“We’ll Never Have Paris”
- 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.
After last week’s busy episode, it’s good to see Ted Lasso regain its focus and produce another decent hour (55 minutes, for those keeping score) of television. Never mind that about two thirds of its runtime was dedicated to the season’s two weakest storylines. Actually, it managed to almost completely turn one of them around to feel cohesive! The issues at the root of these conflicts may seem a little silly on paper, which ultimately holds it back as a whole, but the resolutions feel like vintage Ted Lasso.
Let’s start out with the weakest of the major storylines this week, and that’s Keeley and Jack. It’s really felt like the show has struggled to justify Keeley’s inclusion on the show beyond a general fondness for the character and for Juno Temple. For the life of me, I still don’t care much about her romance with Jack, and now that it’s likely over, I’m left wondering what the point of it all has been. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for the writers to connect Keeley’s power dynamic relationship with what Rebecca and Sam had last season, but the show has all but forgotten that happened as well.
Keeley’s old private, intimate videos get leaked online and Jack – as her boss – provides a statement wherein Keeley essentially admits fault and apologizes. She then proceeds to provide more and more passive-aggressive evidence for why she’s not the right fit for Keeley. I’ll always applaud Ted Lasso for not stretching out its story beats past their expiration dates, but this is one example where I would want the story to have lasted longer. The two only started sleeping together four episodes ago, and had one episode off entirely, so if We’ll Never Have Paris is the last time we see them together romantically, I won’t lose any sleep over it. The one saving grace in this portion was Jamie, who’s easily been the season’s MVP, when he shows up to support Keeley.
I’ve been surprised at how little of Nate’s screen time this season has been about his coaching. His time in the last episode with his romantic pursuit of Jade was fine but forgettable, and the source of his drama here was melodramatic, but I appreciate its greater purpose. He’s moving quickly with Jade but doesn’t know whether they should be considered boyfriend/girlfriend or something less concrete. So he confers with his own version of the Diamond Dogs, and it goes over as badly as you’d expect from a ship run by Rupert. Screenwriters Keeley Hazel & Dylan Marron set out to show how empty Nate’s work life is without Ted and Richmond, and in that way, We’ll Never Have Paris is an improvement over previous Nate episodes. Edyta Budnik as Jade is always a welcome presence to the show, and she works well with Nick Mohammed, but she has yet to have any substantial material so far.
Ted’s “Total Football” strategy has taken off better than expected, with Richmond on a four game win streak, but it takes a back seat to Ted’s existential crisis off the field. The universe really seems to be punishing him when Michelle, Dr. Jacob, and Henry come for a visit, but it’s an even bigger punishment when Michelle reveals that Jacob’s surprising her with a visit to Paris. This almost immediately sends Ted into a spiral, fearing that he’ll propose to Michelle. Three seasons into the show, and Ted’s delusions about his marriage still haunt him. It is a special bit of cruelty that Michelle is dating their former marriage counselor, but is it the simple fact that Michelle has moved on that causes Ted so much distress?
The main takeaway from this week’s episode is that we’re better off when we have friends that look out for us. Of course, this is Ted Lasso’s biggest theme, but it’s executed well enough here. Ted learns it from the Diamond Dogs – including new member Trent Crimm – and Rebecca when he expresses his fears about Michelle. Nate learns the exact opposite from his colleagues at West Ham. Strangely left unresolved is where Will stands after Isaac learns his secret, though I would be shocked if his response is anything but positive. We’ll Never Have Paris misses a few steps here and there, but it at least shows improvement from what’s plagued the show this season. Only four episodes in the season remain, so here’s hoping the show will continue the trend. Though if they could just refrain from including a sing-along in every single episode, I would greatly appreciate it.
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