Recap: Ted Lasso Season 3×02 – “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea”

Directed by:  M.J. Delaney Written by: Sasha Garron

Finally, it is time for some Roy Kent backstory, and this episode delivers and delivers. It’s written by Sasha Garron and is easily one of the best of the whole series – and we only just started season 3. But before we deal with Roy, we go to Keeley, who keeps struggling with her stiff colleagues and keeping in budget. She has a photo shoot set up and runs into an old model friend, Shandy Fine (Ambreen Razia), who she ends up hiring – in a position that doesn’t exist, as her surly CFO points out. Finally, she stands up to her, but not without infusing some Ted-like sympathy into her interaction. She notices the woman’s snow-globe collection and realizes how unmoored and miserable she probably is, and immediately, they build a bridge (Keeley would definitely also fucking build Jeff Bridges!). It would be nice to see her create a whole Richmond style community at her firm by the end of the season.

Rebecca has less to do this week, but she goes head to head with Rupert over star-player and walking Zlatan Ibrahimovic-reference, Zava (Maximilian Osinski), who ends up signing with Richmond over both Chelsea and West Ham after she yells at him in the loo. The only one not thrilled about this development is Jamie, who I assume will end up being the perfect foil to the known diva.

Isaac notices Roy and Keeley broke up and tells Jamie. We get a very brief misdirection of him going after Keeley, but thank fuck, it does not seem like the writers are in any way interested in a trite love triangle: He goes to comfort Roy, which shows both Jamie’s immense growth as well as Roy’s brief regression. It obviously also parallels the hug from Season 2’s “Man City”, but Roy will need another moment to let Jamie go there. I have a feeling we will see it later this season, and maybe even more than once. Dunster and Goldstein continue to have amazing chemistry, both in their comedic and dramatic moments. Dunster even briefly looked like he was breaking in the big group scene when Roy yells at Trent, something several people on Twitter noted this morning, until show editor A.J. Catoline confirmed that he was in character. Jamie does say later that he finds it amusing when Roy yells at people that aren’t him. But Dunster and Goldstein are known for cracking each other up, so I think we can take comfort in the fact that also happened, even if it did not make it in. In either case, it is an absolute joy to watch.

The team being upset about the Roy/Keeley breakup and confusion leading up to it is also both hilarious and heartfelt, showcasing once again the absolute embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent on this show (“Zava is writing a book about Trent Crimm?!”). Ted even faints, and Jamie is the first to help him up, right after Beard. As hinted at above, this week also marks the triumphant return of Trent Crimm, independent, who wants to write a book on Richmond, or more likely, Ted’s impact on Richmond. I had definitely seen this float around as a fan theory over the long, long hiatus, and I am glad to see it unfold in canon. But Roy is having none of it, and forbids everyone from talking to him, leading to some hilarity – Dani Rojas even says the f-word!!!

James Lance gets to shine, his chemistry with Sudeikis is already well-established, but his best moments this episode are with Goldstein. Roy popping balloons to disturb Trent’s call (they are now sharing an office), is sidesplittingly funny, but when we finally find out why Roy hates him this much, it is just as heartbreaking. Of course it takes Ted to intervene and tell him to put his ego aside for the moment to happen, but boy, when it does: it turns out Roy still keeps a snippet of a very critical match review Trent wrote about him when he was 17 and made his Premier League debut, and carries it around in his wallet. Having been this young it naturally always stuck with him, and it throws new light on Roy’s skepticism towards the media and football pundits more broadly – when he quits his Sky job in Season 2’s “Rainbow”, he mentions a 17-year old player who probably only wanted to have a wank and chips for dinner, a childhood none of these professional athletes ever got. Trent admits he himself was young and wanted to be “edgy”, and apologizes – they both have changed, and grown out of their toxic masculine behavior, not least of all because of Ted Lasso, of course. At the end of the episode, he finally tears up the paper.

Roy not only has a feeling (or two) in this episode, he even smiles (!). Going back to Chelsea, his old club, is bittersweet for him. The fans still chant his name, even though he now coaches the opposing team. He warmly greets the safety steward, “fuckin Bruce” – it’s him the smile is reserved for – and ends up reflecting on quitting. It’s the admission that he tends to quit before he is being quit on that hurts the most – clearly, that’s why he broke up with Keeley, a desperate attempt to not get hurt even more, to regain control of an uncontrollable situation. But by now he regrets not having stayed at Chelsea and enjoying his last matches there, instead of being mentally stuck in his fear and depression over no longer being able to keep up. He says that that’s just not “who he is”; that he isn’t someone who can live in the moment, but as Ted wisely adds, “not yet”. He may have aged out of football, but he still has a whole life ahead of him.

As soon as I heard whispers that this episode was going to focus on Roy, I knew I would end up crying this week – I had not been prepared for it to be happy tears. Ted Lasso’s back, y’all.

WTF of the Week: That Rupert was abusive towards Rebecca has been well-established, but hearing her detail his serial cheating and lovebombing is still a gut-punch, especially if you have experienced similar. Meanwhile, Jane and Beard are still dating, and she’s threatened by his friendship with Ted – I still need Rebecca to be the one to intervene this season and convince him he deserves better.

Best Line of the Week: “I forgot how skittish elderly people could be cause of the war” – God, have I missed Roy and Jamie’s banter. Phil Dunster finally needs that Emmy nomination, even though he might then not even just lose to his scene partner this year, but to Harrison Ford in Shrinking, which is also Brett’s fault, but hey. Charlie J. Hiscock is equally excellent here (“Fishbowls!”); poor Will keeps unwillingly witnessing heart-to-hearts. And him not knowing what a CD is aged me by approximately 10 years.

Trivia of the Week: 11:11 is what’s sometimes known as the “angel number”, most would say it’s a stupid superstition, but a friend and I also use it to make wishes. Can’t hurt, eh?

All of this season’s recaps can be found here.