I know you guys are probably getting sick and tired of me talking about how each episode in this season of Ted Lasso is better than the last. However, ‘Sunflowers’ continues that trend, so I don’t really know what to tell you. It’s a longer episode but serves so many characters and feels like a huge turning point. I’m going to tell you the tale of the Amsterdam episode.
The episode opens with someone speaking Dutch. The team is in Amsterdam, and they just got demolished in a friendly match against Ajax. The players are visibly upset but not shocked. And why would they be? They’ve been losing a lot. In the owner’s box, the owner of Ajax apologizes to Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) for inviting her team to Amsterdam and being rude. By being rude, she means beating AFC Richmond. Rebecca’s like it’s okay. It is what it is. Thank you for inviting us. Down on the pitch, the coaches are frustrated.
Jan Maas (David Elsendoorn) does the post-match press conference in Dutch, and Roy (Brett Goldstein) does it in his signature obscene English. Down the hall, Rebecca is being breezy about the loss since it was just a friendly match, so she wants to go out and have a good time. Higgins (Jeremy Swift) bails because he’s going to go to the Red Light District, apparently. Keeley (Juno Temple) also bails because Jack (Jodi Balfour) wants to fly her out to Norway to see the Aurora Borealis. After Keeley walks off, Roy comes up to Rebecca and asks where Keeley’s going, and Rebecca tells him, “Somewhere that believes they deserve her.” So that was a drag.
On the team bus, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) announces that there will be no curfew tonight, so the boys are free to spend the whole night out on the town. Roy immediately hijacks Jamie’s (Phil Dunster) night, forcing him to train instead of partying with the other players. Jamie is fairly chill about it and tells the boys to have fun without him as he and Roy get off the bus. Higgins invites Will (Charlie Hiscock) to hang out with him, and Will accepts before Higgins tells him where they’re going. While Roy and Jamie are running around the city, Jamie is basically acting as a tour guide, spouting out all these pop culture fun facts about Amsterdam. And Roy’s like… okay?
Meanwhile, Rebecca is walking around the city on her own. She is walking on the bike path like a dummy when she gets a phone call from Sassy (Ellie Taylor). The phone call itself has some metaphors for Rebecca’s character journey this season. As she’s walking, she ends up on a little bridge, and a man (Matteo van der Grijn) on a houseboat notices her and calls out to her. Distracted by him, she gets knocked off of the bridge into the canal by a cyclist. They have an exchange that leads to him throwing his phone into the canal with hers, and she swims over to his houseboat to get out of the water. This is the beginning of the Alice in Wonderland-ification of Rebecca’s time in Amsterdam.
Ted and Beard (Brendan Hunt) are back at the hotel, and Ted is texting Rebecca to see if she wants to hang out. As we just saw, his texts will go unanswered for the entire night. Not that that’s going to stop him, as we’ll see shortly. Apparently, he and Beard are going out to eat, and he was supposed to be looking up places, but instead, he was texting Rebecca. He eventually ends up looking up this pseudo-American-style place that interests him. Beard wants to go somewhere else, though- which, of course – they’re Americans. They don’t need to eat fake American food in Amsterdam. Ted muses that he’s been feeling stuck and needs something to help unstick and/or inspire him. Beard excitedly tells him that he’s been waiting for Ted to bring this up.
Down in the lobby, the players debate on a plan for the night. Isaac (Kola Bokinni) has decided that whatever they do, they’ll all do together. No splitting up. Higgins and Will leave off on their own adventure, though, and Colin (Billy Harris) feigns illness and goes back up to his room. The boys can’t decide on anything, so they ask Trent (James Lance), but his suggestion is too intellectual for them, and they decline.
Back with Rebecca, she’s getting out of the shower on the houseboat. She’s in a robe and drying her hair, and Boat Man (because we don’t know his name and never will) is nowhere to be found. Her clothes are in the washer-dryer, and she wanders through the houseboat, curious. He’s also left her a cup of tea that she drinks because he leaves a note telling her it’s not drugged. And to be fair, it’s not. Still weird, though, but this is the third section of the vision Tish had of Rebecca’s future. “You’re upside down and drenched, but you’re safe.” So, onward, forward.
It’s nighttime now, and Roy and Jamie are still running around the city. Jamie’s still giving out his little fun facts. Roy’s lagging behind now. Over in the Red Light District, Higgins shows Will a plaque dedicated to Chet Baker in the spot where the famous jazz musician died. This is where we’re reminded that Higgins loves jazz, as was established back in season one. Back with Ted and Beard, Beard’s gonna get Ted high via tea. Ted is naturally reluctant because he is a tea anti. Beard thinks this will help rewire Ted’s brain to be unstuck. Ted’s not so sure, but he is willing to try it. Except not really, because he hates tea. Beard drinks all of his, though. Down in the lobby, the boys are still trying to decide on how to spend their night. Colin sneaks out while they’re arguing, and Trent notices and follows him.
Hopping back to Rebecca, she’s sat drinking tea when the Boat Man returns with groceries. He knocks on the door before entering, and Rebecca tells him he doesn’t need to leave. But he replies that he did because he is a strange man, and she was literally in the shower, so at least one of them has some sense. She thanks him for his consideration, and they flirt. They have really nice chemistry, even if the circumstances of their meeting are bizarre. But given the genre, that’s not very shocking. Anyway, Boat Man notices Rebecca’s foot is bleeding and puts a bandage on it. And then he kisses her boo-boo because he has a young daughter, and it’s a force of habit.
They have a little back and forth about whether or not she should stay and indulge a bit since she’s got to wait for her clothes to dry. She eventually decides to stay for the dinner he’s going to cook. He gives her a box of his ex-wife’s clothes so she can change out of the robe. He then offers to give her a foot massage after dinner, to which she immediately replies, “absolutely not.” And he’s like, okay, be uncomfortable then. That’s fine. And you know, I can see how he could come off as weird, but I genuinely just put it down to him being Dutch. He’s charming to me! Not that anybody asked.
Roy and Jamie are still, you guessed it, running around the city. And Jamie is still, that’s right, rattling off facts about Amsterdam. And Roy, unsurprisingly, is fed the fuck up at this point. He’s also huffing and puffing because he’s out of breath. Roy has never been to Amsterdam, and Jamie, apparently, has been multiple times. And that’s how he knows so much. Roy is not impressed by the city, which prompts Jamie to want to show him all the best sights. That, of course, means acquiring bikes for them.
Back at the hotel, Ted and Beard are still in their room watching television. Ted has not consumed an ounce of his weed tea, and Beard is fidgety because he obviously wants to leave. Ted notices and lets him go. Beard instantly peaces the hell outta there. Meanwhile, Colin goes to a gay bar, and Trent shows up because they are both gay men. Colin doesn’t realize Trent’s gay (somehow), freaks out and tries to leave. Trent assures him that he’s also queer and he’s not going to say anything to anyone. Colin calms down, and they walk together.
Popping back over to Ted, he pulls out his phone, and we see that he’s texted Rebecca several more times since the initial one. And then he sends another text, “Just checking in.” When it sends as a text message instead of as an iMessage, he gets so annoyed. It’s so funny. It prompts him to drink a good three-fourths of his weed tea and leave the hotel. Finally. Back in the boathouse, Rebecca comes out wearing a dress that’s, naturally, pink. Boat Man tells her about his ex-wife. He is a glimpse into where Rebecca could be emotional if she lets go of all of her feelings regarding Rupert.
Rebecca then identifies the music Boat Man plays as “a Dutch bloke singing She Believes in Me by Kenny Rogers,” lest the audience forgets that she’s Ted’s soulmate. Seriously though, why would Rebecca Welton, of being a .01%-er fame, be able to recognize Kenny Rogers on her own, let alone in Dutch? Anyway, though, Boat Man starts singing, which is startling. And then Rebecca starts singing the song in English, and it’s cute. I love to see my girl let loose and be happy, even on a boathouse with a strange Dutch man. And even if they keep inserting reminders of Ted everywhere.
Jamie gets him and Roy bikes. Roy refuses to ride because he doesn’t know how. When he was younger, his grandad was supposed to teach him when he went came home from playing professional football for little kids or whatever it’s called. But before he could return, his grandad died, and Roy never learned to ride a bike. As he’s talking through the story, he recognizes that never learning was doing a disservice to his grandad. So obviously, Jamie’s going to teach him how to ride a bike. And then we are treated to a fun little montage of Jamie teaching Roy. How to ride. A bike.
I know you probably forgot about them, but Higgins and Will are also still out and about. They’re at a jazz bar enjoying some live music. Will gets really into it, which pleases Higgins. Back with Colin and Trent, Trent’s telling Colin about how he came out (to his wife, I think). Colin talks about how he has to compartmentalize the different parts of himself and how he wants to merge the parts into one. There’s no universal gay experience, but there are everyday experiences many gay people have before they come out. What Colin’s talking about really resonates because it is one of the more common gay experiences. Even when he talks about how he doesn’t want to be a spokesperson for gay athletes, he doesn’t want apologies. He wants to live as his full self without it being A Thing.
Over on the Ted front, he’s walking around by himself, looking around. I think he’s looking for Rebecca in the crowds because she’s who he’s been texting the entire night. He doesn’t find her because she’s on a houseboat being romanced by some guy, but he does end up at the Van Gogh Museum. (Yes, I am getting flashbacks from that Doctor Who episode, thank you for asking.) While he’s staring at a painting of some sunflowers in a vase, one of the museum tour guides stands directly next to him and gives a rehearsed spiel about Van Gogh. He says that you can find beauty and inspiration in the face of adversity; you have to be determined to keep trying. Ted gets teary-eyed, and the tour guide gives him a little journal with sunflowers on it.
The boys are still in the lobby, by the way. Things are getting heated because they still have not come up with a plan. But eventually, they settle on something. We don’t know what yet, though. Roy and Jamie are still riding bikes and chatting. Jamie tells Roy that he’s been to Amsterdam twice. The first time was when he was fourteen. His father brought him for some father-son bonding time, and he took Jamie to the Red Light District to lose his virginity. So death to James Tartt, actually. That’s so beyond foul, and Roy even says to Jamie that it sounds traumatizing. Jamie says he doesn’t remember.
The second time he came to Amsterdam was with his mum a few years later. She took him all around the city, which is how he learned about it. But even though his dad wasn’t there, he still felt his presence during the trip. Roy opens up about how he thinks Keeley’s got a girlfriend (she does), and Jamie suggests they go find some windmills. And this scene is better to watch than to read. I’m not doing it justice at all. I apologize.
Ted ends up at the pseudo-American restaurant he’d wanted to attend earlier in the episode. It’s a very weird place, I have to say. There are seating areas named after different big cities in the US; one is The Windy City. Ted obviously makes a Chicago! reference because how could he not? But the server doesn’t get it at all; it’s hilarious. I should remind everyone that Ted’s probably a little bit high right now. But Rebecca’s not. She’s tipsy, heading to drunk, and having a good time with Boat Man. They’re giggling about nothing we need to know about because we never hear the conversation. They do stare at each other a lot, though.
Rebecca comments that this whole thing is really cozy, and Boat Man repeats this Dutch word that he’s been saying off and on since they started hanging out. Rebecca asks him what it means, and he says there’s no direct translation in English, but it can mean cozy. It can be used in different contexts. Anyway, the dryer goes off, which means Rebecca’s clothes are done, but when she bends down to get them out, she tosses a glass of water on them and restarts the dryer. So she’s staying a bit longer then because they have a connection.
At Ted’s table, he’s watching an old basketball game and ordered an onion ring pyramid. For some reason. But we learn that he loved watching basketball with his dad. The server gives him a menu of 50 different sauces he can order, and he tells her to surprise him. While he’s eating, he starts talking to himself about triangles and then briefly hallucinates Nate (Nick Mohammed) as one of the servers. His specific server brings him Arthur Bryant’s barbecue sauce, which is his favorite. So that’s wild. But this scene is basically things from his old life, bringing him inspiration in his current life. There’s even a whole segment where he kind of dissociates to make the connections in his brain. But if I get into the fact that God in Ted’s mind is Rebecca, I will lose the plot, so we’re moving on.
The boys get into their comfy clothes and have a pillow fight. Higgins is invited on stage to perform with the live band at the jazz bar. Colin and Trent dance at a gay club. Rebecca and Boat Man dance together. Jamie and Roy look at windmills. Boat Man gives Rebecca an orgasmic foot massage. Ted’s exhibiting very autistic-coded behavior (I can say this because I’m autistic); he’s been using mustard and ketchup bottles to develop new plays for the team. He’s so completely focused on his task. He hasn’t noticed that the restaurant is entirely empty other than the staff. Rebecca falls asleep on the sofa during the foot massage, and Boat Man covers her with a blanket and goes to his room for the night.
The next morning, Boat Man is cooking breakfast, and Rebecca comes out of the bathroom in her own clothes. She asks if they had sex last night, so she must have been quite drunk because all he did was touch her feet. But he tells her no, they did not, and then he offers her breakfast. She declines and thanks him, realizing she doesn’t know his name and doesn’t ask it or offer hers. But she does kiss him full on the mouth. And it’s a good kiss, too. As she’s leaving, she tells him she’ll never forget him, and he reminds her that Alzheimer’s exists, which made me laugh out loud. That sounds like something I would say. When she leaves, Boat Man makes a wistful comment about their undeniable connection. If we ever see him again, I will become violent. Love him, though!
At the team bus, everyone’s arriving to get ready to leave. Beard shows up in a David Bowie costume with a pig nose on. He goes to the back of the bus to sit with Ted. Ted is still furiously writing down his little plays in his little notebook that he got from the little Van Gogh museum. Autism. As the players start filing on, Beard lets Ted know that the weed was a dud batch. I’m not convinced he wasn’t at least a little bit high, but whatever. He shows Beard the plays he’s created and explains his thought process. Beard tells him that what he’s come up with already exists but that they should try it.
That’s when Rebecca shows up, and the team cheers. Ted lights up when he sees her, and she moves to the back of the bus to sit with him. As soon as she sits down, he asks her why she didn’t reply to any of the 15 (yes, 15) texts he sent her. She tells him that her phone is at the bottom of a canal, and from her demeanor, she’s still giddy from her time with Boat Man. But then Jamie and Roy ride in on a bike as the last two of their crew, and the bus is ready to go. Rebecca puts her feet up and relaxes back in her seat with a smile on her face. Ted notices and asks her if everything’s okay, and she starts singing Three Little Birds at him. Beard obviously joins in. And then boys join in.
This episode wasn’t what I expected, but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was really good. The song I would choose for this episode is Miracle Cure by Sea Wolf.