Ted and Nate stand in an elevator together. Ted is smiling, but Nate looks pensive.

‘Ted Lasso’ Shows Us How (Not) to Be Angry

In Ted Lasso season 3, episode 4, we see some chickens coming home to roost. Specifically, AFC Richmond finds out that Nate ripped Ted’s ‘Believe’ sign in half at the end of season 2, and Ted confronts Michelle about how she’s dating their former marriage counselor, Jake.

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Both confrontations are fraught, but they form a remarkably concise lesson on the dos and don’ts of acting on your anger.

Richmond plays dirty

During their match against West Ham United, Richmond begins to fall behind. During halftime, Coach Beard and Roy decide to motivate the team by showing them the security camera footage of Nate tearing up Ted’s sign. When the team takes to the pitch again, they’re out for blood, racking up red cards as they turn the game into a violent brawl. Richmond loses, spectacularly.

After the match, Beard and Roy are forced to admit that their strategy backfired. Instead of channeling their anger into energy they could use to win, the team succumbed to it, putting their worst selves in the driver’s seat.

Ted forgives Beard and Roy, although he does make sure to take the flash drive with the footage on it. Although he doesn’t think revealing Nate’s actions was the best decision, the events of the day do seem to influence what he does next.

Ted confronts Michelle

After the game, Ted stares at the long history of appointment reminders with Jake. He goes home and takes a swig of whiskey, which seems to be a warning sign. After all, getting drunk is far from the best way to deal with anger. Then Ted sits down to video chat with Michelle.

What follows, though, is a remarkably mature, calm, and clear-headed confrontation with someone who has hurt him in an appalling way. Ted tells Michelle that he’s ticked off. He tells her that he’s confronting her about her relationship with Jake because, since they have a kid together, he and Michelle are stuck with each other for the rest of their lives. Ted shouldn’t have to let his anger fester while Michelle blithely goes about her unethical new relationship, so he gets it off his chest.

That doesn’t mean Ted gets the apology he deserves. In fact, Michelle barely responds at all. What Ted does get, though, is a more subtle kind of accountability, along with some healthy catharsis. What Michelle and Jake are doing sucks, but at least she knows that Ted knows that it sucks.

What about Nate?

Nate is another case study in anger. Although it’s still not super clear what he was so angry at Ted about at the end of last season—it seems like his lashing out at Ted was mostly a product of his own tender ego—that anger seems to be fading now. Throughout the episode, he tries to make overtures towards apologizing to Ted, but Rupert manages to get in his way every time.

Now that the team knows what Nate did to the sign, though, is there any realistic path to redemption for him? Would the AFC Richmond players ever welcome him back, if he decided to quit West Ham? Now that Ted’s getting better at letting his anger out, how would a second confrontation with Nate go? I’m still hoping for a redemption arc for this guy, but whatever form it takes might not be pretty.

(Note: a previous version of this article misidentified Ted’s texts as being from Dr. Fieldstone.)

(featured image: Apple TV+)

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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>