The penultimate episode of Ted Lasso has arrived, bringing us to (nearly) the bittersweet end of our journey with AFC Richmond.
Dottie Lasso Does England
Dressed and ready to go for the day with his backpack slung over his shoulders, Ted strolls out of his apartment, only to find none other than his mother sitting on a bench with a suitcase. They head back inside, and though Ted is full of oddly nervous energy as he takes in the surprise of his mother showing up in London without warning, it becomes abundantly clear to viewers exactly where our favorite coach learned all of his beloved, quirky mannerisms from. After finding out that his mother has been staying in an “adorable little hostel” for a week during her spur-of-the-moment Mother’s Day trip, he insists that he stay with her for the remainder of it.
Inviting her to come along to work with him for the day, Ted is already exasperated as his mom sings a little tune on her way out the door — ironic, huh? Dottie initially introduces herself to Rebecca as Ted’s bodyguard, and her familiar turns of phrase immediately clue the club owner in on just who she’s being introduced to. Rebecca takes her on a tour of the facility, and the team gathers around Dottie in the locker room, laughing as she recounts stories from Ted’s childhood. Later, Dottie is just as popular at The Crown & Anchor, and Mae takes a moment to give Ted a moment of clarity when she recites “This Be The Verse” by Philip Larkin (a poem about the emotional weight parents put on their children).
That evening, Ted’s mom hands him a small bag full of newspaper clippings about him from back home. Before he walks out of the room to go to bed, she asks him if he’s still having panic attacks, and he lies as he says no, not recently. We also learn that even though Ted has taken strides for his mental health by seeing a therapist … therapy isn’t his mother’s cup of tea.
A Taste of Nate
The snake has shed its skin once more. Following the end of his stint managing West Ham, Nate has decided to pursue other career aspirations — working alongside his girlfriend at his favorite restaurant. As he and Jade are in the middle of getting ready to open for the day, a few stray Greyhounds stroll in the door. Isaac, Colin, and Will cut straight to the point when Nate approaches them, broom in hand: they want him to come back to Richmond. The whole team discussed it, and they’re all on board. It’s obvious that Nate is excited about the prospect of returning, but his apprehension takes over when they explain that they haven’t talked to Ted about it yet (they wanted to see if he was even interested first). A bit deflated, Nate turns them down, though he does send them off with 75 kebabs to go.
Higgins shares the news about Nate’s new job with Ted and Beard, hinting that the coach would likely be willing to come back to Richmond if he were invited. Although Roy and Higgins are both open to it without hesitation, Nate the Great is still Judas in Beard’s eyes. He won’t stand for it.
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What’s Eating Jamie Tartt?
It’s no secret that Richmond’s number 9 has been the shining example of character development from the show’s premiere episode up through now. However, all wholesome journeys come at a price because now, Jamie Tartt’s mellowed-out demeanor has plummeted down into something else entirely … and it’s concerning. During a press conference with Roy and Sam, Jamie does the unthinkable when he’s asked how it feels to be named the Premier League Player of the Month — he’s not just humble, he’s downright self-deprecating.
Roy’s initial concern during the press conference only grows when Jamie doesn’t join the team in poking fun at Van Damme’s mask, going so far as to shrug as he tells everyone that it’s more important to be safe than look cool. That’s the final straw for the grouchiest man in the room because Roy growls for Jamie to go meet him in the boot room. Roy launches into a rant about how Jamie needs to drop the humble act and be the “prickiest prick” for their upcoming game against Man City. To Roy’s complete and total shock, which he literally can’t hide as he watches this happen in real-time, Jamie bursts into tears. Voice wavering and hands shaking, he explains that he doesn’t understand what’s wrong with him, but he can’t sleep, and he can’t eat. Will, ever the king of bad timing, walks in just as Jamie hugs Roy and sobs on his shoulder. (I just want to know how many takes it took for Phil Dunster and Brett Goldstein to get through this scene without breaking).
There’s no doubt that Roy has come to care for Jamie and his well-being as the two have moved on past their animosity and developed a friendship (best friends, even) over the course of the past two seasons. However, if Roy’s relationship with Keeley is anything to go off of, he’s not great with words — which is why he goes to the woman in question for backup, because he knows she cares about Jamie, too.
“It’s walnut mist, mate.”
Having now witnessed the deflated balloon that remains of Jamie Tartt’s normally explosive persona firsthand, Keeley stops by Jamie’s hotel room when they get to Manchester, where he begins to grow even more nervous once she brings his attention to the fact that he’ll be walking into a stadium full of fans that hate him … and his dad. After a team movie night (in which Roy Kent sheds a single tear for You’ve Got Mail), Jamie sneaks out, and Roy and Keeley follow him across town to his mom’s house. In direct contrast to his awful relationship with his father, Jamie’s mom is a ray of sunshine, and the footballer can’t keep the huge smile off his face when she embraces him.
Simon gives Roy and Keeley a grand tour of the house while Jamie has a much-needed heart-to-heart with his mom, where he admits that his hatred for his dad is what drove him to be a great player. But what drives him now? His mom assures him he’s not lost; he’s just not sure what direction he’s going in yet. Meanwhile, Roy tells Keeley that he wants to be more than friends again while the two sit on Jamie Tartt’s childhood bed … staring at posters of themselves tacked on the walls. (He also subtly shoots his shot with Jamie’s mom before they leave.)
Jamie Tartt, the MVP
The day has finally come for Jamie Tartt to return to Man City’s pitch decked out in Richmond orange — and it’s also a wonderful, pivotal climax for his character development. The moment that Jamie steps out onto the field, the fans make no attempt to hide their disdain for the return of Manchester’s prodigal son. Between the ongoing booing from the crowd and the way the Man City players are almost begging the refs to step in with the relentless way they’re picking on him, Jamie has his work cut out for him any time he tries to dribble his way across the field.
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The competition may be stiff, but the Greyhounds are on fire when Colin sinks a goal after Jamie’s quick thinking on his feet, and Van Damme is an impenetrable wall at the net. Man City nearly scores at one point, but Jamie jumps in and saves it at the last minute … injuring his ankle in the process. The crowd jeers when he tries and fails to get back up. Richmond temporarily plays with 10 versus 11 on the field while the medics tend to Jamie, and then Ted kneels down beside him for a quick pep talk. With the power of forgiveness over hatred in mind and brimming with adrenaline and painkillers, Richmond’s star player hops back out onto the field with echoes of his fun and cocky persona finally trailing in his wake. Jamie is untouchable, tearing his way across the pitch to score and clinch the game. They substitute him immediately after so he can get off of his ankle, and his face is full of emotion as even Man City’s fans cheer for him.
After a victorious win, most of the team changes into their club outfits and head out to celebrate. Before Beard leaves, Ted shows him the rest of the security footage from the night that Nate ripped the Believe sign in half — he spent the entire night trapped under the desk. Jamie excuses himself from partying in order to stay behind and ice his ankle, finally texting his dad while he sits there (and it seems that the elder Tartt is finally on his way to getting sober). Keeley and Roy bring the party to him instead.
An Olive Branch
Jade knows how much Nate loves football —and how great of a coach he is. She implores him to quit the restaurant and go back to Richmond, but he digs his feet into the ground. Ever the cunning girlfriend, she forces their boss into firing Nate because she knows he needs the
push shove. Nate isn’t mad that Jade pulled the strings behind his back. Rather, he tells her that he does want to go back to Richmond to make things right, even if there’s only one game left. Ironically, Beard shows up while they’re discussing it, enlightening Nate on his own questionable past. After getting out of prison, Ted took Beard in, and the latter took advantage of his kindness by stealing his car. And yet he still forgave him for all of it. In recognition of that, Beard offers the same forgiveness to Nate, inviting him to come back to the Greyhounds.
Words No Longer Left Unsaid
Despite his big win, Ted struggles to look anywhere near happy when he walks into his apartment to a home-cooked meal from his mom. After years of bottling up his emotions, Ted Lasso reaches a boiling point and tells Dottie exactly how he felt about her decision not to seek help after his dad died. As an adult, he now realizes that his bad habit of always glossing over the problems in his life and pretending that everything is okay is something he, unfortunately, learned from her. The conversation hits hard, and in turn, Dottie tells Ted that Henry misses him. Ted’s face crumples when he admits that he’s scared to get close to his son because he knows he’s going to leave someday.
In another interesting turn of events, both Bex and Ms. Kakes show up on Rebecca’s doorstep looking for advice.
Finally, just before the episode comes to a close, it appears it’s time for Rebecca to show up in Ted’s office to drop another annual truth bomb on him. However, she has nothing to say this time around. But he does … and we’ll have to wait until the finale to find out what exactly that is.
Top Ted-isms of the Week
Rebecca: “Look, sometimes the truth can ruin a perfectly good story.”
Ted: “Yeah, you should work for the Daily Mail.”
Rebecca: “I’ve got to go and see a man about a horse.”
Ted: “Oh. I didn’t know girls said that when they gotta pee.”
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“Coming all the way to England and not seeing a soccer match is kinda like going to Rome and not going to church or getting pocket picked.”
“I hope that either all of us or none of us are judged by the actions of our weakest moments, but rather by the strength we show when and if we’re ever given a second chance.”
Bonus — Dottie-isms
“Winner, winner, B.F. Skinner!”
“This one popped out and immediately asked the doctor if he needed anything.”
Double Bonus — Sweet Nothings With Roy Kent
Ted: “Everything all right?”
Roy: “Yeah. I’ve just come down with a case of the ‘none of your f#!king business.'”
Catch the series finale of Ted Lasso (say it ain’t so!) next Wednesday, May 31, and be sure to follow along with all of our weekly episodic recaps.
In case you missed it, check out our introspective piece on the audience’s relationship with Nate here!