It’s hard to believe (or BELIEVE) it’s been over a week since the (presumably, unless you think this hints at a spin-off) series finale of Ted Lasso. “So Long, Farewell” has since become a polarizing television episode, dividing fans on whether it’s a satisfactory conclusion. I suppose I’m somewhere closer to the satisfied side, although it’s more nuanced than that. It’s not a finale without faults, to be sure. 

Season 3, in my opinion, is weaker compared to its predecessors. Despite that, I still enjoyed it. The highs are magnificent, and when the show fires on all cylinders, it feels like vintage Lasso. However, some narrative choices are questionable, and the story’s pacing is rocky at best. 

So, think of this piece as a Season 3 postmortem. Brew a cup of hot brown water and grab your requisite pink box of biscuits (boss not included) as we dive into the highs and lows of Ted Lasso‘s final season. 

Dani, Colin and the Richmond players chat in the locker room in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 8, "We'll Never Have Paris."

Cristo Fernández, David Elsendoorn, Billy Harris and Stephen Manas in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 8, “We’ll Never Have Paris,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

What Didn’t Work 

Leaving Pivotal Moments Off-Screen 

One crucial plot point that springs to mind is Colin (Billy Harris) coming out to the Greyhounds. Instead of showing us that moment, the episode cuts to Isaac (Kola Bokinni) working through his anger with Roy (Brett Goldstein). That’s not to say Isaac’s feelings are unimportant, but Colin deserves time to shine. He’s worthy of a story that grants him agency. 

RELATED: Check out our recap of Ted Lasso‘s series finale, “So Long, Farewell”

Additionally, narrative beats like Nate (Nick Mohammed) quitting West Ham and Ted (Jason Sudeikis) telling Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) he’s moving back to Kansas would’ve been lovely to see onscreen. It’s not like the episodes are short. I’d argue the hour-long runtimes exceed most comedies on TV. Plus, showing our core players move the plot forward provides more context regarding their emotional states. 

Keeley talks on the phone while standing in her office in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 10, "International Break."

Juno Temple in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 10, “International Break,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Keeley’s Whole Arc 

I hate to write this. I do. Keeley (Juno Temple) deserves a better Season 3 storyline that truly encapsulates and celebrates her journey to becoming an independent woman. Instead, she’s shoved to the side, almost forgotten, as the Richmond plot takes center stage. She feels more like a supporting character than part of the main cast. In addition, when we do spend time at KJPR, it doesn’t feel like an arc in Ted Lasso but a separate series entirely. 

Shandy (Ambreen Razia) proves to be a paltry foil for Keeley after the baby goat incident. She seemingly vanishes into thin air. The next time we see Shandy is on a magazine cover when Ted’s at the airport in the series finale. I believe Keeley firing Shandy is a point of growth for her, or at least that’s the intention, but I think it would’ve better served her story to see her continue to stand up for herself. 

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Jack (Jodi Balfour) is merely a plot point to move Keeley from A to B, which feels kinda icky since this is Keeley’s first girlfriend in the series. Not only that, but Jack is framed as a villain of sorts. She’s a life lesson for Keeley, who opens the latter’s eyes to “love bombing.” Granted, Roy’s and Jamie’s (Phil Dunster) momentary regression in the series finale doesn’t paint them in the best light. One thing about Keeley’s arc the writers do get right is ensuring she chooses herself in “So Long, Farewell.” It’s about damn time Keeley gave love to Keeley. 

Of course, I’d be remiss if I omitted Barbara (Katy Wix), a boon for Keeley’s arc. Their friendship and professional relationship are fun to watch unfold. That said, it only serves as a tool for Barbara’s growth. Keeley’s “ray of sunshine” personality can soften even the hardest of hearts. 

Rebecca, Keeley and Higgins sit next to each other at a football match in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 6, "Sunflowers."

Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple and Jeremy Swift in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 6, “Sunflowers,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Rebecca’s Romance Arc

Rebecca’s love life plot is a bit of a hot mess. While the psychic’s predictions for her essentially come to fruition with the arrival of the Dutchman and his daughter, how we get there is sloppy. I’ve always been simultaneously ambivalent and indifferent (if that’s possible) about bringing Ted and Rebecca together. On the one hand, I don’t hate the idea. On the other, I can’t see it and don’t picture it vibing with the themes this show embraces: the kinds of love that aren’t romantic, i.e., friendships and father/son relationships. 

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Now, this season unequivocally leaves clues that hint at their union being the endgame. While watching the finale, I braced myself for the inevitable romantic “lightbulb” moment at the airport that didn’t come. I understand why Tedbecca shippers are upset, even though I’m not mad about this outcome. 

All this to say, Rebecca deserves a better-constructed romantic storyline. Again, I do not disagree with her choice of partner, but the journey is bumpy. Perhaps the Tedbecca teases in the finale courtesy of the writers present as more mean-spirited than playful poking. If you’re going to commit to the Dutchman, allow us to get to know the Dutchman, ya know? 

That aside, I enjoyed the other aspects of Rebecca’s Season 3 story. Her personal growth is immense, and it unfolds quite beautifully. When she calms her inner child in front of the mirror? An evocative, empowering moment. When she sets firm boundaries with Rupert (Anthony Head) and washes her hands of him? An exquisite milestone of character development. Hannah Waddingham should have trophies lining her walls when awards season rolls around. I almost wish the writers hadn’t made romantic love such a focal point of Rebecca’s arc, especially when she finds different types of love thanks to her Richmond family. 

RELATED: Why the Ted Lasso Finale Feels Disappointing to Tedbecca Shippers

Ted’s Arc

The writers clearly endeavored to step away from Ted, and that’s okay. I wanted to see more of him. This is wishful thinking on my end. Sure, therapy was a significant part of his story in Season 2, but just because we attend therapy for one football season doesn’t mean we’re magically healed of our trauma. There’s this heaviness and pervasive sadness to Ted in Season 3. It hangs over him like a specter. I assume the show moves away from Ted because he leaves in the finale. That and the creatives are undoubtedly building toward a spin-off with Richmond. 

Ted stands in his office and smiles while wearing a red short-sleeved shirt and a white visor in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 10, "International Break."

Jason Sudeikis in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 10, “International Break,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

We spend one episode with Ted as he works through his mom issues. Well, more like 7ish minutes at the end of “Mom City.” Still, it’s not enough. Perhaps a few more therapy scenes with Dr. Sharon (the wonderful Sarah Niles, who is woefully underutilized this season) would’ve provided more context into his pent-up sadness. Mental health is a thematic crux of this series. It’s embedded in its DNA. We could’ve seen more of Ted working through those issues this season. 

What Did Work 

Nate’s Arc

Before you quickly close this tab, hear me out. Did some massive Nate beats occur off-screen? Yes, and I’m not disputing that. However, I urge you to re-examine Nate’s seasonal arc through a different lens — not one of redemption but forgiveness. Ted Lasso, first and foremost, is about forgiveness and second chances. Ted forgives no matter what. Besides, thanks to Nick Mohammed’s nuanced work, we see Nate was never the villain, to begin with. The only true villain in Ted Lasso is Rupert. 

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As early as the Season 3 premiere, we’re privy to hints that the “real Nate” is still in the West Ham-ified version of him, the one that’s thriving as Darth Rupert’s apprentice. With each passing episode, we see more of Nate’s idiosyncrasies rear their heads. By episode four, he’s keen on apologizing to Ted. 

Nate sits on his desk in his office in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 8, "We'll Never Have Paris."

Nick Mohammed in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 8, “We’ll Never Have Paris,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

While it’s not about redemption, Nate is on that path and will likely stay on it beyond the show’s ending. But, ultimately, Ted’s forgiveness unlocks something within Nate. We see him finally embrace his authentic self, mend his relationship with his father and accept love from himself and others. Forgiveness is a powerful tool. 

I’m not saying Nate’s arc is infallible because nothing is, but I think it works for what it wants to accomplish. 

Jamie’s and Roy’s Arcs

I’m combining them because their stories’ intersection is crucial to the narrative. Their relationship, from enemies to friends, is so well written. Jamie, in particular, has the best character arc in the series. In Season 3, Roy’s and Jamie’s scenes are absolute highlights. They learn to see the other’s perspective and forge their respective paths of personal growth. I believe they also influence each other to be better men. 

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Sure, they regress in the series finale as they rely on previously established, toxically masculine patterns. But guess what? They’re human. That doesn’t undo their multi-seasonal growth. Development isn’t linear. We move 20 steps forward and 35 steps backward. Watching them blossom as friends and people has been gratifying. 

Trent stands in Ted and Coach Beard's office while holding a coffee mug and smiling in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 10, "International Break."

James Lance in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 10, “International Break,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

The Trent Crimm Effect

Who knew Trent Crimm (James Lance) would become one of the best parts of Season 3? He wholeheartedly embraces “The Lasso Way,” and it’s so fun to see. His growth is also beautifully written. Ted Lasso falls short on its few women characters, but its men have soared. (I understand it’s more about men in sports, but still.) Anyway, Trent is a delightful addition to the Diamond Dogs. And that glorious mane. Those stylin’ t-shirts! His sweet mentorship with Colin. An endearing cherry atop the Richmond sundae. 

Sam’s Arc

My sweet, sweet Sam (Toheeb Jimoh). I don’t think this show has ever failed you. This season is no exception. We see Sam fulfill his dream of opening a restaurant that serves a taste of home. He grows closer to his father, Ola (Nonso Anozie), while taking a stand for what’s right. Sam’s fearlessness in addressing the racism and bigotry in the UK is admirable, and he doesn’t back down.

Despite his tiff with Edwin Akufo (Sam Richardson), Sam goes on to play for the Nigerian league. Sam encounters some turbulence in Season 3, but ultimately, he thrives. I’d be down to watch a spin-off featuring Sam and Simi (Precious Mustapha) running Ola’s (with appearances from his BFF Jamie, who dons Sam’s kit number, of course). 

The Team Dynamic 

Season 3 nails the team dynamic between the Greyhounds. We spend more time cultivating their bond, and these scenes are usually moments of levity to break up the drama. Besides diving into Colin, the series introduces even more Greyhounds to love (although I’d file this under “What Didn’t Work” — too many cooks in the kitchen in the supposed final season). Dani (Cristo Fernández) and Thierry/Van Damme/Zoro/Zoreaux (Moe Jeudy-Lamour) are given more screentime for their playful repartee (and Rani Dojas breaking Van Damme’s nose, which is admittedly less cool).

RELATED: Top 10 Inspirational Ted Lasso Quotes

While I would’ve liked the show to develop Dani beyond his clear role as the comedic relief, I probably laughed the most at his lines. It’s fun witnessing the evolving camaraderie between the players, especially as they adopt The Lasso Way. As a group, their growth stemming from Season 1 is evident. I’d argue some of the season’s most joyous moments occur on the pitch or in the locker room with our footballers. 

Ted and Rebecca sit in the stands at Richmond while smiling in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 12, "So Long, Farewell."

Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 12, “So Long, Farewell,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

The Series Finale 

Ted and Rebecca

I mentioned my feelings earlier (and they aren’t black and white), but allow me to expound a bit. To me, Ted and Rebecca present as platonic soulmates —  more like deeply bonded friends or siblings than lovers. If you feel differently, that’s totally okay. Fans will perpetually debate whether these two should’ve been romantically linked for as long as humanity exists. It’s a hotly contested subject from what I’ve seen on Twitter. 

Do the writers drop unnecessary hints at a Tedbecca endgame? 100 percent. Why? I have no clue. My only guess is to add drama and raise the narrative stakes. To more casual viewers, it can create that will-they-won’t-they dynamic as they wonder whether Ted and Rebecca will end up together. In a way, that plays into the show’s penchant for employing rom-com tropes. 

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That said, Rebecca has more romantic chemistry with the Dutchman. I said what I said. And unexpectedly reuniting with an enigmatic someone where sparks fly is very rom-com-ish. I wish we had at least another episode to establish the Dutchman as Rebecca’s next romance. Maybe even learn his name (bare minimum). It feels like a slapped-together, last-minute ending when he inexplicably appears at the airport. (Well, perhaps not so, as it’s hinted at in “Sunflowers” that he might be a pilot.) 

Simi and Sam stand in Sam's restaurant while looking confused in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 10, "International Break."

Precious Mustapha and Toheeb Jimoh in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 10, “International Break,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

As for Ted returning to Kansas, it’s been hinted at all season. His desire to go home to his son cannot be a surprise to anyone. He even dons his red sneakers in the finale. Ultimately, the one thing he keeps returning to throughout the series is Henry (Gus Turner). He misses his son. As someone who was raised by my father and had to cut ties with my abusive mother, I can understand the importance of fostering that parent-child relationship. I’d miss my dad if I were in Henry’s shoes. Part of me wonders if this is somewhat influenced by Sudeikis missing his kids. 

Could Ted have relocated his family to London? Perhaps. Is this a big ask for anyone? Absolutely. Realistically, it’s easier for him to return to Kansas. I also had to change schools as a kid, and it’s not that easy, especially if you have social anxiety. 

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The show could’ve better defined what Ted and Rebecca mean to each other. I would’ve loved to see them address their connection to September 13, 1991. They don’t have to outright refer to themselves as “platonic soulmates,” but at least have them express how deeply they care about each other, even if it’s non-romantic. Platonic soulmates do exist, and I’m grateful the show strives to place value on that. 

Roy Kent stands on the pitch at Chelsea while looking over his shoulder with a crowd around him in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 2, "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea."

Brett Goldstein in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 2, “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Keeley and Roy 

I promise to convey my feelings more succinctly for this one. As much as I loved them together, I’m okay with Keeley and Roy going their separate ways. Who knows? It might be temporary. Both have a lot of growing to do. They’re on the right path, but Keeley still needs to figure out who she is without being in a relationship, while Roy needs to learn how to express himself better and work through his grief. 

Keeley choosing herself when Roy and Jamie ask her to make that choice is such a powerful moment. Keeley is almost always in service of others, and we never see her truly take time for herself. This is growth. I hope she cultivates the love for herself she so deserves and gives herself the sunshine she freely bestows upon others. Roy is now in therapy (which is lovely), and the steps he’s taken to be a better person this season should not go unacknowledged (this is me acknowledging them). He’s slowly morphing into Ted 2.0, or his version of it, and I’m here for it. 

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Perhaps if we get a spin-off, we’ll see them rekindle their romance. For now, I think both are better off working on themselves than pursuing a relationship. There’s nothing wrong with being single, y’all. 

The Greyhounds football team embrace each other while cheering in Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 9, "La Locker Room Aux Folles."

David Elsendoorn, Cristo Fernández, Stephen Manas, Moe Hashim, Kola Bokinni, Toheeb Jimoh and Phil Dunster in “Ted Lasso,” Season 3 Episode 9, “La Locker Room Aux Folles,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Moving On

🎶”So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight…”🎶

As Ted said, it was never about him. That end montage epitomizes this. We see (Willis) Beard (Brendan Hunt), Nate and Roy affixing the BELIEVE sign above the office door, back in its rightful place as a beacon of hope. A symbol of Ted’s teachings lives on. Rebecca remains in charge of the club but sells 49 percent of it to the fans, which Ted would’ve undoubtedly done. She and Keeley embark on a new path of introducing a women’s team to Richmond. Ted would 100 percent be on board with that. 

And even without Ted, the team and Richmond senior staff meet at Higgins’ (Jeremy Swift) home for a big outdoor party. Ted’s influence is all-encompassing. It sounds like I’m referring to a deity, which Ted certainly is not, but he had lessons to impart for those willing to become better people. 

Now, they can all move on to the next chapter. Ted can mold and shape the future generation of football (or soccer, whichever you prefer) players to evolve as humans. 

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Despite Season 3’s bumpiness and disjointedness, there are moments worth loving. Ted Lasso maintained one objective, and that was to bring us joy. Mucho, mucho joy. Regarding that, it succeeded. 

So, thank you, Coach Lasso. Thank you for making us believe, even if it requires being a goldfish from time to time. We’re all honorary Diamond Dogs now. 

Ted Lasso Seasons 1-3 are now streaming on Apple TV+

TV Review: BASED ON A TRUE STORY

Melody McCune
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