doesn’t have to do it. “I’ll take care of it,” Rebecca says. It’s a small moment, but it shows how much Rebecca has changed since last season now that she is fully on-board with the success and well-being of the members of her team. Turns out, the CEO of Cerithium is a friend of Rebecca’s ex-husband, so Rebecca calls him and tells him the situation. The CEO says it’s no problem, but Rebecca must get rid of Sam. It’s here that Nora dispenses the moral of the episode: “Sometimes, you have to do the right thing, even if you lose.” Rebecca refuses to get rid of Sam, and it seems there are no long-term consequences from this decision.
Then Sam decides to take a stand.
In the locker room before their next match, Sam takes some black tape and covers up the Dubai Air logo on his jersey (or kit, if you are from across the pond). Seeing an opportunity to show that he is one with the team, Jamie takes some tape and does the same thing. It’s a bold move, one that is sure to have drastic repercussions in future episodes, but it firmly cements that Jamie, and Sam, have changed for the better. Jamie sums it up perfectly when after the game, he congratulates Sam for doing something really brave–stealing the thunder of Jamie’s return to AFC Richmond.
Season two of Ted Lasso continues to sow some seeds of future plotlines. The team has now officially broken their streak of tie games (albeit by losing), and there are sure to be huge issues that comes from the team’s decision to stand up to their biggest sponsor. Let’s not forget that they were relegated last season, and there was the throwaway line in this episode that they are paying premier salaries on a non-premier budget. Surely this latest stunt against Dubai Air is only going to serve to make their financial woes more of a problem in the future. Ted Lasso continues to shine in the smaller character moments, and this episode is full of them, making it the strongest episode of the season so far. AFC Richmond may not be winning, but Ted Lasso season two is absolutely crushing it.
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