‘Ted Lasso’ Is a Show About Growth—So Where Is Roy Kent’s?
Ted Lasso, above all, is a show about growth. Yes, there’s football, and yes, there’s romance and friendship and comedy and heartache. But Ted Lasso, more than anything else, is a show about how people can change and grow if they are given the chance in the right environment. Ted Lasso’s arrival at AFC Richmond was the catalyst for many personal journeys, and now, two-thirds of the way through season 3, every prominent character on the show that needed one has undergone (or is currently in the process of) a radical transformation–well, almost everyone.
Amidst all this growth, it feels like Roy Kent has been left behind. Many people were shocked by his behavior in the latest Ted Lasso episode, “We’ll Never Have Paris,” when he asked Keeley who she made a personal video for after it was leaked online. Was it an incredibly stupid question to ask? Of course–who she made a video for once upon a time is none of his business. But he regretted his question the moment he uttered the words. He’s human, he made a mistake. This one unfortunate scene is not Roy Kent’s biggest issue in the show.
I’d argue that the problem with Roy Kent’s character is that he’s the only one who hasn’t really grown. Roy’s comedic schtick is his anger, and it’s provided us with some hilarious moments. But his angry moments have always been balanced out with some gorgeous instances of vulnerability: in season 1, when he lets Keeley comfort him after he played his last match; in season 2, when he hugs Jamie in the locker room and admits that being left out of Keeley’s magazine spread made him feel small; and in season 3, in the pivotal Amsterdam episode, when he admitted to Jamie why he’d never learned to ride a bike. (And of course, throughout all of this, we have his touching relationship with his niece, Phoebe.) We know that Roy is capable of expressing his emotions, and yet every time he does, it feels like he’s forgotten the last time he let himself be emotionally available.
Roy’s character growth feels more like a yo-yo; as if his emotional maturity is reset after each episode. There’s no build-up, he’s not learning. And his anger seems to have gotten worse in season 3, more visceral. While this could be attributed to his break up with Keeley, it feels out of place in a show that believes that people can ultimately become better versions of themselves.
With only four episodes left to go in season 3, four episodes that could potentially be the last episodes of Ted Lasso ever, I’m having a hard time picturing how Roy Kent’s story ends. Will he get back together with Keeley? Should he? That does often seem to be where the characters are headed and I’m a huge fan of their relationship, but at this point, I feel like that would be an easy cop-out, a way to suddenly give him the growth that his character needs. I think what Roy really needs is several good long chats with Dr. Fieldstone, but that’s not going to happen with only a few hours left to go.
Roy’s self-doubt is what makes him such a compelling character. Perhaps his unfortunate interaction with Keeley will finally make him see that his insecurities are harming more people than just himself. It would be a great character-building moment, but I just wish that it hadn’t arrived so late in the season. Roy is one of my favorite characters on Ted Lasso, and I truly hope the next few episodes prove me wrong.
(featured image: Apple TV+)
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