Recap: Ted Lasso – 3×08 – “We’ll Never Have Paris”

Written by Keeley Hazell & Dylan Marron Directed by Erica Dunton

We open to Richmond on a winning streak, now that total football seems to work with Jamie as the key to it all – but that’s quickly sidelined in favor of several other plotlines. I see a lot of media and fans criticize and lament about episode length and especially time spent on certain plots weekly, and for the most part I don’t agree. This week was the second time after 3×05 that I have some gripes, but they are also already smaller after watching the episode twice. It was however the first time I have ever really walked away from an episode of Ted Lasso tense, anxious. And I actually think that’s by design.

The only time the show ever did similar (and there are some parallels to it here) is with Season 2’s “Headspace”, in which Keeley feels suffocated by Roy, but that also wraps up that narrative in the same episode. “We’ll Never Have Paris” leaves us hanging on almost everything, something we should be familiar with in an age of serialized television. And yet, Ted Lasso, as brilliant as it weaves narrative threads and sometimes drops breadcrumbs only to be picked up two seasons later, rarely does it ever leave them dangling in this fashion. The result is an undercurrent of anxiety – as all main characters suffer it, so do we, spending 55 minutes sure that things will go terribly wrong, until at least some of them do. The last time I felt like this was perhaps not quite coincidentally, given who the creators are, during Shrinking’s “Imposter Syndrome”.

The writers this week however, are new additions to the room in Season 3 – Dylan Marron who was a fan of the show before he joined it, and Keeley Hazell, who served as the inspiration for our Keeley, and plays Bex (she was also romantically linked to Jason Sudeikis). She gets to tell her own story here, and has it directed by a woman;  notably the third female director this season, Erika Dunton. The big storyline is a leaked sextape of Keeley’s, that as it turns out, was something she sent to Jamie, who naturally, himbo that he is, protects his email with password “pasword” (sic). It serves as her massive source of anxiety and eventual catalyst for a break-up from Jack. I had been worried this would happen, even though this is a better version than some of the harebrained theories floating around that linked her to Rupert somehow. There is more than an undercurrent of class that plays a role here: Keeley made a career out of selling her often naked body, but crucially, as she says, the nudes out in the world were her own choice and released to the public with her consent. While she recorded the video in question for her own pleasure as well, it was always just meant to be between her and her then-partner.

Jack who’s filthy rich and sips champagne at polo charity events struggles with this, and I suspect that’s the reason for her hesitation to introduce Keeley to her friend and her uncle rather than the fact she’s a woman (she did after all announce them dating to the company and had seemed excited to show off her girlfriend before this unfolded). She wants her to issue a public apology for the porn that isn’t one, something Keeley refuses to do, leading to their (potential) split. Given “Headspace” had Keeley watching Sex and the City with Carrie and Aidan paralleling her plot with Roy, I am wondering if Jack is supposed to be her Big? Especially as the finale in Paris is also mentioned. Time will tell, but there are only four episodes left…

For those rooting for a Roy/Keeley reunion – if that’s meant to happen, Roy definitely needs to get his head out of his ass. He’s clearly caught up in his own jealousy and insecurity, likely suspecting the video was for Jamie and he leaked it (or alternatively wanting to find out who did it on purpose so he can find them at 4 AM and bring a rope? He should by now at least assume Jamie didn’t do it on purpose.) The scene leaves this open, but it’s incredibly uncomfortable to watch – both because I just want to punch him and because that impulse comes from a certain recognition of the self-hate and deep-seated insecurity that fuels this, especially as he immediately realizes just how badly he fucked up.

I however doubt the heartfelt apology Jamie gives Keeley points to a reconciliation between the two of them, instead. It shows his growth as well as giving their relationship closure rather than opening it back up. Unless they are going for a throuple after all, because as much as this is all a mess, it shows how entangled all three still are with each other. Nothing is impossible, according to Mae.

Keeley’s conundrum also leads to a great locker room scene that has the team debating deleting old nudes, it feels both realistic and still manages to insert some humor in the otherwise serious plotline. But it also leads to more anxiety, because Isaac, who was literally just advocating for people’s right to privacy  – sorry I just taught some Constitutional law yesterday – takes Colin’s phone from him and discovers male nudes (we assume). This sets up the overdue coming-out plot for next week and I expect Isaac to be less homophobic and mostly disappointed that his best friend hid his authentic self from him. As is, it’s left completely up in the air, and the expressions on both faces when they part are gut punches – props to Billy Harris and Kola Bokinni.

The lighter fare this week surprisingly comes from Nate and Jade, even though they, too, start out tense, with Nate insecure about their relationship status. They sweetly cement it by the end (a nice inverse of Jack and Keeley). And then there’s Ted, who keeps fretting about Jake taking Michelle to Paris where he assumes he will propose even though the Diamond Dogs (now including Trent) and Rebecca all try to convince him otherwise. Here, too, the ending is somewhat open – Michelle does not seem pleased with the trip. Did he propose after all and she said no? Did something else happen? And will her and Ted reconcile? (I would actually enjoy her suggesting so and Ted making the mature decision that it’s best not to). Meanwhile, Beard plays protective uncle to Henry, worrying about the child of divorce, with a sweet if perhaps a bit overwritten sequence featuring “Hey Jude” that explains the origin story of Paul penning the song for John’s son, Julian. But Brendan Hunt has some moving personal history with it that informed this that makes up for it: it helped him bond with his late mother before her death and apparently played just as his own son was born. Much like him, then, Beard takes a sad song, and makes it better.

WTF of the week: All of it I guess? But picking a smaller thing, O’Brien’s picture of a woman taking a shit.

Line of the week: “Is there anything I can do to help?” – “Restructure society so women aren’t constantly sexualized while simultaneously being crucified for being sexual?” Mic. Dropped.

Trivia of the week: Since all the “Hey Jude” stuff is already explained – I strongly suspect Trent’s “woof” is a nod to Shrinking’s Paul. And the title is a Casablanca reference, but you knew that.

P.S: Since yesterday, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) is on strike. Many writers, including Ted Lasso’s own Brett Goldstein and former writer Ashley Nicole Black went out to picket at WB. I stand with WGA, and if you care about television, so should you. You can follow and support them via #WGAStrong and find out how to best help the efforts (if you live in LA and NYC you can apparently join the pickets, there will likely be drives to support the strike fund, so far no boycotts have been called). The 2007-08 writer’s strike was brutal and I hope it doesn’t drag out as long this time, for everyone’s sake, but the writers deserve fair compensation and studios are being completely unreasonable. Late stage capitalism indeed. There’s power in a union, folks.