‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3, Episode 7: A Return to Form (RECAP)

As the title suggests, episode 7 of season 3 of Ted Lasso feels a little like a return to form. It’s very reminiscent of the vibes of season 1. Except there’s not enough Rebecca in this episode. You’ll see.

The episode starts with a montage of a bunch of shops opening to the soundtrack of Dreams by The Cranberries. Jamie (Phil Dunster) is running while pulling Roy, who is on a bike, via a rope around Jamie’s waist. Nate (Nick Mohammed) is loitering outside of A Taste of Athens to see Jade (Edyta Budnik), who seems pleased to see him, in my opinion. Keeley (Juno Temple) and Jack (Jodi Balfour) have breakfast together. Jack gifts Keeley a first-edition copy of “Sense and Sensibility” with a fake signature from Jane Austen.

Jodi Balfour as Jack Danvers in Ted Lasso. (COURTESY: Apple TV+)

Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) shows up at his restaurant, and all of his employees are black. That is important to me, and I love it. He talks to his hostess and reserves a table for Friday night because his dad is coming. Once that’s sorted, he returns to the kitchen where Simi (Precious Mustapha), his beautiful head chef, is furious over Britain’s Home Secretary. The Home Secretary is dehumanizing refugees and refusing them entry. Sam tries to calm her down, and she notes that he’s nervous about something. Something he’s nervous about is his father coming to visit and eating at the restaurant. Simi assures him that everything will be fine. They’re so cute, and I love their chemistry.

After the opening credits, the coaches and the team are in the press room while Beard (Brendan Hunt) and Roy give a presentation on Total Football, which Ted (Jason Sudeikis) discovered in the last episode. The boys are intrigued until Ted announces that they’re changing their current playing strategy to Total Football. Then the boys protest. This is so silly because why did they think they were being taught about it if not to try it out themselves? Ted repeatedly says, “Hush your butts,” at the end of this scene, which I love.

Over at KJPR, Barbara (Katy Wix) is still hilarious. She notices Keeley’s new book, and they have an awkward exchange where Keeley tries not to let on that she’s dating Jack while giving out too much information that makes it clear she is dating Jack. At West Ham, Nate gets a text from his mum about his sister’s birthday dinner that’s coming up. It will be at the family home because his mum is cooking. 

At the Crown & Anchor, Ted and Beard talk about pegging – as real men should. The prostate is the powerhouse of the rectum! Anyway, the pub is empty because AFC Richmond has been losing. Paul (Kevin Garry), Baz (Adam Colborne), and Jeremy (Bronson Webb) come to heckle Ted like they used to because they believe it motivated him to win games, but Ted diverts them from that by inviting them to observe training the next day. Beard wonders if that’s a Good Idea. And Ted says yeah, why not. It’s their team. Beard comments that marriage and pegging aren’t that different, and Ted remarks that it’s all about compromise, confirming that Ted has been pegged. Thank you, universe!

Brendan Hunt as Coach Beard and Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso in Ted Lasso (COURTESY: Apple TV+)

The next day, there is a truncated version of the montage at the beginning of the episode because it’s a new day. Nate shows up at A Taste of Athens to see Jade again, but she’s not there, and he has an awkward back and forth with her manager Derek (Spencer Jones), who is oblivious to Nate’s affections, but to be honest, I think Derek is oblivious to most things. Ted makes the team do conditioning at AFC Richmond training, which SUCKS. As a former sportsperson, conditioning was the worst part of the season for every sport I did. Especially cheerleading and volleyball. Roy makes the team run for the whole practice.

At KJPR, Jack visits Keeley and learns that her favorite flowers are daisies. Jack leans in to give Keeley a kiss, but Keeley tells her to wait while she activates her privacy blinds. She then frets about if Jack wants people to know that they’re dating and whether she’s not used to her love life being a secret. She also doesn’t want them to get into trouble. Jack assures her that they can’t get into trouble because they’re consenting adults, and then she walks out into the office and announces that she’s dating Keeley. She’s serious about it, and if anyone has any questions, to ask them or Barbara about it. The whole office is happy for them. I love gay people.

Back at training, the boys, except for Jamie, have been running for so long that they start regurgitating. Jamie doesn’t because he’s been training like this with Roy since they first got Zava. The fruits of labor and all that.

Keeley and Rebecca are out at dinner, and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is in the middle of telling Keeley about Boat Man and how they didn’t exchange contact info or have sex because what they shared was that Dutch word for cozy. I’m sorry, I’m not looking it up, just like I didn’t look it up last recap. Keeley tells Rebecca about Jack and all her gifts. Rebecca mentions love bombing because Rupert did that to her; honestly, I get where she’s coming from. If I were in her position, I too would caution my friend about it as well, just in case. But also, their conversation isn’t that deeply serious. They’re giggling and having a good time and discussing possibilities of stuff.

Juno Temple as Keeley Jones and Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso (COURTESY: Apple TV+)

Rebecca shares that Rupert took her to buy a new sports car on their second date. Insane behavior. She got a Jaguar out of it, though. But yes, she explicitly says that she doesn’t think Jack is like Rupert, just that she wants Keeley to be aware so she doesn’t end up in the same situation as Rebecca. Keeley says she thinks it’s fine, and Rebecca believes her. Then the server comes by and tells them that their bill was paid for by Jack, which surprises them both. Rebecca is delighted and orders two more bottles of wine, and Keeley is slightly less enthusiastic. 

They’re giving her gifts at Nate’s sister Nicole’s birthday party. Nicole (Karen Johal) praises Nate for his job and then asks him if he’s been hooking up with many girls. Nate’s dad (Peter Landi) is like whoa whoa whoa, there is a child present. The child in question is Nicole’s daughter (Daya Nanda). Nate’s dad takes his granddaughter and Nicole’s husband to get ice cream and leaves Nate with his mum (Neelam Bakshi) and sister for “girl talk,” which is just so… that man is a menace (derogatory).

Once they’re gone, Nate tells his mum and sister about Jade and shares his deep fears about being rejected by her. They listen and tell him that he sounds like his dad, and he’s a little bewildered. So they show him the map his dad drew for his mum to ask her out on a date. It’s very intricate and elaborate like that man put in effort. It inspires Nate. The truncated montage happens again because it’s a new day again. Sam goes to Ola’s and returns to the kitchen where head chef Simi and the other kitchen staff are watching a press conference about the refugees and the Home Secretary’s determined stance that she’ll send them back where they came from. Sam tweets at the Home Secretary to tell her off politely because he’s still Sam. Simi wants him to call her a bitch, but he doesn’t. I love Simi’s energy.

Nate goes into A Taste of Athens to ask Jade out but chickens out at the last minute. Jade looks interested. He goes to the bathroom and looks at himself in the mirror. Thankfully, he doesn’t spit at his reflection, which he has a history of doing, so that’s GROWTH! He walks back out with a renewed sense of purpose and tells Jade there’s something he needs to do first. She’s very confused. And so was I!

Precious Mustapha as Simi and Toheeb Jimoh as Sam Obisanya in Ted Lasso (COURTESY: Apple TV+)

At AFC Richmond training, there are more fans in the stands while the boys regurgitate from running so much. Not Jamie, though. After they’ve finished running around, Ted has them do an exercise where they’re given names of different players on the team, and they have to play each other’s positions. Jamie gets his name and is like um, I just got my name? And Ted says, oh, I figured you’d just wanna be you, and Jamie’s like, okay, I guess? Also, Will (Charlie Hiscock) and Beard switch jobs temporarily, and it’s hilarious how accurate they are. Trent (James Lance) is also there.

After training, they enter the locker room, and Sam checks his phone. The Home Secretary has tweeted that footballers should just “shut up and dribble,” saying stay out of politics. As if footballers are not people who are directly impacted by politics. The idea that celebrities of any kind shouldn’t speak about or have an opinion on politics has never made any sense to me. They are world citizens, and globalization has made it nearly impossible not to care about – you know what? That’s a rant for another time. Moving on, if I have to watch A Taste of Athens open one more time, I’m going to become the villain. Anyway, Jade goes outside to see Nate, but for once, he is not there. Gasp!

Keeley walks into her office and sees it filled with her favorite flowers, courtesy of Jack. Gay women are very enthusiastic, but Keeley is startled by this. At training, they’re doing an awareness exercise to help them understand their positioning better on the field. To facilitate this, Roy has graciously made each player tie a red string around their penis and attach the other end to another player’s penis. You might think this is stupid and unfunny. I regret to inform you that it’s extremely funny. The growing audience of fans thinks so, too.

Of note: Ted describes the concept of the red strings of fate that lead you to your soulmate. In this scene, he ends up tripping over one of the red strings, and Rebecca’s wearing the same shade of red in the following scene. Since we know that they are soulmates, this is kind of crazy if you think about it.

Edyta Budnik as Jade and Nick Mohammad as Nate Shelley in Ted Lasso (COURTESY: Apple TV+)

After training, Sam goes on Twitter to see that the Home Secretary has replied directly to his tweet, being awful about it. I can’t say what I want, but be aware I’m thinking about it. Anyway, he responds because who wouldn’t? Over at Nate’s apartment, he is putting the finishing touches on one of those decorative boxes he’s so fond of making. Inside the box is a graphic of him asking Jade out on a date. It’s very cute to me.

The next morning, Jack and Keeley meet up for breakfast again. Jack tells Keeley she got her something, and Keeley immediately says no. She tells Jack that the gifts have been too much. She loves them, of course, but she wants to hang out without an exchange of goods. Jack says she understands that she’s been coming on too strong, and she’ll stop, but just a little. And then a server comes with a croissant, and Jack reveals that that’s what she got Keeley that morning. Keeley says she also wants to have a chance to do things for Jack, and Jack concedes. When Keeley bites into the croissant, there’s a ring inside, which is crazy to me.

Over at A Taste of Athens, Jade is sweeping outside and sees Nate crossing the street toward her. He’s holding his decorated box. He trips and falls in the middle of the street, and the box gets run over by a car. But no matter, he gets up, crosses the street to Jade, and asks her out. She says yes. I’m so happy for them. Next, we head over to Sam, who is about to enter Ola’s. There’s glass on the ground in front of the door because it’s been smashed in. When he goes inside, the entire place has been vandalized and destroyed. Graffiti on the wall says, “Shut up and dribble.” I won’t lie. This was heartbreaking. Simi is there looking as defeated as Sam feels.

Toheeb Jimoh as Sam Obisanya and Nonso Anozie as Ola Obisanya in Ted Lasso (COURTESY: Apple TV+)

At AFC Richmond, Trent is writing in his little notebook. The team is in high spirits in the locker room, getting ready for their game. Sam comes in that bitch mad as hell. Well, it’s deep hurt and sadness masking itself as anger anyway. He explodes about the situation, and then his dad, Ola (Nonso Anozie), shows up. Sam falls into his arms, and his dad holds him while he cries. His dad is fine as hell, I must let you all know that. A few minutes later, the two of them are sitting alone together in the weight room. Sam has explained the situation to his dad, and they have a heart-to-heart that I cannot do justice, so watch it. However, his dad does say to fight forward instead of fighting back. God, I love wisdom.

Over at Arsenal’s stadium, Keeley and Rebecca are chatting, and Rebecca tells her that Rupert constantly bought her tulips while they first started dating. Keeley says she’s taking Jack out and that she herself will be paying. Higgins (Jeremy Swift) brings Sam’s dad over, and he makes Rebecca very uncomfortable on purpose, and she deserves it.

Now, onto the game! Our boys are not doing well. They keep running into each other and flopping. It’s not good. Arsenal ends up scoring twice before halftime. During halftime in the locker room, they are all trying to figure out what exactly is going wrong. Nobody can figure it out until Jamie! He pipes up to explain how everyone else is moving incorrectly and how they can fix it because he’s the only player who gets it. When they return after halftime, they start playing better because they all get it now. They even score. It’s actually really fun to watch.

Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent, Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, and Brendan Hunt as Coach Beard in Ted Lasso (COURTESY: Apple TV+)

They still lose though, but everyone’s so hyped because they’ve finally established a good game chemistry. After the game, Trent excitedly comes up to the coaches and tells them that this strategy will work because of the environment Ted (and Beard) has implemented over the past two years that he’s been the coach. Feels good, feels organic. I love (the potential for) winning.

At a restaurant that isn’t A Taste of Athens, Nate is sat at a table waiting for Jade to show up. He’s nervous because he definitely and for sure thinks she might not show up. I personally have never been stood up by a date, even though I’ve always wanted to be, because dating can be exhausting. Anyway, Jade does show up, so hooray for that! But the restaurant is very not them, so they end up leaving. Obviously, they go to A Taste of Athens because this is an important life event for Nate. I think that’s sweet.

Sam takes his dad to Ola’s, and when he gets there, the whole team is there cleaning up and repairing the space with Simi. These little ball kickers have a lot of hidden talents. It’s great. It’s incredibly touching. These boys really love and support each other, and Ted facilitated that. Sam introduces his dad to Simi, and it’s very much giving introducing your parent to the person you like. When they clear up most of it, Simi, Sam, and his dad cook and eat together. I love family.

The song I would choose for the episode is Last Day on Earth by Beabadoobe.

Rating: 8.5/10

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