Ted Lasso: Inverting the Pyramid of Success
October 8, 2021 3:12 AM - Season 2, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Season finale. Richmond gets their final chance to win promotion as Ted deals with the fallout of Trent Crimm's painfully honest exposé.
posted by crossoverman (99 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really loved this finale. I don't think this season was a perfectly structured or executed as season one, but the messiness of the plot feels like it suits the messy emotions and dealing with mental illness and complicated relationships and offers from billionaires. Going into this, I thought Roy and Keeley might break up but I liked that they progressed their relationship (normalise talking through your problems!) while Roy got stuck on feeling like he's on the outer, unable to deal with his "feeling". He tried to open up to Diamond Dogs but nothing got resolved. He doesn't feel worthy but I think Keeley does still love him - and sometimes you gotta do the practical thing and start your new PR agency.

Nate is barrelling along his journey of darkness and has ended up where most of us expected him, by Rupert's side at a new football team. It's easy to write Nate off because he said awful things to Ted (most of which I don't think were actually justified, but I see where they come from in his mind), but he also deep down truly HATES HIMSELF and I think that's an interesting wrinkle in his character. Like he might have cocked his eyebrow like a supervillain at the end, but there's an awful lot of trauma in him. Ted dealt with his trauma a lot this year but Nate hasn't dealt with his at all. And now he's working for a club that will likely exacerbate that toxic masculinity.

Lots of delightful stuff, too. Rojas getting the final kick was great, even though we should have seen that coming given the first scene of the season. Sam staying and talking to Rebecca through Ted.
posted by crossoverman at 3:26 AM on October 8 [7 favorites]


Lots of “oh yeah that makes sense” moments throughout the episode, like Trent Crimm* getting fired, or Akufo taking the rejection in the worst possible way. Can’t wait for next season :O

*independent
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:23 AM on October 8 [9 favorites]


They've moved pieces into a very nice set-up for a third season - Keeley doing PR and with Roy to still have a reason to appear, the nastiness of Rupert overshadowed by the new billionaire threat (I loved the actor SO MUCH in Veep, and he makes this role sociopathic charming and terrible right down to the careless helicopter parked on the pitch), Sam's quiet self-journey with the restaurant which is such a delight for him as someone enormously talented and interesting but not driven by money (nice touch with the dad's bitcoin investment so he's not worrying about supporting his family) or fame, and the thread being picked up of Beard and Jane, the moments for the other players - Isaac! Jaan! - and then Trent Crimm in all his stylish glory turning up to woo Ted, except he locks his own damn keys in the car, lovely.

I look forward to lots of analysis and thought pieces on the show, but it was also just very enjoyable television.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:39 AM on October 8 [5 favorites]


I'm just glad Nate didn't spit on the camera lens in that last closeup shot. All season I kept wondering if there would be a Twin Peaks reference in regard to Nate going gray.

I loved Coach Beard's correction about butt vs. bud. "Horticulture, baby!"
posted by emelenjr at 5:22 AM on October 8 [9 favorites]


oh also I need to give extreme credit to the guy who played Akufo for some spectacular physical comedy as he “choked” the mannequin
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:22 AM on October 8 [11 favorites]


In hindsight I think I misjudged the show's emotional range, in the sense that it didn't actually want to knock us (and its characters) down completely. I'm relieved to be wrong. It's still ESB, but the balance of hope against doubt came up more Ted Lasso style than I was bracing myself to see.

I'm torn about how we landed in this spot with Rupert and Nate. I understand wanting Nate's journey to come across as more than just a pawn in Rupert's escalating game. At the same time, I think there's more to say about how our own insecurity can leave us vulnerable to become instruments of malice for other people. Of course there's 10-12 more episodes ahead to illustrate the point. But seeing some of the early steps would be illuminating for people who could benefit from a little more awareness on that front. (I take it as a given that the show has emotional education at the core of its mission....)
posted by sockshaveholes at 6:53 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


The extremely Empire-ish, severely stylish black outfit Rupert is sporting in the final scene is a delightful touch.

Also a parallel struck me after the episode ended: Ted and Rebecca are both people who took their jobs for the wrong reasons, reasons tied up with relationships that were ending. And both were shown to be struggling in doing their actual jobs this season. Ted is still somehow not up to speed on the mechanics of the game, Rebecca more interested in her love and family life than the realities of running a multimillion -pound organization.
posted by minervous at 6:53 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Great performance by Nick Mohammed in that scene. It was heartbreaking for both Nate and Ted and you felt that Nate could have been a hug away from redemption (especially as somebody on Twitter pointed out that Ted keeps the picture Nate gave him at home next to the picture of his son) but ultimately Nate went to “F*** you Ted Lasso” and turned to the dark side.
posted by TwoWordReview at 8:20 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


It was also really interesting to see the motivation behind his confession to Roy in the Diamond Dogs scene - not as genuine remorse but just trying to be as relevant as Jamie in Roys eyes
posted by TwoWordReview at 8:29 AM on October 8 [21 favorites]


I have to re-watch it, but there's a lot I loved about it. Every week I look forward to watching it, coming here for discussion, and Linda Hamilton's recap.
posted by theora55 at 9:13 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


Notes from Nick Mohammed: https://twitter.com/nickmohammed/status/1446498835686064135

“Horticulture, baby” has got a lot of attention as a line with excellent delivery but “She’s a sneaky, salty bitch.” is my personal favorite.
posted by rewil at 10:01 AM on October 8 [14 favorites]


Great episode in general, definitely worth a rewatch. Great dialogue and tons of perfect character moments - loved the Jamie/Roy scene, Roy being so supportive of Keely when he hears about the new job, Sam/Rebecca/Ted and so many others.

That said sometimes I find the conflicts the writers are adding to be really artificial, like the Keely/Roy thing with the trip or (yes, I'll say it) the whole evil Nate arc, which really sticks out from the rest of the show. Beard and Ted have such a great relationship so it made no sense for Beard to not say something to Ted about the way Nate treated Will when it wasn't addressed (unlike Nate's treatment of Colin, which at least was addressed quickly). The whole thing felt artificial to me, but ok, we've got our evil Sith opponents next season. Disappointing for a show that has been unpredictably excellent so far.

Why was it necessary to end the great Keely/Roy story this season with a tired, manufactured conflict about the man's insecurity about his female partner's job? Ugh. What a clunky moment. Same goes for Nate's arched eyebrow at the end. Has the show ever done that kind of 4th-wall breaking before? Why do it now? Nick Mohammed's done a ton of interviews about the episode and says they filmed that scene in multiple ways, including without the eyebrow raise, and I wish they'd left that out. Small point, but indicative of a strain of obviousness in the show this season that wasn't there last season. (I'm so glad I don't read interviews about a show while it's still going on, am still astonished the actors talked about the "Empire Strikes Back" arc for Nate a month ago, and kinda am wishing Fanfare guidelines against including spoilery info from "next week" previews more explicitly included interviews as well.)

Anyway, still one of my favorite shows but as it abandons its fascinating first-season attempt to be interesting while also being uniformly positive (that was so much fun to watch) in favor of these extended, artificial, darker turns, it drops a bit in interest each time.

Also, what was up with that makeup job on Leslie during his scene with Keely?
posted by mediareport at 10:13 AM on October 8 [8 favorites]


I really liked the episode as a whole, though I kind of wish they hadn't tacked on the Roy/Keelie piece at the end. I liked that the episode up until that point showed that while things between them weren't perfect and they each may have some insecurities, they nevertheless have a strong relationship.

I thought Nate's speech to Ted at the end helped explain his drift to the dark side a bit more than the kind of caricaturized villain I think some were making him out to be this season. And, as rewill's link shows, it was building up for a while. Curious what will happen with Trent Crimm, independent next season—I hope he doesn't go away completely.
posted by synecdoche at 10:18 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


Nate's hair is too much.

Nate's hair was starting to leach colors from the surrounding scenery.

Nate's hair was going gray like he was rapidly withering as he traded Earthly vitality for power with the dark side.
posted by yonega at 11:02 AM on October 8 [5 favorites]


> Every week I look forward to watching it, coming here for discussion, and Linda Hamilton's recap.

Psst, Linda Holmes does Pop Culture Happy Hour. Linda Hamilton was in Terminator.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:04 AM on October 8 [11 favorites]


Such a great season. A couple of questions:

Trent Crimm, Independent (who I suspect will take over Keeley's role next season,) why was he locked out of his car? Was that a callback to something I'm forgetting?

Nate's speech to Ted about why he's angry. Was that a reference to something? It felt like something, like when Milton has Lucifer face off with God or something. Probably not that, but it sure felt like they were referencing something else (similar to the wholesale lift and shift of Ted's anger at Jamie last season, with his yelling about practice, which was lifted from Allen Iverson's infamous press conference.)

Again, so happy to see good writing on tv. Can't wait for season 3!
posted by nushustu at 11:46 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


One thing I appreciated was how this season, and especially this episode, captured the ever-increasing cycle of behavior that self-loathing and resentment can feed. I've seen some talk about how rapid Nate's heel turn felt. I thought that was very true to life. His resentment drives him to lash out, which fuels his self-hatred, which makes him resent everyone who doesn't recognize him in the way he wants, which makes him lash out more extremely and more quickly, which in turn.... That cycle only tightens and tightens as he didn't get the recognition he wanted--either through confrontation or consolation. At the end he's angry at everyone around him, and there's nowhere else to escalate except by leaving, with one last act of vandalism on his way out.

I've dabbled in that self-destructive cycle. I've had former friends who got swallowed by it. Like stresses that build until an earthquake, it's not too bad until suddenly it's too much.
posted by sgranade at 11:47 AM on October 8 [12 favorites]


After Nate's speech I want to do a season re-watch to see how much of that was actually shown at and how much they're just telling us at the end. Nate feeling ignored and acting out is childish but entirely realistic. It's the problem growing up where the teacher only seems to have time for the superstars and the struggling kids. Ted is dealing with his own crisis this season so only puts his attention on the problem child Jamie and their new star coach Roy. Nate and Beard both externally seem to be doing alright and both have issues with Ted ignoring them.

They could have nipped this in the butt/bud early on. But Ted never called Nate out on how he treated the kit boy, and Coach Beard only reprimanded him for treating a player harshly.

Roy should know better and that a surprise six-week vacation is a ridiculous RomCom gesture I'm glad was shot down. But I did like how it tied into Nate's arc. Just because someone is busy doesn't mean they are ignoring you or don't like you anymore. I do hope season 3 can reach a stable Keeley / Roy relationship. He needs to spend more time with Higgins.

While I like Coach Beard better as the strong silent type, I thoroughly enjoyed his look of glee when Roy complimented the Diamond Dogs.
posted by Gary at 12:59 PM on October 8 [10 favorites]


All season I kept wondering if there would be a Twin Peaks reference in regard to Nate going gray.

Him staring into a mirror feels supportive of that allusion.

Everyone needs to read the tweet from Nick Mohammed that rewil linked above. Nate feeling abandoned is mapped out - the only scene of just Nate and Ted in the whole of season two is that final scene with them together. Now, of course, that doesn't mean it's Ted's fault just that Nate has put all the pieces together and through the lens of self-hatred, he's come up with a reason to hate Ted.
posted by crossoverman at 2:11 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Brett Goldstein shouted out Gissane Sophia's recaps on Marvelous Geeks; I added this episode's here, and might go over the others.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:25 PM on October 8


Nate's anger at Ted is also in some sense displaced anger at his father - he's really angry at his father for ignoring him and neglecting him and not recognizing his accomplishments, but that's not 'safe' anger, that's scary anger, that's anger with consequences.
posted by Jeanne at 2:33 PM on October 8 [22 favorites]


Everyone needs to read the tweet from Nick Mohammed that rewil linked above

Yeah, Nick has been hitting the same few notes in every interview he's done - LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, on and on. We telegraphed this, they haven't had a scene alone together this season, Jason told me it was Empire Strikes Back during season 1, etc - but no amount of explaining can stop just how clunky and out of sync with the rest of the show the heel turn feels. To me, anyway.

1st-season Beard would have said something. 1st-season Ted would have done something. Allowing it to fester for....I won't call it a payoff because it feels like the opposite...this obvious, dark plot twist just didn't work in the context of the rest of the show. For me, anyway.
posted by mediareport at 2:36 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


First-season Ted was in a much better place than second-season Ted, though. Beard too, though a bit more subtly (the flat cap was back this week).

If the theme of the first season was that everyone* has their good side and can rise above their challenges, the theme of the second season has been that everyone has their flaws and weaknesses, and can stumble or fall.

*except Rupert
posted by Zonker at 2:57 PM on October 8 [11 favorites]


Terrific finale. I thought Nate's whole slide and turn was well shown this season, and his blistering rant to Ted was really effective--true enough to Nate but objectively selfish and awful and cruel. (The Vader/Emperor imagery with Nate and Rupert at the end was a little silly.) I do feel like the various epilogues were rushed, though.

So I'm guessing that the Premiere League Championship will be between Richmond and West Ham next season?

Trent Crimm* locking himself out of his car with an awkward fade to black was definitely a set-up, I'm guessing that they've decided to integrate his character into the show more fully? Maybe Rebecca comes out of the building and runs into him, ends up hiring him as Keeley's replacement. Or Keeley hires him. But I think we were definitely left with an opening for more Trent Crimm*.



* - independent
posted by LooseFilter at 3:16 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Also, Sam is still the best, and Akufo's meltdown was hilarious.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:19 PM on October 8 [7 favorites]


Akufo's meltdown was hilarious.

Last episode I didn't even put together that Edwin Akufo was the same guy from Detroiters / I Think You Should Leave. The payoff this episode took Sam Richardson from good casting to perfect casting.
posted by Gary at 3:31 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


I love that the team is victorious with a tie game, after Ted disparages ties throughout season 1.

I think Trent Crimm* is set up to write Ted’s biography and at the end of the series we’ll get a “Five years later” postscript showing a book cover that will include the taped back together “BELIEVE” poster.

Excuse me, I’m off to draw a greyhound puppy wearing a tiny helmet.

* - independent
posted by mikepop at 5:25 PM on October 8 [9 favorites]


I'm left vaguely unsatisfied? Nate's emotional beats were believable, and that boiling resentment that he didn't want to be talked down from felt real. At a certain point it crossed a threshold where he needed to convince himself he had been wronged, so he was right to leak to the press. Ted giving him credit over and over after he had unjustly complained that Ted stole credit was too much to bear, and tipped him into rage. The torn "BELIEVE" sign was gutting. Great arc. Until the very last shot. I find it hard to believe that his look at the camera with the eyebrow raise was really the thing that felt best. Even at that point, would Nate be so sure of himself? And the hair was so ridiculous that it distracted. Interesting parallels to storm troopers, though, with the players chanting "sir" during their regimented agility drills. Sharp contrast to N*Sync choreography.

I'm most annoyed at the Roy/Keeley storyline. Roy seemed really OOC for the last third of the episode--he didn't make it into the profile photos, so now he's not good enough for Keeley? Why does he jump to assuming they're breaking up when she can't just go on a 6-week holiday right when she's trying to build up her new business? Face-to-face meetings are probably really important for the head of a PR firm? (The American in me is showing, lol.) And poor Keeley! Jamie apologizes to Roy, but not to her, and she was definitely owed an apology. She's a powerful business lady, or so the show keeps telling us, and yet: she still has to deal with being hit on at work, but it's played for laughs because ha ha lesbians, and it ruined a scene with flipping adorable puppies in it!

Okay, some positives:
- Trent Crimm fanservice. The slashfic writers have plenty of fodder for the off season!
- Beard's glare was perfection
- The Sam/Akufo rejection scene was great and should also be cited in every relationship advice thread on Reddit when Niceguys are confused about why women "don't just say no" when they get hit on
- Dani Rojas facing another penalty kick at the pivotal sports moment, and being reassured by the adorable puppy with a helmet
posted by j.r at 5:39 PM on October 8 [12 favorites]


Holy shit, Nate’s hair at the end was epic. Like, he went grey throughout the season, and then, his hair underwent this weird evil apotheosis as he transferred clubs and betrayed Richmond. I want his hair to be bigger and stranger next season.

And, yes, he should have spit on the camera lens. That would have been an horrific end to a season of Ted Lasso, and I would have fucking loved it.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 5:53 PM on October 8 [10 favorites]


I greatly enjoyed the deliberate misattribution of the "choices, not abilities" quote to [didn't quite catch it but maybe UCLA's John???] Obi Wan Gandalf.

(It's a quote from a certain seven book fantasy series that Ted surely loves but Ted also aware that the author is Not A Good Person.)
posted by damayanti at 6:49 PM on October 8 [8 favorites]


(The Vader/Emperor imagery with Nate and Rupert at the end was a little silly.)

Complete with a formation of white suited stormtroopers marching back and forth in the background and shouting in unison.
posted by Naberius at 7:34 PM on October 8


Nate seemed furious that the team was able to execute his “False Nine” strategy successfully in the second half which makes me think he suggested it originally because he wanted the team to fail. I think he wanted the team to fail because A) he’s a severely broken man, B) he wanted Ted to suffer, and C) he was already in cahoots with Rupert.

I liked that Trent Crimm lost his job for revealing an anonymous source and for being the one who revealed the reveal. I loved that the Ghanaian billionaire turned out to be a psychopath. His meltdown was hilarious and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the writers had the idea for it after hearing a rumor about Elon Musk.
posted by pjsky at 8:58 PM on October 8 [13 favorites]


I greatly enjoyed the deliberate misattribution of the "choices, not abilities" quote to [didn't quite catch it but maybe UCLA's John???] Obi Wan Gandalf.

UCLA Coach John Wooden said, "Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."

Ted certainly wouldn't have forgotten John Wooden's name (even if he was a basketball coach, not a football coach), and was just doing his corny dad jokes.
posted by explosion at 9:12 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


Nate seemed furious that the team was able to execute his "False Nine" strategy successfully in the second half, which makes me think he suggested it originally because he wanted the team to fail.

I believe that. Nate was texting someone before his talk with Ted in the locker room, and I'm sure this was Rupert. I think he wanted to leave the team in the dust and "ascend" to a higher level instead of having to confront them head-on in the new league.
posted by rogerroger at 9:41 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


pjsky: "Nate seemed furious that the team was able to execute his “False Nine” strategy successfully in the second half which makes me think he suggested it originally because he wanted the team to fail."

Nah, I think from the Tottenham match until almost the very end, Nate's motive is to prove that he's better at this than Ted, that he's the unappreciated tactician behind a figurehead. But he's so deep into his manufactured narrative about Ted actually hating him that he views every decision through that lens. Ted's sticking with the strategy? He must be doing it to knock me down a peg, based on all the other evidence I have of his hatred! Except obviously he wouldn't tank a game of such significance just to hurt an assistant coach, and also all of the other “evidence” is the contrived invention of someone in emotional anguish.

When the tactic works, that shatters Nate's constructed reality, and he can't handle the cognitive dissonance, which is why he beats it out of there and has an off-camera emotional breakdown. He'd gone too far down that road to eat crow and admit that he'd been wrong all along.

Anyway, I'm cool with the Nate heel turn, and I do think it was about 80% earned. But for about six weeks straight, the first thing I said after the credits rolled was some form of “so why is nobody calling Nate out for being a needless prick?” And there are any number of headcanon answers to that question, but I would've felt better about it if they'd spent thirty seconds on a scene that lampshaded it. Ted is so attuned to locker-room temperature everywhere else in the series that, honestly, I'd buy any contrived 4D-chess reason why he's letting all the Nate stuff slide — I just needed to hear it.

Also agree about the Roy/Keeley stuff feeling contrived. I get that two people that are madly in love and perfectly happy are hard to write for, but the problems they're having are the sort that could be solved if they'd just take five minutes and air their insecurities to one another.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:02 PM on October 8 [12 favorites]


UCLA Coach John Wooden said, "Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."

Ted certainly wouldn't have forgotten John Wooden's name (even if he was a basketball coach, not a football coach), and was just doing his corny dad jokes.


The only reason I know John Wooden's name was googling "Pyramid of Success" this evening so I could figure out what Nate was staring at so intently (and why it would be inverted). So that's one 40-something white American man dad-joke that sailed over my head.

(I know who Obi-wan and Gandalf are, though!)
posted by paisley sheep at 10:22 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Also didn't notice the episode title until I got here, though I did catch that Beard was reading the book Inverting the Pyramid in one scene, which is a book about the history of soccer tactics. (Soccer formations used to have lots of attackers and a few defenders, looking like an upside-down Christmas tree when drawn in a diagram, but over time it became more balanced, then shifted toward more defenders and fewer attackers. The pyramid inverted.)

The mash-up of the two pyramids in the episode title suggests a marriage between Ted's high-concept motivational coaching style and the more tactical actually-knowing-something-about-the-sport efforts of his assistants, but it also sounds a bit like something Kevin Nealon's character would've said to Happy Gilmore.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:39 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


surely the richmond football team will not replace keeley, in-house, because the richmond football team will be the keeley jones public relations agency's first client, or second, with bantr. but trent crimm, independently, might spend time at richmond doing deeper longform work about ted or football.

does it change last week's condemnation of his journalistic ethics to, now, know he knew at the time that he was texting ted the identity of his confidential source that he was quitting his job. that implies some newsroom drama, and a different ethic.

i don't buy nate's sudden arrogance. wasn't he the kit man until being hired as assistant coach at or shortly before the end of last season? so it is during this one season as an assistant coach that he convinces himself he's obviously, objectively, far-and-away a better coach more deserving of recognition than lasso and beard, who have coached together for some seasons, and the retired career footballer. i get the resentment as nate stated it, sort of, but i don't get development of that arrogant entitlement. and do not believe someone like rupert would hire a guy who was assistant coach for a year to coach his premier league team (as it appeared he was in charge out there while some drill sergeant led the exercises). hell, angry deluded nate isn't even useful for competitive insight into ted's coaching! sure, it maybe hurts ted & rebecca, but it hurts ted more to have a professionally-coached team (maybe with the poached assistant coach) that beats ted's team.
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:04 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I was dreading this episode at bit expecting it to be crushing after all the ESB talk, but it was thankfully more hopeful. Didn't resolve everything, but left many of them in a place for a good resolution next season. I had a sudden fear during the Keely/Roy trip discussion that the writers might pull a Colonel Blake from M.A.S.H. I think they may be setting up Trent Crimm, The Independent to take over Roy's former spot on the TV show, if for no other reason than it could make good comedy as he would fit in there about as well as Roy did (but for different reasons obviously).

Particularly enjoyed Sam's arc this season and his centered joyful hope. He truly seems to be living his best life and enjoying it in the moment. Akufo's eyetwitch and briefest flash of rage on his face as Sam was turning him down convinced me he is truly dangerous, even if his over-the-top tantrum that followed was played for laughs. I like that Sam knows Richmond is his home, and it's great he's bringing some of old home to his new home with the restaurant (especially considering the overt anti-emigrant hostility with real life Brexit).

I went back and rewatched season 1, and I think Nat's Dark Side turn was earned. Nice touch with Beard (re)reading Inverting the Pyramid to bone up knowing Nat wasn't sticking around.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 1:01 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


If Nate feels abandoned by Ted now, just imagine how Nate is going to feel like when he gets deliberately fucked over by Rupert in Season 3.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 2:54 AM on October 9 [10 favorites]


Oh yeah. Nate's going to have to hit bottom hard next season, and his arc will be about Ted saving him basically.

(Probably ending with Nate killing Rupert, then dying in Ted's arms as they reconcile, then Ted burning Nate's body on a pyre as the rest of the team celebrates winning the Premiere League.)

(also, Sassy is revealed as Ted's long lost sister)
posted by Naberius at 5:14 AM on October 9 [29 favorites]


Nick Mohammed is so good.

I loved the symmetry of Jamie letting someone else take the big shot in the season-ending game both seasons.

I thought Sam's journey this season was great. I hope his restaurant is a huge success, and that we don't get an overabundance of Edwin Akofo trying to destroy him.

I especially like that Roy has a "feeling," singular.

The lines about the Diamond Dogs being about expressing feelings and not necessarily solving problems were just about identical to Ted and Rebecca's convo about girl talk in a previous episode, weren't they?

I could totally do with 15 minutes of Trent Crimm just looking straight into the camera, maybe saying random things. Dr. Fieldstone too. I sort of have a crush on both of them.

I feel like they're setting Nate and Rupert and West Ham up as formidable opponents next season, based largely on Nate being something of a football "wonder kid" who knows all of Richmind's secrets. But we've seen a lot of evidence that Ted pays attention and learns even when it seems like he is deflecting or being frivolous. So while it seems as though he still doesn't know enough about football, it's possible that Nate will have a more formidable opponent than he expects.

Also, Nate doesn't Believe. Or rather, his Belief is in the wrong thing.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:19 AM on October 9 [8 favorites]


Nate can't be hired as a full coach, he'll be an assistant at Rupert's. That seemed fine to me. Rupert's hiring of him is a jab at Rebecca, not talent spotting.

I love Roy and Keeley but Roy is bloody clingy, which the show went into. And he's never had a job outside of football so he only has a theoretical idea of how starting or running a business works. It's madness to suggest someone starting a PR firm go on holiday right before it, but it does make sense if you were switching jobs. I think there is something interesting to be explored about Roy choosing a smaller and quieter life as a coach - reasonably regular hours, a fairly domestic life we've seen glimpses of - while Keeley is working long hours and being highly visible where she thrives. They are quite different in what they want.

The greyhound they chose was the shy nervous one sitting on the couch, not the bolder puppies, a sweet touch.

Also, I thought the beat with the dog training wasn't so much hitting on Keeley - she kept a clear distance and gave Keeley room to withdraw from her compliment, and Keeley when she realised what the woman meant, seemed amused and pleased like she has been with other people recognising her as a WAG. But it's interesting to see that read as another harassment she has to deal with.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:19 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I haven't been watching the coaching/gameplay scenes as closely, and haven't rewatched Season 1 recently, so here's my question: have they consistently portrayed Nate as an excellent "Wonder Kid" football strategist, or have we seen him have a few successes and let those go to his head? i.e. is he going to crash and burn once he's out of the protective buffer of the "Diamond Dogs" where everyone is contributing ideas, and unselfish about taking credit?
posted by rogerroger at 8:57 AM on October 9


I love how they’re writing the Roy and Keeley dynamic. Both are actively developing independently as human beings and the way they are trying to navigate being in a relationship feels very realistic to me and the fact that it’s not getting all screamy and sulky makes me feel like they have a good chance. Macho man egotistical Roy finally learns how to let himself be fully available to someone and now she suddenly has a big career that he knows is important to her. He respects that and I think he’s genuinely happy for her, but there’s not really a template for how Manly Men become house husbands to strong career women and he is flustered by all this. He’s not telling her he wants her to deprioritize her career, he’s assuming she will because that’s what thousands of years of constructed gender roles tell us she should do. And he’s not really taking that frustration to her, he’s trying to understand it for himself and figure out how to be what Keeley needs. And Keeley even hints that she is sympathetic to this. It seems like there is great danger in writing to force an awkward change in their characters so that Roy and Keeley Work Out, or to keep them stuck in a state of arrested development to find the relationship can’t work. But looks like just maybe they might organically grow as characters in a real life relationship.

I haven’t really processed fully how I feel about Nate after this episode. They really went straight for the jugular there. I think it’s a pretty realistic portrayal of self loathing and how blaming everyone else feeds the wolf. You can’t change your parents and you can’t change the Bad Things that happen to you, but you do have control of how you react to them. Regardless of whether he has been demeaned or insulted, he has made some bad choices that are going to bring him more pain and I’m just very sad for him right now.

Big ups to Beard for figuring out on his own it was Nate.

And even though we knew this was how it would go down, it was satisfying to see Ted take hold of the press “Let’s talk about mental health in sports…”

Also happy to see Sam staying and getting the immediate feedback that this was the right decision.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:11 AM on October 9 [7 favorites]


Big ups to Beard for figuring out on his own it was Nate.

He's been watching Nate's downward spiral all season. And it didn't take Holmesian deduction skills to figure out who leaked the panic attack tidbit. The only ones who knew were him, Nate, and Roy, and he knew he didn't do it. Between Nate and Roy, it's not that hard to pick your winner. I think the only reason Roy didn't figure it out was because he had too much on his mind to think about it.
posted by Naberius at 9:25 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it just goes to show that Beard observes everything, which is why he’s cool. Also, he broke up and got back together again with his girlfriend in the course of one sip of beer this episode.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:32 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


As I think someone mentioned upthread, the problem with Beard is that he sits back and sees things, but he didn't actually DO anything about it. Maybe he understood Ted had too much going on to deal with it at the time. Maybe he understands his role as to do nothing himself and solely to support Ted and keep Ted on an even keel so Ted can do the actual things that need doing. But if he'd taken it on himself to call Nate on some of his bullshit earlier in the season, much of this might have been avoided.
posted by Naberius at 9:36 AM on October 9 [13 favorites]


The show is ignoring this which is fair enough, but I believe that any manager must have an FA Level 5 Coaching Badge before they can be a manager or a coach.
posted by idb at 9:40 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


But if he'd taken it on himself to call Nate on some of his bullshit earlier in the season, much of this might have been avoided.

My thought on this from last thread, I still think that previous scene shows the writers' rationale for both Beard and Ted seeing Nate's decline but saying nothing: it's (toxic) bro code, don't intervene/interfere unless directly asked.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:00 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


The show also ignored the fact that even if Richmond had lost and fallen to third place, they’d still have a chance to win promotion though the playoff against the 4th–6th seeds. For narrative reasons, of course, but I was fuzzy on that until the announcer explained that this was the game that would allow Richmond to clinch second place in the table.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:50 AM on October 9


My thought on this from last thread, I still think that previous scene shows the writers' rationale for both Beard and Ted seeing Nate's decline but saying nothing: it's (toxic) bro code, don't intervene/interfere unless directly asked.

Weeeell...maybe. But there's a difference between an external situation like Beard's relationship with Jane and one that is entirely internal to the team, and directly impacts the situation on the pitch and in the locker room. Beard really should have taken it upon himself to do something, whether try to get Ted to notice and act, or do something himself.
posted by Naberius at 10:57 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


The “Bro” umbrella is quite large indeed if Beard and Ted find shade under it.

But the hell if I know what gives with Beard.

Honestly, a lot of the characters confused me this season.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 12:25 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


I would like to watch Naberius’ mythopoetic telling of Ted Lasso, though.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 12:28 PM on October 9


wasn't he the kit man until being hired as assistant coach at or shortly before the end of last season?

Pretty sure the entire time Nate was the kit man he was scheming and brooding and thinking about how he would be a better coach than any of the other coaches.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:36 PM on October 9 [6 favorites]


I do like the whole Nate arc. His speech was the spiciest thing on this determinedly mild show. Nate has a nice mix of genuine grievances and paranoid insecurity, and Nick Mohammed has done a really good job. In a show that's so much about people resolving difficulties and being a general hugbox, a failure stands out.

(And I think that's one reason I didn't care much about Ted's panic attack arc, really. This show is about teamwork, really, and to have something shown as an individual problem and individual drama didn't match the rest of the show. It *does* impact the team, and the show show nods towards some of that, but not really more than a nod. Also Beard's neutrality in Ted's time of crisis looks bad IMHO.)

Getting back to Nate's story though -- Beard looks bad there too.

Ted's role is to get people to be part of the team, to be the carrot. Beard's role seems to be the stick, the one that notices when things aren't working out and will cut them out if he needs to. For instance insisting that it's time to bench Roy. In the case of Nate, Beard should not have done nothing. He failed to help Nate from becoming a problem -- okay fine, not his job; but he also failed to act once he saw Nate was a problem. The only thing he ever did about it was a passive aggressive threat to head-butt Nate, which is audience-pleasing, but IRL is actually a shitty way to behave to someone who is losing their grip.

Though I suppose in Beard's defense, Nate was doing his job fine up until he wasn't. That is often what underlies the "bro code" of conversation.. after all is said and done with airing the feelings, are the obligations and duties being fulfilled y/n. If yes, well, suck it up and get back to work don't waste ppls time with your mewling.

From the team point of view it doesn't really matter whether Nate is good or bad or who is more toxic or whatever. When someone is having trouble on the team, it can become everyone's problem; that's how teams work. A lot of responsibility is on each person to get with the program or fuck off, but if you care about team outcomes you probably can't just leave it at that.

So Nate's arc is fairly interesting I think. It's weird that it's on a show that can be so clumsy -- like the awkward triple intertitles "three days later.... six weeks later... a month later" for the denouement -- like, lol, show, do you think you have that much precision or scope? this ain't lord of the rings.
posted by fleacircus at 12:50 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


Apropos of nothing else, I have to say that Nick Mohammed impressed the heck out of me. My only experience with him before was as Mr Swallow on Catsdown's Dictionary Corner, and I can't say I enjoyed that brand of comedy. But wow, he's turned out to be a versatile performer.
posted by synecdoche at 1:31 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I was just going to post this link to Nick Mohammed in a very different persona.
posted by Superilla at 7:50 PM on October 9


My favourite thing about this episode was Sam's response to Afuko's meltdown. He's such a class act.
posted by simonw at 8:39 PM on October 9 [10 favorites]


This was a really satisfying episode. Nate's arc is working for me, and I think it's great that they took a well-worn trope of the shy underdog finding their skill and gave it a more realistic turn. I've met a lot of guys like Nate, and yeah, a lot of them are messed up in a way that can't be fixed with a bit of a confidence boost. They need real therapy and are unlikely to get it. Rupert will use him up and throw him away, and it'll be on Nate to either re-evaluate his choices or continue becoming his father. Nick Mohammed has played both seasons perfectly.

I don't blame Ted for missing what's going on with Nate, although I'm giving Beard a bit of side-eye. Beard isn't as pulled-together as he likes to seem though. But like savetheclocktower, I would have appreciated even a tiny lampshade on this.

I'm giving the Roy and Keeley thing some patience even though I dislike the 6-week holiday setup. The show has resisted doing the predictable things with their relationship so far, so I'll wait and see. I'm confident that if they break up it will be with mutual respect, I just don't want them to break up.

Other random bits:
- puppy with a tiny helmet! omigod! I am in love!
- Jaime reaches the emotional maturity of like, an 18 year old. By the time he's 30 he might be fully grown up.
- I knew I was right to distrust Akufo. Thank goodness Sam is too smart to believe in fairytales, and trusts in his own ability to make change.
- Akufo's tantrum was both scary and hilarious, and I loved the assistant's fake out on the handshake.
- prediction for S3 ending that I'm not overly invested in (yet): Ted realises that he'd make a better therapist than coach, and goes back home to study and be near his son.
- the Renaissance painting shot cracked me up laughing. Colin and Isaac in particular are perfect.
posted by harriet vane at 9:16 PM on October 9 [10 favorites]


I think the Nate arc was very believable. He's basically showing us how self-loathing leads to Narcissism. He started with just the self-loathing, and Ted convinced him that he had value, which is great, but with the other things in his head (Roy Kent absolutely eclipsing him as a coach, his father, etc.) he ends up being a Narcissist rather than a well-adjusted person.

It's easy to imagine him having a black-and-white view in Season 1. There are Nobodies and there are Somebodies, and he's a Nobody. He's been envying the Somebodies of the world since he was a kid. Then he gets a chance to be Coach and he expects a parade: "Congratulations, you're Somebody now! Here's your free coffee maker and your tweets and headlines and your attractive girlfriend." But he gets very few of those things, and when they do come ("Wonderkid") they just convince him he's Somebody and ought to have all of the other rewards.

Narcissists and people with severe anxiety / paranoia have something in common: They think everything is about them. Ted had a personal crisis going on this season, and Nate interpreted it as Ted going out of his way to ignore Nate. Roy becomes coach just to bother Nate. Nate's flirtation with Keely should be just as important as Jamie's.

It's very believable and very sad.

I expect things to go very badly for Nate at West Ham. He's got zero experience being head coach, Rupert will probably hire a famous coach and make Nate #2 or #3, and he'll be treated poorly. He'll probably beg to come back to Richmond like Jamie did, but do they really need him? Jamie was a second Ace. Nate's just a 4th coach and a decent strategist. He's no wunderkind.

I hope Nate gets a good ending, and I don't think his redemption can be coming back to Richmond as coach. I hope the writers have a better idea than repeating the Jamie Tartt storyline with Nate...

My prediction on Akufo: I don't think we'll see him again at all, he'll move on to other things. People who throw childish tantrums like that don't become cold, calculating villains, they just get distracted by the next childish thing. It's maybe even healthier than the way Nate deals with things. If Nate could have had a childish tantrum about the time Roy got hired, maybe he could have got things out of his system...
posted by mmoncur at 12:34 AM on October 10 [13 favorites]


Good Twitter thread breaking down the emotional drivers behind Nate's character arc through S1 & S2.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:52 AM on October 10 [4 favorites]


I absolutely see the Nate arc, and I think that there is blame to go around for Ted and Beard -- and maybe Higgins? -- about this. I can't remember how I feel about Roy reacting to Nate's coaching.

I am pissy that Jamie's growth is apologising to A Man for Hitting On His Girlfriend. Keeley deserved the apology, not Roy.

Also look, I get that Roy was trying to do something thoughtful and all for Keeley, and that he probably didn't understand why "it has wifi" was enough. And I get why he's scared when she says no, that he thinks she is breaking up with him. But it's sort of irritating to do all these "X period later" followups and then just ignore them. I don't really think we're going to break them up long term (hope not?), but it just seems like they do a lot of weird drama around them because they can't figure out organic plotlines.
posted by jeather at 9:41 AM on October 10 [6 favorites]


Naberius: it didn't take Holmesian deduction skills to figure out who leaked the panic attack tidbit. The only ones who knew were him, Nate, and Roy, and he knew he didn't do it.

And Higgins! Don't forget Higgins!

Higgins would never
posted by tzikeh at 11:42 AM on October 10 [4 favorites]




Oh, Higgins was in that clutch too, wasn't he? But yeah, *of course* it wasn't Higgins!

I agree with mmoncur on Akufo. I think he's a one-off joke and we'll never see him again. Surely he's got more important things to do with his time and his fortune than try to mess with Sam. Okay, maybe a suitably rich and spoiled person might get a bug in his craw and never let it go. But from a storytelling perspective, having him stick around and be annoying to Sam doesn't really accomplish much. They've got enough going on.
posted by Naberius at 4:08 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Well, Season 1 Higgins would have because Season 1 Rebecca would have made him. She'd have gone to town with that if she'd found out then.
posted by Naberius at 4:16 PM on October 10


Trent Crimm*

*The Independent
posted by Marticus at 4:32 PM on October 10


In addition to lots of what’s been said above, I wanted to add a couple things I loved:
- Sam opening the restaurant
- Jamie giving Dani the penalty shot (indicative of his growth since S1) and Dani’s shoe had “RIP Earl” written on it!
- Loved the handshake fakeout!
- Really appreciated Ted’s handling of telling the players about his panic attack, and then the press conference afterwards. I especially appreciated Ted using it as an opportunity to discuss how mental health is discussed in sports.
posted by bluloo at 5:46 PM on October 10


I wanted to give a shoutout to everyone on FanFare who has been sharing such interesting commentary and ideas this season! It's been so fun to chew on these topics with folks here.
posted by rogerroger at 7:26 PM on October 10 [7 favorites]


I know the Roy/Keely flash forward isn’t popular with some, but I don’t think it’s in there as a throwaway. It also ties into Roy having trouble being away from Keely for six hours, let alone six weeks. I expect this is going to be a thing next season.

The show continues to find the good in its characters. Jamie Tartt isnt evil, he’s damaged goods from the combination of stardom and an abusive father who still hasn’t stopped. Rebecca turned out not to be a bad person, but someone who was hurt and angry after the way Rupert treated her. Leslie isn’t some meek henchman for the boss, but a loving husband and father who cherishes those he loves and sacrifices for them. Keely doesn’t get the typical treatment that scripts give strong women, where they’re often cast as the bitchy, power hungry type - she’s a good person (I love the scenes of her and Rebecca practically turning into giddy schoolgirls when they’re laughing it up and having a good time) and wants to help people. It’s why Nate’s dark journey is so stark and feels like such a betrayal to everyone. People who are bullied can easily turn into bullies, and Nate was primed for that. Nate starts off the show as the clubhouse guy who is a nobody and barely noticed, and seems like a ray of sunshine, until he starts finding himself with some success and some power, and then he starts punching down.

Meanwhile, Ted uses his platform to bring awareness to the problems around dealing with mental illness in sports, which is a great thing. However, he’s still bottled up about things to a point, not as much as he once was, but he’s still keeping things buried under his sunny persona. Someone on Twitter said a few weeks that the biggest lesson of this season was that being optimistic and kind is great, but it’s not sustainable if you don’t take care of yourself. That stuck with me and helped color the lens through which I watched the rest of the season.

Just remember, y’all - The truth will set you free, but first it’ll piss you off.
posted by azpenguin at 11:01 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Roy was apparently shipped off alone at 12 years old to make it as a pro footballer and then never went home again? I see why he'd be clingy lol.

Also, his life is a dream come true, but I feel like it also isn't easy to be put out to pasture at age 40. He's been working on ways to make his life feel meaningful and hopeful, but he's not 100% there yet. So it makes sense to me that he would want to marry Keeley, that's a happy transition and a new beginning in its own way.

But Keeley's new beginning isn't marriage, it's this new company. I dunno, where they are right now doesn't seem incompatible to me, but maybe it'll end up being that way. I mean, Ted left the country to give his wife some space, and look how that turned out.
posted by nowadays at 12:42 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


I expect things to go very badly for Nate at West Ham. He's got zero experience being head coach, Rupert will probably hire a famous coach and make Nate #2 or #3, and he'll be treated poorly. He'll probably beg to come back to Richmond like Jamie did, but do they really need him? Jamie was a second Ace. Nate's just a 4th coach and a decent strategist. He's no wunderkind.

Actually, I expect something a little different (for a bit at least). I think Nate is going to be an absolute hard-ass and bastard at West Ham, and it will work. He'll be free from Ted's shadow and will go the polar opposite into all his negative tendencies, and is going to be a cruel as he can be with his new players. And like it or not, that strategy often works. The players will be bullies, and the team will rise meteorically thanks to the take-no-prisoners tactics of the "Wonder Kid." (I expect a joke from a commentator about the Wonder Kid not looking as young as he used to.)

And then something will go wrong. Nate will cross a line, abuse the wrong player, or otherwise have his ass handed to him. He will realize that Rupert doesn't have his back like Ted did, and Ted will continue to succeed by the power of love.

So that's my prediction. We'll see how it goes.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:44 AM on October 11 [11 favorites]


The actor who plays Akufo is Sam Richardson, a long-time buddy of Tim Robinson and appeared with him on Detroiters.

But holy shit, that rant--I *loved* the small touches in the previous episode where they brought up the rivalry between Ghanian and Nigerian jollof, but when Akufo says "Yoruba trash"...

I'm impressed by the writers there, because I'm not sure that ethnic distinction really is visible to most outside of the community.
posted by i used to be someone else at 9:12 AM on October 11 [8 favorites]


I wondered how much of that was from Richardson himself -- or Richardson and Jimoh together. I just listened to an interview with Richardson on (MeFi's own) Bullseye about growing up between Detroit and Ghana. Richardson was a fantastic choice to play Akufo.

I am pissy that Jamie's growth is apologising to A Man for Hitting On His Girlfriend. Keeley deserved the apology, not Roy.

I have mixed feelings about Jamie needing to apologize to Keeley. Obviously, Jamie had poor timing and should have kept his words to himself. On the other hand, he and Keeley had a relationship apart from her and Roy's. If Jamie could have just left it at recognizing that Keeley saw more in him than anyone else ever had. But I did like Jamie affirming Keeley's judgement in their relationship, even though he ultimately overstepped.
posted by gladly at 9:56 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]


I really liked this piece about what Ted Lasso is really about and wish it was longer. It’s a nice antidote to some of the Nate apologia.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 6:31 PM on October 11 [3 favorites]


Jamie apologised to Keeley when he said it. He knew it was a shitty thing to do but he thought he had to say it anyway. Should he apologise again? Maybe. They were in a relationship. He missed her. It wasn't the right thing to do exactly (and certainly not the right place), but that's for them to sort out.

Should he apologise to his coach with whom he also has a working relationship and a friendship? Yes.

I don't see it as Jamie apologising to Roy instead of Keeley. I see it as a whole other apology for transgressing another relationship.
posted by crossoverman at 6:34 PM on October 11 [10 favorites]


One more thought after rewatching the incredible scene where Sam decides not to leave Richmond - we've talked a lot about toxic masculinity this season and Sam's amused reaction to Edwin Akufo's freakout was another example of confident, non-toxic masculinity. He's being showered with childish insults and I can imagine almost all of the other Ted Lasso characters reacting differently -- cowering/stewing (Nate), deflecting with humor (Ted), punching him in the nose (Roy -- well, Roy of early Season 2!) -- but Sam is very secure in himself, secure in his decision and reacts with humor and curiosity.
posted by rogerroger at 7:11 PM on October 11 [11 favorites]


This is the best explanation I've seen of Nate's motivations, from here:

The thing with Nate is that there’s a piece of him on the inside that’s empty. Think of it as a crater created by the father that never showed affection or pride toward him no matter what he did. And there’s a hole at the bottom of the crater, too, so it’s not a matter of just filling it once. He needs it filled constantly, every day, through validation and appreciation and credit. And if whoever filled it last does not stay vigilant about topping it off, then he’s going to turn on that person and blame them for the crater being empty. This is not a great analogy. I’m not entirely sure a leaky crater is even a thing that exists.

Someone upthread was incredulous that Nate would go from being the kit man to seeing himself as a genius in one season, but remember, after his Park The Bus strategy worked he started gorging himself on social media praise, which is basically the worst kind of validation. So he could point to all the praise he was getting there as evidence he was a genius. Then the second it (inevitably) turned against him, the crater was empty again and he was like a junkie who needed a dose. And all junkies hate themselves and everyone around them for not giving them what they need.

Also don't buy the idea that Beard or Ted should have done more. Ted, like many successful coaches/managers in pro sports, let's the clubhouse manage itself. It's why Ted didn't intervene when Jamie and his side pricks were bullying Nate, but left it to Roy to solve a problem that he saw. So why would Ted intervene when Nate was bullying the new kit man?

Ted has made it clear that he believes that positive reinforcement is the only way to really reach people. What would confronting Nate have accomplished? Ted understands that some people aren't reachable in certain moments. I was really impressed that Ted didn't contradict Nate when he was on his "fuck you Ted Lasso" rant or ask him to point to examples of when Ted had abandoned him. Ted understands that this is the reality that Nate sees in this moment, so there is very little value in trying to contradict him. "I can't control what anyone else thinks about me" is the cornerstone of who Ted Lasso is.
posted by dry white toast at 9:01 PM on October 11 [9 favorites]


Two other things I really liked this episode:
1) Letting Akufo's veil of "The Good Billionaire" drop the second he didn't get what he wanted, which is what happens with all uber wealthy people who think their money can get anything. His courtship of Sam was full of red flags. Even if it was all just an excuse to let Sam Richardson literally chew some scenery, it was true to life.
2) It did a very good job of conveying that in penalty kicks, ALL the pressure is on the kicker. Sports-related tangent: I've watched soccer/football for a long time but not closely, and I used to be part of the crowd that thought it was ludicrous to settle World Cup matches with PKs because they seemed basically like coin flips. All a keeper needs to do is guess right once or twice and their team wins. But that's not really true. A keeper has no chance on a well-struck ball even if they guess right. But a well-struck ball might go wide or over the crossbar. So a player might give into doubt and use a soft touch to make sure they hit the target. And that gives the keeper an opening. So if you're not sure of your abilities to hit the target with conviction, you're basically cooked. I think the way the PK scene was shot with Jamie and Danny conveyed that beautifully. And I say that as someone who has thought that the in-game production values have easily been the worst part of the show since the get-go.
posted by dry white toast at 9:09 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]


Then the second it (inevitably) turned against him, the crater was empty again and he was like a junkie who needed a dose. And all junkies hate themselves and everyone around them for not giving them what they need.

This is offtopic but - describing substance addiction in terms that are this reductive and dehumanizing sucks, and I'd love it if you could make your point without this hurtful analogy.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:24 AM on October 12 [6 favorites]


"I'm sorry because I know I shouldn't say this but I am going to say it" is not an apology for doing something you know is wrong. You can argue about whether or not he should have apologised to Roy (I see the arguments either way), but he definitely owes Keeley one more than Roy, because she's the one he dumped all his unwanted shit on. He could indeed have worded it better -- about how he realised he fucked up, she made him better, etc, and it's reasonable that he didn't word it well. I don't object to what Jamie did as much as the way the show framed it -- as something he did to Roy and not something he did to Keeley. (I did not interpret it at the time as setting up a love triangle story, unlike the weird teacher plot.)
posted by jeather at 9:28 AM on October 12 [1 favorite]


So why would Ted intervene when Nate was bullying the new kit man?

The big, huge, glaring problem with this take, and all the other takes regarding Beard not calling out Nate for his treatment of Will, is that we have an in-show refutation of all of these defenses.

When Beard saw Nate insulting Colin in Episode 7, he instantly confronted Nate and made him apologize. Yet we see Beard witness Nate attacking Will numerous times and doing nothing. So why does bad treatment of Colin warrant instant intervention but bad treatment of Will fall under "bro code" or "it's not our way to intervene"?

The answer is obvious in a normal club environment: Colin is a player and therefore important to the club while Will is a lowly peon who can be safely stomped on. But this show is explicitly about this not being a normal club environment, and both Ted and Beard are defined as not being those kind of people. The show not even addressing this disparity is a huge break in Beard's character and the show's outlook in general.
posted by star gentle uterus at 11:22 AM on October 12 [4 favorites]


The show not even addressing this disparity is a huge break in Beard's character and the show's outlook in general.

I agree, and another point of difference with season 1 is that Ted clearly expected that Roy would step up to stop it. He chatted with Roy about leadership until he caught on, but the implication was always obvious to us in the audience. If Roy hadn't stepped up, presumably Ted would have leaned on him further or done something else to intervene. In contrast, this season Ted was completely oblivious (okay, sure), but Beard clearly saw and didn't do anything about it, which feels really weird.
posted by j.r at 11:48 AM on October 12 [1 favorite]


The only thing I have to add to the discourse is to say how happy it made me to realise that Nate is a very short man, and therefore would have had to - storm off the pitch, storm into the changing room, see the "believe" sign and have it become the target of his ire, retrieve some sort of ladder or object to stand on, climb up and retrieve the sign, climb down, tear it in half and place it on Ted's desk, and then - as no ladder was evident when the team returned to the changing room - neatly return the ladder before storming out of the building.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:14 PM on October 12 [22 favorites]


Am I the only one really frustrated by treatment of the Rebecca / Sam relationship. None of the other characters has even slightly objected is quite frustrating. The owner of a team or the CEO of a company should not have sex with the players / employees. The relationship is built on a massive imbalance of power and the potential for the relationship to become exploitative is just too great.


I love everything else about this show — but to me her decision was worse than Nate’s.
posted by interogative mood at 5:03 PM on October 12 [12 favorites]


Also the "offer" to Sam didn't make sense. Akufo said he didn't have a team yet, he was just planning to buy one. So his offer to Sam was to...leave Richmond and sit around until Akufo actually bought the team? And assuming that ever did happen, Sam would then play for a team that would have to be built from the ground up so that Sam has no idea what kind of team he'd be playing on other than a vague commitment that the players would be African? I know Sam is supposed to be kind of naive but he's not an idiot and this is just stupid.
posted by star gentle uterus at 7:45 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


star gentle uterus: Sam would then play for a team that would have to be built from the ground up so that Sam has no idea what kind of team he'd be playing on other than a vague commitment that the players would be African?

Raja Casablanca, the team Akufo says he is buying, is a real team that already exists.
posted by tzikeh at 8:51 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Yes, I know that. But Akufo doesn’t own it yet, and said he had grand plans to completely rebuild it with African players once he does. So Sam is being offered nothing, basically. He wouldn’t have a new team to play on until the deal happens, and he wouldn’t know what kind of tram he’d be leaving Richmond for because of the planned overhaul.
posted by star gentle uterus at 10:03 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


My suspicion was that Akufo was planning to use the fact that he had signed Sam to seal the deal with Raja Casablanca. So no Sam means that the team deal may fall through.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:37 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Ted, like many successful coaches/managers in pro sports, let's the clubhouse manage itself. It's why Ted didn't intervene when Jamie and his side pricks were bullying Nate, but left it to Roy to solve a problem that he saw.

Go back to the first two episodes. Ted quickly and directly addresses the problem of Jamie's obnoxiousness, sometimes with words and sometimes with a raised eyebrow. Then when that doesn't work he quickly asks Keely her advice for reaching Jamie. She tells Ted Jamie responds to positive reinforcement. The next time we see Jamie he's being called into Ted's office for a pep talk with tons of praise for his skills.

In season 1 Ted does *not* "let the clubhouse manage itself." That's clear from the start. His decision to quickly and directly address Roy's problem of not stepping up to lead, by making it clear that Roy needs to be the one to stop the bullying of Nate, is in fact another example of his attentive and hands-on (and sure, often subtle) management style.

Both of those cases are quick and decisive moves to address management issues in the clubhouse. I've just started a season 1 rewatch so I'm sure I'll soon find others.
posted by mediareport at 8:04 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Seems like I'm in the minority here but I was bored with the Nate storyline like 6 episodes ago. It's just so...entitled male. I feel like I've met a hundred Nates in my lifetime and I have no interest in spending time with another one. I'm glad that it seems the Sam/Rebecca romance is over because it was all sorts of problematic even though I like both characters. Trent Crimm*'s car was *chef's kiss* and Akufo's meltdown was epic. I also enjoyed some actual football as part of the episode. Can't wait to see more Keely next season as she's been my favo(u)rite character from the start. I also think Ted still hasn't fully dealt with his issues.
posted by emd3737 at 8:16 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Raja Casablanca, the team Akufo says he is buying, is a real team that already exists.

Yes, I know that. But Akufo doesn’t own it yet, and said he had grand plans to completely rebuild it with African players once he does. So Sam is being offered nothing, basically. He wouldn’t have a new team to play on until the deal happens, and he wouldn’t know what kind of tram he’d be leaving Richmond for because of the planned overhaul.

My suspicion was that Akufo was planning to use the fact that he had signed Sam to seal the deal with Raja Casablanca. So no Sam means that the team deal may fall through.


Raja Casablanca is one of the top teams in Africa already; they've won the domestic Moroccan championship 12 times including in 2020, they've won the African club championship three times, they play in a 67,000 seat stadium (the 6th largest on the continent, larger than all but one Premier League stadium), they're one of only two African sides to make the finals of the Club World Cup. They're already a legitimate team (with all African players) and had financial troubles recently; I'm sure they'd love to bring on a billionaire. The only team in Africa that's clearly a step ahead of them is Al Ahly in Cairo, and Raja adding even one player of Sam's calibre might make the difference; he'd be the best player in the league.

The thing that doesn't make sense to me is how it would have been that much better for Sam. Yes, it's on the same continent, but it's still a long way from home. The flight from Casablanca to Lagos is 4 hours, it's 6 hours from London but they're a lot more frequent. If Sam's family is elsewhere in the country, it's actually worse; there are better connections to say, Abuja or Port Harcourt from London than from Casablanca. And I don't know -- perhaps there's something to being on the same continent, but Casablanca is a city of Arabic and French speaking Maghrebi Muslims, while Sam is an English (and Yoruba) speaking Yoruban with no clear religious background.

But all of this is fine; the show clearly doesn't really care about the soccer side of things. There have been far bigger sins; the fact that a team that is relegated and loses it's sponsor isn't making some hard personnel decisions is the most obvious one. Or how Ted, who isn't a dummy, still has problems with basic soccer rules after an entire season as the coach of the club. And that's something I've (begrudgingly) come to accept -- the creators have said that it's a workplace comedy that just happens to take place in a soccer club.

The thing that bothers me is when Rebecca and Sam's relationship is only mentioned as potentially inappropriate one time before it begins, which seems like the sort of thing that should be onside in a workplace comedy, no matter the workplace.
posted by Superilla at 11:35 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


I should follow up with the note that I'm sure the actual reason that Akufo buys Raja Casablanca is because it's a rare notable African team that actually has the name of their city in it, and where that city is well known to American audiences.

Other top African teams include, for example, Al-Ahly and Zamalek (both Cairo), TP Mazembe (Lubumbashi, DR Congo), Simba (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania), Hearts of Oak (Accra, Ghana), Horoya AC (Conakry, Guinea), 1º de Agosto (Luanda, Angola), and Enyimba (Aba, Nigeria). And top teams with their hometown in the name include, again for example, Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) and Espérance de Tunis (Tunisia). Given a list like that, I'm sure the writers picked Raja Casablanca for it's obviousness to viewers.
posted by Superilla at 10:03 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


Sam’s value to Akufo os based on his activist credentials in getting the team to change sponsors and pressuring the Nigerian government to do something about the corrupt oil company and pollution. Presumably if Sam agrees to play for the club other African stars playing in Europe will feel some peer pressure to come home to the continent. I’m not sure if playing for Casablanca would be good for his career in terms in terms of his growth as a player; but he’d probably sell a lot of jerseys and build up his social media following.
posted by interogative mood at 2:44 PM on October 14


"Sam is an English (and Yoruba) speaking Yoruban with no clear religious background."

It's understated, but Sam is pretty clearly Muslim, and it's one of my favorite examples of how clever this show is nailing little visual details that give the characters background & depth that's not obvious from the dialogue alone. We twice see him praying (one, before a the big final match in 1x10, with his hands cupped in front of him, and another time in S2 that's even more blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but he's wiping his face in the gesture that is used at the end of a prayer), in the photo of his parents his mom seems to be wearing hijab, and he drinks water at dinner with Rebecca while she's having wine. The fact that he's dating Rebecca in the first place suggests he may not be super observant, but those all strike me as very deliberate choices on the part of both Toheeb Jimoh and the folks behind the camera.
posted by karayel at 10:42 PM on October 14 [11 favorites]


THANK YOU

i knew the hands motion thing was familiar but totally failed to place it as the prayer gesture
posted by lazaruslong at 5:55 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


Heh
posted by theora55 at 5:03 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


I liked the parallel between how Nate reacted to what he described as Ted making him feel like the center of the world and then suddenly abandoning him, and how Sam reacted to Akufo actually making him feel like the world revolved around him and then suddenly turning on him.
posted by Pwoink at 7:06 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]


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