A second helping of Ted

Published October 9, 2021

Ted Lasso season 2

The second season of supremely popular comedy Ted Lasso came to a close yesterday with the final episode wrapping up lots of open threads but also derailing everything for a cliffhanger to lead us into season three. I loved this series just as much as I loved the first one, but it can’t be denied that they are two very different beasts. As I mentioned when I wrote about the first series, I still have a desire to write about each episode individually, but for now I’ll focus on the main things that jumped out at me over the last twelve weeks.

Extended runtime

Let’s start there, in fact, with twelve episodes instead of the intended ten. I have no problem in getting more of the good stuff, obviously, but the only thing was how clear those episodes stood out having been added after the plotting was already done. Christmas in August felt very odd, not just because the timing was weird but also because it came so out of the blue. No one had mentioned Christmas before, there had been no sign that it was heading towards winter, really. And then the Beard episode. I love Coach Beard and although it was an entertaining episode and I can’t fault Brendan Hunt’s work, I just can’t help but think less is so much more with this character.

Less football, more drama

Along with the slightly jumpy scheduling in this series, there was also a lot less football. Clearly the show is not just about the beautiful game but those that are adjacent to it, but this series felt like the sport itself had taken a significant back seat. Updates about the team’s progress felt hurried in at the start or the end of various episodes, and only occasionally when a big moment was needed to drive the story forward did the pitch make an appearance. It’s not a complaint, though, merely an observation. It’s the people that make this show what it is, so more of them can never be a bad thing.

Team work makes the dream work

Along with more focus on the people, it also felt like this series focused on more people. Although named after Ted Lasso, the first series definitely dipped into the motivations and relationships of an ensemble of characters. During the second season, it felt like we spent far more time with the wider group than we did with our eponymous hero, and again, that was no bad thing. Ted was dealing with his own demons, which left us time to explore Rebecca’s dodgy relationship with Sam (they’re adorable but the power situation here is no good), Keeley and Roy (honestly Roy should have his own show I love him that much, and Keeley is so endlessly lovely, Sassy and Nora (great addition to the season), Rebecca’s parental dramas (the episode at the funeral was a keen example of non-football but exceptional for delving into how grief affects people in different ways), and so much more. We haven’t even started talking about Nate.

The underdog becomes the bad dog

This season touched on lots of difficult areas, focusing in on mental health issues, having troubled issues with your parents, what to do when your friend is in a no-good on-again off-again relationship, and more. But the one that stands out as the biggest was the change that Nate underwent from the start of the season. We’d already seen glimpses of the rage he contains in the first season and this time it gradually welled up until by the end, he had an exceptional rant, ripped up the team spirit (quite literally), and defected to the enemy. Three great posts discuss this better than I can: Linda Holmes’s recap, Viola Smart’s Twitter thread that actually posted a week before the finale, and Nick Mohammed’s thoughts. Who knows Nate better than the guy who portrays him?

What next for Ted?

This really felt like a transitional series. The first focused on Ted trying to win over Rebecca’s bad intentions with his relentless optimism. We had something to fight against and root for. Next season looks like we will again, now that the ex-husband and the ex-assistant coach have teamed up as rivals to AFC Richmond. There wasn’t a big bad to fight against this season, unless you count mental health as the driving force behind a lot of the episodes, instead we just got to spend a lot of time with a lot of interesting and thankfully still supremely funny people. I’m so interested to see what season three brings us.

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