TED LASSO goes the way of Martin Scorsese’s AFTER HOURS to give us a glimpse into what seems like a crazy night but is probably pretty typical in the life of Coach Beard. Brendan Hunt, who portrays Beard and is also a co-creator of the show, has been known to participate at Burning Man in the past, and as we learn early on in this episode, so has Coach Beard.
Much like a night out “on the playa,” BEARD AFTER HOURS unfolds like a choose your own adventure novel. There are a few nods to Burning Man life throughout the episode, but if you haven’t been or aren’t familiar at all, you’ll still enjoy it just the same. There are high highs and low lows, plans gone amuck, good and bad luck, danger, romance, self-reflection, confusion, misunderstandings, meltdowns, and some very pleasant surprises. As one might say at Burning Man, “the playa provides,” as the episode’s most unexpected moments often come through chance meetings and supporting characters.
At each twist, a literal blue moon hangs over London, watching Beard intently, as if it just won’t let him forget about Richmond’s devastating loss to the champion Man City, which in turn reminds him of his relationship failure. Beard’s self-reflection has just about everything to do with his on-again/off-again relationship with Jane. This was the perfect episode to learn more about Beard and Jane’s actual feelings for one another instead of viewing their romance mostly through the eyes of Ted, Higgins, and the rest of Richmond’s executive team. And while many viewers may look at this like “Beard’s Crazy Night,” I have a feeling it’s a bit more common than his quiet, stoic demeanor lets on.
Brendan Hunt absolutely kills it as Coach Beard in this episode written by Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent) and series co-creator Joe Kelly. The music, lighting, and cinematography are at their absolute best throughout as well, tying the story together with sometimes the most subtle hue or a loud reprise of a song we’ve heard before. While Ted takes a backseat in this episode, the series-long theme of “Believe” doesn’t. Believe in people, believe in love, believe in yourself. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to say YES to an adventure after seeing this.
TED LASSO S2 Episodes 1-9 are now streaming on AppleTV+.