Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) and Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) deal with past trauma brought on by their fathers during a funeral for Rebecca’s dad.
Life. It’s hard.Ted Lasso
Full disclosure: this was a difficult episode for me to watch, on many levels. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I am so late in getting this review out. It just hit a little too close to home, so after the first time I watched it, I needed time to process a few things before I could watch it again from a review stand-point.
I’ve said in previous reviews that I grew up having issues with my father. He and I are on good terms now, but there was a long period of time (I’m talking 25+ years) where that was not the case. Compounding the issue is that my mom passed away almost ten years ago, so I was left with a parent I didn’t really like, and I was just mad. Mad that he was the one I was left with, mad that all these years later I still have baggage when it comes to him, mad that my mom was sick. Just mad. And that is why I find that the power and responsibility of fathers is such a compelling storytelling tool that the writers are employing in this season of Ted Lasso.
Yes, this episode was a bit heavy-handed. Yes, the bit at the end with everyone signing “Never Gonna Give You Up” was a bit contrived. But, as with all things when it comes to this show, it was done with such earnestness and honesty that it was easy to gloss over the negatives.
The crowning glory of this episode –the juxtaposition of Rebecca and Ted telling the seminal story of how their fathers betrayed them–was so well done and incredibly moving. To be fair, infidelity and suicide are two very different forms of betrayal, but they are just as powerful in the eyes of a child, and pairing the two scenes together was a stroke of brilliance. Waddingham’s and Sudeikis’ performances in this episode was just a master class in acting and subtlety, and the fact that they both just won Emmy’s for their performance last season makes their nominations for next year a sure-fire bet.
There were many heartbreaking moments throughout this episode: Higgins (Jeremy Swift) telling Rebecca that all the players came to the funeral not wearing sneakers as a show of how much they cared for her; Ted showing up at the funeral just when Rebecca needed him most (and also the first time they’ve been on screen together for a couple of episodes now); Keeley’s (Juno Temple) sobbing during the funeral; the fact that teenage Ted was the one who not only found his dad, but was the one who had to call his mother and tell her; this was a very emotional episode.
The moment that broke me, however, is when Dr. Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) asks Ted to tell a story about what he loved about his dad. Ted remembering that his father was a good dad, and regretting that he never told him that enough coupled with the thought that maybe if he had told him, his dad never would have committed suicide was absolutely heart-wrenching. It made me think of my dad, and the fact that maybe I haven’t told him enough that he was a good dad. It made me think of all the times I feel like I am failing as a father, and how amazing it would be to hear my kids tell me that I am a good dad. Just incredible, outstanding acting and writing all around.
There were other plot threads, to be sure, including Rebecca and Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) breaking up (thankfully) and Jamie (Phil Dunster) telling Keeley that he was in love with her, but the one moment that has sent Ted Lasso fans into a tizzy is the moment between Rupert (Anthony Head) and Nate (Nick Mohammed) at the very end. It is a small moment, but just after Rupert gives all of his ownership shares for AFC Richmond back to Rebecca, he walks over to Nate, whispers something in his ear, and pats him on the shoulder. Throughout this season, there has been a lot of time dedicated to Nate’s delusions of grandeur and his desire to be respected, and a lot of people (myself included), think that Rupert gave up his shares because he has bought another team and wants to make Nate head coach.
For those who have been saying that there has been no conflict this season, it looks like between Jamie’s declaration of love and Rupert’s shenanigans, things are about to get very interesting for the Ted Lasso crew.
To be honest, there was a lot of fluff in this episode, and not in a good way. That being said, the meat of this episode–and it was quite meaty–was handled with such care that it blew all the negatives out of the water. What a showcase of the cast and crew’s talent and ability to tell compelling, real, and emotional stories. What an excellent example of the ways grief and trauma impact us all. And with some theoretical shake ups coming in the next few weeks, I once again can’t wait to see what happens next.
Mark Pereira is an associate 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.