Self-care can be scary.
Self-reflection comes to the Ted Lasso crew in the seventh episode of season two. Ted (Jason Sudeikis) struggles with the very concept of self-care during sessions with Dr. Fieldstone (Sarah Niles); Nate (Nick Mohammed) enjoys his fifteen minutes of fame; Keeley (Juno Temple) yearns for some much-needed alone time and Roy (Brett Goldstein) gets relationship advice from a surprising source.
My lips are sensitive to unpure metals, and whistles give me mouth hives.Roy Kent
There has been a lot of chatter on social media about this season of Ted Lasso. When people are not talking about the fact that Brett Goldstein is so perfect as a soccer player that he looks CGI’ed into every scene he’s in (I’m serious, that has been a discussion of late) or how the actors are also actually really good soccer players, the biggest complaint of the season is that the show is just too nice. People are arguing that there is no conflict this season; it’s just funny jokes and Ted spreading his good cheer to everyone around him like some form of reverse cancer.
To those people I say, in my best Roy Kent impression, “Fahck off.”
It has been clear in the first six episodes of this season what the show was headed towards, and this episode finally started to deliver on this promise. This season is about conflict with the scariest of demons—the one inside your head. I’ve said before in previous reviews that Ted Lasso came into our lives in the best possible time last year. Just as the world was shutting down from the threat of COVID-19, in came Ted Lasso and crew to remind us what it is like to be optimistic about the world. Now, a year and a half after the world changed, we are still dealing with the threat of disease while also dealing with having been cut off from those we love for almost two years. Mental health is such an important, serious issue everyone is facing today, and Ted Lasso season two is showing both healthy and unhealthy ways of dealing with it.
I have been worried about four things this season:
- Roy and Keeley would face unnecessary relationship problems and break up.
- Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) would find herself romantically involved with someone whom she employs.
- Nate would become so self-centered that he would be unlikeable.
- Ted’s mental health issues would be treated lightly, quickly and with little consequence or fanfare.
This episode alleviated two out of four of my fears. Let’s look at each one, starting with the fears that weren’t laid to rest in this episode.
I’m still not sure how I feel about the pairing, or attempted pairing, of Rebecca and Sam (Toheeb Jimoh). While there was a little progress with this storyline this week, they still don’t know who their secret admirer is, but now we know that everyone around them knows they are texting with someone and so the fall out from this has some potential to be very messy. I just hope this storyline is handled with as much care and grace as other storylines have been.
RIP poor, sweet Nate. No, he didn’t die this episode, but the Nate that I loved from season one is dead and gone. I just really don’t like what they are doing with this character. Every scene with him this season just has me so tense. They took such a wonderful, sweet, genuine character and have turned him into someone that is just so unlikeable and almost cartoonish in his ego and pride. I know that by this point I should trust the writers that they have something great in store, but I really miss the Nate of season one. I do not like this storyline at all (so… maybe it’s working?).
As soon as the episode started dropping hints that not all was perfect in Roy and Keeley’s relationship, I was worried. Not because I think they are going to break up. Mostly because I was worried that the writers would fall into the sitcom trope of creating relationship conflict where conflict isn’t necessary and drag out a will-they-won’t-they type story with those two. I love their relationship. I love the respect and love and lust they have for each other. And honestly? Some couples just work out. Don’t give us unnecessary drama with those two, please. Just have them adopt Phoebe and live happily ever after.
Thankfully, this episode was more about getting out of your head enough and being an advocate for yourself than it was about drama for drama’s sake. I breathed a sigh of relief that their conflict was wrapped up in this episode and didn’t turn into something bigger than it needed to. Also, this storyline wasn’t without its funny scenes—special shout out to the use of a Sex in the City episode to narrate what was going on inside Keeley’s head and especially the scene where Jamie (Phil Dunster) is the one to help Roy realize what was wrong with Keeley. That is just clever writing, editing and performing.
The jury’s out on whether the show will handle those first two fears well. The next two fears, however, appear to be in sure, steady hands.
After the fantastic and tense reveal of Ted in Dr. Fieldstone’s office at the end of the previous episode, I was worried that, with a new episode, Ted would return to his joyful, charming self and no progress would be made. That’s a common pitfall of episodic, sitcom story telling. Each episode has to have its own contained storyline that finds resolution at the end, and then the next episode starts anew. And Ted Lasso is not immune to this—speaking specifically of the storyline with Dubai Air and the fall-out from the team’s protest. What ever happened with that?
However, the therapy scenes with Ted and Dr. Fieldstone were handled and executed so well. Ted’s inability to find the right way to sit for the session; his need to distract himself with the toys on Dr. Fieldstone’s desk; his fear of opening up so he quickly shuts it down. It was all so masterfully done. The scenes in Dr. Fieldstone’s office featured some of the best writing, acting, and direction the series has presented us with. Simple things like Ted stopping the toy on Dr. Fieldstone’s desk from bobbing its head, indicating that he was finally ready to take therapy seriously. As well as Dr. Fieldstone’s relating to Ted on his level, by showing him how he hurt her with his description of therapy as an occupation. It was all just so beautifully done. And I’m thankful that it wasn’t wrapped up by the end of the episode. I want to see this story play out some more and see what happens when Ted Lasso is forced to work on himself for a change.
Ted Lasso, in just one and a half seasons, has quickly become one of my favorite shows of all time. There’s a good argument for it being at the top of that list. This episode began the long journey of self-reflection for several characters and is highlighting the importance of mental health and self-care, during a time in the world when people are struggling with that more than ever before. And watching each episode is like watching a beautifully choreographed dance —everything from the writing to the acting to the directing to the editing comes together to tell an emotional, funny, and heart-warming story. As someone who is feeling the weight of everything in the world right now, I can’t wait to see how the show tackles Ted’s personal demons moving forward. It’s almost like free therapy.
Mark Pereira is a staff writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.
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