Secrets are the overarching theme of this week’s TED LASSO. The secrets we keep, the ones we share with loved ones, the secrets that we never meant to get out, and the secrets that are none of our business. WE’LL NEVER HAVE PARIS challenges our favorite fictional soccer team and challenges us as viewers to think about what’s really important.
Ted is in a relatable bind. He’s divorced, but he can’t help but constantly wonder what his ex-wife Michelle is up to. I remember when my first boyfriend and I broke up. I was still in junior high, so as you can imagine, it was “devastating.” A couple of weeks later, I was at the local cinema with my friends when I found out my ex was on a date with a new girl seeing another movie there. It should have been a carefree night out with my fellow 13-year-old friends, but instead, I was addled with insecurities, wondering, “What movie are they seeing?” “Are they holding hands?” “Why is he on a date so soon after our breakup?” In retrospect, it’s actually quite funny. On the flip side of that, 15 years later, I was out with my then-partner and ran into a different ex from my adult life. My most recent ex, who then proceeded to spend the night trying to charm both me and my current beau so I’d go back to him. I can’t help but wonder if he was going through all those same emotions I had when I was just a kid. Sure, adult relationships should always be more mature than the ones we go through as teenagers, but feelings of self-doubt stick with us for a lifetime. This brings us back to one, Mr. Ted Lasso. A man in his mid-40s who has accepted the fate of his divorce but still wants to know about what’s happening between his wife and her new boyfriend – secrets that are clearly none of his business.
Much like Ted, Roy is challenged similarly. We’ve seen Roy be stubborn. We’ve seen him be confident in his career. And we’ve also seen him be insecure about his romantic entanglements. And those insecurities have come back to haunt him. In the midst of a show where so many people find Ted and Roy to be secure and relatable, we see them acting like 13-year-old boys. Or maybe 28-year-old boys depending on your experience. Through all of the many uncertainties of this episode, Richmond’s leaders Isaac, the captain, and Jamie, the team striker, both step up and show incredible maturity and strength – two things that the rest of the team (and their coaches) really need at this juncture.
I would be remiss not to mention some absolutely incredible standout acting this week. First and foremost, Juno Temple (Keeley) absolutely kills it. Even for a fictional character, I’ve found myself envious of Keeley. She’s smart, successful, beautiful, and beloved by everyone she meets. But not all of those things = confidence. Temple plays all sides of Keeley so well – from her moments feeling like a scared teenager to her shining as another “boss ass bitch”. Even with everything swirling around Ted and the team, Keeley is the heart of E8, and Temple delivers her most raw and emotional performance to date.
My second shoutout goes to Phil Dunster, aka Jamie Tartt. Jamie has had the BEST character arc of any Ted Lasso character over the last three seasons, and that wouldn’t have been possible with Phil’s depiction of a cocky young footballer who almost loses everything important to him and actually learns and grows from it. No matter where the show TED LASSO ends up, I am confident knowing that Ted, the character, has given Jamie a fatherly inspiration that has allowed him to become a better person.
My final favorite moments of WE’LL NEVER HAVE PARIS belong to Nate. He misses the camaraderie of his old Richmond colleagues, and I think this will eventually lead him to “breaking up” with Rupert and West Ham. Of course, Nate can be even more stubborn than Roy, and TED LASSO always surprises us, so he may not have a happy ending after all. It’s those surprises that keep the magic going week to week on this series. Unexpected moments that ask not only the characters but we, the viewers, to look within. S3 of TED LASSO doesn’t have the quirky quotes and constant humor the earlier seasons do. It’s more complex in every way. Just like life is. What’s important to us and those we love can’t be captured in a funny soundbite. With just four episodes to go, I, for one, can’t wait to see where it takes us.
TED LASSO streams on Apple TV+.