Ted Lasso Season 3 Premiere Review: The Exact Same Show As Ever, Fortunately
The Ted Lasson season 3 premiere indicates the show will continue the narrative of emotional development via U.K. football.
The Ted Lasso season 3 premiere has been eagerly anticipated by fans who grew enamored of the relentlessly positive, heartfelt series over the last two seasons and also somewhat dreaded by the same audience. When a show like the Apple TV+ sensation builds the kind of goodwill (and backlash and backlash to the initial backlash) that Ted Lasso has, there is always the feeling of waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop and the quality to begin diminishing (along with increasingly weird plots like, uh, ghosts). Fortunately for fans of optimistic, sports-based comedy dramas, the Ted Lasso season 3 premiere sees Jason Sudeikis and the rest of the cast following the exact same narrative of emotional exploration as they have been.
SEASON 3 PREMIERE REVIEW SCORE
Ted Lasso season 3’s premiere opens with an unusual sight for the show: a close-up of Coach Lasso (Sudeikis) looking depressed. The camera lingers on his face for several beats, giving viewers enough time to note his faraway eyes, five o’clock stubble, and lack of brightly colored sports gear. He looks down at his phone to a surprising text message and it is revealed via an intercom system that Ted is sitting in an airport. It ends up being a bait and switch, but an understated, surprisingly melancholy one for a show primarily known for its generally upbeat tone.
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The Ted Lasso season 3 premiere begins with the coach putting his son Henry (Gus Turner) on an airplane back to America; it appears that he has been staying with his father in the off-season and the text message from Michelle Lasso saying “I love you” was to the child’s phone.
The episode primarily deals with the newly promoted Richmond team coming to terms with being considered likely to be the worst in the Premier League, as well as Keeley (Juno Temple) struggling with her new role as head of a PR firm. We also see Coach Nate (Nick Mohammed) struggling to fit into his new role at the rival West Ham and discover that Keeley and Roy (Brett Goldstein) have broken up.
That does not last for long. Before five minutes or so have passed in the Ted Lasso season premiere, the coach is back to his folksy, rhyme-heavy ways, but it is notable that the show begins with him discussing his feelings over the phone with Dr. Sharon (Sarah Niles) rather than completely repressing them beneath Midwestern aphorisms and a great mustache. If there is a throughline to the entirety of Ted Lasso, it is emotional development is the most unlikely of places and the show is not changing its on-field strategy this late in the game.
Most of the action of the Ted Lasso season 3 premiere is divided between familiar faces at Richmond, including team owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) struggling to not let her rivalry with ex-husband Rupert (Anthony Head, leaning into outright supervillainy) drag her back to a dark place, and one familiar one at rival West Ham.
The finale of season 2 revealed the heel turn of former underdog Coach Nate (Nick Mohammed) and his defection to Rupert’s new team, complete with a new gray hairdo and mean-spirited attitude, which was one of the most anticipated plot points of the new season.
But Ted Lasso is not a show with cardboard bad guys (well, except for Rupert). Nate may have fully bought into his “Wonder Kid” nickname and is outright hostile to his own team, franchise, press members, and Ted, but it also shows the mental and emotional strain he is under to live up to his own ideal of what “successful” means. It should be an interesting season for the show’s most complicated character.
It has already been announced that the third season of the show will be its last, which series star and co-creator Jason Sudeikis has stated was due to the overall narrative coming to a natural conclusion. It is difficult to say how true that is from the Ted Lasso season 3 premiere, given that it has the burden of basically recapping the end of season 2 and setting the stakes for the following episodes.
However, it does indicate that the people behind the show have some inkling that it is best to conclude a series before it loses goodwill and just kind of chugs along, losing cast members as the seasons stretch on (looking at you, Grey’s Anatomy). Based on this first episode, it is going to stick the landing.