Review: Ted Lasso S3 E5 “Signs”

By Colleen Glatfelter aka Geek. Dad. Wife.

And just like that, the Zava Era has ended.

I didn’t love last week’s episode of Ted Lasso but was willing to go with the flow and overlook some of its obvious issues, mainly continuity issues (Ted ALREADY KNEW that Nate ripped the sign! Who did they think taped it back up?!) and the fact that the longer episodes and push to set up spin-off series was making it lose some of its charm. I still love the show but I don’t watch the episodes in a feel good, carefree manner anymore. Watching it now feels like watching every other TV dramedy out there today.

If I’m being honest, I’m still not sure how I feel after watching this week’s episode.

After the disastrous West Ham match, UFC Richmond is now officially on a losing streak and have fallen to 9th place. Everyone is tense – our favorite pub patrons, Roy and Beard, Higgins, and especially Rebecca, who storms into the coaches’ office and yells, “Are we ever going to win another f*cking match?!”

So we’re starting off like that, huh? At least our characters (except Ted) are finally acknowledging the stakes of playing major league sports.


This episode dove more into Rebecca’s mindset after her mom’s psychic’s predictions start coming true. She runs into good old John Wingsnight from last season, who is now engaged to a different woman, Jessica Darling. While recapping their first date, Jessica mixes up her words and refers to Wingsnight as “My shite in nining armor.”

Rebecca is thoroughly freaked out. She asks Higgins what he thinks about psychics and of course, he not only believes in them but has an aunt who has the “shine,” who predicted that he and his wife would end up with five boys.

“The Universe is full of things we can’t explain, Rebecca” he sagely states.

Rebecca visits her ob-gyn to find out whether she is able to have children at her age (which is never specified but we’ve always been led to believe that Rebecca is in her mid-to-late 40s). In an incredibly well-acted scene, she gets the results at the end of the episode. She tries calling Keely to share but Keely is otherwise occupied.

Keely Had a Little Lamb

Speaking of Keely, this episode was heavily focused on KJPR and whatever future spin-off we must be getting. Jack is in the office for some inexplicable reason (do VCs always hang around small start-ups?) and sides with Keely during a business discussion with Barbara. C-H-E-M-I-S-T-R-Y.

The Shandy storyline finally comes to a head. KJPR’s client coordinator is still really pissed off about being reprimanded for changing the Bantr tagline. Her attitude is so terrible that if she hadn’t been working for a friend, she would have been fired already. She interrupts Keely’s conversation with Jack to share an idea for a new app called “Star Fuckr,” which is like Bantr with famous people. Jack gives Keely some advice on how to fire her friend, recommending she use the “compliment sandwich” technique as the two laugh about how the worst people are always the ones who think they have the best ideas, aka “talent dysmorphia.”

Keely tries to put off the inevitable but has no choice after Barbara informs her that Shandy cost them a client by drunkenly calling her at 4 a.m. (a time that comes up twice this episode). Despite the compliment sandwich, Shandy completely loses her sh*t, cursing everyone out and threatening to start her own PR firm before hair flipping her way out the door with a middle finger.

Since Shandy really didn’t serve any sort of purpose to the overall story, is this entire storyline a set up for a Keely spin-off series in which she’s competing with Shandy’s future PR firm? That’s the only way I can make this all make sense.

But Shandy’s very mature goodbye doesn’t stop there. As Keely and Jack are getting ready to leave for the Richmond v Man City game, they follow a foul smell into the conference room and discover an adorable lamb and its not-so-adorable poop, complete with a note that says “The lion has left. Enjoy the lamb, bitch.” After missing the match to clean up, they get drunk on Shandy’s work vodka and end up hooking up.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, they’re hot together but on the other hand, there’s still that pesky little detail that Keely’s entire company is financed by Jack. Am I a hypocrite for criticizing the Sam/Rebecca relationship but not the Jack/Keely one? I DON’T KNOW!

There’s also the smaller matter of Roy, and Keely’s admission that their breakup still hurts. You know what they say…the best way to get over a man is to get under your really hot venture capitalist boss.

Uhh, Can We Get Back to Football?

The team is doing poorly and only Higgins is the one brave enough to state the obvious: It may be time for a club management change. He’s not wrong. Suddenly, Roy and Beard are blanking on game strategies and Ted is so preoccupied with his personal issues and panic attacks that it feels like he’s barely there, mentally. In the real world, Rebecca would have barged in screaming weeks ago.

Beard, Roy, and even Trent are at a loss for how to prepare the team to face off against Man City. “I can’t believe the name of our white whale has the same name as a strip club where I danced in college,” Beard muses. Trent, goaded into the conversation by the coaches acting like monkeys, suggests an old school long-ball game approach, but that’s also quickly dismissed.

The subject switches from football, though, after Ted learns that his son Henry was involved in a bullying incident at school. Coach Beard does some time zone math and declares they can still get to Kansas in time to burn the bully’s house down, but Roy takes it way further and gets daaaaaark, proposing they wait until 4 a.m. (the time when people are least likely to have their defenses up) to break into the kid’s room to beat him with a rope covered in red paint. It’s so intense, insane, and out-of-left field that Trent drops his rainbow mug (more on that mug in the bullet points!).

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Moving over to the team, Zava sweetly declares that his wife is the woman he sees with clarity before making it borderline creepy, sharing that he doesn’t care about watching movies, he only cares about watching his wife.

Later on in the weight room, Jamie tells the team to stop being so negative about their losing streak and upcoming match, urging them, “Let’s f*cking do this!”

Zava once again swoops in, agreeing with Jamie but stealing his inspirational speech thunder with a rallying pep talking: “You will not win because of me! You will win because you work together. Because together you can achieve anything!”

And that’s the last thing we hear from Zava. He doesn’t show up on game day and the team discovers through social media that the superstar striker has retired to spend time with his wife on his avocado farm.

Sooooo just like with the Shandy arc, what was the point of the Zava Era? Was it just a plot device to get the team from last place to a place where they’d be a legitimate rival to West Ham and Man City? Was it to motivate Jamie to complete his transformation? To be a catalyst for a Roy/Jamie mentorship? Was it just supposed to be a humorous detour? He didn’t really bring anyone in the clubhouse closer together or act as a foil to propel anyone (except Jamie) forward. Am I being too negative? What do you think?

Sometimes a Sign is Just a Sign

Ted discovers that Henry wasn’t bullied after all – it turns out he was the bully. After their losing match (4-0), Ted starts having a panic attack when Henry finally FaceTimes him. The boy tells his father that he messed up and made a public apology to his classmate. “I should have followed your advice, Dad,” he says, “If you’re angry, count to ten. If that don’t work, do it again.”

Ted’s anxiety starts to return after they hang up as he thinks about Henry at the airport in the first episode and quietly tells himself, “He’s okay, he’s okay” to help it pass.

Meanwhile, the team is devastated at Zava’s departure. While trying to cheer them up, half of the Believe sign falls again, prompting everyone to freak out that it’s a bad omen.

“The sign is JUST a sign,” Ted says as he takes it down and tears the rest of it up.  “Belief doesn’t just happen just because you hang something up on a wall.”

Let me pause here for a minute to give a kudos to Jason Sudekis for his delivery in this scene. As much as I miss Ted’s unbridled energy and optimism, the quieter, not-yet-okay-post-panic attack way Sudekis delivers Ted’s speech about belief was outstanding. I don’t know if it will do any good to help them win but the speech itself was great.

I especially loved how poignantly the camera panned to each character when Ted said something that spoke to them. It focused on Colin’s reaction when he spoke about letting go of feelings of shame, Roy’s reaction when he talked about being hurt/hurting someone else, and panned to Jamie when he said that they didn’t need Zava to win. [See below for the text and video of the speech.]


Divine Baklava

And finally, the Nate of it all. Supermodel Anastasia passes her number along through Rupert’s side piece/personal assistant, Ms. Kakes. Nate didn’t ask for it at Bones and Honey because he didn’t want to be too forward. He takes her to A Taste of Athens, but she’s not impressed and criticizes the restaurant. A stoic Jade overhears her negative remarks. She softens a bit towards Nate when she hears him defend and explain how important the restaurant is to him.  Anastasia ends up leaving mid-meal, so Jade kindly brings Nate an order of baklava for two and joins him for dinner.

A few additional notes:

• It felt out of place given how angry Rebecca was but the entire “Which way is north?” exchange made me laugh.


• Nate practicing his phone call to Anastasia with his mom was quite endearing.

• This week’s unexpectedly pop culture reference from the team was the exchange about the movie “She’s All That” being a remake of “My Fair Lady,” which was a remake of “Pygmalion.”

• Isaac, doing Team Captain sh*t: “No video games before bedtime! Except Animal Crossing. That sh*t is f*cking soothing.”

What do you make of that really weird exchange between Ted and Rebecca in the hallway? The one in which Ted references being psychic (on Rebecca’s mind) and Rebecca mentioning bullying (on Ted’s mind). Thoughts?

• Finally, TRENT’S MUG!!

o Is a rainbow mug a nod towards Trent being queer? When will the Colin thing come back up?

o While searching the Internet to find out if it was in fact a Pride mug, I discovered that it’s actually a Peanuts mug, available on this website.

Here’s the text and video of Ted’s “Believe” speech at the end of Season 3, Episode 5, “Signs.” Let us know what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments!

All we need to win are the fellas in this room right now, and all you fellas need to do is believe it.

Fact is, it’s just a sign. Belief doesn’t just happen because you hang something up on a wall. It comes from in here, you know? And up here and down here. Only problem is we all got so much junk floating through us a lot of times we just end up getting in our own way. Crap like envy or fear. Shame. I don’t want to mess around with that shit anymore. You know what I mean? Do you? No, me either. Hell no. You know what I want to mess around with? The belief that I matter, you know? Regardless of what I do or don’t achieve. Or the belief that we all deserve to be loved. Whether we’ve been hurt or maybe we’ve hurt somebody else. But what about the belief of hope, yeah? That’s what I want to mess with. Believing that things can get better. That I can get better. That we will get better. Oh man, to believe in yourself? To believe in one another? Man, that’s fundamental to being alive. Now look, if you can do that, if each of you can truly do that, can’t nobody rip that apart.