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Apple TV+’s most uplifting show appears to say, 'So Long, Farewell'
This post contains spoilers from Wednesday's season 3 finale of Ted Lasso.
After three uplifting seasons, Ted Lasso still hasn't officially answered the question of whether its third season would be its last — but Wednesday's finale sure felt like a conclusion.
Following the show’s penultimate episode, which saw Ted’s mother (Becky Ann Baker) surprise Ted (Jason Sudeikis) in London, the show’s 75-minute finale opens with Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) in her bathrobe, sipping coffee and watching TV sports commentators discussing recent news reports claiming that Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head) had an “inappropriate relationship” with a former assistant.
Ted strolls into the kitchen, followed by Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), and Beard’s girlfriend Jane Payne (Phoebe Walsh). He explains that a gas leak in the neighborhood forced them to crash at Rebecca's. Beard says this is the first and last time they may all be sleeping over like this, referring to Ted’s upcoming trip to the U.S. to see his son Henry (Gus Turner). For Ted, it appears to be a one-way trip.
“The boss doesn’t want to talk about it, yet,” teases Beard.
“It’s not that I refuse to talk about you going home, Ted,” Rebecca says. “It’s that I refuse to accept that you’re not coming back.”
Rebecca’s housekeeper walks in on the foursome in various levels of undress, her eyes widen, and she zips off to clean the bedrooms instead. Beard and Jane rush off after the housekeeper. “Those ropes are not garbage,” Beard pleads.
Cut to AFC Richmond’s locker room, where the team is holding a faux trial presided over by Isaac McAdoo (Kola Bokinni) and Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) who dole out fines to teammates like Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández) for not texting “Happy Birthday” to a teammate and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) for falling asleep during one of the team’s meditation sessions. (The fines will go towards funding Richmond’s end-of-season party that Sunday at Sam’s restaurant.)
Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), meanwhile, surprises Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) in the parking lot. “What are you thinking about?” Keeley asks.
“Stuff…” Roy replies with a glint in his eye. (He’s clearly thinking about trying to get back with Keeley.)
In the coach’s office, Trent Crimm (James Lance) hands Ted and Beard mostly-finished manuscripts of his book about his time embedded in the team.
“Derivative!” Beard jokes, crossing out a line in his copy. “Overly prosaic.”
In Rebecca’s office, Keeley says the press is asking Rebecca whether she has any comment about Rupert’s divorce. She also asks Rebecca on a personal level whether she has any thoughts on this latest development.
“No comment,” Rebecca replies. “I’m sorry, but I just genuinely don’t care anymore.”
Leslie Higgins (Jeremy Swift) offers Rebecca a folder with suggestions for Ted’s replacement as Richmond’s coach. She quickly changes the subject and asks how much she would get if she sold the team.
“I only got into this to ruin Rupert’s life,” she says. “He seems to be doing a pretty good job of that himself.”
“Off the top of my head, I’d say $2 billion,” Leslie adds, causing Rebecca to spit out her tea.
Out on the field, Ted is holding the team’s last practice as their coach. The team unexpectedly starts breaking out into their own version of “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music. Adorable? Absolutely.
“Thank you, fellas,” Ted says. “That was perfect.”
Strolling through the coach’s office later, Keeley gives Ted and Beard two neon pink gift bags, then reminds the team they have a press session the next day. Jamie catches up to Keeley to tell her about a Nike commercial he’s been approached about. Roy asks Jamie to grab a beer later.
During drinks at the local pub, Rebecca and her mother Deborah (Harriet Walter) discuss Ted’s departure. “Mother, you know Ted isn’t dying,” Rebecca reminds her mother. “He’s just moving back to America.”
She also reveals that she’s been thinking about selling Richmond, an idea her mother encourages so her daughter “explore the world” and “explore” herself.
When Rebecca asks for the bill, the pub’s owner Mae (Annette Badland) tells her that several hardcore Richmond fans have already taken care of it. The trio of fans walk over and thank Rebecca for the way she’s run the team.
Meanwhile, Trent strolls impatiently into Ted’s office, asking him if he has thoughts about the book so far. “I just want you to like it,” Trent admits, before leaving. The book, as it's revealed through a close-up shot, is entitled The Lasso Way.
At the bar that evening, Roy and Jamie share beers. Roy tells Jamie he knows that Jamie has some residual feelings for Keeley and also admits he’s started talking to Keeley again. “I wanted you to know so you don’t get hurt,” Roy says. “I think it’s best if you just step aside.”
“No,” Jamie responds.
Jamie says he knows in his heart that he and Keeley are meant to be together. To that end, Jamie admits Keeley’s nude video, which leaked earlier in season 3, was made for him. Roy gives Jamie his trademark glare.
High up in the cheap seats of Nelson Road, Richmond’s stadium, Rebecca tells Ted she’s decided to sell the team. But she offers up another option: what if they both stay put?
“I respect that you need to go home to your son, Ted, but I just want you to consider the possibility that this is your home,” she says, adding that Henry could go to school in London and Michelle Lasso (Andrea Anders) could get a job there, as well.
Rebecca tearfully pleads for Ted to stay, but Ted already knows his answer. His mind is set.
At Keeley’s home, the doorbell rings, revealing Roy and Jamie, who “got in a fistfight” about who gets to be with her. She ultimately shuts them both out of her house.
Ted, meanwhile, is leaving Richmond’s locker room when he finds Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammed) sitting in the dark, staring at the empty space above the door to the coach’s office where the “Believe” sign once hung. Nathan embraces Ted, bursts into tears, and apologizes.
“You know what’s funny? You ripped it up once,” Ted says, adding he ripped up the sign twice. “So you’re in the clear.”
It's the day of Lasso’s last game, Richmond vs. West Ham, a pivotal match that will determine the league winners for the season. Nate bumbles his way through a “good luck” to Ted and Beard. Then Roy requests a meeting of the Diamond Dogs, and the coaches, plus Trent, huddle together to chat and land on the topic of people’s imperfections. “Human beings are never going to be perfect, Roy,” Leslie says. “The best we can do is keep asking for help and accepting it when you can. And if you keep on doing that, you’ll always be moving towards better.”
In the locker room, the team open a box from their former teammate Zava (Maximilian Osinkski), who has sent a jumbo avocado. Ted comes out and tells them Beard also has a motivational gift for their final match together. They play a video montage entitled “A Look Back From Your Coaches” that features team highlights from the past three years on and off the field.
The game kicks off with West Ham scoring two goals by the end of the first half. The atmosphere in the locker room is somber until Ted comes out to speak to the team.
“Well, fellows, we have our work cut out for us in the second half,” Ted says. “But you know, I’ll get to all that in a minute. … Right now all I want to do is let you gentlemen know what an absolute honor it’s been to be your coach. Getting to work with you all over these last three years has truly been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I’ve loved getting to know each and every single one of you. Learning all about the men you were and getting a front-row seat to see the men you’ve all become.”
“And I want to thank you for your patience with me,” he adds. “You know, when I showed up here, I didn’t know one thing about soccer. But now, I know at least one thing about football. I’m just so gosh darn proud to be a part of this team, you know? And I love you guys. I’m gonna miss y’all.”
As for the game’s second half, Ted concedes he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. But if the team plays “hard,” plays “smart,” plays “together” and just does what they all do, they’ll go out “with the peace of mind knowing” that the team did its best.
After the team reveals they've each saved a piece of the torn-up “Believe” sign and put it back together, they hit the field again and score a goal. Richmond is awarded a penalty kick, and McAdoo ultimately kicks the ball through the net, making the score 2-2.
Rupert marches onto the field to berate West Ham’s coach. When the coach tells him to f--- off, Rupert shoves him to the ground. The crowd gangs up on Rupert, calling him a “wanker” as he walks off the field.
West Ham scores another goal, which is declared offside, a minor foul. Richmond gets a free kick with Sam ultimately scoring the final goal, winning the match. The crowd at Nelson Road erupts into cheers, rushing the field, while Ted breaks out into the viral victory dance that landed him the job in Richmond in the first place.
At the airport, Ted is perusing newspapers and magazines. In the latest issue of The Sun, Rupert’s “pitchside push” makes the front page, while Rebecca’s sale of 49 percent of the club to fans makes the front page of The Everyday Independent. As he walks to his flight, a traveler stops him — it's the same traveler from the show's pilot! — telling him it sucks that Richmond ultimately came in second to Manchester and taking yet another "ussie" together.
When asked where he’s headed, Ted admits he’s going home “for good.”
“That’s stupid,” the traveler says. “You should have stayed. Crushed it. Legend. Just a bit unlucky in the end.”
When he gets to his gate, Ted sees Rebecca, who has come to give him a “proper goodbye.” They thank each other before embracing.
Ted passes through security, as Rebecca smiles through tears. On the flight, Ted and Beard sit next to one another, and Ted wonders if what he’s doing is “nuts.”
“We almost won the whole frigging thing, you know?” Ted says. “Saying goodbye to a bunch of nice folks. And I know I’ve finally accepted that air conditioning is a privilege, not a right.”
Beard confesses to Ted he can’t leave after all because of his love for Jane. Ted tells him to go. But getting off the plane requires a little creativity. (In this moment, we finally, finally learn Beard’s first name is Willis.) Beard fakes a ruptured appendix, which gets him off the plane.
As Rebecca leaves the airport, she catches a young girl who stumbles to the ground and runs into the Dutchman she shared a tender evening with earlier in the season. The Dutchman, it turns out, is a pilot, and the girl is his daughter. Maybe, just maybe, they can rekindle the spark they felt in Amsterdam.
Onboard the flight, Ted opens Keeley’s gift bag, revealing a snow globe: a miniature of Richmond Green. Cut to Trent, who finds a note on his manuscript from Ted. While Ted “loved it,” he offers some feedback: “I’d change the title. It’s not about me. It never was.”
Finally, we see how the rest of the cast is doing — they’re thriving. Keeley has revived her PR firm, which is busier than ever. Roy Kent becomes AFC Richmond’s new coach. Nate happily dines with Jade and his family at A Taste of Athens, their favorite restaurant. And as the camera slowly pulls away from Leslie’s front yard, Keeley, Jamie, Roy, Rebecca, the Dutchman and the rest of Richmond enjoy a festive barbecue, their spirits buoyed by success and satisfaction.
The trio of diehard Richmond fans who paid for Rebecca’s pub bill earlier in the episode, meanwhile, proudly examine the shares in Richmond they’ve purchased. Trent, meanwhile, is signing copies of his book — now titled The Richmond Way — at a store.
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As the episode winds down, Keeley presents Rebecca with a proposal for an AFC Richmond women’s team, and Beard marries Jane at a location that suspiciously resembles Stonehenge. (Dani, it turns out, is a polyamorist, and who are we to judge? It's 2023.)
As for Ted? Our sunny protagonist finally arrives back in the US, grinning as he hugs Henry and waves to Michelle.
In the finale's final scene, we learn Ted hasn’t given up on coaching, entirely: he now teaches Henry’s soccer team. And as Ted looks directly into the camera, he smiles with a mixture of satisfaction and relief. He’s home, but more importantly, he’s whole and happy.
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