As a big fan of the show, I was thrilled when the first episode of season 3 of Ted Lasso finally aired on July 23, 2022. Titled "The Hope That Kills You," the episode picks up right where season 2 left off, with AFC Richmond preparing for a new season in the Premier League.
First, I must acknowledge that I think minors flying unaccompanied is so necessary but also completely bizare. Here is my child, fly across the world alone. But who can afford that many plane tickets to accompany them!?
Man I missed that theme music, am I right? I loved how the episode began. Having Coach Lasso on the phone with his therapist and talking through his son heading back to the states. As a person advocate for therapy I enjoy this aspect of the story line. Showing that everyone needs help at some point. I also loved the quick exchanges between Ted and Rebecca. It’s fast-paced and delightful to witness.
Another highlight of the episode was the introduction of some new characters. AFC Richmond has brought in a number of new players, including a hot-shot striker named Jamie Tartt, who was previously on loan to another team. Jamie's return to Richmond is sure to shake things up, both on and off the pitch.
What I found especially intriguing about Jamie's return is that it feels like a bit of a redemption arc. In the previous season, Jamie was portrayed as a somewhat selfish player who was more interested in his own success than that of the team. However, in this episode, we see him in a new light - he seems more humble and eager to prove himself as a valuable member of the team. It will be interesting to see how these new additions fit into the team, and how they impact the existing dynamics.
Of course, one of the most anticipated moments of the episode was the return of Roy Kent, who retired from playing at the end of season 2. Roy is now working as a pundit, and it's clear that he's struggling with the transition. He misses the game, and he misses his old team.
What I found particularly impressive about Roy's storyline is how it explores the often-overlooked challenges of retirement, especially for athletes. We see how difficult it can be for Roy to adjust to life after playing, and how it can impact his mental health. It's great to see the character back on screen, and it will be interesting to see how his story develops over the course of the season.
Obviously the appearance of Coach Nate was a big part of this season opener. Though necessary for the story line, I do find it unfortunate that Nate is leaning so far in to the cruel coach angle. He is the antithesis of Ted Lasso and as the episode plays out, that proves to be a weakness not a strength. Nate comes in to a press conference slinging mud. Ted retaliates with (albeit self deprecating) jokes and laughs and nothing but respect for Nate’s skills as a coach. Proving that being the better man will win. People might laugh at cruel jabs, but emotionally they will connect with the person who rises above. And that person in this episode, was of course Coach Ted Lasso. Also, as an Iowan I am HERE for the “Field of Dreams” reference!
I must mention the children of this episode. In two separate scenes, the youth of the show provide insight and simplicity to the adult-sized problems. First we have Phoebe, who can’t seem to understand why Roy Kent and Keely need to break up. I sense a reconciliation in the near future, or at least I hope for one!
Lastly, when Henry Lasso has returned home and is on the phone with Ted, we get another youthful insight on the simplicity of complex adult relationships. Henry states that just because Nate is the coach of the rival team doesn’t mean they can’t be friends. I’m interested to see where this takes that relationship because Ted is certain to carry his son’s opinion far.
And OMG the Jake reveal! Ted’s face. Break my heart why don’t you.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with the first episode of season 3 of Ted Lasso. From the introduction of new characters to the return of old favorites, there was plenty to enjoy. The dynamic between Ted and Dr. Sharon is sure to be a key storyline to watch, as is the impact of the new players on the team. And of course, it's great to have Roy Kent back in the mix.
As the season progresses, I'm excited to see how the show continues to explore themes of mental health, the challenges of retirement, and the complexities of team dynamics. Ted Lasso has always been more than just a comedy - it's a show that has a lot of heart, and that isn't afraid to tackle difficult topics. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store.