SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this if you haven’t watched Season 2, Episode 1 of Ted Lasso. The goal here is not to give a blow-by-blow recap, but light spoilers are inevitable.
Ted Lasso is back! Apple TV+ is releasing one episode of the new season per week. Episode 2 will be available on Friday, July 30. And yes, we’ll be breaking down each episode individually here on High Press Soccer.
A Heavy Start To Season 2
While season 1 of Ted Lasso certainly wasn’t devoid of adversity, Episode 1 of Season 2 immediately let us know that the fictional AFC Richmond will face major obstacles as it seeks to return to the Premier League.
Season 2 begins with the team mired in a streak of seven straight draws. That’s not what any coach hopes for, but especially not one as opposed to the “unnatural” nature of a tie as Lasso. But the team has much bigger problems than the on-field struggles, as an adorable dog named Earl doesn’t survive draw No. 7 – the pup’s demise is the first thing we see to open the new season.
No one takes that well, least of all Dani Rojas, the cheery star whose PK, through no fault of his own, nailed the dog. That sets a somber tone for the episode, as Rojas is inconsolable, to the point that he soon develops the “y word.” Baseball fans will know what I mean, and why I’m not spelling it out.
Rojas’ inability to move past the most traumatic PK of his life brings about the introduction of a key new character, a sports psychologist named Sharon (played by Sarah Niles). For those who have been wondering if we’d ever meet someone Lasso didn’t immediately love, Sharon’s involvement with the team proves that Lasso does have it in him to be prickly toward someone. In fact, it appears any therapist can bring out his not-so-nice side. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that whether or not Lasso can build a good relationship with Sharon is going to be one of the key storylines of the season.
Roy Kent’s career transition is must-see TV
Speaking of not-so-nice (though we’ve learned he’s a teddy bear under that gruff exterior), the now-retired Roy Kent is no longer a member of AFC Richmond. But he’s still a key character, and watching his transition to coaching his niece’s team of 8-year-old girls looks like it’s going to be a weekly highlight. He calls to mind a slightly more reserved version of Will “GO GET ME A JUICEBOX!” Ferrell in the underrated Kicking and Screaming during the first speech we hear Kent give his young players.
AS LOVABLE AS WE REMEMBERED
Other highlights of the new season include the return of Lasso’s incredible ability to work some goofy aphorism into every other sentence. I realize that on paper, that sounds insufferable. Thanks to clever writing and Jason Sudeikis’ delivery, however, Lasso’s folksiness is unlikely to ever get old.
We’re also continuing to see interesting character development, one of the most surprising strengths (for me at least) of Season 1. In addition to learning that Lasso doesn’t go out of his way to charm everyone he meets, we discover that assistant coach Nate is now completely comfortable as a leader of the team. If anything, he might have to eventually (soon??) dial back his newfound willingness to tell his players whatever crosses his mind, no matter how harsh.
And while Rojas remains fairly cartoonish, he’s compelling in this episode. We see that his obsession with soccer (#FootballIsLife!) can be a double-edged sword when he’s not playing well.
All in all, Season 2 is off to a strong start. While the show is not as lighthearted as it was at this point in Season 1, it remains both intriguing and entertaining. And we fortunately have 11 episodes to go in Season 2!