Ted Lasso season one was the series that had no right to be as good as it was. Based on an NBC sketch where Jason Sudeikis’s titular manager attempted to use his American Football methods in the round ball game, the premise seemed thin at best.
However, Ted Lasso became a phenomenon due to his introspective performances, varying types of humour and an underdog storyline. It provided a dose of warmth in a time where doom-scrolling COVID numbers and lockdown rules dominated people's brains.
Three years on, we may be approaching the final season. The show stars Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein have all hinted as much. Season Two tied up some plotlines but left a tantalizing hint at what is to come.
Nate the nemesis
Season two ended with assistant manager Nate (Nick Mohammed) betraying Ted to the media, and then leaving to take up a head job at West Ham United. Nate’s growing discontent was a central running plot throughout the season. Although unintentional, every decision of Ted’s only made his friend feel more sidelines.
With Nate now at a rival team, Ted has his first true nemesis. Opposition coaches have been largely absent from a story that has focused on Richmond AFC. We now have a main character at another club, one who feels personally slighted by Ted and will want to prove a point at his expense.
This could bring a more adversarial nature to the show. The running theme of Season One was that Lasso, Rebecca, Keeley, Higgins, Nate and even Jamie were all underestimated. They all just dealt with it or cared to varying degrees.
The second season was much more introspective. It explored the question of what people actually want. Was Ted leaving his family for the job worth it? Does Sam want to play for an exciting project in Africa?
The third offers another possibility. The reconciliation of estranged ones is not a new concept for Ted Lasso, but with Nate, it offers the first person who is actively angry at Lasso, and not indifferent to him.
Can he win Nate back? Should he even try, or should his focus be on those who have remained close, and of course on the football team he is employed to coach?
The relationship between Richmond’s staff and Nate looms as a large piece of Season Three. It will be fascinating to see how it plays out.
Will there be a new member of the staff?
The Diamond Dogs have broken up. With Nate’s departure, the brains trust that discusses and solves the personal problems of any who dare let them find out are short one member.
On top of that, Richmond AFC may need another assistant manager. Season One saw Nates elevation from kit-man to a tactical advisor. Season Two featured the return of Roy Kent to the club and finding his place in the dugout.
Ted Lasso makes a minimal effort for realism. There is no requirement that they hire a new coach, but it is a pattern so far in the series. Trent Crimm (The Independent) has expressed admiration for Ted as a man and a begrudging respect as a manager. However, the pundit is aware of Lasso’s tactical limitations.
Now fired from his job as a football journalist, Crimm might be a valuable addition to the Richmond dressing room. It would make for an interesting subplot, the writer turned assistant manager, and so far Ted Lasso is a series that is reluctant to do away with characters completely.
What will happen to Keeley and Roy?
Everybody loves Keeley, but her life is rapidly changing. At the end of season three, Keeley looks set to start her own PR firm, but her relationship with Roy Kent might be headed towards a break.
The last we saw of them as a couple was of a long quiet moment following some confessions from each of them.
Keeley is a woman with options. Hers has been one of the more intriguing character arcs of the series. She has risen from the clichéd WAG of Jamie Tart to Richmond’s media manager and Rebecca’s close confidant.
She now has three men in love with her, a dream career and a best friend whose ex-husband is out to destroy her. Keeley is often the smartest person in the room, but with her life potentially in turmoil, how much help will she be to others this season?
Are three seasons enough?
At this point, there is no confirmation that this will be the final season of Ted Lasso. Sudekis only said that he pitched a three-season story to Apple TV. That does not mean that a new story can begin in season four. It remains one of Apple’s few must-watch shows, and they will not want to say goodbye if they do not have to.
However, this is a Bill Lawrence helmed series. Fans of his previous hit Scrubs now that a show can go on for too long. When Scrubs attempted to continue with a new cast of interns, while pushing the previous main characters to the periphery, it was not fun for anybody.
Lawrence could have learned two lessons from this. Either he knows when a story is finished and is ready to move on to another project, or he may want to do it better and try for a fourth.
In any case, three seasons feels about right for Ted Lasso. The series does take place in a football club, so there are many organic ways to end the show. After three seasons and almost four years of Ted Lasso’s charming antics, how much more could there be to tell?
This has been an excellent series up until this point. It shifted quickly from a quirky cult favourite to compulsory viewing. Few in football or television get to leave on a high. Ted Lasso [both the show and the character] deserve to.
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