Y’all, the premiere episode of Ted Lasso Season 3 had me stressed almost from start to finish. My god. The only character not going through it is Rupert, but that’s only because he doesn’t have the emotional capacity to do that. Everybody else, though? In the trenches. Let’s get started.
The Season 3 premiere opens with Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) looking miserable as hell. The shot widens to reveal Henry (Gus Turner) sitting next to him – they’re at the airport getting ready for Henry to go home. That means Henry spent the summer in London, which I personally love. Henry is appropriately precocious and articulate, being Ted’s son and all. Ted pretends to not be in distress about Henry leaving. They have some banter with an airport employee, who is sympathetic to Ted’s plight. But then Henry’s off on his flight, and Ted is morose.
In a cab on the way back to his flat, Ted’s on the phone with Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles). They talk about how he feels about Henry returning to Kansas; the answer is that he’s feeling bad about it. He also wonders if he’s doing more harm than good in Richmond. It isn’t very comforting. But then Ted gets to ask her some personal questions and works out that she’s seeing someone. When they hang up, we see Sharon has a man in her bed because the writers wanted to dispel the “Sharon is a lesbian” theory for some reason.
Back at Ted’s flat, on the coffee table in the living room, there’s a completed Lego set of AFC Richmond. The set includes the stadium, all the coaching staff, and Rebecca and Higgins, which tickled me. There’s also a Nate Lego person; instead of standing with everyone else, he’s rather far removed. Very symbolic.
Over at the AFC Richmond Training Center, Queen of the Universe Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) is fuming over every Premier League football journalist predicting that AFC Richmond will end the season in last place. Higgins (Jeremy Swift) tries to find one journalist who hasn’t but cannot. This infuriates Rebecca further, because West Ham is predicted to finish in the top five. And Rupert is not allowed to beat her.
Ted shows up and gives Rebecca her biscuits, and she notices he’s not his usually chirpy self. He tells them he’s a little down about Henry leaving that morning, and they’re like aww. Rebecca then complains about the league predictions again, and Ted’s like well, I predict our team will slay. But really, Rebecca is angry that Rupert is higher than them. She’s taking it personally, and Ted reminds her that it’s not them vs. Rupert – it’s Richmond vs. West Ham. Rebecca, though, remains neurotic about it and makes Ted promise to win. He does, but she’s not entirely convinced. She doesn’t have time to press him about it, though, as she has to leave for a lunch meeting with Keeley. She bumps into the door frame gently on her way out, and nobody says anything about it. I noticed, though.
In the locker room, the players are talking about the predictions as well, and the’re just as upset as Rebecca. Jamie (Phil Dunster) reminds them they’ll be fine because he’s on the team, and they all groan. In the coach’s office, Ted demonstrates the football knowledge he learned playing FIFA with Henry over the summer. Beard (Brendan Hunt) and Roy (Brett Goldstein) are suitably impressed and start strategizing about plays and stuff. I don’t know. It’s football. Whatever.
Over at West Ham, Nate (Nick Mohammed) pulls into the most overdone-ass football stadium. It’s ridiculous, ominous, and intimidating, and it’s definitely made up to resemble evil Star Wars people. I don’t know anything about Star Wars, so I can’t elaborate. Nate is needlessly mean to everyone he interacts with on the way to his office. And also when he’s in his office. But you know what? I might be, too, if I worked there. That place has rancid vibes.
At Keeley’s new PR agency, Keeley (Juno Temple) is over the moon when Rebecca arrives. She introduces Rebecca to her team, and it’s clear that Keeley is the most interesting person there. All of her employees are boring business people she doesn’t know. When Keeley takes Rebecca into her office and closes the blinds, she immediately bursts into tears. She’s swamped, and it’s incredibly stressful. Poor Keeley. Back at AFC Richmond, Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) reports that Paddington Bear also predicted Richmond to finish last in the league as well. But Paddington is a royalist, so who actually cares what he thinks? The coaches realize the players are too distracted for training, so Ted takes them on a field trip.
Back with Rebeeley (Rebecca and Keeley). They’re chatting about crying, and Rebecca drops in a devastating anecdote about being married to Rupert. But then they swiftly move on to talking about AFC Richmond. Rebecca says she’s worried Ted isn’t worried enough about how they’re picked to finish last in the league. Keeley reminds her that she has to let Ted be Ted because… well, that’s his whole thing. They have a genuine catch-up, and it’s really lovely to see. Keeley’s CFO comes in, and she’s a bit of a twat. Also, Keeley didn’t know what CFO stood for until Rebecca told her, which is so real.
In West Ham-land, Nate is mean to the players during training until Rupert’s funny assistant summons him to Rupert’s office. Rupert (Anthony Head) is as smarmy as always. Honestly, he is very good-looking, but every time I see him, I want to bust him in the kneecaps. Anyway, Rupert and Nate giggle over Richmond’s placement in the league, and Rupert bigs Nate up. It’s a blatant manipulation tactic, but Nate doesn’t know it yet. Sad. But then Rupert and his assistant almost tow Nate’s janky little car because they didn’t know it was his. Rupert reveals that his assistant’s (Rosie Lou) name is Ms. Kakes, and I absolutely lost my mind over it. I wish you could see my notes.
Ted’s field trip takes the team to the sewers of London. They go down a manhole and everything. A couple of utility workers post pictures of them on Twitter. Down below, Ted uses the history of the London sewer system to teach them about connectivity and letting “poopeh” flow by. He also emphasizes the importance of remembering they have each other because they’re a team. It’s some very wholesome shit.
Rebecca and Higgins watch Nate’s press conference. Nate is shaky initially, panicking a bit before getting a grip. He then starts being very mean and arrogant, but to be fair, the first question deserves the response he gave. But then he’s rude about Richmond and Ted, especially when responding directly to the picture of the team descending into the sewer. Rebecca gets very angry about all of it. When the team returns to the training center, they see the video of Nate talking figurative shit. It obviously upsets them, but Jamie reminds them that it’s just crap and to let it flow.
Rebecca orders Ted to her office to chew him out. She needs Ted to understand that the team’s performance is essential because everyone is laughing at them. And everybody can’t laugh at Richmond, but they especially can’t laugh at Ted. He’s been through enough. Rebecca begs him to fight back, and they both end up near tears. I have much to say about this, but this is just a recap.
So then Ted does his own press conference. After two years at Richmond, he now has an excellent rapport with the journalists. It’s delightful. But of course they ask him to respond to Nate calling him “shitty.” And of course instead of being mean back, Ted agrees with Nate. He starts making all these self-deprecating jokes about himself and gets the journalists to feed into it, so they’re on his side. Rebecca’s displeased at first, but then she realizes what he’s doing, and she’s internally like “Ugh, I really need to let Ted be Ted.” But I will be honest with you, dear reader, that scene made me very sad. In the end, though the press loves Ted even more, and Nate looks like an even bigger bellend.
Sitting in his office scrolling through Twitter, Nate receives a message from his mum. She tells him his dad’s upset that he swore during the press conference. It’s sad, and Nate’s dad SUCKS. Then Rupert gifts Nate a sports car, and that’s even sadder. At Keeley’s house, Roy and Keeley tell Phoebe they’re breaking up. It’s very “mummy and daddy are getting a divorce” vibes. For the most part, Phoebe takes it well. She even asks some pretty good questions about the whole situation. In the car, when they’re leaving, Phoebe tells Roy that he’s being “schtewpid.”
Over at Paved Court, Ted and Beard are walking home. Ted, obviously still having doubts about his usefulness to the team, asks Beard if he ever thinks about why they’re still in London. They don’t reach an actual conclusion in such a brief talk, and Ted goes home to Facetime Henry. In the conversation, Henry inadvertently reveals that Michelle is dating someone named Jake. Cue “Ring the Alarm” by Beyoncé (which Screen Speck co-founder Mariana thought was on Renaissance).
This season opener is an excellent, strong start to the season, with balanced storylines for everyone. It sets up a lot. More importantly, it’s hilarious, and everybody looks really good. “Thinking About Tomorrow” by Beth Orton is a song from my music library that I associate with this episode. If you don’t already know it, have a listen before the next recap.