The tumultuous second season of Ted Lasso drew ire and love from different viewers. While the depictions of some characters created controversy, there was a step-down between the two seasons, regardless of e expectations. Ted Lasso remained one of the best shows on television. It just was not THE best. Season 3 looks to change that narrative, and fast. With new characters and an expansion of the world outside AFC Richmond, Ted Lasso once again ascends toward the top of the television world.
After his son returns to America, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) begins questioning why he’s in England. Meanwhile, panic spreads throughout AFC Richmond and the fanbase. While they’ve returned to the Premiere League, Nate (Nick Mohammed) has taken over a formidable squad. As a result, AFC Richmond gets kicked around by analysts who believe they’ll face relegation once again. It’s up to Ted, Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), Beard (Brendan Hunt), and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) to keep the team afloat.
Ted Lasso begins laying the biscuit crumbs early that we’re moving into the end game. However, that does not stop the series from populating it with new and compelling side characters. Longer episodes ensure our core characters do not get left behind. In the three episodes sent for review, we catch up with them first. Keely (Juno Temple) gets used to her new career. Jaime Tartt (Phil Dunster) continues his growth as a person and a player. Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) works on opening his new restaurant. Danny Rojas (Cristo Fernández) still loves the sport and everyone on the team. Even Trent Crim (no longer with The Independent/James Lance) finds himself in their orbit.
At the same time, there’s something different about Ted Lasso than one might expect. Unlike other shows, where talented people are stuck in menial jobs for years because they all “are a family,” the Lasso team has spread their wings. Keely’s new job brings us to an entirely new world. Even the check-ins on Nate expand the world, showing a uniquely different system and operation than AFC Richmond. It helps make Ted’s team stand out as the underdogs while allowing us insight into the other teams.
Sudeikis delivers his strongest performance since the debut season, leaning harder into the dramatic sides of his talent. At the same time, he hammers the comedy harder than before. More than ever, he embraces the internal performance aspects of Lasso as a character while opening the door for more unique interactions with his friends. Waddingham once again dominates her scenes. She’s truly become the most interesting character in the show, and even though she faces her own challenges, Waddingham plays through them gracefully.
On its own terms, Ted Lasso Season 3 seems to be a return to form. Then again, it did not need to do much to get back into shape. Even so, we love to see a series end at its peak aptitude. This further proves Season 1 was not a flash in the pan. The emotional development of our fan favorites and critical favorites will only continue to rise. When a show builds a world this complete, sometimes, all you can do is marvel.