By Colleen Glatfelter aka Geek. Dad. Wife.
I need to make a quick apology for how late this review is. I try to get them out by Friday, but spent much of this past Friday laying in bed in the dark with a migraine. Since by this point, most people have already read reviews and moved on, I’ll try to keep things analysis-based rather than recap-centric.
After several weeks of depressing episodes, this week’s Ted Lasso, titled “Sunflowers,” gave us a nice little reset in Amsterdam, where the team keeps up their losing streak, this time in an exhibition match aka a “friendly.” Everyone is pretty down about how poorly Richmond is playing so Ted tells everyone the magic words, “No curfew tonight!” Keely (literally) jets off to see the aurora borealiest of aurora borealis with Jack, and the rest of our gang partners up for some A-B-C-D-E-F-G storytelling.
Roy/Jamie (Ramie? Joy? Yeah, let’s go with Joy) Find a Windmill for Granddad
There were a lot of delightful storylines with great emotional payoff in this week’s episode. Let’s start with Season 1’s biggest adversaries, Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt, and their magical mystical bike-riding quest to see a windmill. I loved every single minute of this story. Jamie spouting off Amsterdam facts. Roy’s confession that he can’t ride a bike. The absolutely gratifying sequence of Jamie teaching Roy to ride a bike set to “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” Their shared personal confessions at the end. I loved watching these two men bond.
If “Let’s go find a f*cking windmill!” doesn’t become a series tagline, I will be very disappointed.
But honestly, as much as I genuinely miss Roy and Keely as a couple – they just always made such healthy, mature, decisions – I do love seeing Roy and Jamie together. The bike sequence was so charming and yet so perfect. And their mutual confessions at the end was a cherry on top: Jamie sharing his dueling experiences in Amsterdam and Roy admitting that he was grumpy because Keely has moved on with Jack, it was nice character development.
Speaking of character development, I loved Roy’s self-aware plea to Jamie, “So can we stop talking about it and go back to me just taking out my negative emotions on you, even if you deserve it or not?” Season 1 Roy would have just grunted!
The Gezellig Houseboat
Ted Lasso does a meet cute, and it’s wonderful. Lonely Rebecca is trying to figure out what to do for the evening when she is knocked from the bike lane and ends up getting comically thrown into the canal. It’s another nod to what her mom’s psychic predicted when she said, “Upside down and wet” and “You’re safe!”
The entire story is gezellig, which her houseboat-owning savior (played by Matteo van der Grijn) uses to describe their cozy evening. It’s truly out of a Hallmark movie: The amazing houseboat. The non-creepy single dad burned by an ex-partner who wore awesome clothing the same size as Rebecca. The divine foot rub. I loved Rebecca’s detour so, so, so much. They sang Kenny Rogers into kitchen utensils together! She poured her glass of water onto the clothing so they had to go back into the dryer for longer! He was such a gentleman that he left the fancy houseboat so she could take a shower comfortably!
I don’t know if our unnamed houseboat owner is the one for Rebecca in the long-haul. He clearly has a young daughter so is that how she’ll get her family? Or is this one more stop on her psychic predictions of squares she must land on before she finds her true destiny?
What to Do With No Curfew?
The storyline with the team trying to decide as a unanimous group what to do with their one night out was the most realistic one. It’s impossible to get that many people on board with one activity, hahaha. Upon rewatch, however, I felt like the bit went on a little too long.
Is there a more pure soul on television than Dani Rojas and his desire to see just one tulip because a whole field would be overwhelming? I laughed out loud when they read the votes and Dani wrote his lone vote for a tulip in Spanish. Kudos to the hotel employees for telling Van Damme that the sex workers are tired and to him for immediately dropping the idea.
As a parent, Isaac’s outburst when the team went from arguing over what to do to arguing over where to eat felt completely relatable. It was absolutely amazing that they ended up having a wholesome pillow fight in the lobby – even if it did give big Community vibes.
Trent, Colin, and The Ache
When we learned that Colin was gay and that Trent saw him and his date kissing, I think we all instinctively knew how it was going to play out, and it did just that. Trent followed Colin to a gay bar, shared his own coming out story, and they had a heart-to-heart about what it’s like to be in the closest as a professional athlete.
It was such a moving arc, but also pretty powerful. I think we all were relieved that there was no drama, no “Will Trent out Colin for a scoop?” or anything of that nature. Colin’s speech was poignant and a heartbreaking. I hope he’s able to come out to his teammates and kiss his fella after they beat the pants off West Ham in the season (series?) finale.
Note: The monument that they are sitting by is actually called the Homomonument. It was erected in 1987 in honor of LGBTQ+ who were killed by the Nazis. You can read more about it here.
Here’s the full text of Colin’s speech:
“My whole life is two lives really. You got my work life. Like, no one at the club knows. I’d like to think they wouldn’t care but it’s just easier that way. Then you’ve got my dating life. Some guys think it’s hot. Others say they don’t care but eventually they get tired and they move on. Then the club brought in Dr. Sharon and she helped me realize that I have an ache. An ache for both my lives to be my only life. I don’t want to be a spokesperson. I don’t want a bunch of apologies. All I want is for when we win a match, to be able to kiss my fella the same way the guys get to kiss their girls. And I know we can’t fix every ache inside of us but I shouldn’t have to pretend it’s not there either.”
Out of all of the main plots during this week’s episode, his was probably the one I found the least noteworthy. It was fun that immediately after Higgins tells Will that “drugs are bad,” we cut to a scene where Beard gives Ted the tea laced with hallucinogenic drugs. I think we all called Beard ditching Ted for his own Dutch adventure, which we didn’t need to see. The Adventures of Piggy Stardust are best left to our imagination.
Ted getting advice from a curator at the Van Gough Museum while looking at the Sunflowers painting is peak Ted. The man gave him great, classic, prophetic Ted Lasso advice: “Never stop, no matter how many failures. When you know you’re doing what you’re meant to do, you have to try.” And of course Ted would respond with, “Mercy buckets” instead of “Merci beaucoup.”
And how about the Yankee Doodle Burger Barn? I laughed when Ted asked the Southern-accented waiter what state he’s from only to have him drop the drawl and reply, “Melbourne” in an Australian accent. Did anyone else chuckle at the 50 Nifty United Sauces and a “lovely queso from Puerto Rico?” I missed Ted mistaking the waiter for Nate on my first viewing, but clearly, Ted still has a lot of unresolved feelings over Nate’s departure that he’s going to have to face during the back half of the season.
Higgins and Will Do the Red Light District
The Higgins/Will subplot was the most random of them all. It was a pairing that works – of course Will is too nice to say no – but it was probably the one storyline that they could have cut if they needed to trim some fat. I loved the repeated “nah” every time Higgins told someone he had a “date with someone special in the red light district.” I think we had “nahs” from Rebecca/Keely, Will, and the entire team. LOLZ.
It was fitting that they’d end up going on a jazz club adventure. I absolutely loved that the big montage at the end with the team pillow fight, Trent & Colin at the club, Rebecca & Boat Man’s dancing and foot rub, Roy & Jamie seeing the big windmill, and Ted creating the plays (using the poor waiter’s pen) set to Higgins’ playing “Let’s Get Lost” on stage. It was one of those really feel-good moments that we watch TV for.
That was fantastic payoff, but the absolute kicker to that storyline was Will causally mentioning to his mom at the end of the episode, “And then I met the most lovely couple and they invited me for a threesome!”
And with that, everyone gets back onto the bus to head back home. Beard tells Ted that the tea was a dud batch and Ted shows Beard the drawings he made thanks to the True Spirit of Adventure’s inspiration. I didn’t think we could top the feel-good vibes of the jazz montage, but the episode ends on a perfect note: Rebecca and Beard leading the entire bus in a singalong of “Three Little Birds.”
Hopefully, the singalong was a message to us that the dark episodes are over and we’re going back to OG Ted Lasso for the last six episodes of the season (series?).
• One of my many favorite things about “Sunflowers” was the full circle of the use of “Three Little Birds.” It plays in the beginning after the team loses and Rebecca remarks that she finds the song depressing. I love that the experiences from their night in Amsterdam raised everyone’s spirits and gave them a new outlook, inspiring them to sing about how every little thing is going to be alright.
• Beard to Ted: “Pineapple percussions.” Ted: “Doldrums!”
• Beard speaking Dutch and saying, “Don’t tell Jan” was peak Beard. Brendan Hunt lived in Amsterdam for several years, so it makes sense that he wrote the teleplay for this episode.
• Boat Man, after Rebecca left: “Did we? Oh yes, we did.” SWOON. (I interpreted this as his acknowledgement that they had a connection.)
• Loved when we had the glimpse of Keely giving hotel information, a callback to Season 1.
• Waiter: “Where would you like to sit? Windy City, Hollywood, or NYC?” Ted: “Tell Mama that Roxie Hart is coming home. Lipschitz!” I mean, Ted’s definitely a Schmigadoon fan, right?
• Omgggg, the restaurant’s birthday song: “Yankee Doodle Burger Barn, Happy Birthday! Yankee Doodle Burger Barn, Happy Birthday! World War II was won by America. But the West was liberated thanks to Canada!”