Brendan Hunt as Coach Beard smiling and shrugging.

Ted Lasso Takes a Moment To Focus on Coach Beard, and It Works—Mostly

Coach Beard has been a fixture of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso since the beginning—a more taciturn, practical energy to Ted’s endless optimism. We haven’t gotten to know Beard a lot, but in the latest episode, we see what has been going on for the second in command.

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Spoilers for Ted Lasso.

The team’s loss at the hands of Man City is going to be a changing point for the season. For a long time, the show has started to really slowly confront the fact that Ted might not be an ideal coach at times. He means well and is the heart, but he doesn’t always push the team or make the best choices for them. Last season, Beard was the one who reminded him of the stakes of Richmond losing. He’s the one who cares about winning out loud, where Ted cares about trying.

Watching Coach Beard be haunted by their big loss is saddening not just because he is attempting to drown his feelings in beer, but because through the commentary hosts he imagines, we see the doubts he has about the dynamic at play with the coaches. On top of that, he is struggling with his toxic relationship with Jane, which only seems to push him deeper into this dark place of self-doubt.

I’ve seen some call this episode “filler,” and while it does go on for a bit longer than it might need to, I think sometimes filler gets a bad reputation. Not only did this episode give us a lot about Beard, but it also gave us insight into what could be coming between him and Ted.

Last year, the actor who plays Beard, Brendan Hunt, said to Variety about Beard’s character and his own headcanons: “But it’s all just brain canon, you know. Until the writers room sets it down on a sheet of paper and then it gets in front of a camera, it’s all vaporware. But I think what you’re seeing in him that makes you go, ‘Oh, this guy is just into football’—that’s the central Illinois in him. But that’s also a reminder of one of the lessons of the show, which is don’t read a book by its cover.”

Taking time to develop a character after a dynamic episode is a good use of the extra episodes Ted Lasso was asked to do. This loss was huge, and we need to see someone be mad about it, and with Beard, we see that resentment. What’s more, we see him not discuss it with Ted. What does it say, with all the positivity that Ted has fostered, that his oldest companion can’t come to him?

The episode is slow and messy at times, but it works because we need to see Beard as human. We need to remember that for him, like Dani, football is life, and it matters that they play it well. And Ted has to be there for all the members of his team.

(image: Apple TV+)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.