REVIEW: ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3 Episode 9 — “ La Locker Room Aux Folles”

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Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 9

The closer we get to the ending of the series (as we know it), the less likely it appears that Ted Lasso will manage to stick a satisfying ending. Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 9 is serviceable at best, better than the meager writing if only because of game actors who know these characters inside out. But it continues a troubling trend where the series has seemingly lost the plot, more engaged with crafting special episode moments rather than engaging in storylines that allow all of the characters to partake in active growth, which also offers closure to their storylines and the series as a whole.

At this point it’s becoming more and more suspect that they really could be ending the entire series with the glacial pace they’ve been taking the storylines. With only three episodes left, it’s hard not to wonder if they’re going to revitalize the series, where it removes Ted as a character and focuses more on the team and/or an element of the series. These reviews have been largely forgiving of some of the heavy hands drafting the writing, with all but neon signs declaring the arrival of important scenes where characters learn and therefore teach viewers about common decency. Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) dealt with vitriolic racism directed at him and his restaurant in episode seven and Jimoh was superb at carrying the rage Sam must’ve felt. It was swept under the rug by the time we landed on our next hot-button issue.

So in episode eight, Keeley (Juno Temple) faces public scrutiny when private, intimate photos are released to the public without her consent. Temple is terrific, but it gives us a locker room scene that, despite the game input of the actors, again spins itself close to the very special episode territory of old. Worse still, it’s not brought up again in episode nine beyond Keeley worrying that she hasn’t heard from Jack (Jodi Balfour), the woman who slut-shamed her for the photos.

In Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 9, the show once again tackles a heady subject. Last week we watched as Isaac (Kola Bokinni) glimpsed Colin’s (Billy Harris) phone, it is suggested that he saw a compromising photo that outed Colin’s sexuality. In “La Locker Room Aux Folles,” directed by Erica Dunton, the team is facing yet another important lesson: slurs are bad.

Come on, Ted Lasso crew. It is, again, a shame because there’s a storyline buried in the messaging that does work. But following “Sunflowers” allowed Colin his moment of reprieve with Trent (James Lance), who saw him, understood him for who he was, and allowed him a night of being fully him without the need for the safety of hoods or the four walls of his home, “La Locker Room Aux Folles” is clumsy in comparison. The bait and switch of Isaac being angry about being lied to and worried about what Colin withholding this information meant about him as a person rather than him being a homophobe is certainly a relief, but it needed more time and better execution. Instead, it all comes to a head with a public meltdown as Isaac goes after a man in the crowd who spits a slur at him and his team, and yet another locker room sequence where he begs the question of why they need to put up with this type of hate speech.

This sequence, like last week’s and the one before, is written for the audience, not for the characters. And it’s here that the show loses the thread of the story it wants to tell in service of the show it wants to be perceived as. Season one did tremendous, subtle work in dealing with Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) anxiety disorder, and followed that up in his work in therapy in season two.

Season one also was phenomenal in how it wrote Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) growth from the trauma of her emotionally abusive relationship with Rupert (Anthony Head.) Season two delivered the heartbreaking, powerful locker room sequence where Jamie’s (Phil Dunster) upbringing was further expanded on after a public showdown with his father. Season three saw these successes and ran with the wrong message of wanting their story to be about something important without putting in the time or effort.

Because by next week, when Colin’s plight or Isaac’s anger is once again moved aside for the sake of a different storyline, we’ll already be moving on to the next hot-button issue. There are elements that work, such as Colin’s continued friendship with Trent as one of the few people he can confide to or the reminder of Isaac and Roy’s (Brett Goldstein) bond, with the latter once again seeing some of himself in the younger captain. But it’s all too fleeting to be substantial in its proposed meaningfulness.

Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 9

It’s the hints of season one’s energy that best ruffle feathers. Rebecca lambasting Roy for his projected inability to care about anything other than being left alone is a charged, and earned sequence that both pushes one of the characters forward while reminding viewers of one of the series’ undervalued dynamics (Goldstein and Waddingham would make terrific romantic foils in another series — that chemistry is off the charts.) Their scene together and Roy’s history in football make his latter press conference more impactful, especially as we get the shot of Keeley’s teary reaction because it never comes across as out of character for Roy to care about the emotional well-being of his team.

Similarly, there are enough comedic and throw-away details moments to help push the episode, especially as the season’s shortest (still a whopping 45 minutes, mind you.) The styling for Trent remains on point (currently coveting the Dolly Parton shirt he was wearing at the end of the episode.) Even in the briefest moments, Dunster makes a point to remind viewers that this is his season, nearly stealing the episode with his genuinely touched reaction to the team assuming he’s gay (the line delivery of “I’m flattered” kills.)

However, even with these highlights either apparent or dug for, the fact remains that with only three episodes left before the season/series finale, nothing of real substance has happened. The team being on an eight-game winning streak isn’t even given its due spotlight. Nate (Nick Mohammed) has a girlfriend who remains without a personality or any defining characteristics but hasn’t done anything yet to atone for his betraying Ted.

There’s no movement towards closure or explanation of Keeley and Roy’s breakup (aside from pieces put together by fans through assumptions based on what we know of their characters.) Ted continues to wallow about his role in his son’s life. Even the season’s strongest element, Jamie’s continued growth and Roy’s decision to coach him, has fizzled due to the series’ need to cram in individual, emotionally manipulative stories that are played out and then discarded.

Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 9 is hardly the worst the show has ever been (many other critics would argue that was last week’s “We’ll Never Have Paris.”), but it’s suffering due to a continued trend of introducing storylines without feeling the need to pick up on them. There’s no ignoring the ongoing flaws for the sake of mere escapism, but at this rate, it’s best to view the series as little more than comfort food viewing. Filling in the moment, insubstantial in the long run, it’s a palette cleanse series, something to watch at the end of the night when Barry has left you stressed and on edge.

Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 9 is available now on Apple TV+

Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 9 — “ La Locker Room Aux Folles”
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10


There’s no ignoring the ongoing flaws for the sake of mere escapism, but at this rate, it’s best to view the series as little more than comfort food viewing.

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