Ted Lasso smiles behind a podium at a press conference. The podium says "We Are Richmond."

Ted’s Seams are Starting to Show in ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3

Ted may be a mess, but he's our mess, and we love him.

Ted Lasso season 3, which takes place after Nate (Nick Mohammed) defects to West Ham United and AFC Richmond is promoted back to the Premier League, opens on a close-up of Ted (Jason Sudeikis)’s face. But it’s not the cheery countenance we know and love. Instead, Ted looks haggard and despondent, and we learn that he’s about to do something deeply painful. The first scene is a piercing reminder that underneath Ted’s happy-go-lucky persona, there’s a troubled history that Ted is still trying to claw his way out of.

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That history continues its slow creep to the forefront of Ted’s life in season 3. As Ted deals with all the ups and downs of football season, he starts to make room for his more difficult emotions. At one point, one character flat out calls him a mess, and Ted doesn’t seem too shocked at the assessment. Ted also seems to be on the verge of acknowledging a difficult truth: that in his third year as Richmond’s manager, he still knows almost nothing about soccer, and is completely unqualified for his job. What started out as a funny premise quickly became a genuinely concerning character trait in the first two seasons, and in the four episodes of season 3 that reviewers were given, Ted seems to be on the verge of finally actually acknowledging it.

The other characters have their share of drama, too—although the show still makes plenty of room for its signature comedy. Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is now rivals with Rupert (Anthony Head), thanks to his purchase of West Ham United. Rupert, in turn, nurtures all of Nate’s worst tendencies, feeding his brittle ego and warning him off apologizing to Ted (remember it was Nate who leaked Ted’s panic attack to the press last season). Keeley (Juno Temple) and Roy (Brett Goldstein)’s relationship suffers from Keeley’s new job as a PR firm executive.

Of all the side plots in season 3, Nate’s is by far the most engrossing, since his season 2 villain arc was so masterfully done. Nate has become a really awful person, but Mohammed still manages to convey the spark of humanity that keeps you rooting for him—even while you’re gagging at his actions. Nate is a mixed-up guy who craves validation from all the wrong people, and you find yourself impatient for him to come back from the dark side.

Trent Crimm also gets an interesting storyline when he shows up back in the Richmond team’s lives. Everyone is understandably suspicious of him, and his arc is gratifyingly hard to predict. Will Trent enjoy the same redemption as every other character thus far, or will he betray the team? Four episodes in, I truly don’t know, and that’s refreshing.

Another fun development is the addition of a new player, who turns out to be even more of a self-absorbed prodigy than Jamie. Luckily, the writers know how to avoid making the new guy a Jamie clone, or turning their rivalry into a repeat of Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández)’s debut. The new player proves to be both an interesting source of conflict among the team members and some nice comic relief.

My main quibble about season 3 is the episode lengths. In previous seasons, the episodes ran for about 30 minutes each; now they’re more in the 40-50 minute range. I miss the punchier, faster-paced feel of the previous seasons, which felt like they were able to fit just as much story into delicious, bingeable nuggets.

That issue aside, though, season 3 has much of we’ve been itching to see in AFC Richmond’s return to the screen: the kindness, the drama, the gentle humor, the believable mental health struggles, and the gloriously bad puns. Ted may be a mess, but he’s our mess, and we love him.

Ted Lasso season 3 comes out on March 15 on Apple TV+.

(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>