Ted Lasso (2023)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Run Time
30 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★★★5 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1
If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat,
    and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink,
or you will heap coals of fire on their heads,
    and the Lord will reward you.

Proverbs 25:21-22
Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests but to the interests of others. 

Philippians 2:3-4

Ted Lasso and the ‘Blessed Man”

This article presumes that you know the basic storyline of the series, as contained in Dec. 2021 issue.

Running through the 3rd series is the healing of the broken relationship between Ted & his former kitman Nate. (c) Apple TV+

In the December 2021 issue I reviewed this amazing cable series under the title of “Ted Lasso & the Beatitudes.” Now that it has concluded with its third and final season, I turn to a similar but much earlier Biblical passage to describe Ted, Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (KJV) This because the soccer coach truly is the Psalmist’s “blessed man,” even though he coaches on a foreign shore a sport he knows little about. What he shows us in each of the 34 episodes is that goodness exports well, that the kindness he embodies, enjoined by the prophet Micah, is an international currency.

Not that Ted is a paragon of perfection. Several episodes reveal his vulnerability, his long-time repression of feelings about his father’s death and his refusal to let go of his wife. He suffers two panic attacks, showing us just how vulnerable he is, so that at last he overcomes his denial and submits to counseling sessions with the sports psychologist he has brought in to help the team members, Dr. Sharon M. Fieldstone.

We see Ted’s goodness in the opening episode of the third season wherein the media is making fun of him because he has taken his losing team into the London sewer system to teach a lesson. Former kitman Nate, who has left the Richmond team to coach hated rival Rupert Mannion’s team, mocks Ted at a press conference. When the reporters at the Richmond press conference expect Ted to respond in kind, Ted refuses, instead adding some self-deprecating remarks about himself. We never hear the man join in the attacks on his former staff member, even though everyone else regard Nate as a traitor. And what an incredible reconciliation scene we are treated to in the final episode of season 3!

Although this season has some missteps—the sequence I especially deplore is that in which the coaches, trying to increase the players’ teamwork use strong cord to tie their penises together (Really?)—it includes many warm and inspiring moments, probably the chief one centered on Ted’s large poster “BELIEVE” that Nate had sneaked into the locker room, taken down, and ripped into piece. The pieces had mysteriously disappeared, and just how they reappear and inspire the players to do their best, working together was an incredible moment.

In the second season team owner Rebecca Welton changes the most. She had originally hired Ted to spite the husband who had betrayed her, Rupert. Knowing Ted was inexperienced in soccer, she believes this will sabotage the team, which had been Ted’s prize possession until Rebecca won it in their acrimonious divorce settlement. Ted, though his continuous kindness, which includes his daily gift of cookies that he bakes for her, she mellows and comes to value the team as Ted brings her into contact with them. Other characters also change greatly, such as the self-centered player Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) and the foul-mouthed assistant coach Roy Kent, (Brett Goldstein).

In the third season, so much of which finds the AFC Richmond team losing so many games, it is already-mentioned Nathan “Nate” Shelley (Nick Mohammed) who undergoes the greatest change as we get to know more about his relationship with his Anglo-Indian family and his successful wooing of the head waitress who has been snubbing him. Ted’s kindness towards him unfolds exactly as the author of the above quoted Proverbs passage predicted. Nate’s conscious is so aroused that he wants to apologize to his rival. He almost does but Rupert prevents this. How the rupture between him and Ted is overcome involves the taciturn Coach Beard, who injects more than a touch of Les Miserables into the story—LOVED that episode.

The one person, other than the always kind and supportive Ted, who does not change, unless it be for the worse, is Rupert Mannion. He truly embodies the Psalmist’s declaration, “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” The man corrupts Nathan and does all he can to further the supremacy of the team he has bought, West Ham United, culminating in the final match when he orders his coach to demand that a player “take out” Richmond’s Jamie who appears ready to score, thus winning the game for Richmond. When the coach refuses, Rupert is so angry that he assaults the man. The series began with the crowd yelling “Waker! Wanker!” at Ted. Guess who receives the crowd’s disdain this time!

Partial spoiler ahead:

There are so many themes, such as an international boycott of a polluting company, the treatment of minorities, especially gays, the place of women, the mental ravages issuing from abuse by fathers, and the lure of money—mostly handled with insight—that the series offers lots of opportunities for reflection/discussion. By no means is the series a religious affair—no kneeling on the field and joining in prayer for this team—but virtually every aspect of the development of the characters is in accord with the ethical core of the world’s religions.

“So Long, Farewell” is the name of the last session, and, although I join other fans who’d love to see more of Ted Lasso, I agree with the title’s implication that this is indeed the end of the series. The ending, involving Ted’s reuniting with his son, is open ended in regard to his future, except that we know that he has let go of his divorced wife. Other characters are given a quick wrap up of their future, and true to form, when Ted sees the manuscript of the book being written about his team, he scratches out the title Ted Lasso and notes, “It was never about me.” Most of us will beg to differ. Many episodes did leave Ted aside for a while to deal with a character—and how well it did so!—but, yes, th show was always about Ted, the “blessed man”!

This review with a set of discussion questions is in the June 2023 VP.

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2 Replies to “Ted Lasso (2023)”

  1. Sensitive analysis. Thanks, Ed. Loved the show. The only bad thing about it is that it ended! ☹️ Wish more TV were as entertaining and thoughtful.

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