Oh – this Ted Lasso episode is so good. It made me yell many a time. It made me laugh many a time. Excellent, excellent episode. Also, gay rights!
Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 3 (entitled “4-5-1”) opens with Colin (Billy Harris) waking up, getting dressed, and going downstairs. In the kitchen, a beautiful man named Michael (Sam Liu) makes coffee. Yes, dear readers, Colin is gay. But we knew that, didn’t we? Most straight men don’t make casual references to Grindr. However, Colin doesn’t drink caffeine because he’s an athlete. There’s some cute, flirty banter, and a sweet kiss, and Colin leaves. On his way out, he crashes his Lamborghini into a trash bin while repeating his affirmation (“I am a strong and capable man”), but that’s Colin.
Next, we go to Richmond’s stadium, where fans, press, and the important characters we know are gathered for Zava’s official signing onto the team. In the coach’s office, Ted (Jason Sudeikis), Beard (Brendan Hunt), and Roy (Brett Goldstein) are trying to reconfigure the starting lineup to accommodate Zava (Maximilian Osinski). Trent (James Lance) is also there, which I forgot until I rewatched this episode. He’s writing in his little notebook. I could go into detail about football stuff they discuss, but we all know you don’t come to my recaps for football information. I could tell you all about the conversation they had about Julie Andrews, but for now I’ll just say that Trent’s favorite performance of hers being Clarisse Renaldi is so real.
In the locker room, the players sans Jamie (Phil Dunster) are in awe of Zava, but in an anticipatory way because he’s not there yet. They also talk about being gay for Zava. It’s not derogatory, but Colin’s the only one we know who is actually gay. I love this scene. It captures perfectly the feeling of being a gay person amongst straight people who speak without thought. And you have to stand there and pretend to be normal. Soon though, Ted ushers them onto the pitch to welcome Zava. He’s late, though, and it’s stressing Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) out. Though, to be fair, miss girl has been highly high-strung since the season started.
No one has heard from Zava or knows where he is, and Rebecca is worried he’s changed his mind again. Keeley (Juno Temple) tries to reassure her, but Zava’s being late makes Rebecca late for something she doesn’t want to divulge. Also, Shandy (Ambreen Razia) is shadowing Keeley. Ted pops up with the funniest fucking sound effect. Rebecca ends the event, puts Higgins (Jeremy Swift) in charge of crowd control, and, with Ted and Keeley, figures out where her new player is: in her office, sitting behind her desk. He’s nonchalant and tells her that her desk is covered in biscuit crumbs, and she shoos him away. She’s as brusque with him as she is with anyone. I love equality.
And Zava is weird. Lovely, but weird. He’s also very tall. He goes down to the locker room to meet the team. Zava highlights Will’s importance as the kit man. He also manages to stand in front of and almost completely obscure Ted several different times while introducing himself to everyone. Then, without asking permission, Zava enters the coach’s office and rearranges the starting lineup to make himself the focus. As in, there’s Zava, and then there’s a mass of ten players on the other side of the pitch from him. It’s obnoxious, but it’s his character’s purpose.
Across town, Rebecca is meeting with her mother’s psychic, Tish (Emma Davies). I’m genuinely shaking, you guys. Rebecca is predictably skeptical, but then Tish gets started. She tells Rebecca that she’s in possession a very special object: a green matchbook. Tish adds that the matchbook has something to do with Rebecca’s “shite in knining armor.” While a funny malapropism, the phrase could also be a callback to Ted’s white-knighting for Rebecca at the darts game in Season 1. But it also could not be! We’ll see, I suppose. Next, Tish hears “thunder and lightning and you” – meaning Rebecca – “you’re upside down and drenched, but you’re safe.”
Oh, but that’s not all, dear reader. When Rebecca gets up to leave, Tish tells her that she’s going to have a family. And that she’s going to be a mother. I screamed so loudly at this! It’s like the writers of the show have been reading my tweets. But Tish’s outburst upsets Rebecca, who has long accepted what she thinks is the fact that motherhood and having a family aren’t things she can have anymore. So hearing someone who Rebecca thinks is a (harmless) fraud say otherwise is, in Rebecca’s own words, “fucking cruel.” Tish seems satisfied with her reading, though. Mark my words: Rebecca will enter her motherhood era.
In the coach’s office, Jamie complains about Zava. He believes he is allowed because he used to act just like him. This somewhat mirrors a Season 2 conversation in which Sam implored Ted not to let Jamie back on the team for different reasons. Then there’s the pre-match pep talk (which Zava takes over) after which the players file out to the pitch. Ted goes into the coach’s office to call Henry, but realizes he left his mobile at home and can’t remember Michelle’s phone number and has to call the landline instead. The person who picks up the house phone is not Michelle, though – it’s Jake, aka “Dr. Jake,” Ted and Michelle’s couples therapist. Who Michelle is now dating. Ted is rattled, to say the least.
But he still has to coach a football match. Fortunately, just as he’s about to have another sideline panic attack, Zava begins dominating with a goal from midfield. Richmond wins easily. We then launch into a montage of Richmond’s win streak. And by Richmond, I mean Zava. The wins are precisely what Rebecca wants, but the method is exactly the opposite of how Ted coaches. I love simmering conflict between two people who love and respect each other. While Richmond wins, we also watch the people in the team’s orbit: Rebecca looks for a green matchbook before she gets a grip; Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) works on his restaurant with his beautiful head chef; and Ted vents to Sharon (Sarah Niles) about Michelle dating their therapist.
At montage’s end, Sam invites everyone to his restaurant. It’s a few weeks before the grand opening opens, and he needs guinea pigs. Hungry ones, preferably. Sam and his beautiful head chef continue their flirty energy. She’s unnamed in the episode; according to IMDB, her character’s name is Simi (Precious Mustapha), and I love her. The whole team is there (minus Zava) and it’s vibes. Michael shows up, and he and Colin pretend that Colin is straight, but their chemistry is very chef’s kiss. Rebecca is wearing a red dress, and she looks delicious. She’s talking to Keeley when Sassy (Ellie Taylor) arrives asking for Ted. And do you know what Rebecca’s response is? She looks at Keeley and goes, “Told you.” What does that mean?
Over at Ted and Beard’s table, Ted is brooding over the fact that Michelle and Henry went horseback riding with the couple’s therapist today. He’s been stalking them on social media, so, that’s a good sign. Jane (Phoebe Walsh) shows up to be insane. Just as Zava shows up, Roy sits down with the also-brooding Jamie. Roy points out that Jamie’s upset because he’s no longer the best player on the team. They bicker because that’s what Joy (Jamie and Roy) do. Jamie says he wants to be better than Zava, and Roy offers to train him. Jamie accepts.
Sassy flutters off to socialize with the players, and Keeley and Rebecca take in the scene. Their gazes are very thoughtful, mainly about the choices they’ve made in regard to the men they’ve been with: Roy and Jamie for Keeley and Sam for Rebecca. (Rebecca had not mentioned missing Sam until Sassy brought it up, but I digress. And Sam is flirting with Simi anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.) Keeley says her version of onward and forward, and they toast to that. Sassy and Ted chat and banter, and he almost immediately tells her about the Michelle/Dr. Jacob situation, which is funny. Ted is bothered.
To end the episode, Simi brings Sam a special box, and he is beyond delighted to pass out its contents to his stuffed little guinea pigs. When he gets to Rebecca, we discover right along with her that Sam’s been distributing matchbooks with the restaurant’s name and logo on them. And wouldn’t you know it – these matchbooks happen to be green. Outside, Trent begins his walk home when he passes an alleyway and a car’s headlights illuminate Colin and Michael making out pretty enthusiastically. Trent walks away because that’s none of his business…or is it?
Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 3 is another excellent episode, in large part because it sets up plenty of future conflict. This is sexy. Finally: the song from my own music library that I would choose for this episode is “Breakers” by Local Natives.