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This Detail in the New ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3 Image Is Everything

Break our hearts, why don't ya.

Nate and Ted stare at each other in a hallway with Rupert looking at them in the background. Nate looks troubled, and Ted is smiling.

After months of silence from Apple TV+, we’ve finally gotten an update about Ted Lasso season 3. The new season is going to come out in the spring of 2023! That’s just a couple of months away! Even better, Apple TV+ has released its first production still!

The still shows Ted (Jason Sudeikis) and Nate (Nick Mohammed) staring each other down in the hallway of West Ham United. Between them, some distance away, West Ham owner Rupert (Anthony Head) looks on.

There’s so much going on in this photo. At the end of season 2, Nate leaked the details of Ted’s panic attack to the press, subjecting him to humiliation and attacks from the media. After that, Nate told Ted off for ignoring him, even though Ted himself spent the season dealing with serious mental health struggles. Nate then defected to West Ham, where Rupert hired him as head coach. In season 3, Ted and Nate will have to face off as rivals, and this image captures all the drama and pathos that that plot will entail. Nate looks troubled, both he and Rupert are dressed in villainous black (seriously, Rupert looks like the bad guy in a spy movie), and we get a reminder that the stress and sorrow of Nate’s betrayal has turned his hair completely gray.

Only Ted seems to be trying to diffuse the situation. And how does he do it? With a smile.

There’s a lot under the surface of that smile

All throughout Ted Lasso, Ted’s defining feature has been his compassion, kindness, and warmth. Even in the face of being rejected by his players, manipulated by Rebecca, ridiculed by Rupert, and called a wanker by the people of Richmond, Ted has always chosen the high road.

But in season 2, we learned that there was a heartbreaking reason for his dogged commitment to kindness: the suicide of his father when he was a teenager. It turns out Ted’s personality isn’t 100% genuine optimism. Instead, it’s driven by the guilt he feels over his perception that he failed to save his dad. As he tells Dr. Fieldstone, “I knew right then and there that nobody was ever going to get by me without understanding they might be hurting inside.” But although compassion is always a good thing, Ted’s impulse to hold himself responsible for everyone else’s happiness isn’t always healthy—as we see when the pressure of his job, divorce, and old grief lead to his panic attacks.

That’s why Ted’s smile in this photo is so great. It could mean so many different things! Ted might be showing Nate grace and forgiveness, refusing to let him burn any bridges and paving the way for an eventual reconciliation. The smile could also be part of his people-pleasing tendencies, by which he uses cheer to try and diffuse hard situations. It could be a rueful smile, a sardonic acknowledgement of the fallout between the two of them. Or it could mean something else entirely.

Whatever’s happening under the surface in this image, it points to a great story in season 3. Spring can’t come fast enough.

(featured image: Apple TV+)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. She lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and makes yarn on her spinning wheel. You can check out more of her writing at https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.