Colin and Trent Crimm cheers in Amsterdam at homomonument in Ted Lasso on Apple TV+.

Why The Trent Crimm Reveal We’ve Been Waiting for Means So Much

Trent Crimm, The Independent is no more. Long live Trent Crimm, queer mentor!

“I’ve known for months”— that’s what cynical ex-journalist Trent Crimm (James Lance) tells closeted footballer Colin Hughes (Billy Harris) after catching him at a gay bar in the latest episode of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso. Trent’s confrontation (and eventual bonding moment) with Colin is the resolution to Ted Lassos first major stab at queer representation: Though we got confirmation last week that Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) is bisexual, season three has had a recurring arc surrounding Colin’s hidden relationship with his partner and Trent’s observation from the shadows.

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But while the show positions Trent catching Colin and his partner kissing outside Sam’s restaurant opening as a cliffhanger—whatever will this journalist, known for his ability to snoop, do with this juicy new tidbit? Is Colin in Trouble?—fans online clocked Ted Lasso’s true intentions rather quickly: positioning Trent Crimm for a coming out arc of his own, and a newfound role as queer mentor to Colin as he navigates embracing his sexuality while playing in the premiere league.

Of course, it’s a very sweet moment—smack dab in the middle of a “one wild night out”-style episode (penned by Coach Beard actor Brendan Hunt, who also wrote season two’s controversial highlight “Beard After Hours”), we see things slow down a bit as Trent and Colin sit side by side on the steps of Amsterdam’s Homomonument (not particularly subtle, but earnest) and swap coming out stories and experiences hiding their sexualities.

As far as coming outs go, it’s a relatively tame, cut-and-dried one, treated with an almost solemn respect in opposition to Ted’s drug-fueled triangle dream sequence or Rebecca’s torrid boating romance. But it’s undoubtedly an effective, emotional beat, and certainly par for the course as the comedy series’ first major foray into queer themes.

But—while we’re supposed to breathe a massive sigh of relief alongside Colin when Trent himself reveals the “shocking” secret that no, he isn’t going to spill, because yes, he’s gay too—the idea that Trent Crimm might be gay has been an open and frequently theorized face to his character that’s been percolating online for years.

As far back as season two, fans have been speculating that the quick-witted, snappily-dressed ex-journalist might be gay. He was seen in season 2, episode 7 saying goodbye to a man he had apparently gone to the crown and anchor with. And though there’s no telling if the team behind Ted Lasso had planned this particular arc for Trent that far in advance, we can certainly look back with 20/20 hindsight and spot the clues that fall into place now that we know Trent is gay.

At the end of season two, we saw Trent’s trajectory on the show change forever, when he made the decision to write an article about Ted’s panic attacks, but then immediately turn around and burn Nate as the source, reveal the betrayal to Ted, and then resign his job as a respected journalist at The Independent for breaking his journalistic integrity.

Questionable journalistic ethics aside, the message was clear: Trent genuinely regretted so cruelly outing a secret of Ted’s that wasn’t his to tell. Not only had Ted been nothing but kind to him, but Trent himself (unbeknownst to us at the time) probably had personal familiarity with the gravity of being outed—albeit about one’s sexuality, not the fact of having panic attacks.

So, as we saw, Trent ditched his gig at The Independent and hitched his Wagon to Richmond, joining the staff in season three to shadow the team and eventually write a book about Ted and the Greyhounds. At the beginning of the season, it was one big question mark as to how Trent and his investigative prowess might be used once he joined the Team, and though we now know that story was the Colin coming out arc, he also got another significant moment in episode two: the shower scene with Roy.

No, get your head out of the gutter. I’m, of course, talking about the unexpected heart-to-heart that Roy and Trent have when Roy reveals to Trent that he’s kept a newspaper clipping of a nasty story Trent wrote about him when he was a 17-year-old player just starting out.

The moment is symbolic of the power journalists hold over athletes and their self-worth/self-esteem, but it also gains an added layer of depth now that we know Trent grew up as a closeted gay man. As we see over the course of season three, there’s a pervasive locker room “shop talk” that tends to make queer people the butt of jokes: We see Colin laugh it off when Isaac and some of the other players make (not particularly malicious, but casual and frequent nonetheless) jokes about him being gay.

James Lance has previously revealed in interviews that he thinks of Trent Crimm as a character who might’ve had a troubled childhood, and struggled to live up to the image his father wanted for him: “‘Hey, I think the reason he’s the way he is, is because he’s got this kind of oppressive father,” Lance told The Wrap. “It’s been tough for him growing up and all of that, and not least, yes, because of his father. But because in the world of sports and football, there aren’t many that are out.”

It’s awfully easy to imagine Trent himself was on the receiving end of bullying from athletes, so it makes sense that when he grows up and finds his way into journalism, he’s suddenly eager to exert his power over them through his writing—hence the story he wrote about Roy. Things, again, come full circle when we see Roy reveal how deeply Trent’s words hurt him—something Trent, again, would’ve had personal familiarity with.

This time around, though, it’s a reversal of fortune: The young man bullied grows up to, in turn, bully athletes through his cynical writing. But, as we see in season 3, episode 2, Ted’s pervasive positivity conquers all, and Trent and Roy mend fences, beginning a wonderfully silly bromance I personally could do with more of.

This is all, of course, in service of his eventually discovery that Colin is gay: instead of outing him like he did to Ted and his anxiety in season two or letting his callous words get the best of him like he did with Roy, Trent has become a student of the “believe” philosophy, and instead chooses to take Colin under his wing and give him the guidance and love he probably needed as a young queer man.

Now, we don’t know the whole of Trent’s past/personal life—he makes reference in the episode to having had to come out twice to “her” (though wether “her” is an ex wife or his mother is anyone’s guess) as well as a young daughter, who is apparently elated at her dad being out and proud. But after getting to see Trent truly warm up to someone at Richmond (and even let loose with some dorky dancing at a gay bar), I can’t help but cross all my fingers that we’ll get more Trent Crimm in our lives, now that we have some proper insights into what makes him tick.

Trent Crimm, The Independent is no more. Long live Trent Crimm, queer mentor!

(featured image: Apple TV+)

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Lauren Coates
Lauren Coates (she/her)is a freelance film/tv critic and entertainment journalist, who has been working in digital media since 2019. Besides writing at The Mary Sue, her other bylines include Nerdist, Paste, RogerEbert, and The Playlist. In addition to all things sci-fi and horror, she has particular interest in queer and female-led stories. When she's not writing, she's exploring Chicago, binge-watching Star Trek, or planning her next trip to the Disney parks. You can follow her on twitter @laurenjcoates