Recap: Ted Lasso – 3×12 – “So Long, Farewell”

Written by Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly & Jason Sudeikis  Directed by Declan Lowney

Ted Lasso, as expected, delivered an almost paint-by-the-numbers finale – even if, or rather, exactly because they didn’t win the whole fucking thing. (Yes I know, we still don’t have official confirmation this is indeed the actual finale, but cast and crew were definitely saying goodbye, so for the moment,  so will I). Ted is going home, and there’s no fake outs about that, even though they were plenty of others. The TedBecca shippers are probably going insane right now, especially after both the hilarious opening scene of this episode and the airport scene. But this show, as much as it is a romcom in the Ephronesque sense, is not a romcom about a man and a woman. It was never about Ted Lasso. But I wrote more about this here. Let’s talk about this episode.

Ted, Beard, and Jane all sleep over at Rebecca’s, because of a gas leak, but mostly, to give us that moment of Ted wandering into her kitchen, and then that other moment of Beard wandering in in a thong. (This cast will never beat the orgy allegations, and frankly, why should they.) Isaac gets another glorious moment reminiscent of the time he played Santa, and the haircut he gave Sam; one of many countless callbacks in this 79 minutes, also including Jamie feeding extra money into the box Nate passes around to collect outstanding fines for the big season party at Ola’s (that unfortunately, we don’t see). The times of him being a bully are long over, and even his ICON hat now says “I, COG” (he is an important cog in the team, after all). And he uses his little piece of the BELIEVE sign as a bookmark in the book Ted gave him in Season 1 (and that he initially threw away). That doesn’t stop him and Roy from being fucking idiots and beat each other up over Keeley, but that, too, was perhaps overdue – especially for Keeley to shut them, and any other stupid love triangle tropes, down. Keeley Jones is and will remain the Independent Woman, and her ex-boyfriends will continue to work on themselves just as much as she is: Jamie sees his father in rehab, and newly minted head coach Roy, finally goes to therapy with Doc Sharon.

Nate, meanwhile, is back as a kitman, coming full circle. He says a teary, but simple, “I’m sorry”, to Ted, and for now, that’s enough. Ted has long forgiven him, and he’ll work his way back with the team. By the end, he’s assistant coach to Roy and Beard. Beard, meanwhile, the character least changed throughout the show – because as we learned last week, his big second chance already came before we met him – decides to finally take his new lease on life separate from Ted. And gets married to Jane, which is my one gripe with all of this, because they confirmed over and over again that this is toxic – but then, I guess, what is a series (season?) finale without a wedding. But at least we learn his actual name is Willis. (Which Ted actually called him on screen before, we all just thought it was a Diff‘rent Strokes reference.)

Rupert’s downfall seems complete, and worse for him perhaps than yet another divorce (and impending #metoo scandal), is being called a wanker by the Richmond fans, after he accosts newly hired manager George Cartrick on the field, because he refuses to play dirty. He truly lost the last, if not only thing, he ever loved. But Rebecca also struggles with what to do with the club now that Ted is leaving and even briefly considers selling it –  as it’s now worth an estimated 2 billion pounds – to go “Drink, Sleep, Fuck” her way around the world. But after her long speech in “International Break” that football belongs to the fans, and is not meant to be used as a tool for rich people to get richer, it really would have felt off. So she sells 49% of the club to the fans, including the three pub lads, and Mae. The psychic predicted she would become a mother, and she does, in more sense than one: she is the club matriarch (even though she understandably hates the term), but then she also becomes stepmom to Dutch meet-cute’s daughter, who she runs into again at the airport. He remains nameless, but will fondly be remembered as Boaty McBoatface, or Theo Bootman, if you ask any of my friends. She finds love, much like Colin does, who finally gets to kiss his fella.

Trent of course, finishes his book, with Beard being reviewer 2 (a joke for all my colleagues out there and a surefire – perhaps last? – addition to my long-running “Academic Life as Ted Lasso gifs” Twitter thread). Ted only has one note: he objects to it being called “the Lasso way”, because well, it was never actually about him. Just as much as this all was never about winning or losing, and so it feels apt that Richmond plays perhaps their most realistically frustrating match yet, winning against West Ham, but losing the league to Man City (who also just earned the title in real life).

In this finale written by Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, and Jason Sudeikis (who else, really), it truly feels like they are ticking all the missing boxes, after a lot of the big emotional scenes already happened in the past two weeks. (And of course I cried when they put the BELIEVE sign back together, I am not made of stone, but it was happy crying; I wasn’t absolutely wrecked like when Beard came to see Nate, for instance.) And yet, other things are left open. And that’s the beauty of it. The world keeps spinning on, even as Ted goes home to Kansas. Roy, finally becoming a Diamond Dog, is afraid he’s still the same person, despite actively trying to change. But the thing about change is, it’s not linear. And it’s often so gradual you can’t really tell yourself it’s happening. The only thing we can do is keep trying. And heaven knows, they tried.

WTF of the Week: Beard & Jane, really. I can’t see them as an actually happy couple, but hey, if it gives Beard motivation to forge his own path, and be his weird authentic self…

Line of the Week: “The best we can do is keep asking for help and accepting it when you can. And if you keep on doing that, you’ll always be moving towards better.” Higgins dropping one last truth bomb.

Trivia of the Week: The cute musical number (finally!) is of course “So Long, Farewell”, from Julie Andrews-starring, Rodgers & Hammerstein-classic, The Sound of Music.

P.S. The Writer’s Strike is still ongoing. Please donate to the Entertainment Community Fund, or stand in solidarity with the WGA via #wgastrong, #dothewritething, #fans4WGA, or my attempt at making fetch happen, #Scholars4WGA.