DISCLAIMER: This recap of Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 10, “International Break,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, Diamond Dogs! “International Break” puts the “Rom-Com” in “Rom-Communism.” While it’s not quite as rom-com heavy as Season 2’s “Rainbow,” it’s damn well close. Like last week’s outing, this episode feels like old-school Lasso, and I love it. It’s bursting at the seams with heart. Plus, the narrative moves at a brisker pace.
We’ve had a lot of mirroring between Keeley and Nate’s arcs this season, and “International Break” is no exception. Nate is on the road to redemption and patches things up with his dad, while things end on a happy note for Keeley as she can reopen her business and she and Roy rekindle their romance. Jamie and Roy’s respective journeys in this outing are beautiful. They’ve grown so much.
Ready to delve into “International Break”? Let’s get to it.
We open with the pundits from Soccer Saturday as they praise the Greyhounds for their 10-game winning streak. They compliment Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) for his expert moves that were instrumental in leading Richmond to victory. They believe he deserves a spot in the Nigerian league as the various international matches loom. However, the top story is Nate quitting West Ham United. Plot twist! Well, perhaps it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise if you’ve been following Nate’s redemption arc. As of now, West Ham is in second place. I expect Rupert to be more hands-on with the team as we near the end of the season.
Next, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) remind the team that there’s no game the following week due to the “international break.” Beard reads a list of Greyhounds that were chosen to represent their countries. Jamie (Phil Dunster) will make his England debut, while Van Damme (Moe Jeudy-Lamour) will play for Canada against Dani (Cristo Fernández) for Mexico. Bumbercatch (Moe Hashim) will represent Switzerland, and our boyo Colin (Billy Harris) will play for Wales. Unfortunately, Sam wasn’t chosen to rep Nigeria.
Jamie asks Sam if he’s okay and embraces him. Aw. Jamie’s growth this season makes me giddy. Van Damme approaches Dani, excited to play against him in their upcoming match. However, Dani, Richmond’s resident ball of sunshine, puts his competitor face on and vows to make Van Damme his “b*tch.” He tries to intimidate Van Damme. I’m not sure I like this side of my Dani.
Later, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) tells Ted all about a wine delivery service that arrives on your doorstep once a month (except when you’re pregnant). She asks Ted if he’s heard of Nate parting ways with West Ham, but our titular coach refuses to partake in gossip dressed as “girl talk.” Trent (James Lance) tells Rebecca he believes inappropriate behavior was happening behind closed doors. Nobody believes Nate is capable of anything like that.
Higgins (Jeremy Swift) enters the scene with some scuttlebutt (one of my favorite words): Edwin Akufo plans to amass a “Super League” of football players. Ted mistakes this as a billionaire bringing superheroes together to fight crime. I know Ted is known for his Midwestern charm and occasional naivete, but he’s not that thick. This is a poor attempt to squeeze in a superhero/Justice League joke. Rebecca wonders if Rupert is involved. Speak of the devil; he tries to call her.
Meanwhile, Jade (Edyta Budnik) finds Nate (Nick Mohammed) buried under his blankets. He’s depressed and feeling directionless. She asks if he wants to accompany her to Poland, but he stays home. After she departs, we see paparazzi crowded outside his flat. Keeley (Juno Temple) heads into KJPR to discover everything in her space being packed away. Barbara (Katy Wix) reveals the board pulled funding for KJPR, and Jack was supposed to tell Keeley about it. Ugh. Keeley returns to her office and cries. My poor girl.
Ted, Beard and Roy (Brett Goldstein) notice Sam is dispirited following the international match announcements. Ted reminds Sam to be a goldfish (a callback to “Biscuits,” Season 1 Episode 2, when Ted first tells Sam this). Sam runs into Rebecca in the hallway, and things get awkward/flirty/tension-filled. Rebecca reveals she thinks Sam is wonderful after he admits he could’ve played better. Then, she finds Rupert (Anthony Head) in her office. He asks where she put the Hockney painting he gave her. He invites Rebecca to attend a meeting with Edwin regarding the Super League. She says she’ll think about it.
Next, we see Roy celebrating “Uncle Day” with his sister, credited as Dr. O’Sullivan (Sofia Barclay), and Phoebe (Elodie Blomfield). There hasn’t been enough Phoebe this season, so this makes me happy. Phoebe brings Jamie into the fold, revealing she had to invite her Uncle Roy’s best friend. Of course, both men try to deny their best friendship, but we know the truth. Jamie claims his BFF is Isaac. Sure, Jan. Jamie gives Roy his kit from the 2014 World Cup with a twist: he changed the “E” in Roy’s surname to a “U.” U know what that means. Phoebe orders Jamie to pay up for leading her to think about a bad word. She’s so business savvy, that one.
Then, Phoebe gives Roy a tie-dyed t-shirt in red, orange and yellow. They spell his name, of course. His sister encourages him to thank Phoebe for her hard work. It’s sweet. After the mother-daughter duo leaves to prepare for the play they wrote for Uncle Day, Jamie remarks on how Roy’s sister is “fit.” Roy’s face melted my heart when Jamie gave him the World Cup gift. These two are besties. Sam heads into Ola’s for the night, expecting the restaurant to be packed.
Simi (Precious Mustapha) reveals it’s just Edwin Akufo (Sam Richardson) and Francis (Edwin De La Renta). Oh, and a food critic who’s clearly Team Akufo. We learn Edwin paid the Nigerian government a handsome sum to keep Sam off the team. Additionally, Edwin plans to open a Nigerian-themed restaurant (with Chicago-style hotdogs as a menu option) less than a mile from Ola’s. He vows to foil Sam at every turn and make his life hell. Ugh, we get it, dude. You’re still butthurt that Sam rejected you. Move on. Rebecca approaches Higgins for advice because Keeley and Ted aren’t answering her. Well, Keeley’s spiraling due to her business shuttering and Ted’s throwing axes with Beard and Jane.
Rebecca believes Rupert only invited her because she’s a woman, but Higgins reminds her that the reason is irrelevant. She now has a seat at the table. Isn’t it worth checking out? Meanwhile, Keeley drinks at the pub, where she meets Mae (Annette Badland) for the first time. She asks Mae for advice and what it’s like to be your own boss. Mae, ever the wellspring of wisdom, offers sage words and food to counteract Keeley’s alcohol consumption. Then, Roy walks into work to “Red Right Hand” (which I primarily associate with Peaky Blinders — Roy would fit in on that show) and garners a few wide-eyed stares from his coworkers. When he arrives in his office, he removes his coat to reveal Phoebe’s gift: he’s wearing the tie-dyed t-shirt. Ted, Beard and Trent are shocked. Roy Kent in colors!
Meanwhile, Rebecca sits at her desk and pulls the Ola’s green matchbook from her purse. We see it’s attached to the little green army man Ted gave her in Season 1. Oh, if that’s not romantic foreshadowing, I don’t know what is. The writers are slapping us in the face with it now. She texts Rupert, deciding to attend Edwin Akufo’s meeting. The following morning, Rebecca prepares for said meeting. Anxiety strikes, so she places her hand on her chest and employs a breathing exercise. Now we know how she was able to help Ted with his anxiety attack in Season 1 — she has anxiety, too. A match made in anxious heaven.
Then, Rebecca notices her younger self standing in the mirror before her — a reflection of little Rebecca, who has her hand over her heart. Rebecca brings back another classic Lasso move by stretching herself to her tallest and hisses. If you recall, Rebecca blessed us with her monster pose in the episode where she and Keeley give Nate confidence tips. Like magic, Rebecca feels more confident. I adore this moment. The deep-breathing exercise, comforting her inner child — it’s profoundly resonant to an anxiety-riddled gal like me who forgets to embrace her inner child.
Next, Roy drops Phoebe off at school while wearing his tie-dyed shirt (which he almost left in the parking lot at Richmond in anger). He reunites with Ms. Bowen (Ruth Bradley), Phoebe’s teacher. We learn her first name is Leann, so she didn’t send him the “Plenty of fish in the C” note in episode two. She remarks how Roy seems different. Lighter, freer. Less encumbered by sh*t. Leann’s following comment switches on the lightbulb for Roy as he utters, “Fudge.” (Phoebe’s influence!) He bids farewell to Leanna and leaves. She verbally kicks herself for messing things up with Roy, referring to herself as a f*ck-witch, which her students call her.
Keeley gives Barbara a snow globe as a parting gift. Barbara likes it; however, she usually buys them for herself. She gives Keeley money for the snow globe and asks for a receipt. Shoutout to Barbara’s “juicy” attire. Later, Rebecca and Rupert reunite at Edwin’s meeting. We also meet Rupert’s new assistant, Ms. Bread, who replaced the “corporate pixie dreamgirl.” Meanwhile, Nate snuck into his parents’ home to flee the paparazzi and regroup mentally. His mom, Maria (Neelam Bakshi), brings him food while he lies in bed. His father, Lloyd (Peter Landi), doesn’t understand why his son is home. One day, his parents head out, leaving him alone. He sneaks out of his room and looks through family photo albums and heirlooms. He finds his violin in the attic.
Then, Edwin starts the meeting with a meal. After kicking out one of the club owners for optics reasons, he hands out a five-year plan for the Edwin Akufo Super League. He plans to hike up the prices so only the elite can watch the elite play. Nate pulls out his violin and starts playing. Keeley finally texts Rebecca back and encourages her bestie to give ’em hell. After all, these old club owners are essentially little boys. After perusing Edwin’s plan, she sees them all as little boys sitting in chairs much too big for them. Next, she talks to them like they’re children. Well, initially.
Rebecca launches into a touching monologue about why football matters and how they can’t take it away from the people. Edwin’s plan puts more money in their pockets, but they’re billionaires. They don’t need more money. Meanwhile, we see the team watching the respective matches of their fellow players in the international leagues (in the Canada versus Mexico match, Dani broke Van Damme’s nose). This time, everyone watches with pride as Jamie plays for England. And he so happens to wear a kit bearing the number 24 for one Sam Obisanya. Sam grins. My heart swells with love.
Later, Rebecca convinces the whole room to turn against Edwin’s plan; his Super League ultimately implodes. When he storms out of the room in a huff, we see everyone covered in food, including Rebecca and Rupert. Rebecca and Rupert laugh. Lloyd listens to Nate play the violin and comments on how he misses his son’s music. Lloyd apologizes for pushing Nate too hard and for thinking he had to succeed on his terms. Nate reveals he merely wanted to play the violin as a hobby. I believe this is the moment Nate’s been waiting for: an apology from his dad. It’s moving — beautiful work from Landi.
After the Edwin Akufo Food Fight™, Rupert tries to kiss Rebecca. Thankfully, she stops him. She even puts her hand up to physically stop him (this was part of an exercise I did in therapy, so I liked seeing it onscreen). Yes, girl! Roy attempts to slip a letter he wrote to Keeley under her door. She makes him read it aloud. He apologizes for making her feel like their relationship ending was her fault. It’s touching and heartfelt. He had some sh*t to work through and pushed her away. Then, he reminds her of something critical — she’s Keeley F*cking Jones. I love this callback to last season during her photoshoot. As Roy leaves, we see Keeley initially watch him until she moves; however, it cuts quickly to the next scene.
Nate has officially emerged from his bedroom and is playing a card game with his parents. Everyone’s laughing and having a good time. Rebecca turns up at Keeley’s house, telling the latter about her success in dismantling the short-lived Super League. Keeley finally opens up about the shuttering of KJPR. Rebecca, who’s ridiculously loaded, offers to pay a ridiculous amount of money to fund it. That’s what best friends are for. Rebecca also divulges the Rupert almost-kiss while a certain pink-robe-clad Roy Ke(u)nt lingers in the background. Keeley and Roy are back, baby!
At Richmond, Will (Charlie Hiscock) wanders into the locker room to find it pristine. Everything’s folded and presented beautifully. He finds a note addressed to him with lavender taped to it, bearing the message, “I’m sorry,” from the Wonder Kid. Will smiles. We see Nate emerge from the bowels of Richmond. Barbara returns, and Keeley rehires her as her CFO since KJPR is back up and running. The Greyhounds reunite as the players who were abroad return to London. Dani approaches Van Damme as his usual gleeful, cheery self. He asks about Van Damme’s broken nose. Feeling empowered again, Sam puts the 1994 Nigerian World Cup team photo back in his locker.
Rebecca hangs the David Hockney from Rupert back in her office. She has biscuits and tea with Ted. She confesses that she’s moved on from Rupert. Rebecca no longer cares about besting him. She wants Richmond to win. Ted agrees. He wants that win “for us.” Rebecca spits her tea in his face, which is reminiscent of when Ted spits fizzy water in her face in the Season 1 finale.
Rebecca’s and Ted’s respective development has been fun to watch. Ted spends most of the episode in the background save a few key moments (That ending!), but Rebecca moving on from Rupert is significant. From her telling off the billionaire boys’ club and her rejecting Rupert’s advances to her calming her inner child, this episode might belong to Rebecca for me. Hannah Waddingham is a force of nature; her performance is layered, tender and empowering.
Ted Lasso utilizes clothing to give us clues regarding the narrative, particularly Ted and Rebecca’s story. Remember the red and blue magnets in Ted’s pocket from “We’ll Never Have Paris”? Ted wore red, while Rebecca wore blue in this episode. In that last scene, Ted also donned army green pants after Rebecca found the green soldier he gave her in her purse. It’s all there, y’all.
Unrelated fun fact: we had two voice cameos in “International Break”: Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie, who voiced Lanny and Bruce, the Canada versus Mexico game commentators. I like facts that are fun!
Where do you think the final two episodes will go? Will we get Tedbecca in episode 11 or 12? Will Trent finish his book before the show ends? Only time (and two more episodes) will tell.
Ted Lasso drops new episodes every Wednesday on Apple TV+.