Recap: Ted Lasso – 3×03 – “4-5-1”

Written by Bill Wrubel  Directed by Destiny Ekaragha

Colin is gay! I know I am by far not the only one absolutely thrilled to see this storyline actually develop. Ever since he suspiciously knew about Grindr in Season 2, a seed of hope was sown. And he can’t drive for shit. Which also leads to one of the funniest cold opens of the whole show, when he runs over his lover Michael’s bins and we get a cut-off Marcus Mumford “yeah”, before actually going into the titles.

I probably don’t have to impress on anyone how important queer representation remains, and yes this is a boring old white cis hetero gay man, some of you may say, but the thing is, I wish it were that boring. There’s still not enough queer characters on television, we are far from getting any kind of realistic picture. And given the setting is the world of football, where you can count the real-life male players that have come out on one hand, this storyline could be setting an important example – so they better fucking bring it. I love that we find out about this as the audience before the characters do, and in a show that largely stays away from the actual rampant homophobia you’d see in locker rooms, it still manages to handle even that aspect well. When Isaac says “that’s kinda gay bruv”, it’s slightly softened by Sam and the other’s reactions, because of course, everyone has a “mancrush” on Zava, but it still means Colin has to play along, and it’s painful to watch. Especially cause Isaac is Colin’s best friend, and continues to be very supportive of him when he gets benched in favor of the team’s new addition. I fully expect the Greyhounds to accept him when he comes out, including Isaac  – truth be told, I would not mind them becoming an item even – but he clearly has no intention of doing so just yet. But now Trent knows, and since the show loves a misdirection, I think we won’t get the obvious and annoying plot-line of him pressuring him into an outing or even forcing one, but I do think Trent will take an interest in him for the book, but maybe also a personal one. Or have we ever seen Trent with a woman? The man loves Princess Diaries. I mean, fair, Roy is right when he says “fuck yeah, Princess Diaries”, but I don’t think Trent necessarily shares in the rest of the Diamond Dogs’ fantasy of being scolded by Julie Andrews when they’ve been bad.

Zava (a brilliant performance by Max Osinski) meanwhile doesn’t just cause Colin trouble, he’s especially bothersome for Jamie, as teased last week. And even though Ted, Beard and Roy unkindly think he’s a “fragile little bitch”, he’s right. Zava is as far from the gospel of Believe as anyone could be, and he *is* already ruining it. He makes himself the center of attention, destroying any team spirit – in a montage sequence we see him single-handedly bring Richmond further and further up the Premier League scoreboard, but at what cost? He even steals Jamie’s only goal. The fact nobody intervenes in this is telling, especially that Ted lets it slide. But Ted is also preoccupied with his ex-wife dating their former marriage counselor (which is a little more than borderline unethical) and Facebook stalking the guy while getting drunk. He’s still lost in the dark forest. Roy is right in calling this story a fairy tale, but Zava is definitely not the knight in shining armor. That’s Jamie, clearly, at least if we believe Rebecca’s psychic, cause well, who else would be the “shite in nining armor”? (Jamie’s number is 9, I should add for the perhaps slightly less-obsessed reader). Jamie keeps being mini-Ted, and this season it’s on him to turn everyone over to the light, and just like Ted, he starts with Roy, who now offers to train him.

The episode is written by Bill Wrubel, who previously penned Season 1’s “Two Aces”, as well as Season 2’s “Rainbow”, and I think “4-5-1” functions as a companion piece to the former. To jog your memory: “Two Aces” is the introduction of Dani Rojas, in which Jamie fears being replaced by Dani, but Dani gets injured because the treatment room is haunted, and the team has to perform a ritual in which we first learn about Jamie’s abusive asshole of a father, and about Roy losing his grandfather as a child. “4-5-1” brings in a supernatural element again, this time in the form of a psychic, but more importantly, it also shows Jamie’s growth in his reaction to Zava. And Roy, who used to seek Jamie out to gloat, now comes to help him. “Y’all’s baggage just matches up”, Ted says about Jane and Beard, but right after, we cut to Roy looking at Jamie pouting in the corner, and given everything we have learned about their past, the parallels have always been clear, but perhaps never as clear as now. They mirror each other, just like the two episodes do – or do you think it’s a coincidence Roy’s number as a player used to be 6?

Sam meanwhile has opened his restaurant, a wonderful way for him to bring a piece of Nigeria to Richmond, which his teammates welcome with open arms. His chef also looks like she may be his potential new love interest, which of course is a gut punch for Rebecca, especially after the psychic told her she will be a mother  – something she had always wanted but never got with Rupert, which was for the better, but it’s still truly cruel to dangle it in front of her. But it’s also a quite curious cliffhanger. Much like the rest of the, episode, really, that feels like it’s setting us up for a lot of what’s to come. Because clearly, this fairy tale is far from over.

WTF of the week: Michelle dating her former therapist, truly, what the actual fuck? But also Jane and Beard. Someone finally needs to sort that out, please, dear God.

Best Line of the Week: Everyone being thirsty over Julie Andrews is a close second, but it goes to “Who says Pre-Madonna?” for me, because Jamie being the smart one, and even owning Beard earlier, gives me so much joy. And fuck yeah, Stevie Nicks. (And those earrings!!!)

Trivia of the Week: This is the second Jesus Christ Superstar reference this season. In episode one, Ted says “what’s the buzz? Tell me what’s happening”, which is a line spoken by Jesus in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical, and this time, we hear the titular song play over the Zava montage, as Jamie looks on with increasing suspicion and jealousy: “Jesus Christ, Superstar / Do you think you’re what they say you are?” Clearly, Nate was always the Judas in this piece, but then again, we have also had some parallels between those two. And Zava is a false God, at best.

Find all my season 3 recaps here.