Ted Lasso returns for its third season and we’re all asking the same question: can it repeat its feel-good trick again?
The first episode of Season 3 picks up almost immediately from where last season ended as AFC Richmond returns to pre-season training. The entire episode is centred around placing where all our main characters are mentally, and what they need to figure out this season.
While I don’t think that this will be the last we see of Ted Lasso by the season’s end but most of the main cast should complete their story arcs by the end of 12 episodes. Or at least that looks like how it’s shaping up.
Ted Lasso (Jason Sudekis) is coming to terms with his broken marriage and trying to figure out his new relationship with his son Henry (Gus Turner) and his estranged wife Michelle (Andrea Anders), and it’s clear that the event has affected his sense of purpose. That’s not good news for AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham), because as we’ve seen from last season, her ex-husband Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head) has seemingly one-upped her by purchasing West Ham FC and poaching Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammed) for the role of head coach.
Nate, who was portrayed as a bit of a dick (an understatement if any) will probably be painted in a more sympathetic light this season as he tries to live up to his father’s Steven He-esque Asian dad standards. Season 2 also teased the potential love triangle between Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), Keeley Jones (Juno Temple), and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), and we’ll see how it all resolves this season. More so than most, redemption is a recurring theme for Ted Lasso, and if you ask any long-suffering football fan, it is probably the sweetest sight they will ever see while staunchly supporting their clubs.
What makes Ted Lasso such a success was that there’s no pandering behind its feel-good vibes, and it gets the message across that genuine positivity shines through dark moments. It is ultimately a choice. Season 3 will be more of the same, though I do feel like fatigue is starting to set in; there are only so many times Lasso can pull the same self-deprecating trick before we tune out. Fortunately, the stakes have been raised this season, so change is a-coming. Waddingham and Lasso will surely be at cross purposes as her anxiety to beat Mannion at his own game will certainly put Lasso in a spot; then again, the antagonism is probably something he needs at this point of his life as he rediscovers his sense of purpose.
I’d be surprised if it doesn’t lead us to a bittersweet conclusion, but I’m also certain that it will finally reconcile the conundrum that has plagued Lasso throughout the first two seasons, be it in life or on the football field: what is the point of a coach or a husband who doesn’t want to fight?
For football fans, pre-season is a yearly ritual where they shake off the disappointment of last season and renew their unspoken vow of loyalty, have their expectations crushed, shake it off, and start all over again. It’s only possible because like life, there will be highs and lows, and as they say on the terraces, it’s the hope that kills you. But that’s what makes life worth living. Season 3 here we go.