By Colleen Glatfelter aka Geek. Dad. Wife.
I was worried that last week’s episode of Ted Lasso was a happy fluke but when this week’s episode opened with bright tones, flowers, macaroons, and Jamie pulling a bicycling Roy on a leash, I knew things were looking up. “The Strings That Bind Us” was written by Phoebe Walsh, who plays Beard’s girlfriend, Jane. Let’s get right into it.
Keely Gets Love Bombed
Let’s start with the Keely/Jack stuff. I had my reservations because of the power dynamics and lament the loss of Roy & Keely’s healthy dynamic, but I was open to them working. This entire time, I’ve thought for sure that they were setting Keely and KJPR up for a spin-off series. Maybe they still are, but the man, did the Jack stuff take a turn down Rupert Manning Way.
Let’s start with the whole defacing a first edition of “Sense and Sensibility.” It was giving JLo/”The Iliad”/The Boy Next Door vibes. If that was our only “Eat the Rich” moment of the ep, I could have let it slide. But it’s never a great sign when someone says they’re “get away with murder rich” like “everyone connected to Epstein” without any hint of shame. I was SO relieved that Rebecca wisely saw the warning signs and brought them up to Keely. Their conversation about love bombing vs. being love blind felt important. Also, isn’t the plot of “Sense and Sensibility” basically about a woman wooed by an obscenely rich dude only to realize the cranky older guy was her true soulmate? If we were watching LOST, I would need to tune into The Lost Podcast with Jay & Jack to break those theories down. [Turns out the TL/S&S parallels are indeed out there.]
Honestly, though, the thing that I really don’t like about the Jack/Keely is that it has reduced Keely into a woman who is not as confident and sure of herself as she was when she was dating Roy and even Jamie. We’ve ALL gone through periods of change and losing ourselves within it, though, but Ted Lasso is usually pretty good about pointing out things like that. Confronting big emotions is one of it’s calling cards.
Rebecca, for all of her faults, is a smart woman. I hope she continues to pay attention to and support Keely just in case things to sideway. Also – For all of her rigid awkwardness, is Barbara actually trying to warn Keely because she’s seen Jack do this exact same thing to other partners?
So yes, Jack’s behavior this week was a huge red flag, but, I think the jury is still out on whether it’s an out-of-touch rich person thing or a total dealbreaker. It will depend on whether or not she continues to love bomb Keely after their conversation. If she does, then Keely needs to get out of that relationship.
All Along There Was Some Invisible String
While Total Football may have started off as a disaster, it gave us what may be the funniest sequence ever shown on Ted Lasso: Switching roles and tying strings to each other’s penises. When we got the Will as Beard reveal, I died. I loved that even the fans switched places. But really, I cannot remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did during the red string sequence. From “Dicks on 3!” to “I thought I just ripped Jamie’s knob off,” I lost my sh*t. Anyone else catch the three coaches’ reactions when we were waiting to find out if Jamie was okay? Beard looked horrified. Ted looked worried. Roy was snickering.
But in all seriousness, it’s really great watching Jamie come into his own as a team leader. His “Stop going to me and start going through me” bit was great, including the entire team and Trent giving him the finger to encourage him to speak his mind. Both times I watched the scene where the team, wearing the same colors as the BELIEVE sign, executed Jamie’s play successfully, I clapped without even realizing it.
During Season 1, would any of us have thought that he would have come as far as he has? We even got a nod to his vapid past when Beard shouted out his brief reality TV stint. Bigger things are in store for Jamie Tartt this season. Mark my words.
Oh, and speaking of bigger things: What’s number four?! That’s going to pay off, right?
Side note: I absolutely friggin loved that the fans get their own little storyline that involved watching the practices. Ted telling Beard, “It’s their team. We’re just borrowing it for a little while,” felt profound, respectful, and self-aware.
We got the same energy at the end of the game, when Trent ran in and basically summed up the first two seasons of the show, calling back to the very first episode with The Lasso Way. We always see Trent participating in team rituals just a beat behind the rest, so for Ted to respond to Roy’s comment about him being a dork with, “Yeah, but he’s our dork,” had major “one of us” vibes.
Nate the Great Goes on a Date
This may be an unpopular opinion but after the last two episodes, I’m really seeing Nate as a flawed human being (again) rather than a villain. Of course, this fits into the Ted Lasso mythology of flawed = redeemable. Although he really wants to ask Jade on a date, he can’t work up the nerve to do so. After one failed attempt, we see him go into the bathroom to work up the courage and HE DOESN’T SPIT!! I don’t think they can hit us any harder over the head with a Nate Redemption Arc, *but* Nate can’t be redeemed until he sincerely apologizes to Ted for how he left.
Inspired by his parents’ first date story, makes her a diorama. (Side note – iPhone users, ask your phone, word-for-word, “Siri, how you can tell if a girl really likes you or is just being nice to you?”) Typical Nate mishaps ensure – a further nod to us plebs that Nate is one of us – but he gets the W that matters and Jade goes on a date with him.
I want Nate to be redeemed and get a happy ending but I hope they don’t change Jade’s character too much. Her holding Nate to a higher standard and not giving his behavior a free pass because of his premier league coach status is one of the best parts about her.
Sam’s Better Angels Prevail
Ted Lasso has never shied away from making political statements, but they’re usually throwaway lines or slyly disguised using toy soldiers. The closest they’ve come in the past was the episode where Sam protested Dubai Air as a sponsor but that storyline wasn’t as polarizing as addressing bigotry against refugees and the very real danger of political retaliatory violence for the tamest possible Tweet against it. I was surprised that Brinda Barot directly quoted Laura Ingraham’s “Shut up and dribble,” though. They didn’t even go for a thinly veiled variation! I respect the commitment.
Sam’s storyline hit hard. I think most people who have had even nominal political engagement over the last 8 years know of the conundrum of how to handle these situations. Do you call a spade a spade? Or do you speak to “better angels”? You want to believe that you can appeal to someone’s better angels because you feel that someone else could appeal to yours, but that’s not the way the world works anymore, especially when it involves the Internet. Such rhetoric easily allows us to dehumanize one another and brings out our worst qualities. Poor Sam learned this the hard way and I can absolutely relate to that.
I don’t know if I agree with Mr. Obisanya’s advice to forgive the people who do such things. Yes, fight forward, but the Simi in me says that forgiveness is only good for your own peace of mind. I don’t think the people who trashed Ola’s care about forgiveness. To quote another wise man, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” It’s a hard lesson to learn, and I still don’t have the answer on how you handle it, so maybe your own peace of mind is the way to go? Also, how did Ola’s not already have security cameras?!
Thank you for coming to my, er, Ted Talk. Moving onto some lighter fare…
Mr. Onisanya’s awkward meeting with Rebecca was amazing. Higgins’ awkward face! Keely maniacally shouting “Go Greyhounds!” That pregnant silence between father and his son’s boss/older ex-lover. It was perfect.
And while the beginning of the ep made me cheerful, the first half laugh hysterically, and the second half angry, my cycle of emotions was complete with the last act. “We just asked ourselves what does this situation need?” tugged at my heart strings but I’m not embarrassed to admit I teared up at the look on Mr. Obisanya’s face when he saw his son named his restaurant after him.
It’s good to have the Ted Lasso we know and love back.
- Love the exchange between Beard and Jan Maas about the pronunciation of Johan Cruiff, especially since we learned at the end of “Sunflowers” that Beard secretly speaks Dutch.
- One of the best things about Ted Lasso is the way it zags when it comes to masculinity stereotypes. This week’s moment came curtesy of compliments of Ash’s hat.
- Omggggg a pegging joke?! Hahahaha, I refuse to believe that this joke wasn’t thrown in after the Prince William pegging rumors went around last year. Man, was that a wild day on the socials.
- The scene in which Will collects the water bottles in the locker room was shot in one take.
- I love pen and paper but it’s wild that Trent continues to take notes in his notebook and not electronically.
- The Swiftie in me couldn’t help but make the connection between Ted’s explanation of Japanese myths about soulmates being connected by an invisible red string and the Folklore song “Invisible String” (my fav from that album).
- I never give enough love to the announcers but they’re the best version of the announcers from “Dodgeball.”
- “Well the way I see it, it’s kinda like taking a hike with Robert Frost. It could go either way!”
- We ain’t running a chocolate factory or Duestschbank. We ain’t got nothing to hide from you.”
- “Next time we do this drill, we tie multiple guys’ dicks to one guy’s dick. Yeah?”
“That was a one-shot deal, Roy.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure we cooked that whole bird already, Coach.”
- “Hey do you like American candy?”
“Yeah, come on. It’s got that bad sugar.”
“High-fructose corn syrup.”
“That’s too many words. I say ‘bad sugar.’”
- “Ass-squatch. Make it stop.”
- “It’s about taking risks and supporting each other’s choices. Total football is about letting go of your baggage and trusting your intuition. It’s jazz. It’s Motown. It’s Mamet. It’s Pinter. It’s Einstein. It’s Curie. It’s Gaga. It’s my mother proudly displaying her vibrator on the bedside table! It’s about throwing off the constraints put upon you by society and yourselves! We all know football is life. But a beautiful life is Total Football.”