* Minor Spoilers Ahead *
At the halfway point of season 3, Ted Lasso and the fictional AFC Richmond team have an ongoing suffering identity crisis. That’s not necessarily a bad thing depending on who you ask but for this seasons sake, its borderline on the bad side. After losing the heralded Shepard once in a lifetime player that goes by Zava (Maximilian Osinski), Richmond has been on a losing streak, unlucky in figuring out the best way to get away from their funk and back in the winning column. Following Coach Lasso’s (Jason Sudeikis) inspirational pep talk in last weeks episode about the power of belief, the coach may finally be on to something promising.
After participating in a friendly against a team in Amsterdam, and losing, Ted decides the best way for the team and coaching staff to unwind is to cancel the curfew for the night to explore the wonders of this alluring city. For the premise’s sake, that’s as basic as it gets but for where the series and season is heading, the more simple, the better as the focus still remains on the relationships between characters with some unusual pairings being explored for the characters mental health.
Breaking off, the team minus Jamie (Phil Dunster) and his now personal trainer Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) see this as an opportunity to get a training session in which inadvertently turns into an impromptu sightseeing adventure with the two furthering their peculiar bond. Brett Goldstein’s rough around the edges has softened considerably however it’s still a crowd pleaser to hear him grunt and shout F— off at the top of his gravely voice. Whereas Phil Dunster has become this ray of sunshine, shifting the dynamic Jamie has with the team, with himself and with Ted. Out of the entire cast, Jamie’s growth has been the most impressive to watch and admire. For the first time Roy is able to be vulnerable and it’s Jamie infectious personality that has brought it out of Roy.
Every time the episode titled Sunflowers switches back to Jamie and Roy’s escapades, the mood is light (when Roy isn’t shouting his favorite four-letter word ), and the atmosphere is purely wholesome. This is the Jamie we deserve.
Also breaking away from the team, more secretly might I add, is Colin (Billy Harris) and Trent Crimm (James Lance), spending a night on the town in a more healing capacity. Season 3 has leaned more heavily into Colin’s sexuality and the result between the team’s biographer and Left Winger is honest regarding how an LGBTQ+ athlete sees themselves from their perspective as well as being more conservative with coming out. For one of the many subplots that has been established over the previous 5 episodes, Billy Harris has handled the increased role with pride.
Knowing how inclusive the team is already, I don’t think Colin would ever be ostracized by anyone in the Greyhound locker room or front office. Just one of the many subversions of expectations that Ted Lasso stays ahead of when dealing with sensitive topics – which to be fair is embedded in the shows DNA.
Leslie (Jeremy Swift) takes Will (Charlie Hiscock) on a journey into the Red-Light District of Amsterdam (no it’s not what you think) where the passion for music burns brightest. Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), the enigma that he is, peer pressures Ted into taking a medicinal remedy to deal with the stresses that are currently digging their nasty claws into Ted’s unstable mental health. The two separate for the night but when we pick up the next day on the bus, Beard shows up in outrageous garb with his night a complete mystery as he says his goodbyes to his Dutch companions. Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) night begins with more trepidation but by the following day, her mood switches to a euphoric one, after a night she so desperately needed. After splitting with Keeley (Juno Temple) who makes her way to Norway with Jack, Rebecca gets clipped by a bicyclist and falls into a canal where she meets a man who invites her to stay on his houseboat for the night (first starting with the clothes drying, then dinner and a foot rub).
We don’t learn this man’s name but being desensitized as a society, there is a fear that this man could do something terrible but with each passing moment, his chivalry speaks volumes turning out to be a wonderful addition to the episode and a distraction for Rebecca. Another case of Ted Lasso subverting expectations between a strange man who may or may not have ulterior motives. With a Dutch cover of Kenny Rogers playing and the more intimate setting between two people who normally would never meet given their places in life, it’s that very preconception that gets shattered in the best way. Rebecca’s arc is still quite muddied but seeing the stress fade away from Hannah’s face is touching compared to her previous partner.
For the team itself, the group decides to paint the town red where a dilemma gets formed. What will be the activity the team does. Decided upon by team captain Isaac (Kola Bokinni) in his best Roy impersonation mixed with a touch of Shakespeare, on one hand, Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) suggests a movie night, on another, Jan Maas (David Elsendoorn), a native to Amsterdam suggests travelling 2 hours to an all-night rager, another suggestion is made to go to the Red-Light District to watch a sex show, and finally a suggestion to go see a singular Tulip, made by Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández) is constantly insisted upon. As to not give away too much, what the team ultimately decides will leave anyone watching with a smile from ear to ear.
Ted Lasso doesn’t have a single wicked bone in its body.
Dani Rojas must be protected at all costs. He’s too valuable to be corrupted by the world. Cristo brings a charmingly goofy innocence to Dani that catapults Dani to be one of the most underrated characters and performances among the strong ensemble cast.
And finally, Ted works up his courage to take the medicinal tea that he and Beard were meant to take together and somehow Ted finds himself on another mind clarifying journey – ending up at an American inspired restaurant where the three temperaments are The Windy City, The Big Apple, and Hollywood. Servers are dressed as cowboys yet hearing Ted call The Windy City by its actual name goes right over the hosts head. But it’s in this scene that the directionless finds an answer in Basketball and the Chicago Bulls 1990’s offense that won 6 world titles.
Season 3 has found its footing in the football regard that also transcends into our characters personal lives. Going forward, the path is set for the remainder of the season with how Richmond course corrects and attacks all the doubters head on. Being used twice with different emotional high points, Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds perfectly epitomizes where the characters are at mentally. As the lyrics go “Don’t worry, about a thing, cause every little thing, is gonna be alright.” It’s season 3’s theme music that should be played in the background of every tough situation. Every little thing will be alright within the world of Ted Lasso.
Created By: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt & Joe Kelly
Episodes Directed By: Matt Lipsey
Music By: Marcus Mumford & Tom Howe
Cinematography: David Rom & Vanessa Whyte
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple
Where to Watch: Apple TV +
Release Date: April 19, 2023
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Based On: Characters and Format by NBC Sports