Ted Lasso Season 2, Episode 3 Breakdown

Written By Tyler Everett on August 10, 2021

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this if you haven’t watched Season 2, Episode 3 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 4 will be available on Friday, August 13. And yes, we’ll be breaking down each episode individually here on High Press Soccer.

Ted Lasso Season 2, Episode 3 recap

Here’s what happened on the best episode of the season to date.

Impeccable (‘90s) musical taste

Episode 3 of Season 2 has me convinced Ted Lasso will find a way to get better every week, which is saying something considering what I thought of Season 1. I first suspected as much when this episode opened with Alanis Morrissette’s “Hand In My Pocket.” Yes, I’m admitting I love that song. And you’re fooling yourself (or maybe you just have bad taste) if you say otherwise.

Between the Season 2, Episode 1 mention of Gin Blossoms and the immortal words of Alanis — “I’m broke but I’m happy; I’m poor but I’m kind” — to kick off Episode 3 of Season 2, Ted Lasso’s writers have already hit a couple home runs on the soundtrack front. And by the end of the episode, we realize the choice of those words was telling us something much more profound than, “we miss ’90s music.”

A NEW JAMIE TARTT?

We knew Jamie Tartt would be in the middle of some conflict when he returned to AFC Richmond at the end of Episode 2. But instead of this show focusing on whether his teammates could accept a guy who’s still a jerk, we’re wondering by the end of Episode 3 whether the new version of the talented diva is what he appears to be: a guy determined to make amends.

It’s a massive credit to the writers, for starters — but also to actor Phil Dunster – that Tartt already seems nothing short of likeable. Is anyone else shocked at how difficult it is to avoid feeling like he’s a new person as this episode comes to a conclusion?

SAM TAKES CENTER STAGE

There were hints earlier in this season that Sam was going to be in the spotlight. Sure enough, his character had the most interesting role in Episode 3. His first taste of endorser life initially delighted him, but learning more about Dubai Air’s morally bankrupt owner, Cerithium Oil*, leaves him devastated.

The episode delves far deeper into corporate sponsorship than I ever expected this show to go. It makes for a fascinating plot development when Sam’s teammates all support his stand against Cerithium-owned AFC Richmond shirt sponsor Dubai Air. Prior to the team’s first game after he realizes how much damage Cerithium has done to his home country, Nigeria, Sam covers the words “Dubai Air” on the front of his jersey. It’s no surprise to see his Nigerian teammates join him in making the same gesture. But it’s truly touching when Tartt (who was, somehow, too slimy for reality TV one episode ago!!) gets the rest of the locker room on board.

*As a malevolent-sounding entity, Cerithium Oil has to be right up there with the media conglomerates like Tronc that John Oliver ripped to shreds back in 2016:

DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS AHEAD

It will be fascinating to see the implications of the team’s big gesture as the season plays out. You don’t have to be a sports business junkie to realize that there are going to be a ton of financial ripple effects from the players’ decision.

This show’s characters are much more interesting than the question of what happens to a second-tier team with no wins through nine games and a (likely) void on the front of its shirt, but AFC Richmond is going down a bumpy road.

We don’t see a second of game action this week, a clever emphasis by the writers on what Ted Lasso is really about. In the locker room after the game, everyone is all smiles, as the streak of eight straight draws is over! Who cares if it took a loss to break the streak? Tartt offering his heartfelt support to Sam amid the revelry over the stand against Cerithium stands out as the moment of the season – and it’s a testament to Dunster’s acting that Tartt’s new approach comes across as genuine.

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