Before Ted Lasso's watch ends, I hope it can turn things around in its final two episodes.
I've been a huge fan of Ted Lasso, and was surprised as many at how a TV commercial could be built into one of the best Apple TV Plus shows, and one of its most popular. The first two seasons were a great exercise in showing how you could build a smart and funny show in 30 minutes or less.
However, I, like many others, feel that season 3 isn't quite living up to the billing of the first two. And it's starting to feel like Ted Lasso is falling into the same trap as another super-popular show that didn't quite stick the landing.
In its final season, Game of Thrones squandered most of the goodwill it built up as it tried to cram too many plots into too few episodes. As a result, we had characters zooming from one corner of Westeros to the other in record time, with heel turns and heroics that felt completely unearned.
The same is happening with Ted Lasso. As the show has expanded in length — most of Season 3's episodes are an hour long, twice that of the first two seasons — they've become flabby, with storylines that either go nowhere or get resolved without any hard work.
Ted Lasso season 3 should have been two seasons
I thought Nate's departure from AFC Richmond was surprising, but his decision to leave West Ham was even more abrupt. We know that Rupert is slimy, but was a "boys night out" enough to make Nate want to quit? His reasons for ditching Richmond seemed a bit opaque at the time. And now it just feels like a plot device.
My theory — and I'm not alone in this — is that Ted might return to the U.S. and be reunited with his wife, while Nate returns to Richmond to take over as the head coach. If this happens, there needs to be a lot more reconciliation in the next two episodes to make this believable.
Nate hasn't even talked to any of his old mates — aside from an apology note to the current kit man — so it would be a mighty big ask of the Greyhounds to forgive and forget. For all his development, I can't see Roy turning the other cheek so easily.
And what about Ted? few episodes back, it looked like the groundwork was being laid for Ted to get back with his ex-wife Michelle, but there's been no mention of her, or Ted's son, since. Is he secretly interviewing with Big Ten universities?
And what's going to happen with Rebecca? How many times is she going to look at that green matchbook without lighting it up? Was the fact that we saw it next to Ted's green toy soldier a hint at what's to come or merely a red herring?
Keeley's journey has been even more bizarre. While it's great to see her get a prominent plot, the rapid-fire combination of Jack leaving and Keeley's PR firm losing its funding felt way too forced.
Outlook: At least Jamie Tartt makes me 'believe'
Of all the characters' journeys, Jamie Tartt's has felt the most complete. We've seen him go from an immature, self-centered showboat to a compassionate person who truly cares about his teammates.
Intertwined with that is Roy Kent's transformation from a surly ex-footballer. In many ways, he was as self-centered as Jamie, but has been slowly opening up over the course of the show and the season.
With just two episodes left for Ted Lasso, I still believe. I hope my faith will be rewarded.
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Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.