Written by Jamie Lee Directed by Matt Lipsey
Let’s do the time warp again. We jump ahead another 7 weeks, as Richmond’s luck has turned. Zava finally proves he’s a false God – he even says he’s not “a prophet”, because crucially, he “doesn’t believe, he knows.” Teamwork is what wins football matches, not ego trips, which oddly, even Zava himself affirms, and promptly retires. Not gonna lie, the fact that this was resolved so quickly and with so little conflict puzzles me, and is perhaps the only bit of this week’s increasingly unhinged discourse I keep reading unwillingly thanks to Elmo’s algorithm that I slightly agree with. (More on that later). But the season is far from over. At least Shandy’s equally telegraphed exit results in more of a blowup (reminiscent of Edwin Akufo’s meltdown at the end of Season 2), and even brings back the animal trainer and the tidbit that sheep’s poo smells horrible.
Keeley finally does the right thing and fires her, edged on by Jack, who apparently has stayed those 7 weeks in London, and the two have gotten close. And no, not just as BFFs, the way God, the internet, and me intended: the gay way. Queerness was all the subtext last week, it was text two weeks ago, it’s text again this week. Ted Lasso really said queer rights this season (hiya Trent’s rainbow mug) and Keeley Jones officially joins the far-too-small list of well-rounded bisexual characters on television! Bisexual people are either predatory and evil or flaky cheaters or played for laughs, and the fact that those jokes about Keeley being attracted to Rebecca turned out to be more than jokes is amazing vindication. Queer people truly keep winning. Apparently, however, some people are upset because Jack is her boss or because this means she isn’t immediately rekindling things with Roy, to which I say: oh for the love of God, go touch grass. Or better yet, go rawdog a lawn. The first part will lead to conflict likely, but hey, remember conflict, the thing that seems to be a lacking a bit with Zava this week? Conflict is actually good for the story, if it’s well-crafted. Sorry, Gene Roddenberry. And if Roy and Keeley do get back together, they still have 7 whole episodes to do so, and no it would also not diminish her fucking a woman. Honestly, I am glad I can channel my rage(ing enthusiasm) about the hot takes on the goddamn internet every week into ways to help my community, aka writing these recaps approx. 5 people read (hi I love you).
The only downside to the Keeley/Jack bit is that their hookup means that Keeley cannot answer the phone when Rebecca finds out she can’t have biological children after seeing a fertility specialist. Because Rebecca doesn’t even know who to put as her emergency contact, which ouch, I know that feel – but my money would be on Keeley. Rebecca’s still hung up on what the psychic said, especially after she runs into her ex, John Wingsnight, and his new fiancée at the coffeeshop they broke up in. His partner stumbles over her words and calls him, yes, you guessed it, “shite in nineing armour”. I am not sure if this is a misdirection, because I am still convinced this is about Jamie saving the team, which he is clearly set out to do, now that Zava is gone, and Roy and him have been keeping on with their 4 AM training sessions for all these weeks.
Speaking of 4 AM, it’s apparently statistically the time people are least prepared to defend themselves. I will add to the unhinged theories by spreading the rumor that Roy will murder Jamie, you read it here first. No but for real, I doubt this bit is a coincidence, and I am definitely waiting for the two of them to open up to each other. Especially cause we got absolutely no mention of the last time Richmond played Man City, a.k.a. the hug ™, but they better deliver on this when Richmond goes to Manchester later this season (especially because the trailer, spoiler if you avoided it, had that scene with Roy, Keeley and Jamie in what looked like Jamie’s childhood bedroom).
Nate meanwhile goes on a date with supermodel Anastasia, and takes her to a Taste of Athens, further proving that not all is lost when it comes to him. He explains to her that the restaurant has great personal meaning to him and that that matters more than whether it’s cool or not. She leaves, but, surprise, Jade joins him to share some baklava – and she can smile! I’m not sure what I think about them bonding after the way he’s been with her, but it definitely means he’s beginning to realize fame isn’t everything. A lot of the conversations this week (between Nate and Anastasia, as well as Jade, but also Keeley and Shandy, and Rebecca and John Wingsnight) revolve around surface vs. substance and the nature of celebrity. It’s perhaps also a bit meta given that this show turned a lot of people from basically unknown actors and creators into bona fide celebrities and we’ve see it all unfold in real time.
This episode also marks a return to form for Ted, and (actually) not at all a beat too late, because pundits and even Higgins were already discussing firing him! (In real-life football they 100% would have, managers have been fired for less, or for confusing reasons, looking at Bayern, who ironically lost to Man City within hours of Richmond). His arc so wonderfully illustrates that healing is a nonlinear process. Last week he pointedly put down the glass of whiskey before calling Michelle, this week he grabs the bottle again when he hears Henry bullied someone in school; something that’s ultimately also quickly resolved which makes me wonder if we’ll also hear more of that. But for the first time, he successfully stops a panic attack before it takes complete hold of him. Healing from, or rather learning to live with, depression takes two things: therapy and time. I recently learned this first hand, so it’s no wonder I cried during his speech both times I watched this episode. The Believe sign may be ripped (it’s just a sign, hear that, Rebecca), but the actual belief is within all of them, the “belief that I matter”, the “belief that we all deserve to be loved” (pointed cut to Roy), “the belief in hope”, “the belief that things will get better”, “the belief I will get better” – they’re all “fundamental to being alive”. Believe in belief, folks. Until next week.
WTF of the week: Beard danced in a strip club?! Beard also dated Gina Gershon?! Does Gina Gershon think Roy is her soulmate?!
Line of the week: “Even with Zava, Richmond eat more arse than your Mum.” – “Buddy, you gotta get off Twitter.” – “This is a text from my father.” Jeremy Swift’s bone dry delivery got me again.
Trivia of the week: Yes, She’s All That is based on Pygmalion by way of My Fair Lady. She’s All That was also written by M. Night Shamalayan under a pseudonym. Spooky.
All of this season’s recaps can be found here.