It still hasn’t been confirmed if season 3 is Ted Lasso’s last. But if the finale is any indication, this is indeed the case. While there’s an opportunity for spin-offs, the story Jason Sudeikis says he wanted to tell for this character has been told. And the way the season ended suggests that the character, at least, has hung up his whistle.
Every main character went on a satisfying journey of personal and emotional growth, and each comes out better for it in the end.
The season begins with AFC Richmond having a tough time finding their groove. West Ham, meanwhile, is doing amazingly well and Nate (Nick Mohammed) is loving his new job and new-found confidence, or at least his perception of confidence. But he soon realizes that while Rupert (Anthony Head) seems like the perfect boss, he’s not a nice person. He buys cars and showers Nate with compliments. But it’s superficial and conditional. Nate tries to resurrect the Diamond Dogs with new co-workers but fails miserably. There’s clearly something missing.
Ted (Sudeikis), meanwhile, is struggling with missing his son Henry (Gus Turner), an emotion that deepens when he discovers that not only is his ex Michelle (Andrea Anders) dating someone else, but the new man in her life happens to be their former marriage therapist Dr. Jacob (Mike O’Gorman). It digs the knife deep into Ted’s heart, which takes his attention away from the game, even if he doesn’t realize it.
In an effort to breathe new life into AFC Richmond, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) pulls out all the stops to get Zava (Maximillian Osinski), an eccentric superstar player who falls for her ego play, suggesting he can prove how good he is by helping turn the team around. Things go well for a while but they fall into a slump again and Zava decides to retire to spend time with his family.
Keeley (Juno Temple) and Roy (Brett Goldstein) have broken up, but to everyone’s surprise, it was Roy who dumped Keeley and not the other way around. But he’s quickly regretting the decision and realizing that he needs to work on himself. Busy running her new PR company, Keeley begins a fling with the main investor Jack (Jodie Balfour).
While Leslie (Jeremy Swift) suggests that maybe it’s time to let Ted go given the team’s losing streak, Rebecca has bigger fish to fry. She’s desperate to figure out her love life, and questioning if she should, or even could, have children. She reluctantly sees her mother’s long-time psychic, laughing off the predictions. That is, until little by little, they start to come true.
All it takes is a field trip to a sewer for some life lessons and to travel to Amsterdam to play a friendly game to give everyone renewed energy. Ted has an epiphany when he thinks he’s on drugs (it turns out he wasn’t) and dreams up a new strategy for play, which Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) later tells him is based on one known as Total Football.
Rebecca does her own soul searching and meets a mysterious man (Matteo van der Grijn) with whom she spends an evening chatting, drinking wine, and eating a meal together. It’s romantic but not sexual. That, along with a later encounter with Rupert, finally puts Rebecca in a good place. She’s passionate about the team and confident in herself. The force that initially drove her, getting back at Rupert, is all but gone.
Colin (Billy Harris) finds an ally in Trent (James Lance), now shadowing the team to write a book about Ted and his coaching methods. He reveals that he not only knows Colin’s secret but that he too is gay and came out later in life. The pair share a wonderful night together in a bar, dancing the night away.
Jamie (Phil Dunster) and Roy, meanwhile, enjoy a night exploring on bikes after Jamie teaches Roy how to ride one, a skill he never learned as a child. The rest of the team, after unsuccessfully trying to decide how to spend their free, no-curfew night, end up in a silly, juvenile, yet freeing pillow fight in the lobby of the hotel. They are finally bonding as one, which is exactly what they need to play as one as well.
The team returns stronger than ever, despite each dealing with their own personal issues. Ted is convinced that Dr. Jacob is going to propose to Michelle, though it turns out he doesn’t (and he might not be right for her after all). A private video leak puts Keeley in a precarious situation where she realizes Jack isn’t the one for her, and Jamie proves how much he has matured. He further demonstrates this when shows support for Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) not being selected for the Nigerian national team by wearing his teammate’s number while playing for England. He also has a heart-to-heart with his mother (Leanne Best) while in a funk that helps him get past the insecurities he has due to his father’s (Kieran O’Brien) abuse.
Isaac (Kola Bokinni) accidentally discovers Colin’s secret and seems more upset that his close friend lied to him all these years than he is that he is gay. Colin shares the truth with the team and they give him their full support.
Keeley, freshly single, finds a new investor in Rebecca, who is happy to fund the company because she wholeheartedly believes that Keeley has what it takes to succeed. Roy is also finally learning to stop getting in his own way. He writes a letter to Keeley expressing his feelings and apologies. While they remain friends, it’s clear a spark is still there and he’s determined to get her back.
Nate, meanwhile, feels like he’s on top of the world, finally snagging Jade (Edyta Budnik), the restaurant hostess he has crushed on since the beginning. When Rupert invites him out for a night on the town and tries to encourage him to cheat, it’s the last straw. Nate quits and in his depressed state, spends time at his parents’ house to avoid the paparazzi. It’s there he has a heartfelt conversation with his father and revisits his youth. His father recognizes how his criticisms affected Nate, admits he only ever wanted him to reach his full potential, and tearfully adds that he’s really most concerned with his son being happy.
Nate takes a job as a waiter at A Taste of Athens and sneaks into the Richmond locker room, cleans up, and leaves an apology note for Will (Charlie Hiscock). He’s happy but it’s clear that Nate was meant for bigger things. The Richmond team want to give him a second chance, but Coach Beard is completely against it. After a discussion with Ted, however, he visits Nate and delivers a teary, heartfelt speech about second chances and how Ted gave him one when he was at his lowest point. He welcomes him back to Richmond if Nate will return.
Ted is on a high with Richmond winning games and the team closer than ever. His mother Dottie (Becky Ann Baker) shows up for a visit, however, throws a wrench into things. While he’s happy to see her, and they finally air their feelings about how the situation was handled when his father died, it appears she returned for one big reason: to tell him that Henry misses him. Ted sobs, saying he misses his son, too. Ted wants to go home.
Officially announcing that he’s leaving, along with Coach Beard, the team rallies around Ted and adorably sings and performs “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music after their final practice. They’re about to face their biggest adversary, West Ham, and Ted wants to end on a high note.
Rebecca pleads with Ted to stay, urging him to convince Michelle and Henry to move to England. But he has made up his mind. She contemplates selling the club because she doesn’t want to do it without Ted and no longer cares about angering Rupert.
The game kicks off and Richmond is down by 2 points until Ted delivers another one of his inspiring pep talks. The team each reaches into their socks, lockers, books, and other hidden places to pull out pieces of the ripped “Believe” poster they kept all this time. They reassemble it and it’s just the motivation they need. They get back out there and win it. But not before an angered Rupert storms down to the field to yell at his new manager as Nate, who has rejoined the team as an assistant, looks on. After pushing his coach to the ground in anger, the crowd chants “Wanker! Wanker!’ to Rupert, just as they had done at the beginning to Ted. It’s a wonderfully karmic full-circle moment.
Rebecca makes one tearful, last-ditch effort to stop Ted from leaving, but he has made up his mind. She has, too. After coming in second to Manchester, she’s selling 49% of the club to the fans, retaining majority ownership while giving back to those who have supported her and the club for so long. They got farther than they ever had before.
Keeley presents her with a plan for a women’s team, suggesting they may be expanding Richmond. While leaving the airport, Rebecca has a chance encounter with her mystery man from Amsterdam, suggesting love may be in the cards for her after all. Roy is the new manager, and he’s on a path to bettering himself personally, finally joining the Diamond Dogs and even going to see Dr. Sharon (Sarah Niles).
While on the plane, Coach Beard reveals to Ted that he wants to stay but doesn’t want to let him down. Ted gives him his blessing to stay and be with Jane (Phoebe Walsh) and a flash forward shows the two getting married. Meanwhile, another flash forward shows Ted coaching Henry’s soccer team as Michelle cheers her son on from the stands. When Henry gets upset about missing a play, Ted asks him to repeat his advice. “Be a goldfish,” he replies and Ted smiles widely.
With room for spin-offs and still a possibility for a fourth season, fans will be satisfied either way. The ending accomplished what it set out to do, showing not only Ted’s journey and personal growth, but that of the entire team. When Trent provides an advanced draft of his book The Lasso Way for Ted to read, Ted leaves a sticky note saying that he loves it. But he suggests a name change. “It’s not about me,” he writes. “It never was.”
Stream Ted Lasso on Apple TV+.
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