Ted Lasso: Season 3, “La Locker Room Aux Follies” – TV Review

“La Locker Room Aux Follies”

  • 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

Grade: B+

Warning: Reviews of Ted Lasso season 3 will contain spoilers.

When Ted Lasso first began its run in the summer of 2020, it became endearing not just because of its overt niceness or because of its fish out of water story, but for something more. The show used these two elements to portray a soccer team in turmoil, where a ragtag group of misfits, led by a loveable goofball, could come together and find commonality against a cynical world. Though I’ve been generally defensive, I can’t deny that the bulk of this third season has been on the downslope, a shell of what it once was.

The longer runtimes certainly haven’t helped, too often leading to unfocused or jumbled narratives. And the two most recent episodes have been the season’s low points, as the show has either introduced brand new storylines or focused on the least interesting ones. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that La Locker Room Aux Follies is vintage Ted Lasso, but it’s certainly the best of the season so far. Episode writer Chuck Hayward channels the locker room mentality that worked so well early on and crafts a story that feels like a momentum shift in the season by focusing not on Ted but on Will and Roy – and Nate, but we’ll get to that.

Ted Lasso; AppleTV+

Last week saw Will’s secret revealed to Isaac, but left its resolution dangling. Hayward leads us to believe that Isaac’s cold attitude towards Will is an indication of his disapproval of Will’s lifestyle. It’s not until halftime of Richmond’s match when a disgruntled fan yells a slur their way, and Isaac confronts him in the stands, when Will has to finally come out to his Richmond family. Director Erica Dunton cross-cuts the moment in a curious fashion, actually removing the moment when Will declares “I’m gay”, which feels like a bit of a cheat, but I don’t know if I dislike it enough to say it ruins the sentiment entirely. Indeed, the ensuing discussion is handled with the emotional honesty that Ted Lasso does best.

It should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that Will’s Richmond teammates and staff are nothing but supportive of him, but that’s not the point. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the show’s thesis statement, as they come together to support one another against the outside world. Ted’s speech about his friend who was a fan of the Denver Broncos was fitting for him in that situation, but it pales in comparison to Roy’s press conference speech. Yes, La Locker Room Aux Follies very much feels like a Very Special Episode of the show, so sickly sweet that you sometimes forget that this was a show with real darkness, but it mostly worked in the moment.

Ted Lasso; AppleTV+

Brett Goldstein hasn’t missed a step this season, but the show hasn’t exactly focused on him now that he’s single again. The beginning of the episode sees Roy with a renewed attitude with the success of the team, but he gets admonished by Rebecca for skipping a press conference. Hayward’s script thankfully doesn’t change Roy into a completely different person overnight, but the early stages of a change are already evident. 

It dawned on me recently that, when it comes to Nate and Jade, the show hasn’t exactly shown what it is about Jade that Nate finds so attractive, much less the other way around. It just kind of happened because the show necessitated it. As I’ve said before, Nick Mohammed and Edyta Budnik work well together, but if they were to never see each other again, I wouldn’t be terribly upset. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Ted Lasso is finding ways for Nate to eventually come back to Richmond, and I appreciate that they’re not rushing it, but I wish there was more conflict to it. Nate initially sought out Rupert’s guidance because he thought he’d get the kind of approval that he didn’t see in Ted. But the more time he spends at West Ham, the more he realizes how he doesn’t wish to emulate Rupert at all. Lest we forget, the season started with Nate positioned as the show’s villain, and perhaps it was foolish to believe the show would be so reductive, but it’s been a struggle to understand how he fits into the show proper this year.

Ted Lasso; AppleTV+

I don’t know if La Locker Room Aux Follies will ultimately serve as a sea change, or if the show will return to what it’s been doing for the better part of season three. At the very least, it’s a good reminder that the show has the ability to return to what it does best (in under 48 minutes, no less). Whether Ted Lasso finishes strong or not, I’ll still miss seeing new episodes every week, and spending time with these characters. The show may not now be as crowd-pleasing or as funny or as subversive as it once was, but there are few shows I look forward to more every week.

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