Nate and Ted stare each other down in a stadium hallway with Rupert looking on in the background.

My Heart Hurts For Nate in the ‘Ted Lasso’ Season Premiere

Nate (Nick Mohammed) used to be one of the most lovable characters on a show stacked with lovable characters. Now, in the Ted Lasso season 3 premiere, he’s become a monster.

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When we catch up with Nate, he’s settling into his role of West Ham United’s manager, running drills with the team and holding his first press conference. On the surface, everything seems to be going well for Nate: Rupert is showering him with encouragement and buying him extravagant gifts, and everyone’s feeling confident about the team’s upcoming season. But under the surface, Nate is flailing.

When we first see him, he’s rushing to his Twitter feed to look at his mentions, after which he barks at a staff member to get out of his office. He humiliates one of his players on the field, calls a reporter stupid at the press conference, and then calls Ted a shitty coach after an embarrassing photo of AFC Richmond leaks to the press. His barb at Ted doesn’t even earn him the approval from his dad that he’s been chasing all his life. Instead, his dad figures out how to be angry over Nate’s success.

Nate’s always had a subtle mean streak, but his claws have really come out since he turned on Ted last season. What’s upsetting, though, is that his behavior is rooted in some very deep, very old wounds. He craves validation from his father that he’s never going to get. He’s still resentful of the bullying he suffered at the hands of Jamie Tartt. You’re angry at Nate for being such a comprehensive asshole, but at the same time, you wish that he knew how to heal instead of making things worse.

Nate is setting up his own downfall (and possible redemption)

Only one episode of season 3 has come out so far, but we’re already seeing the seeds of Nate’s downfall. Everyone knows that social media is a cesspool that isn’t worth taking seriously, yet Nate is completely wrapped up in what strangers on the internet think of him. It’s a large part of why he’s so miserable, as we see when he keeps trying to cover up his “Wonder Kid” mistake. If Nate keeps defining his own self-worth by his Twitter feed, he’s not going to last long as a coach.

There’s also an interesting moment in the press conference. Nate flubs the first question, and we start to see a familiar scene: a ringing tone plays, and Nate has to duck out of the public eye. He struggles to breathe, and only composes himself after he does his private spitting ritual. The moment is reminiscent of Ted’s panic attacks—the very panic attacks that Nate himself leaked to Trent Crimm in season 2 in order to sabotage Ted’s career. It’s a fitting punishment, considering how awful Nate’s betrayal was, but it also means that Nate may learn what it feels like to have your mental health struggles weaponized against you.

A plot turn like that could actually open up a path for Nate to apologize and reconcile with Ted. After all, as we know from Rupert’s past behavior, Rupert isn’t a true ally to Nate. If Nate’s career takes a dicey turn, Rupert will have no qualms about dropping him. This season is Nate’s opportunity to figure out who his true friends are. Here’s hoping he takes it.

(featured image: Apple TV+)


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Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>