How do you say goodbye to a cultural phenomenon?
With a folksy reference to a musical? Or is it best done with a box of biscuits and a side of hot brown water?
All signs point to Season 3 of the hit Apple TV+ comedy “Ted Lasso” being its last. If that is the case, the show is saying farewell the only way it knows how: The Lasso Way.
Through its first four episodes, the new season of “Ted Lasso” is expertly walking a fine line. On the one hand, it’s a glorious victory lap filled with all the things fans have come to love about the show — happy-go-lucky charm blended with real-world emotional baggage — while at the same time, it’s setting the stage for an epic showdown while adding key new characters to drive the series in a new direction. Simply put, it’s all the best parts of the previous two seasons put together, yet it never feels like Coach Lasso is just playing the hits.
The first episode picks up shortly after the Season 2 finale, with many unanswered questions quickly being addressed. What was the fallout from Nathan’s (Nick Mohammed) betrayal of Ted (Jason Sudeikis) and AFC Richmond? What’s the latest relationship status between Keeley (Juno Temple) and Roy (Brett Goldstein)? Is football still life, for Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández) and beyond?
For Ted himself, one questions looms larger than any the audience may have: why?
After moving across the world and taking the job at AFC Richmond to allow for space to reevaluate his crumbling marriage, here Ted is three years later, still in London coaching a sport he still struggled to grasp. Ted’s anxiety throughout Season 2 proved that Sudeikis’s character is more than just quips and positivity, and Season 3 has him poised to grapple with yet another existential crisis.
The answers we get prove that this season isn’t necessarily going to end happily ever after — at least not yet — and that’s very much okay. After Season 2 saw our favorite characters at their lowest, it will likely be a while before they get their happy ending, if they do. But that’s what makes “Ted Lasso” so special. It’s not a weekly sitcom that wraps everything up with a bow each episode, these storylines grow and develop over time, and we’re forced to sit and experience every emotion that comes with that growth.
No character has been immune to growth throughout “Ted Lasso’s” run, but breakout transformations for characters like Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), Nathan and Dani Rojas were of extra emphasis in the first two seasons. If anyone is set to receive a similar treatment this time around, it’s Billy Harris’s strong and capable man, Colin Hughes. Seeds have been planted throughout the series of Colin’s self-doubt, from his sessions with team therapist Dr. Sharon (Sarah Niles) to the jerky driving of his Lamborghini, and Season 3 sets the stage for him to discover whether he truly is the strong and capable man he manifests.
James Lance’s Trent Crimm, now independent, has also been promoted to a series regular, as he embarks on a new journalistic journey. Lance has far more screen time through the first few episodes, and delivers some of the most comedic and sentimental moments.
If Season 3 is “Lasso’s” grand finale, the first four episode prove its poised to go out on top. While the first episode includes a bit of introductory throat-clearing, the second episode, written by Sasha Garron, is the epitome of “Ted Lasso’s” brilliance, and the season never looks back.
“Ted Lasso” Season 3 premieres March 15 on Apple TV+ with new episodes weekly.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.