ohspoilers from the ‘Ted Lasso’ finale, below!
If the ending of ‘Ted Lasso’ is guilty of anything, besides being criminally long, it’s getting in its own way.
The way in which the plots of the third season have been cut ceased to be explained in the last episode, when Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), still seeing clearly what he had written on the wall, was retiring from AFC Richmond.
Nonetheless, while Ted had a bit of narrative closure, leaving the door open for a possible return in the future, several of the other characters were denied a similar fate.
The episode opened with Nate Shelley (Nick Mohammed) back in Richmond’s locker room, looking like he never left. By the end of the season, Nate has shed the villainous role of him like nothing, apparently because Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head) tried to lure him away from his one-dimensional girlfriend, Jade (Edyta Budnik), by using a couple of charmless models.
Just like the “BELIEVE!” (hastily fixed), Nate’s innocent and brilliant personalitywhich we all fell in love with in the first season, returns in this latest episode, with very little explanation of how he did itdespite having seen him on his way to bitterness throughout the second season.
In the same way, we haven’t seen pivotal scenes like Nate resigning as West Ham managernor did we see his return to the fold or his reintegration into the team after his excellently developed evil arc.
The real plot developments occur offscreen throughout the finale. Instead, many, many minutes are spent on a collaboration between ‘Ted Lasso’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ that makes you wonder if we’re still in Amsterdam and if this is all part of Ted’s journey.
Another key example occurs when the new romance between Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) is hindered by the shadow of what was Keeley Jones (Juno Temple).
The couple acknowledges that they both want to be with Keeley and decide to hit it off, in what is supposed to be a ‘Bridget Jones’-style street fight.since everything happens, again, off the screen.
Whoever decided to do this, but felt that the scene where the team trains with their penises tied up with a rope shouldn’t stay in the cutting room, needs to revise their judgment.
Just as Nate’s character veered in incongruous directions in the finale, so did Keeley’s, Roy’s, and Jamie’s. ANDTed Lasso’s relentless positivity had created a problem for this love triangle that had been brewing for a long time. And surprisingly it was a real conflict that we were interested in seeing resolved.
But, after creating the close bond between them, it was decided that it was too much to leave one or the other heartbroken, so we were met with the worst of evasions instead.
Jamie and Roy go to Keeley to pick one of them and she refuses. Finally, something we can acknowledge that Keeley would actually do.
But then, the plot sinks like a stone without momentum. The last time we see the trio is at a block party with their Richmond mates, apparently having decided to remain friends or, perhaps, the trio they really were meant to be.
In any case, we will never know.
Throughout this last season, as the episodes progressed and the plots overlapped apace, the series reached an excessive length. It is perceived, above all, with Nate and Keeley. Both went through the biggest journeys of the series, but were loosed aimlessly in their final leg.
Did we really need the horror of Rupert pushing his new manager? Or the timeless DIY work on the ‘BELIEVE’ poster, crafted with the mastery of an archaeologist who uncovers an ancient artifact and set to ‘Chariots of Fire’-style music?
In the finale, and in particular in the last fragment of ten minutes, the series was dedicated to bringing the characters’ stories to a close, one by one, to create the illusion of resolution.
So, we had scenes like Dr. Sharon (Sarah Niles) in a hotel room watching the game; Rebecca’s mother, Deborah (Harriet Walter — awful, after her exquisite portrayal of Caroline in ‘Succession’); and too many of the Richmond fan trio with Mae (Annette Badland).
It is evident that ‘Ted Lasso’ is aware of his fans and what they want. The first scene of Ted and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), in which the possibility of a relationship floats in the air, is quickly understood as a mockery to the fans of the series.
Refuse to fall in fan service It’s admirable when the writers create an alternative story that is more suitable for their characters. Something that, more or less, they achieve with Ted and Rebecca.
But the end also moves away from certain plot arcs that have been built — like Nate’s stay at West Ham and the never-developed love triangle of Keeley, Jamie and Roy — for no apparent reason other than that they did not know how to conclude them.
Like Ted Lasso himself, his ending was too eager to please everyone.
‘Ted Lasso’ is available at streaming on AppleTV+.
Deputy TV Editor
Previously a TV Reporter at The MirrorRebecca can now be found crafting expert analysis of the TV landscape for Digital Spywhen she’s not talking on the BBC or Times Radio about everything from the latest season of Bridgerton or The White Lotus to whatever chaos is unfolding in the various Love Island villas.
When she’s not bingeing a box set, in-the-wild sightings of Rebecca have included stints on the National TV Awards and BAFTAs red carpets, and post-match video explainers of the reality TV we’re all watching.