SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST TWO EPISODES OF SEASON THREE
If you didn't know, Gardiner and I are big Ted Lasso fans. We love our precious Kansas fish out of water, navigating London and the English football scene, and we will protect him with every weapon in our arsenal.
For me, season three is the first that I've had the pleasure of watching as it airs. And when I say "pleasure" I mean "pure torture."
Seven days have never felt so long.
Season three began airing on March 15, 2023 (but in our time zone it aired the night of the 14th). There's also much speculation, but no concrete answers, as to whether or not this will be the last season, which is its own circle of personal hell for me.
As of writing this piece, only the first two episodes of season three have come out, and they have not disappointed.
So far, we have seen Ted struggling with his purpose in life, Rebecca struggling with Rupert's mind games, and Keeley struggling with a PR team that won't mesh with her bright and bubbly attitude.
Roy has broken up with Keeley over the season break and his niece thinks he's being stupid (apologies for the bad language). Nate is doing whatever he can to stay in Rupert's good graces. Rebecca sniped Zava, a player with an ego to match his talent, from her ex-husband's grasp. Oh, and Jamie has said "poopy" a couple times in that thick accent of his.
With episode three creeping slowly in the distance, I've decided to put my excitement to good use. So, here it is, a list of things we want to see as season three airs.
Jamie's Continued Growth
When we first met Jamie Tartt in season one, it was less Man City and more Douche City.
As insensitive as he was talented, Jamie was only an asset to the team on the field. He sanctioned bullying in and out of the locker room. He generally treated everyone like they were shit. And he acted like a total baby when benched in one game. In fact, Jamie is the only person we've actually seen Ted yell at.
Do you know how much that had to take??
Granted, Jamie had a rough life growing up, with a dad who only "cared" about him once he started succeeding in football. Still, it's no excuse for his bad behavior, only an explanation.
So, when Jamie returned to AFC Richmond in season two, with a brand new attitude, it was great for the audience to see. His redemption arc was in full swing, and we don't want to see it go away any time soon.
In season three, episode two, Jamie learns that Roy and Keeley have broken up. He watches as the former couple walk down the same hallway, with Keeley going one way and Roy going another.
Jamie travels down the hallway, and for a moment we all thought he would go after Keeley. After all, they were dating when season one began, and in season two, once Jamie had matured quite a bit, he told Keeley that he loved her; the latter easily setting up a potential love triangle.
But it's Roy that Jamie follows, not Keeley.
He goes to comfort his former rival, and while it doesn't go quite as smoothly as he was expecting, it was still great to see how much Jamie has grown since the beginning, and we hope he continues.
That said, his gloomy reaction to Zava joining the team could mean trouble. I'm just hoping he'll pull another switcheroo like he did in that hallway and exceed my expectations again.
Roy and Phoebe's Teacher
Okay, this might be a controversial pick, but Gardiner and I have been shipping Roy with Phoebe's teacher, Ms. Bowen.
Don't get us wrong, we love Keeley for all she is. And while there's something lovely about her and Roy's opposites-attract situation, we love how Ms. Bowen is tough and how she can keep up with Roy's more roguish attributes. Plus, they have incredible, undeniable chemistry.
We've known Keeley since episode one, and I was really rooting for them when her romance with Roy was in its nascent stages. However, as soon as Ms. Bowen and Roy started having their scenes together, I knew the tides had turned.
There's no other teacher in any school Roy would have chosen to help decorate a room with. And there's got to be a reason why he didn't tell her he was dating Keeley when she asked if he was married. I mean, it was a big enough deal that he felt the need to confess it later that episode.
We haven't seen Ms. Bowen yet this season, but I hope we do. And I hope Roy gives her a chance.
Ted and Rebecca's Friendship
Don't worry, friends, our controversial shipping ends with Roy and Ms. Bowen.
A small corner of the Ted Lasso fandom wants Ted and Rebecca to end up together, but honestly, we just don't see it. Ted and Rebecca have a beautiful friendship and we don't get any romantic vibes between them. At all.
When Harry Met Sally is a great rom-com, but its theme about men and women not being able to be friends because sex will always get in the way is not how it works in the real world.
I know Ted Lasso is also a work of fiction, but it has a great representation of a straight male and female friendship, and I think that should be celebrated. Not every sitcom needs a will-they-won't-they subplot, and this show certainly doesn't either.
Though they had a rocky start, what with Rebecca only hiring Ted because she wanted to rain destruction down on her ex-husband's team she took in the divorce, these two have created such a special bond with each other and I want to see more of their friendship.
We haven't seen much of Ted and Rebecca together this season, and the one scene that sticks out was of Rebecca getting frustrated with Ted's lackadaisical approach toward coaching this season. She has revenge on the mind again and he's in the midst of an existential crisis. What could go wrong?
My hope is that these factors don't tear these two apart and that they will be able to work together and come out of this season as the best friends I know they can be.
It's really weird to me that I'm hoping there's a lot more soccer scenes this season. I went to a few of my step-brother's soccer games growing up and found it pretty boring. I also don't like to watch any sport except maybe baseball, but even then, I wouldn't put it on TV–
Whoops. Sorry for digressing.
I love watching the scenes where we get to see Richmond on the field. The way they're shot is beautiful and compelling, and I just love it. I mean, one of my favorite scenes from the whole show is when the team decides to do the Lasso Special in season one. In fact, I just chose to watch it the other day out of nowhere because I love it so much.
Honestly, it might just be because I love the players of Richmond. They're a silly, funny, and quirky bunch of young men, and though I love their antics in the locker room, I love watching them on the field even more.
So, maybe this section should really be called, "More Dani Rojas," but I'm too lazy to change it.
As for Gardiner, he's also hoping for more scenes of Mae, the tough-as-nails owner/matriarch of the Richmond-supporting Crown & Anchor pub. We feel there's more to see from her and her relationships with her patrons, including Ted, so our fingers are crossed for that.
Oh my God, is there a bigger asshole in Ted Lasso than Rupert Mannion?
This slimy, slippery narcissist is one of the worst villains I've seen on television. And it's not because he's violent or anything like that. He's a cheating bastard, but he's also psychologically manipulative and it's scary.
I mean, just going back to the scene where he tells Rebecca his new (very young) wife is pregnant; the heartbreak on our statuesque female lead's face is palpable when she (and we as the audience) realize he's implying that he didn't want to have kids with her. It's hard to watch, hell, it's even hard just thinking about it for me.
Rupert's evilness is juxtaposed expertly by the vast array of kind, good-hearted characters in the cast–particularly Ted himself–which likely makes him seem even more evil than he actually is (just kidding, he's The Worst). And what makes it even worse for me is that he's played by Anthony Head, whom I first came to adore as Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Anyway, Rupert comes across as unsinkable. Even Rebecca realizes there's no way to get to him because he always has that extra card in his pocket (see the pregnancy announcement scene again).
Even after being cast away from his beloved Richmond, Rupert buys West Ham and takes Nate from Ted and the rest of the Grey Hounds. Season three shows us that Rupert is doing what he does best–love-bombing.
He makes Nate feel special and respected, leading Nate to lean into his own crueler side just to impress him. And when he realizes that he's about to have Nate's cheap, old car towed, he takes it upon himself to buy Nate a new vehicle.
Only, it's not from a place of kindness. And it's not charitable.
There's no doubt in our minds that this is another manipulation tool in Rupert's belt of evil. He's going to hold this car over Nate's head and make him do his bidding. We just know it.
So, due to this kind of behavior, we are really hoping Rupert gets absolutely destroyed this season, even if it's just as simple as Richmond placing higher than West Ham. We're already seeing the seeds of Rupert's destruction, what with Rebecca taking Zava right out from under his nose, so let's hope that's a continuing trend.
Fingers crossed this season ends Rebecca-side-up.
Don't worry, I put "redemption" in quotes for a reason.
To put it delicately: Nate...is an asshole.
I won't lie, when Gardiner showed me Ted Lasso for the first time, I thought Nate was adorable and relatable, and I was really rooting for him. And as we binged season two, I couldn't help being so disappointed and saddened by Nate turning to the dark side.
I remember expressing this to Gardiner, saying, "He was so nice in the beginning."
And I remember Gardiner's rebuttal just as easily. "He really wasn't, though."
On our second watch, a few months ago, I clocked quite a few things. How Nate's first scene is of him yelling at Ted and Beard to get off the field, only apologizing when he realized they were above him on the social ladder. And how quick Nate was to call Rebecca a shrew when he thought she was firing him (but she was really promoting him to assistant coach).
Nate was a dick. Always has been, always will be.
I have to admit, I see some of myself in Nate, and that scares me a little. I understand his feelings of being overshadowed by people, feeling insecure, and wanting to rise above. I could see myself in him when he was searching his name on Twitter to see what people were saying, and how upset he got when he read something that wasn't very nice.
However, if that were me, I'd just shut down, maybe cry a little. I wouldn't berate the nearest person of a lower stature than me like he did to Will. Trust me, I've been the person someone has taken their shit out on in a professional setting and it's a feeling I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
So, there's hope for me, I guess.
I don't think there's much hope for Nate, though.
I mean, to me, the whole leaking of Ted's mental illness to the news thing was so awful that I wouldn't blame him if Coach Lasso couldn't forgive that. But Ted is a better person than me, so he probably will.
However, to be truly forgiven, Nate must first recognize, then apologize.
My hope for this season is that Nate realizes what a monster he has become. Furthermore, I hope he has the gonads to reach out to Ted and they can have a productive discussion.
I want Nate to lose his position at West Ham. I want everything to fall apart for him. I want him to be humbled. But I don't want him to wind up back at Richmond. His actions have shown that he doesn't deserve that.
(Especially because, if he does wind up back at Richmond it will undermine the next section of this article)
Ted's Character Development
In season one, we started with a close-up of Rebecca and followed her as she went from a scorned woman hellbent on revenge to her kinder, more accurate self.
In season two, we started with a close-up of Nate and followed his villainous turn.
In season three, we started on a close-up of Ted, and are sure to follow him through his existential crisis.
Ted is clearly plagued with imposter syndrome, feeling like he doesn't really understand why he's still in London. And it's easily inferred that he feels like maybe he should be back in Kansas with his son, perhaps considering leaving London at the end of the season.
Naturally, I want this show to continue on for the rest of my life, so I don't want it to end after this season, and I really don't want it to end because Ted goes back home.
Gardiner and I are both hoping that Ted will end the season (and, if it must, the show) developing from a former college-level American football coach to a full-fledged Premiere League soccer coach; someone who truly understands the sport and can do much more than just inspire his athletes to believe in themselves.
We want Ted to be more than just a bumbling man with a Tom Selleck mustache, and we want him to be there for Richmond, a team that has already grown so much under his influence.
We can't wait to see what Ted will get up to in the rest of the season, even if it ends in my own personal heartbreak.
Well, those are the things we hope for, for the remainder of season three. What are your thoughts? We'd love to know.