‘Ted Lasso’ season 3 review: Coach Lasso kicks off the season with an ambitious storyline

The initial four episodes of have packed in more tactical scheming than previous seasons, promising a drama that would tread two tones at the same time

Updated - March 18, 2023 05:21 pm IST

Published - March 18, 2023 04:18 pm IST

Nick Mohammed and Jason Sudeikis in a still from ‘Ted Lasso’

Nick Mohammed and Jason Sudeikis in a still from ‘Ted Lasso’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

We are back with another Premier League season in Ted Lassoland, and the newly-promoted AFC Richmond is starting off at the bottom. Underground really, if you take into account the first 10 minutes in which the pun-loving coach from Kansas and his team descend into London’s sewer system.

Ted (Jason Sudeikis) of course is undeterred by the pictures of this expedition that go viral on Twitter. As long as he is able to couch his mundane metaphors in elaborate field trips, all is well. However, by the looks of its initial four episodes, this season of the AppleTV+ show (rumoured to be the last) is attempting to take on new challenges narratively.

Ted sets the ball rolling on this one as the show starts off with him voicing his fears to his therapist Dr. Sharon (Sarah Niles). On his way to work, he says that he feels him “being here is doing more hurting than helping”. These doubts about his life in London are voiced explicitly multiple times, which start off this season on shaky grounds. The coach, who had to be dragged from under the shadows of his chronic optimism to face the depths of his own emotions in the last two seasons, voluntarily gives the audience a peek behind his smiley veneer. It is indicative of where Sudeikis as creator of the show wants to steer this ship.

Over the last two seasons, Ted Lasso, arguably AppleTV+’s most famous franchise, has bet itself on the tried and tested formula of the joyous American upending the lives of the stoic residents of an England town through positive reinforcement (and occasionally his home-baked sweets). An amateur college football coach is shipped off to London to manage a Premier League team, and armed with motivational quotes and puns, he navigates the harsh world of English football. It has worked fairly well so far, but where Sudeikis as Ted reached his peak was when Lasso’s past came to light, as did the human behind the cheery caricature.

Ted Lasso (Season 3)
Creators: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple, and others
Episode: 1-4 of 12
Runtime: 45-50 minutes??
Storyline: In its third season, Coach Ted Lasso deals with the pressure of advancing AFC Richmond in the Premier League while also finally confronting his personal anxieties

As Season 3 Ted turns self-reflexive at regular intervals, it comes with a much-needed transition that the show needed to make—from a character-driven show to a plot-heavy one. While the previous seasons of Ted Lasso weren’t devoid of complex plots, they did careen fast towards easy resolutions.

The successes (or rather the constant ties) and failures of AFC Richmond are also shouldered by Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham). Having had her own learning curve with the team, Rebecca’s story has come full circle in a way. She still wants to beat her ex-husband Rupert (Anthony Head), who now owns the West Ham United club, and this season pits her directly against him. Ted Lasso is in a unique position to write the course for a woman pulling the strings of one of the most-watched games. As refreshing as it is to see Ted dig deep into his emotional depths, it is equally thrilling to watch Rebecca emerge from the losses of her past life. With the aim to revitalise her team and the added bonus of defeating Rupert, Rebecca sets forth to acquire star-striker Zava (Maximilian Osinski). A particularly amusing sequence of Rebecca humiliating Zava in an attempt to get him to join Richmond shows the promise that her character holds in a potentially less sunny plot.

The key players in Rebecca vs. Rupert also include Nate (Nick Mohammed), who now manages West Ham United. ‘Nate the Great’ conspirator is poised as the antagonist, but in Ted Lasso that remains an inconsistency. As rivalries and matches go, Ted famously doesn’t believe that success comes from winning or losing. So far Nate hasn’t shown any indication that Ted’s efficient weapon of a heart-to-heart talk won’t eventually take him down.

This season also shows promise for the development of other characters. Keeley (Juno Temple) is now managing her own PR firm, while Roy (Brett Goldstein) has been granted a monologue or two instead of grunts in the name of dialogues. And Trent Crimm, The Independent (James Lance) is writing a book about it all. Shadowing AFC Richmond for his new book gig, Crimm says to Ted, “Sport - it’s quite the metaphor”, which really sums up the essence of the show that has been carried through to this season.

Even for someone who has only passively absorbed snippets of football, it is not very difficult to deduce that there is a constant intense undercurrent that runs through everyone involved, even the fans. We go to Ted Lasso to get an off-field refresher from that intensity, and from that which is doled by real life and soothed by television. This time around, with dual rivalries abound, the show seems to be moving forwards to balance out its plot, wanting to equally tackle shades of a gritty sports drama and the ease of comedy. The initial four episodes itself have packed in more tactical scheming than previous seasons. This promises a drama that would tread two tones at the same time, however it also raises inhibitions for its execution. Ted and his universe where you can ‘terrible pun’ your way into someone’s heart, likes tension-free resolutions. However, with the arcs that they are trying to fulfil this season, it seems like a gamble they might lose if they continue to use the same moves.

Season 3 of Ted Lasso is now streaming on AppleTV+ with new episodes every Wednesday

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