Ted Lasso 2.12 “Inverting the Pyramid of Success” Episode Review

Oh Heather.

Synopsis: AFC Richmond faces the last game of their season, the outcome of which will determine if they stay relegated or get promoted back up to the Premier League. Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) makes a decision about staying or leaving; Keeley (Juno Temple) makes a major business move; Ted (Jason Sudeikis) deals with the fallout from Nate’s (Nick Mohammed) betrayal; and Roy (Brett Goldstein) gets in touch with his feelings in the season finale of Ted Lasso.

Every choice is a chance, fellas.

Ted Lasso

Breakdown: There is a lot that can be said about season two of Ted Lasso. In fact, I’ll be reviewing the season as a whole in the next few days, so make sure you keep your eyes out for my analysis. However, with each individual episode, I try to focus on the episode in a vacuum, as much as I can. I’ll do the same here.

For a show whose premise is about a soccer team, it was nice (albeit predictable) that the season would end with the fate of AFC Richmond in the balance. Though I’m not a huge sports fan, I do love a good underdog sport’s story, and I was cheering along with all the other AFC Richmond fans when Dani (Cristo Fernandez) scored the point that secured the team’s promotion to the Premier League. In a great meta-moment (because Cristo is an actual footballer), it was a very nice call back to the opening episode of this season and the character’s struggle to overcome his demons. Also, it’s not lost on me that AFC Richmond was promoted because of a tie, and they were relegated at the end of last season because of a tie.

To be perfectly honest, I was rooting for Sam to leave AFC Richmond. The chance to bring glory to his home country seemed too good of a chance to pass up. It seems that Sam made the right choice, as Edwin Okufu (Sam Richardson) proved that he would have been a terrible owner if Sam left. I mean, who buys a museum and fills it with actors? Though the reveal was a little on the hammy side, it tracked with the character and was a nice immediate confirmation for Sam. I also enjoyed that Sam was not ignoring his home country, either. He realized that his impact was to bring a spotlight to Nigeria in England, and he is going to bring that to life by opening his own Nigerian restaurant.

I’m nervous about Roy and Keeley. Their relationship feels honest and genuine, and I as I’ve said before, I don’t want them to fall into the sitcom trope of breaking up just to get back together. I know that relationships aren’t all rainbows and unicorns, but I just don’t want to see them go through any hard times. Maybe the time jump at the end of the episode was the writer’s way of having them go through a separation without showing us what happened.

One of the things that Ted Lasso does best is mirroring storylines, and the two storylines that they focused on this episode (and throughout the whole season, to be honest) was that of Nate and Keeley. Both of them were in the shadow of someone greater (Ted and Rebecca, respectively). Both of them wanted more for themselves. However, they each went about it in very different ways. Keeley embraced her role as Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) best friend and confidant, and used that relationship in a healthy way to learn from Rebecca’s successes and failures. It made her a better person and catapulted her to a position where she is now running her own PR firm.

On the dark side of that coin, Nate got exactly what he wanted, but at what cost? The entire season has been showing Nate being dismissed and made fun of, and how that has chipped away his cheery exterior to show something dark and sinister underneath. But again–at what cost? He betrayed the one person who believed in him when no one else would. And look at just how clouded his judgment and perception was! The fact that he thought Ted didn’t keep the picture Nate gave him, when in fact Ted loved it so much he took it home with him and has it up in his apartment, was just heartbreaking.

And, to be fair, Nate pointed out a critical flaw in the Ted Lasso effect. Ted excels at building up those around him, but once they are built up and running on their own, he moves on to the next wounded puppy. Most people can handle that, but Nate couldn’t. He wanted more of Ted’s attention and care, and no matter what he did, he couldn’t get it. Like an addict jonesing for another hit, Nate tried more and more desperate measures, until the Nate that he is now looks nothing like the Nate that we were introduced to all the way back in season one. It is a tragic story, one that is prime to have new lows in season three before Nate gets his redemption arc.

Verdict: This episode felt a bit rushed. Season two, as a whole, has been a little all over the place, and it took a while for the major players to get into position for the conflicts to really come to a head. The season finale did a good job bringing those conflicts to the forefront and setting up the stakes for the third and final season. All of the major characters are in a new place and the status quo has completely changed. It was an effective, if rushed, season finale, and one that left me eager for one more season of laughing and crying each week as I watch the stories of these people I have truly come to love.

Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward SwordSuper 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.

Featured image source: Media Scrolls

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