I’m back - and so is Ted Lasso, Apple TV+’s, and perhaps the entire internet's, most beloved protagonist. Does this show even have an antagonist? We will circle back to this later.
I don’t have much to say right off the bat except thank God Lasso is back. I’m not sure how much longer I could have possibly waited for a second season. I watched the first season three times just to fill the void I feel in my heart whenever I don’t have eyes on Jason Sudeikis. Moving forward, I’ll be here every Monday to do a weekly recap of the previous Friday’s Lasso episode.
Unfortunately, we have to wait for a full ten weeks to figure out if our Richmond Greyhounds will redeem themselves after such a devastating end to last season - but if I’m being honest, I appreciate having yet another reason to look forward to Fridays.
Anyways. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
In what seemed to me to be a rather shocking intro to the season, the charming Dani Rojas misses his penalty kick as the team mascot, Earl the greyhound, escapes the confines of his leash and leaps in front of the goal in an attempt to catch a bird. Dani’s meticulously placed strike makes direct contact with Earl (off-camera, thank god), and we find out shortly after that he killed the dog. This hurt me for several reasons; firstly, how dare they kill a dog on this show? There are not enough Lasso-esque puns in the world to redeem such a sin. Secondly, does anyone else just wish these guys could catch a break once in a while? I get that the entire premise of this show is that Ted has undying optimism in the face of a relentless number of obstacles, but come on. I suppose this bitter thinking is just a result of my anger about a dead dog, though. I digress.
As we watch the exec team (this is the easiest way I can refer to the compilation of Becca, Keeley, Ted, and Higgins) regroup in Becca’s office to discuss, out of all things, her new boyfriend, I am struck with another potential obstacle for the show. This time, however, it is one that will face the writer’s team - we’ve lost the entire “Evil Becca” plotline - and I think it is going to be hard to fill. No, I’m not a horrible witch and yes, of course, I like nice, happy Becca much more than the Becca we met coming into the series, but you have to admit that watching her slowly melt from Ted’s charm throughout last season was one of its high points. The showrunners have given me no reason not to trust them, but I am curious to see how they will adjust to the lack of such a major story. I also have to say I simply did not like her hairstyle in this episode and that is something that WILL need to be adjusted quickly.
Right away, we get the vibe that Ted misses Roy Kent, who retired at the end of last season and moved on with his life. My response to this is, don’t we ALL miss Roy Kent? If this entire show was just 30-minute segments of Roy Kent cursing into the camera, I think I would still campaign for Emmy nominations. It is indisputable that he had some of the best character development in the first season, and that is saying something since this is essentially just a show full of wonderful character development. Despite spending four years as a political science major, I had to look up the word “pundit” again to figure out what exactly the job offer was that Roy was turning down, and I am certain that we will see him end up there eventually. There’s also a running joke about his horrible retirement speech that we didn’t get to see, and if that doesn’t happen before the season’s end, I will not be returning for a third (lie).
Let’s turn back to the team and get at the real meat of this episode, which I suspect is going to turn into the meat of this season. Dani Rojas is devastated after his inadvertent dog slaughter, and his play is suffering as a result. Ted and Coach Beard worry that he has acquired a case of the “yips,” which is when a professional athlete loses all ability to play his sport - something I learned from this episode! To combat Dani’s physical and mental breakdown, the Diamond Dogs enlist the help of a sports psychologist - Doctor Sharon Fieldstone - who immediately steals the stage from Ted and cures Dani of his yips, picking up the slack where Ted Lasso’s optimism - for the first time we’ve seen - fell short.
So here’s where we circle back to the antagonist question that I posed at the beginning of this never-ending recap. Now that (it seems) Rupert Manning is gone and Rebecca is nice, who fills the antagonist role? Perhaps Dr. Fieldstone has a hidden vendetta against the team, or maybe Rebecca’s new (ex, by the end of the episode, thanks to power-couple Roy and Keeley) boyfriend is going to seek revenge? Maybe this entire season is just going to progress without a single antihero. Let’s be honest… I would still watch if that were the case. Regardless, I’m already counting down the minutes to next week’s episode.