‘Ted Lasso’ Recap And Ending: A Warm Up Before AFC Richmond’s Return To The Premier League In Season 3

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The football comedy-drama series “Ted Lasso” has perhaps been AppleTV+’s most successful release so far, with the show having won the Emmy award for outstanding comedy in both of its seasons. Based on characters originally created by NBC Sports for promotional content, the series follows the unusually cheerful college American football coach “Ted Lasso,” who joins AFC Richmond in the English Premier League as the head manager. With the essential premise of an American holding the responsibility of managing a top-level sports team in a sport he has very little idea about, “Ted Lasso” has been simply brilliant so far. And much of this brilliance has been with respect to the cheery, feel-good, and positive tone that it leaves its viewers with at the end of every episode.


How Have Things Been For Afc Richmond So Far?

When “Ted Lasso” first arrives, he has no idea about the offside rule or the fact that games are played in two halves and not four quarters in football on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Naturally, his appointment creates tremendous buzz among the media and fans, almost all of which is extremely negative. In fact, Coach Lasso’s very appointment was part of a sabotage plan designed by the club’s new owner, Rebecca Welton. After recently divorcing her scandalous and lecherous ex-husband, Rupert Mannion, Rebecca was given ownership of Richmond as part of the divorce settlement. But the sheer fact that Rupert loves the football club with all his heart and its failure would surely hurt him made Rebecca vengeful and plan an extensive plan to doom the club and get back at her philandering ex-husband. Therefore, Ted Lasso and his close associate and assistant, Coach Beard, were hired, both of whom had no experience whatsoever with football or soccer as they know it. While this plan of sabotage was known only to Rebecca and Leslie Higgins, the director of football operations at the club, the coaching team and players started to try their best and improve from a mid-table slump.

The most crucial players among whom the club and series are built are Roy Kent, a celebrated but aging player who is also the hot-tempered captain of the club; Jamie Tart, a promising talented footballer but with problems of ego; and Sam Obisanya, who is originally a defensive left back player turned into an attacking winger by Lasso and Beard. While things on the pitch get off to a slow start, Ted Lasso gradually starts to gain trust and even popularity among his staff and players—at least some of them. Among his closest staff is Nathan Shelley, who was originally a kitman for the club but was turned into an assistant coach by Lasso. As Rebecca gets a whiff of Ted’s gradual approval among players as well as fans, she tries out more ways to sabotage the new manager’s reputation. At first, she attempts to create a scandal in the media by trying to prove that Ted is having an affair with Jamie Tart’s current girlfriend, Keeley Jones. Although Ted and Keeley are already very good friends by now, the rumor mill is stopped before it even starts when Keeley learns of it from before. Next, Rebecca sets up an interview for Ted Lasso with a highly critical and honest journalist, Trent Crimm, from the Independent, in order to show the world the new manager’s lack of knowledge about Premier League football. But Ted fares well through this, too, as he makes up for all his shortcomings with his charm, positivity, and accepting nature. One of the primary difficulties that AFC Richmond faced as a team throughout the first season was a heated rivalry between its two best players, Jamie Tart and Roy Kent. Just when Ted finally manages to break through this difficulty and make the two players play the game as a team of eleven, Rebecca plays her last card—she terminates Tart’s loan deal from Manchester City, making the talented winger leave Richmond and return to Manchester.

While the first season ends with a heartbreaking loss against City and a subsequent relegation from the Premier League for AFC Richmond, coach Lasso retains his job as the manager. By now, Rebecca had also been touched by the man’s positivity, as the two had become very good friends, and she was now genuinely interested in leading the team back up to the Premier League. With Jamie Tart now out of the club, a new forward named Dani Rojas was Richmond’s new hope, but the striker breaks down mentally after accidentally killing the club’s mascot dog and loses his flair. As a psychologist is brought in to help Rojas, Richmond has had a dismal start to the season, having drawn eight straight games. Meanwhile, Roy Kent had lost speed and athleticism due to his age and had retired from the sport to spend some time away. After having returned to football as a pundit on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday TV show, Kent eventually returned to AFC Richmond as an assistant coach. Jamie Tart, too, was going through rough times when he lost his contract with Manchester City for having participated in a dating TV show. Keen to get back to the profession he loved most, playing football, Tart returns to Richmond and has to make his way into the attacking squad, which is now led by the young Sam Obisanya. Keeley Jones also now becomes a direct part of AFC Richmond, as she has been hired by Rebecca as the marketing and PR manager for the club.

On the football field, the return of Tart and Kent boosts the players’ morale, and the team manages to turn the season around into a successful one. After beating Tottenham Hotspurs in the quarter-finals, Richmond made it to the semi-finals of the historic FA Cup, only to be thrashed by Manchester City at Wembley. However, this does not dent their spirit too much, and by the last matchday of the season, Richmond manages to have the opportunity to finish second in the Championship and therefore secure direct promotion back to the Premier League. In the final match against Brentford, Lasso decides to listen to Nate’s plan of playing a false nine formation, which does not immediately work, and the team concedes two goals in the first half. Although Nate now wants to change the formation, coach Lasso asks his players what to do, and they all wish to keep playing with the same strategy. This pays off as Richmond scores two goals in the final few minutes and draws the game, finalizing their return to the Premier League for next season. While “Ted Lasso” season 2 ends with all joy and jubilation, both with Richmond’s success and Sam Obisanya’s decision to remain at the club, Nate’s character turns negative and overly ambitious. Sometime earlier, it had been revealed that Rebecca’s ex-husband Rupert Mannion had bought off West Ham United, and Nate is now seen as the new manager at the London club.


What Has Been Going On In The Personal End For Coach Lasso And The Others?

Along with the on-field stuff, “Ted Lasso” is equally, and perhaps even more, focused on things off the pitch, as it generally tends to shine in this aspect. Ted Lasso is a character who is able to spread happiness and hope among those around him, but the man also goes through struggles of his own. The first season extensively shows Ted dealing with the difficult phase of divorce, for his wife has run out of love with him. In fact, his decision to come to London from far-off Kansas in the US was only to give his wife Michelle some distance, as she had asked. Despite still loving the woman with all his being, Ted agrees to end their marriage in order to look out for her happiness and well-being. In “Ted Lasso” Season 2, the arrival of the new sports psychologist, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone, makes Ted nervous and even somewhat insecure, for the man does not trust therapists. To him, people working in this profession only pretend to listen to people because they are being paid but do not really care much about their patients. Ted explains that this understanding of his was mostly based on his experience at couple’s therapy, where he was only made to sit and listen to his faults. But as he gradually understands, Ted needs Dr. Sharon as much as some of his players need her, for he has some deep-seated angst and issues as well. As a young teenager, Ted Lasso had witnessed his father committing suicide and has mostly hated his father ever since for having left him and his family alone. In many ways, his cheery nature and overly sweet attitude of being nice to everyone, even those who were against him, were like a compensating coping mechanism for his fear of being abandoned. Ted finally opens up to Sharon about all of this, and in the process, the two strike up a great friendship, helping each other along the way.

The other characters also go through changes, positive as well as negative, starting with Rebecca herself, who finds confidence and courage in herself once more. She becomes best friends with Keeley, who realizes how Jamie Tart did not treat her fairly, and then starts a relationship with Roy Kent, with the two professing their love for each other at the end of “Ted Lasso” Season 2. By the end of the second season, Keeley also gets the opportunity to start her own marketing and PR firm. Coach Beard had also found love—in his own twisted way—with a highly intelligent but socially awkward woman named Jane. Despite his friends telling him to be cautious of her and their very frequent break-ups and patch-ups, coach Beard realizes that he does genuinely feel for the woman as she does for him. Rebecca had been searching for a partner too, and she had been using a new dating app called Bantr, in which users could not see any pictures of each other. As it turns out, the man she had been developing a strong interest in was her own young employee, Sam Obisanya, and despite the two secretly dating for a few days, they eventually decided to end their relationship, at least for the time being.

The series also presents Sam fighting for the rights of his countrymen in Nigeria after a corporate company sponsoring AFC Richmond is found to be dumping toxic waste on African shorelines, harming people as well as the environment. Sam encourages his team to tape out the names of the sponsors from their kits, and the company eventually drops out of the team. Jamie Tart’s abusive father, a loudmouth Manchester City fan who picks on his own son in the crudest manners, even in public, is also introduced. In a tense moment, Jamie punches his father away in public, making his teammates realize the reason for some of his antics, as the man essentially had to grow up and live with a bully for most of his life. In the end, Ted comes clean to the world about his frequent panic attacks too, when Trent Crimm writes an article on it. Despite the initial criticism and questioning that he faces, coach Lasso considers it more important to speak out about the necessity of mental health in sports rather than hide it away. In these regards, “Ted Lasso” as a show, does attempt to speak about matters pertaining to sports, but things that are off the pitch.

Finally, the change in Nate’s character is most interesting, as he genuinely turns out to be the opposite of Ted Lasso. Always taking things in a negative and twisted way, and with apparently no inherent goodness in him, Nate falls prey to overreaching ambition. By the end, he is jealous of Lasso and happens to be the secret informer who reached out to the press about the head manager’s mental struggles. During the last match, which AFC Richmond managed to draw, Nate boils over in anger and disgust and leaves the match early after tearing apart a morale-boosting poster that read “Believe,” which had been put up by coach Lasso at the beginning of his time at the club. Two months later, Nathan Shelley is seen as the head coach of West Ham United, with their new owner, Rupert Mannion, in close consultation with him.


What Should We Expect From ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3?

After the way season 2 had ended, the most important matter to look forward to is Nate’s ultimate betrayal against Ted Lasso, the man who had literally brought Nate into the limelight. Before coach Lasso’s arrival, Nate was a shy and timid kitman who was bullied around by some of the brash players. Although Ted had listened to Nate and given him a position of respect, Nate had completely taken it otherwise, and the little public appreciation he had gotten for stepping up as a head coach for a match had spoiled his mind. Nate was now not only the head coach of a rival club in London but also that of one owned by Rebecca and Ted’s collective enemy, the ill-minded ex-husband, Rupert. All of the characters we have seen and grown close to so far will be returning, as is shown in the trailer. With AFC Richmond returning to the Premier League, more clubs, such as Chelsea FC, will be featured (the emblem, kits, and maybe Stamford Bridge, but not the actual players), as has also been shown in the trailer. Lastly, “Ted Lasso” season 2 had already brought actual figures from the football world to the show, like Thierry Henry, Gary Lineker, Ian Wright, and even Mike Dean, and with one more season coming soon, more such names and figures can be expected to make their appearance on screen.


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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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