Review: Ted Lasso S3 E3 “4-5-1”

By Colleen Glatfelter aka Geek. Dad. Wife.

Woo boy, did we get an action-packed episode of Ted Lasso this week or what? The beginning to the Zava Era. Closeted football players. Psychics making Big Lebowski jokes. Getting turned on by Julie Andrews. The third episode of Season 3 was a packed 45 minutes.

“4-5-1” starts out strong, with Ted describing Jamie to Trent as being “a lot like my mom’s Precious Moments figurines collection” and Roy translating, “He’s a fragile little b*tch.”

This exchange is immediately followed by the three coaches and reporter naming their all-time favorite Julie Andrews characters. Roy enthusiastically declaring, “F*ck it, Maria!” was only topped by Trent dropping “Clarisse Renaldi, Queen of Genovia.” Roy and I joyfully and simultaneously affirmed, “F*ck yeah, Princess Diaries!”

The Zava Era

I’m on Team Jamie with this one: Zava is exhausting. Just like I roll my eyes every time we have a scene in Survivor (yes, it’s still on and yes, I still watch it every week) with a tribe doing sunrise meditation together, I rolled my eyes at the ridiculousness of Zava’s self-serving team meditation circles. I did chuckle at the Messianic back tattoo. At least it wasn’t a giant phoenix?

We did get a really fun montage showing Zava taking the team all the way from 17th place into 3rd – right behind Rupert and Nate’s West Ham United. I do think Zava is annoying but at least this montage of incredible goal-scoring gymnastics nicely sets up a realistic explanation for AFC Richmond to go from last place to a genuine contender without having to suspend disbelief toooooo much and IT WAS SET TO THE JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR THEME SONG. Amazing.


The Roy/Jamie mentorship that I keep trying to make happen gained more ground this week. Roy notices that Jamie is miserable at no longer being the best player on the team and offers to train him to become better than Zava. There’s also an amazing exchange about the definition of a “Pre-Madonna” vs. a “prima donna.” According to Roy, a “pre-Madonna” means that “before Madonna, female vocalists didn’t have to work that hard,” to which Jamie retorts, “Are you mad? You’ve never heard of Tina Turner? F*cking Stevie Nicks?!” Earlier in the episode, Jamie corrects Beard on his usage of “irony” when he should have used “hypocrite.” I’m 100% here for Jamie randomly saying smart things.

Chekhov’s Green Matchbook

Rebecca visited her mom’s psychic, who reveals a vision involving a green match book and tells Rebecca that she’s going to be a mom and have a family. Rebecca calls her “cruel” and tells her to F off. A green matchbook does come into play at the end of the episode when Sam hands them out as a restaurant promo. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! (For the record – am not a fan of Sam/Rebecca for the obvious reasons: the power dynamics and age difference would be wrong if it were in reverse and I think it’s icky for a 40-something team owner to be banging a 21-year-old when she has the power over his salary, career, etc. Sam will have to stop playing for Richmond for me to even consider changing my mind.)

Colin <3

The storyline that I personally found most interesting this week was learning that Colin is closeted and dating a man named Michael who goes around introducing himself as the footballer’s “wing man.” Up until now, the show has addressed issues such as racism, colonialism, mental health, daddy issues, divorce, suicide, feminism, and has normalized men baking biscuits. I didn’t see this one coming, but it makes perfect sense that they’d address another very real-life issue.  It also gives his mantra, “I am a strong and capable man” a new meaning.

The only person within the organization who knows that Colin is gay is Trent Crimm, who saw him and Michael kissing outside of Sam’s restaurant. What a way to tackle homophobia in sports: have the recently reformed reporter accidentally discover the closeted player because he’ll understand why Colin is not publicly out and have to decide if he’ll out him for a story despite knowing the potential ramifications of doing so. Will he choose evil or will he work with Colin for a thoughtful coming-out piece that teaches the players and fans to accept gay athletes? The latter would be the Ted Lasso way and I refuse to believe this storyline will take any other approach. Side note: FWIW, there’s also online speculation that Trent himself is gay.

Dr. Sharon Wouldn’t Do This

And finally, Ted learns that his ex-wife is now dating their former marriage counselor, Dr. Jacob. YIKES. Learning that Michelle is not only dating the person they once paid to help save their marriage, but is also dating a person who thinks Trump impressions are still funny in 2023 was awkward for everyone involved. For All. Of. Us. If you remember back in Season 2, Ted mentions that in marriage counseling sessions, he always felt that the therapist took Michelle’s side and it was always “two against one.” Even Sassy thinks it’s unethical and she thinks it’s fine for Rebecca to play tickle the pickle with Sam. I was worried about Ted when we saw his panic attack and bourbon-filled Facebook stalking but am glad we got a scene with him talking to Dr. Sharon about it.

Last minute thoughts/observations:

  • So Dani pulled an American Pie with a Zava boot? Okay.
  • I know the whole “no homo” thing in men’s sports is super problematic but Sam had a point when he said, “Some men have a charisma that transcends orientation. Paul Newman, Idris Elba, Norm Macdonald.” (RIP.) Who would you add to the charisma unicorn list? I nominate Harrison Ford. I mean, have you seen him in Shrinking?!
  • I’m still meh on Shandy. She had some fun lines but I’m still unsure what role she’s there to play other than to potentially lure Keely back into party girl world, which I hope doesn’t happen.
  • Sam and the rest of the team watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!
  • Was the avocado exchange between Sam and Zava foreshadowing trouble in the clubhouse? Dude better not try to impose his own non-Ethiopian palate onto Sam’s business.
  • Give Leslie more to do than just being a bumbling idiot who relies on fifth-hand gossip and doesn’t understand how e-signatures work. I loved getting more character development last season.
  • I’ll give credit for this amazing Zava line: “Time is a construct, like gender and many of the alphabets.”
  • It’s been quiet on the Coach Nate front for the last two episodes, but I have a feeling that will change next week now that West Ham and Richmond are neck-and-neck in rankings.
  • Keely tells Rebecca, “There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” That’s one of those poignant Ted Lasso lines that always make me feel good.

What are your thoughts on this week’s Ted Lasso? Let us know in the comments!