Ted Lasso (Season 3 | Ep 8) 2023

* Minor spoilers ahead *

If we were able to give the characters of Ted Lasso awards as it pertains to season 3, the most improved character and most valuable character should both unanimously go to Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). Week over week, Jamie has been a magician, pulling tricks out of his sleeve that are completely unexpected but are sincere and genuine to his characters growth and new level of maturity. Since episode 1, Jamie and his actor embodiment Phil Dunster are given emotionally heavy burdens to carry and its handled with absolute grace from the writing team. And lo and behold, episode 8, titled We’ll Never Have Paris provides more of the same for Jamie.

In fact, Jamie’s transformation into the selfless human being further justifies the feel good natured warm sensation that Ted Lasso has provided for the past 3 years.

Following on the heels of last week’s episode, AFC Richmond has finally had its breakthrough on the pitch – Total football is here to stay, and the team is currently enjoying a win streak of 4 matches in a row. That’s the good news, the bad news is we don’t get to see the team in action. We’re only told about it from the point of view of the supporters and media personalities while titular Ted (Jason Sudeikis) is staring down his ex-wife Michelle (Andrea Anders) and boyfriend Dr. Jacob (Jake for short) on their way to Paris. No not one of the 3 Paris’s in Ohio or the many others in the States, THE Paris, in France.

Ted being Ted, he severely overthinks things, seeing this as a potential sign of a proposal and eventually being replaced as a father. Sounds like a call for the trademarked Diamond Dogs to talk Ted off the top of the Eiffel Tower. Winning cures most things, getting over the mother of his child and coming to the realization that the two will never be a complete family again isn’t one of those things. While Michelle and Jacob venture to Paris for the weekend, Henry stays with Ted and along with coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), the trio decide to go to a football match against heavy protest from Beard. Not just any match, a West Ham match led by their fearless (sort of) Wonder Kid manager Nate (Nick Mohammed). The look on Mae’s (Annette Badland) face says it all – you don’t mess with the loyalty of a team’s pub nor its patrons. But Henry is just a kid so its ok, for now.

But episode 8 features depth from a character that has mostly been assigned a supporting role this season. Waking up next to her girlfriend / angel investor Jack (Jodi Balfour), Keeley (Juno Temple) is greeted by numerous notifications of a privately shared video being leaked to the public. Not just Keeley but other singers, actresses and a male model, too. Who the video is for can be alluded to, if not guessed immediately but that’s beside the point. It’s one thing to have your private moments shared only with a partner exposed to the entire internet but it’s another thing entirely to have the current partner see it as a mistake to be corrected and something to be ashamed of.

If you’ve been living under a rock for your entire life, women are treated far more conservatively by the media, the press and most harshly by men. Women get shamed for their sexuality yet are constantly sexualized every day of their lives. The math doesn’t add up and its left to Keeley backed by a powerful performance by the effervescent Juno Temple to take a stand and not apologize for doing something private. “Are there others out there” Jack asks Keeley and without blinking or backing down Keeley responds, “I don’t know”. Keeley should not back down or feel shame for expressing herself. Being comfortable with sexuality isn’t just reserved for men, women should never apologize for doing something with a partner, private or otherwise.

Invasion of privacy and its response becomes the central conflict for the episode. Jack oversteps, drafting a disaster controlled corporate lawyer heavy letter for Keeley to share across her social media which further proves Jack is more embarrassed than Keeley. Even the team share their arguments for the philosophical differences in how to handle this type of situation with team captain Isaac (Kola Bokinni) taking point on whether private pictures and videos should be deleted. This of course leads to the only part of the episode that features signature quickly paced back and forth humor between the players – all of whom have various strange photos that could be harmful if leaked.

Stemming from this group discussion comes a stark realization involving one of the more captivating subplots in Colin (Billy Harris) and his struggle with his own sexuality. In a previous episode review, I mentioned that hopefully once Colin finds the courage to finally come out, the team will support him and welcome him with open arms. This week, I may have to bite my tongue. Unable to predict the future, the road for the queer footballer may be facing rougher waters than expected within the team and we can only guess at how this information will be handled next week. I still have my fingers crossed for open arms and understanding rather than betrayal and distrust.   

Ultimately, what Keeley needs is support from Jack and the result does more harm than good, especially how Jack introduces Keeley to a close friend halfway through the episode. At this point, Jack’s purpose is to be a tourist in Keeley’s life, never meant to be a permanent fixture. Instead, it’s characters like Jamie and Roy (Brett Goldstein) that come to aid Keeley, Roy less successfully but all the same, the  former couple still have their issues to work out in the coming weeks.

Finally, to wrap up the episode, Nate becomes increasingly more confident and comfortable in his new relationship with Jade (Edyta Budnik). Something so simple as labels can cause a massive disruptive ripple effect for a new couple but by the end of episode 8, things finally go Nate’s way. I firmly believe Jade will be Nate’s pathway back to AFC Richmond and the rekindled bond between Ted and Nate. Henry doesn’t have any animosity toward Nate and neither does Ted despite what Nate has done – Ted’s overwhelming positivity overshadows all the negative energy.

With 4 episodes left this season, wrapping up the various subplots neatly may not be the expected result, there is still a lot of ground to cover, however, season 3 has gotten the conversation started. Front and center are Keeley’s choices and leave it to a comedy to hit the nail right on the head with its discourse about how women should be treated in public is front and center. Tragic as the situation is, Ted Lasso fully embraces the reality of hard pill to swallow topics nor is the series afraid to take a break from the action on the pitch to focus all its energy on these social commentaries.

Created By: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt & Joe Kelly

Episode Directed By: Erica Dunton

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: May 3, 2023

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Based On: Characters and Format by NBC Sports

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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