Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 3 is big on delivering a follow-through. Characters are given initial moments of set up at the start of “4-5-1” and the payoff appears by its end, though in all cases it’s setting up for greater drama in the episodes ahead. In another set-up episode, the format works better this time around because rather than staging what’s going to be taking place in the season at large, the writers instead hone in on specific character elements and details, for better and worse, that are going to become greater storylines as they continue to roll out the larger thematic narratives.
Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 3 begins with what might’ve been an innocuous moment had it been a character such as Roy (Brett Goldstein) or even Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) who we’ve spent a decent amount of time. Instead, Colin (Billy Harris) is given a momentary spotlight as he wakes up at home and goes downstairs to leave but first says bye to the man he’s seeing, Michael (Sam Liu.) Clearly, this is meant to be kept secret, as he acts nervously when he leaves and quickly lowers sunglasses onto his face, and it’s driven home his need for discretion when later, in the locker room, he goes along with the team’s banter about sexuality. The team is all but drooling over Zava’s (Maximilian Osinski) locker (a mini shrine) and they talk about how some men, like Paul Newman, just defy sexuality, making their infatuation with him “okay.”
It’s a moment that makes sense in theory based on the general attitude surrounding sports and the idea of what masculinity means through it—especially when so heavily scrutinized by the public eye. But it’s a shocking reminder that not even the warm and cuddly world of Ted Lasso isn’t without judgment. As was the case with Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) anxiety and panic attacks in season two, there’s a delicacy in how they present the storyline for the character. These moments are given greater weight when, later, after Colin had introduced Michael as his friend at the opening of Sam’s restaurant, Trent Crimm (James Lance) spots the two of them kissing, not quite as out of sight as they’d meant to be.
Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) also is given a storyline that pays off though how well it achieves it is debatable, especially considering the trends of storylines that have befallen her and Keeley (Juno Temple.) At the very least, Keeley, while not seeing repercussions yet for bringing on a friend to work at her company, is having people react accordingly to that news. Meanwhile, Rebecca’s storyline takes such a bizarre pivot that it’s tough to see where it’s heading. While she received a win last week by recruiting Zava to the team this week she again is relegated to her love life or a potential one, having seen a woman who claims to be a psychic who told her she’ll have a family and a child.
Waddingham is, unsurprisingly, phenomenal in the moment—her anger bubbling over through her clipped manner of speaking as she calls the woman out for her supposed cruelty. But that, plus a moment at the end signifies she might read too much into what she was told is a disappointing decision.
The strongest aspect of the episode, albeit brief, is in the setup they do between Jamie (Phil Dunster) and Roy. Jamie has been less than thrilled since Zava’s debut on team Richmond, despite the fact that they’ve been on a winning streak. While Zava is a comical character in theory and his disruption of the team’s routine is fun in the execution, there’s definitely a limit to how often we can find him this amusing if it’s going to continue being one-note. He’s just the high-maintenance, out-of-touch star who believes he’s a gift to the team and the sport as a whole. His sincerity in believing it is what makes it largely work.
Otherwise, it’s the reactions of the team in general that make him a funny fit. And Jamie in particular isn’t keen on his inclusion, but in a manner that demonstrates the considerable growth he’s gone since season one. First, he brings it up to Ted and the coaches, noting that athletes like that are more trouble than they’re worth. While Roy, Ted, and Beard (Brendan Hunt) merely act bemused at his concern, noting his own past behavior, it’s worth noting he might be bringing it up because he knows how he behaved and how well it was tolerated.
Any flaw continues to lie in how certain characters are being written, specifically Keeley and Rebecca, which all boils down to the disappointment of their considerable talent being given lesser storylines. But even Ted’s solo segments lack the same level of entertainment as those of the team as a whole.
A solidly entertaining episode, Ted Laso Season 3, Episode 3 continues to focus on the characters as they shift and examine their roles in their field, relationships, and families. Not quite as joke heavy as last week, it still signals the writers have found a comfortable rhythm, and now that Richmond has some wins in their pocket, it makes for a more interesting dynamic as the stakes have risen considerably because of it.
Ted Lasso Season 3, Episode 3 is streaming now on Apple TV+.
Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 3 - "4-5-1"
A solidly entertaining episode, Ted Laso Season 3, Episode 3 continues to focus on the characters as they shift and examine their roles in their field, relationships, and families.