- Creators: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly
- Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple, Brendan Hunt, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Sarah Niles
Warning: Reviews of Ted Lasso season 3 will contain spoilers.
In the early goings of a season, it’s always hard to tell which storylines will have a bearing on the season overall. How much material is filler, and how much are we meant to take stock in? 4-5-1 introduces a number of threads, and a good amount of them could easily have a bearing on the remaining 9 episodes. Or they could just be one-off bits to pad the runtime. Not for nothing, the episode continues the trend of 45+ minute episodes (spoiler: next week’s is similarly long).
The scene of Rebecca visiting the psychic initially had the feel of being filler material, a way to give Rebecca something to do besides stew over Rupert, especially since it came out of nowhere, more or less. But the psychic’s parting line about Rebecca becoming a mother – and Hannah Waddingham’s fantastically delivered response – clearly was meant to provoke something within Rebecca, whether it be a longing to actually be a mother or a desire to find someone to be with. The episode’s final scene just goes to show that, though a great deal of time has passed since the end of season two, Rebecca definitely still has lingering feelings of what could’ve been with Sam.
Ted Lasso loves to create parallel storylines with Ted and Rebecca, so Ted’s existential crisis this week comes back from the season premiere, when his son accidentally revealed that Ted’s ex-wife is now dating again. For now, it seems that the panic attacks are at bay, but this problem is far from over, even with Dr. Sharon’s help. Sudeikis has continued to be great in the season already, and his reaction when he inadvertently speaks with Jake was as good as we’ve come to expect from the two-time Emmy winner. I don’t want to take up too much time speculating about the show’s possible ending, but I can see a world where Ted gets his fill of England and returns home in the hopes of reconciling and rebuilding his family.
Zava (Maximilian Osinski) presents a unique challenge to Richmond. As stated last week, he’s a proven winner but a difficult presence in the locker room, and he immediately contributes to Richmond vaulting up in the standing. Unsurprisingly, Jamie takes it the hardest, correctly pointing out that he takes up the bulk of the spotlight. Though everyone currently assumes it’s a bit of jealousy at Jamie’s diminished role, it’s surely not long before the rest of the team catches on and Ted has to wrestle with his desire to win versus his desire to create a winning environment. And given his history of favoring the latter over the former, it’s unlikely to be much of a debate.
I don’t know what to make of Colin (Billy Harris), or how much stock to put into the revelation that he’s gay. Last season gave some expanded screen time to Sam, so perhaps it‘ll be his turn this year. And given the fact that he opens and closes 4-5-1, it makes sense to speculate that he’ll at least have an arc that will last another few episodes. It feels curt for a sports show in 2023 to touch on gay athletes coming out, but it is still a newsworthy event whenever a male athlete comes out in the real world. Regardless, the team’s discussion on Zava’s radiating sexuality doesn’t exactly hint that they’ll be terribly prejudiced if/when the news gets out. Here’s hoping the show at least treats Collin’s homosexuality with more long-lasting consequences than Sam’s DubaiAir protest last year (remember that?).
Of course, filler material isn’t always all bad. I refuse to get sucked into the impending drama between Shandy and Keeley, but Ambreen Razia is a good addition to the show and amongst the Richmond teammates. (Higgins’ reaction upon meeting her and learning of her relationship to Keeley was easily an episode highlight.) 4-5-1 had enough solid content to get invested in for the season going forward, introducing short-term and long-term dramatic conflict to mostly positive effect.
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