Just wanted to get this out there: I honestly thought Ted Lasso would die.
Sorry to start my Ted Lasso Season 3 review on such a sour note. But after seeing the upbeat, optimistic soccer coach suffer panic attacks and seemingly be so isolated from his cherished son and estranged wife, relatively alone in London, I thought the negative emotions would consume him to the point of self-immolation, and eventual suicide.
After all, I figure the reason there was no confirmed next season of “Ted Lasso” was because there would be, in fact, NO Ted Lasso left to be on it.
SPOILER ALERT FROM THIS POINT ON
Thankfully, for today’s season finale (“So Long, Farewell“), Ted is STILL very much alive, and so are AFC Richmond’s Premier League championship dreams, as they trail Manchester City by two points in the final matchday. They’ll play Champions League football next season, but it’ll be without Lasso, as he decided to resign, and return to America to reunite with his son.
The episode guides Ted down the Yellow Brick Road, as the entire club says its goodbyes and thank yous as he gets ready for the final match against Rupert Mannion’s West Ham United. And all of the side storylines of the much-maligned Season 3 of “Lasso” get wrapped up nicely along the way.
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The final episode, beat by beat…
- With AFC Richmond playing in the Champions League next season, Rebecca finds out the club is worth more than $2 billion. She convinces herself that she only wanted the club to piss off her ex-husband, and now it’s time to cash out with Ted leaving for America.
- In a private moment, Rebecca tries one final time to get Ted to stay, promising him if he stays, she can give him the richest contract in the Premier League. He refuses, then she lets him know she’s selling the team at season’s end, and would like to travel the world.
- We find out Rupert Mannion’s in hot water due to a sexual harassment scandal at West Ham, courtesy of his former assistant, likely advised by Rebecca in the previous episode. Of course, this makes for an awkward return to the Dog Track in the finale.
- Trent Crimm presents Coach Beard and Ted with his rough draft of his Richmond book, “The Lasso Way.” Beard has copious notes, but Ted leaves it as-is.
- Jamie Tartt asks Keeley Jones to come to Brazil with him on a Nike commercial shoot in the offseason, and she agrees. Seeing this, Roy takes Jamie to a pub to let him know that he and Keeley have been rekindling their romance, and he should know so he doesn’t get hurt.
- Jamie and Roy get into a fight, then show up at Keeley’s door, demanding that she should choose which man she wants to be with. She kicks them both out, they realize they were stupid, and they go out for a kebab — further bonded in friendship.
- Nathan Shelley, now back with AFC Richmond as Assistant Kitman (for the time being), finally has the heart-to-heart with Ted, and apologizes for how he acted, tearing down the “BELIEVE” sign in the locker room. Ted forgives him, and tells him he still sees the sign in his thoughts on the blank wall.
- The “Diamond Dogs” self-help group reunites as Roy asks for help as he feels his efforts to change for the better have failed.
- Beard and Roy go 0-for-2 on motivational video usage this season, as their touching highlight video for the team’s pre-match talk has them all in tears during the procession. It puts them down 0-2 after the first half against West Ham, while Man City leads in their match elsewhere.
- Ted gives a passionate halftime talk, about how much he’ll miss the guys, and asks them to give their best, looking back at the missing “BELIEVE” sign space on the wall. One by one, the team pulls out pieces of the old torn-up sign from their lockers, and reassembles it for one last time.
- Richmond quickly equalize the match 2-2, as Issac McAdoo’s penalty tears through the goal net. As the net is repaired, Rupert Mannion walks onto the sidelines and orders his manager to have the team injure Jamie Tartt, to prevent the win. He refuses, and Mannion shoves him to the ground, exposing his privates out of his shorts (a callback to the pilot episode, when Rebecca fired him).
- On a late free kick, Ted calls for the Jamie decoy play, which finds Sam Obisanya wide-open for the winning goal. Nelson Road goes crazy as Richmond wins 3-2, and the supporters pour onto the pitch. As the players all kiss their significant others around him, Colin Hughes kisses his boyfriend, then joins the celebration.
- AFC Richmond, alas, do not win the Premier League title, as Manchester City also wins their match.
- Later, in the airport, Ted picks up the newspaper to see that Rupert Mannion is removed as West Ham owner, over the sideline assault on his coach, and that Rebecca has decided to sell 49% of the club to the public, keeping 51% ownership stake, so that the fans can own the team.
- Rebecca says goodbye at the airport to Ted, but then runs into the man she met on an Amsterdam houseboat, who turns out to be an airline pilot.
- Coach Beard says goodbye to Ted on the plane, choosing to stay with Jane and get married — and is removed from the plane by faking appendicitis.
- Keeley presents Rebecca with a KJPR business plan for an AFC Richmond women’s side — and Becs gets very excited.
- Roy is named the new Head Coach for Richmond and meets with Dr. Sharon to talk over his issues — a big first step for him. Coach Beard and Nathan join him as assistants, and they re-hang the “BELIEVE” sign in the locker room, now reassembled.
- Jamie Tartt meets with his estranged father, who is in alcohol recovery, and they share a laugh and bond.
- Sam Obisanya FINALLY gets his call-up to the Nigerian national team.
- Jane and Coach Beard get married at Stonehenge, surrounded by Richmond team members and friends.
- Ted is reunited with his enthusiastic son, and sees him coaching his son’s soccer team, reminding him to “Be a goldfish” after missing a shot. And with a final smile into the camera, we fade to black for the final time.
Quick notes and thoughts
- What a psyche-out in the opening scene of the show in Rebecca’s kitchen! If you remember the Coach Beard nights-out episodes, you know how wild that night COULD have gone.
- Rebecca, shutting off the soccer pundit show… “Shut up, Thierry Henry!” I support this as a hater of the New Jersey Red Bulls.
- Nathan Shelley returning to AFC Richmond as the “Assistant to the Kitman” was a nice nod to the Dwight Schrute “Assistant to the General Manager” position from “The Office.”
- Jamie putting money into Nate’s shoebox creation’s mouth instead of his chewing gum was a great callback to Season 1.
- “The Sound of Music” tribute by the whole team to Ted at their final practice was a nice touch. Roy couldn’t get out of there fast enough, which is odd, as he had a self-professed crush on Julie Andrews in a past episode.
- In the owner’s suite… Sassy to Rupert: “I wish you the best … because you ARE the f****** worst!”
- The “Zava-cado” sent to the team is mighty impressive.
- Ted finally figures out the offsides rule. Only took 3 seasons.
- Does anyone else have flashbacks to the Alex Callens PK in MLS Cup 2021 as McAdoo stood over the ball for his net-tearing spot kick? And how did THAT play not go to VAR? Another Premier League botch of replay use.
- Mannion should have gotten a red card for shoving his manager to the ground, and a send-off.
- The “acting” play by Tartt that gives Richmond the victory was also from one of the very first Lasso practices.
- Lasso on the flight home: “I finally accepted that air conditioning is a privilege, not a right.”
- Was Ted missing from Coach Beard’s wedding scene? Can’t believe he’d miss that.
So, in the end, after all the panic attacks, the trials, the tribulations, Ted Lasso is back home in America with his son. We still don’t know if this season will be the last time we see these characters (though, it does say “Season Finale,” not “Series Finale” on AppleTV’s description of the episode, so there’s hope).
Also, this eagle-eyed tweeter caught a hint of a Season 4 in this note to Trent about his book title — which could mean the new re-titled show will return after the writers’ strike that’s gripping Hollywood…
But I think the whole show can be wrapped up in words Higgins says to Roy during his Diamond Dogs initiation, as he worries if he has become a better man.
“Human beings are never going to be perfect, Roy. Best we can do is to keep asking for help and accepting it when we can. And if you keep on doing that, you’ll always be moving towards better.“Leslie Higgins
Ted Lasso reached out for help. He got it from his friends and Dr. Sharon.
Nate needed help, and he found it first in Ted and Beard, and then in Jade in his dark hours.
Keeley needed help, and found it in Roy, who later found the help he needed in her.
Jamie needed help, and found it first in Keeley, then in a friendship with coach/mentor Roy.
And Rebecca found help in Ted, and his uplifting positivity.
If we keep moving forward, seeking to improve ourselves, we improve the lives of those around us, and ALL of us need a helping hand now and then. That’s one of the many lessons I’ll take away from Ted Lasso, and I very much hope AFC Richmond lives to see another season — this time, in Champions League play!