In Defense of the (Probable) Final Season of Ted Lasso

TV Features Ted Lasso
In Defense of the (Probable) Final Season of Ted Lasso

Whistle! Whistle!

Okay team, listen up.  It’s time to say so long and farewell to AppleTV+’s hit series Ted Lasso. Many viewers have been feeling about the final season the way the title character feels about tea: That it is horrible.

But, like Ted himself, I’m ever the optimist and find myself able to see a silver lining to the entire season.  The first season of Ted Lasso was a delightful surprise—who could have expected a series based on a character created for a hokey commercial would turn out to be so heartfelt, poignant and hilarious?

Yet we, as a pop-culture-driven society, love to build things up only to tear them down. Some complaints I have a counterpoint to: The episodes have been too long, you say? Well I added up the minutes this season (file under: I was an accounting major) and the 12 episodes equal 660 minutes total. Think of it as twenty-two 30-minute episodes. It’s like we got a bonus season!

Other complaints, like why did they put Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) into a cliched storyline about longing for a child, well there I’ve got nothing. And yes, the less said about the Keeley (Juno Temple) and Jack (Jodi Balfour) storyline the better.

But let’s focus in on what the show did right in its final time on the pitch.

The overarching theme of letting go of anger and offering forgiveness: This show does like its themes, and this season’s focus was definitely on forgiveness. Ted (Jason Sudekis), and more importantly Beard (Brendan Hunt), forgave Nate for going to the dark side and becoming the manager of West Ham. Ted forgave his mom for not ever talking to him about what happened with his father. Rebecca let go of her anger towards Rupert (Anthony Head), who ends up getting hoisted by his own petard, and realizes she no longer cares about him or what he does or doesn’t do. (Even seemingly counseling Rupert’s new wife and new mistress on the best path forward!) Nate  (Nick Mohammed) and his father reconcile. Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) forgives the people who trash his restaurant. “If you really want to piss off the people who did this, forgive them,” Sam’s father tells him. “Don’t fight back. Fight forward.”

Upended our expectations: Sure there were the obvious bait and switches like Henry (Gus Turner) being the bully, or Ted walking into Rebecca’s kitchen in the season finale opener (a blatant tease to the viewers who have been shipping Rebecca and Ted since the first episode). We could have seen the big moment where Nate quit West Ham, but I liked that not everything was spelled out for us, that it was left to our imaginations—such as the gray area of whether Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley were actually back together. I mean, the series did come thisclose to setting up a Jamie/Roy/Keeley throuple situation. (I will always love it when a character pulls a “Kelly Taylor” and “choses me.”)  At the beginning of the season, I might have thought Zava (Maximilian Osinski) would be a prickly thorn in the team’s side for the whole season, but then he was just gone. Those kinds of shenanigans happen all the time in professional sports. The fact that some things were left to the imagination meant I entered the final match of the season (series?) not exactly sure what would happen. To me, it was even odds that Richmond could either win or lose.

Ted Lasso Season 3

Jamie (Phil Dunster): His character went through the biggest transformation this season learning to be part of a team and not the star, wanting to become a better player, and a better person.

Getting to know the other players better: Part of the reason I’ve enjoyed this season is that I just enjoy spending time with these characters. We saw the dark side of Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernandez) who broke Van Damme’s (Moe Jeudy-Lamour) nose during the international games (a credit to Fernandez for completely transforming his facial expressions in that episode). Colin Hughes (Billy Harris) came out to his teammates and, in the finale, the world. And if there is a spinoff, there’s still so much we can learn about this team.

Fun new characters: Love Barbara (Katy Wix). Love everything about her.

Roy Kent: He spent the season trying to become a better man but he remains perfect as ever. I never tired of his jokes at the expense of Trent Crimm (“Better Trent”). Roy’s explanation of how to handle bullies, his red string training exercise, and his reluctant participation as one of the Diamond Dogs were series highlights.

From the reassembled “Believe” sign, to the team’s well-choreographed take on “So Long, Farewell” from the Sound of Music (given Ted’s love of Julie Andrew’s, that was a spot-on musical choice) to Beard’s treacly team video, there were plenty of emotionally manipulative moments in the finale, but that’s what the show does best.

Has AFC Richmond played their last game or are we still at the half? AppleTV+ has been a bit cheeky as to whether the show could continue without Sudekis. Except for Ted, who returns back to Kansas City to be with his son (and maybe reunite with his ex-wife because I think we can all agree she shouldn’t be dating her marriage therapist), all the characters pretty much remained in place. Rebecca sold 49% of the team leaving her with lots of money, apparently enough to start the professional women’s soccer team Keely is proposing. Roy, now in therapy with Sharon (Sarah Niles) became the team manager with Beard and Nate at his side and the tattered “Believe” poster back up. Beard, I mean Willis, stayed in England to marry the love of his life Jane at Stonehenge no less. Trent finished his book. Sam gets to play for the Nigerian team.

Unless…  this was all a fantasy Ted dreamed up on his flight back home. Were Ted and his snow globe a call back to the classic St. Elsewhere ending? I’m choosing to BELIEVE that’s a distinct possibility.

Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer and a member of the Television Critics Association. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal).

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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