*Warning: Major spoilers ahead*
Nate’s switching sides! Is trouble ahead for Roy and Keeley?! Are Ted and Rebecca gearing up for the biggest fight of their careers?! The season two finale of Ted Lasso—Apple TV+’s breakout series about a midwestern football coach who moves to the U.K. to oversee a soccer team, despite knowing nothing about the sport—was full of explosive, “what’s going to happen next?!” moments that set the stage for season three. (So it’s no surprise that producer Bill Lawrence has already confirmed a third installment is in the works.) Nearly every character is facing a huge turning point, giving the series a number of directions it could go in, but two sentences at the end of the finale gave powerful insight into how all of those paths converge.
So, how will things shape up, and where do we go from here? Here’s our theory for Ted Lasso’s season three story arc, as well as two minor predictions for upcoming episodes. (Ted, aka Jason Sudeikis, please feel free to use any/all of these ideas.)
1. The Overarching Theory: Nate Isn’t the Supervillain After All
The big reveal at the end of the finale—that Ted’s assistant coach, Nate (Nick Mohammed), had taken on a coaching job at AFC Richmond’s biggest rival, after secretly selling out Ted to the press for having a panic attack during a game—got everyone’s attention. Nate had been growing increasingly devious over the course of the season, taking out his insecurities on anyone he deemed beneath him, and this reveal sets the stage for a huge source of conflict in the upcoming season. How will Ted handle this kind of betrayal? How can AFC Richmond compete against a rival who now knows their every move?
While that will provide some drama, the real antagonist of season 3 is…their own inner demons. The introduction of Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) and Ted’s panic attacks have set the stage for this, as well as the moments when Nate trash-talks himself in the mirror, spitting at his own reflection in disgust. Every major character is at a crossroads—Keeley (Juno Temple) in launching her own PR firm and becoming more than “a footballer’s girlfriend,” Ted in addressing his repressed grief, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) in owning her power (and her feelings), Jamie in stepping out of the shadow of his father’s expectations, just to name a few.
What makes us so sure inner battles will be at the forefront of season three? About 42 minutes into the season two finale, Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) reveals that he’s turned down the role of a lifetime to keep playing for AFC Richmond. In doing so, he delivers three lines that foreshadow everything to come, not just for him, but for the entire team: “I wish I could say it’s because of my feelings for you. But the truth is, I think I need to stop worrying about how others feel about me. I’m staying because it’s what’s best for me and my personal journey.”
If season one was about staying upbeat in the face of hardship, and season two expounded on that by showing that optimism doesn’t mean denying your pain, the great “Yes, And” of season three is that positivity isn’t people-pleasing. It isn’t denying your needs to the point of numbness or until you’re choking on your own resentment. It’s about making the tough choice that’s right for you, even if it disappoints or confuses people. And being OK with that.
What further evidence do we have to feel confident in this theory? The mere fact that in confirming a third season of the show, Lawrence shared that Dr. Fieldstone and Trent Crimm (James Lance)—the reporter who lost his job after telling Ted that Nate was the source leaking the panic attack news—would have significant roles in the future. Dr. Fieldstone’s parting words to Ted are that “the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off,” underscoring the theme, and Crimm mentions he’s looking forward to exploring who he is, beyond being a reporter. Ted Lasso’s superpower is its catharsis cloaked in comedy; season three will simply take things to a new level.
OK, with the big theme out of the way, let’s have a little fun, shall we? Here are two other predictions for season three.
2. Minor Theory #1: Roy’s Headed for a New Relationship
Keeley’s whole journey has been about establishing herself as more than a pretty face, and while she and Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) didn’t break up at the end of season three, their relationship status will likely change fairly early on. She’s focusing on building her own PR firm; Roy’s adjusting to life as a mentor, both as an AFC Richmond coach and to his niece, Sophie. Keeley asserting her independence as a single woman and growing into a role as a boss adds dimension to her character, and it’d be a missed opportunity not to explore that. As for Roy, we could see his subtle flirtation with Sophie’s teacher turn into a light romance, helping him learn to become more vulnerable and shed more of his tough guy persona. (Still, that doesn’t mean we won’t be heartbroken and stan Ken-eeley reunion the whole time.)
3. Minor Theory #2: Rupert’s “Gift” Will Finally Free Rebecca
Lasso fans know that the whole reason Rebecca hired Ted, the ultimate fish-out-of-water, to coach AFC Richmond was because she wanted to destroy her ex-husband’s beloved soccer team, since she took it over in their divorce. In the process, she learned to love Ted and the team itself, and at every turn, her ex, Rupert (Anthony Head), has proved to be a snake. Including giving her the final shares of his stake in AFC Richmond…only to use that money to buy the team’s rival in another attempt to take her down.
Season three will undoubtedly all lead up to the teams’ showdown, but even bigger than the match is Rebecca’s journey there: Seeing how her ex’s pettiness has made his world pathetically small, driven by a need to “beat” her to justify his own selfish actions, rather than address his role in their eroded relationship. Whether Richmond wins or loses, her victory will be in realizing West Ham United is just another team to play—one in a long list of matches—and that the outcome (and Rupert’s success or demise) has no impact on her worth. Now that is a freeing truth to uncover.