DISCLAIMER: This recap of Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 4, “Big Week,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, Diamond Dogs! It’s a big week for AFC Richmond as they prepare to take on West Ham United, aka the showdown of the century. “Big Week” is another solid Ted Lasso outing that steadily moves the narrative forward and serves as a clever character examination piece. This episode, written by Brett Goldstein with Destiny Ekaragha at the helm again, hones in on the parallels between Ted and Nate. Whether it’s similarly structured shots or they’re doing the same thing in separate rooms, the series reminds us they’re more alike than they realize.
“Big Week” humanizes Nate, who Rupert unabashedly tries to mold in his Darth Vader-esque image. We see the awkward Nate we loved from Season 1 resurface. His remorse regarding his treatment of Ted is evident, but his desperation for fame and love from Rupert takes precedence over any apologies.
Ready to delve into “Big Week”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Jamie (Phil Dunster) sleeping in bed. He hears his doorbell ring incessantly, along with someone pounding on his door. He sleepily shuffles down the hallway to open it, finding none other than Roy (Goldstein) on the other side. Roy reminds him that it’s time to train. The plan is to have Jamie train his little arse off at 4 am to ensure he gets extra sessions in. One must go above and beyond to be better than Zava. Speaking of arse…
Jamie complies, trudging back to his room to change. We see he sleeps with a t-shirt on and only a t-shirt. This is a great moment for Jamie Tartt fans. Meanwhile, Nate (Nick Mohammed) plans out his game strategies with a fake pitch — like an upgraded version of Ted’s LEGO football pitch. He’s planning the big match between West Ham United and AFC Richmond. He purposely knocks over the figurine of Ted. Initially, Nate’s proud of the moment, thinking he asserted dominance. However, he quickly backtracks and returns the figurine to its spot on the board.
This transitions into a shot of the framed and signed photo Nate gave Ted (Jason Sudeikis), which sits on his dresser in his bedroom. You know, the one Nate wanted to see in Ted’s office. I love the transitions between the Nate and Ted stuff. Anyway, we see Sassy (Ellie Taylor) dressing after her fun roll in the hay with her Marlboro Man.
Ted asks Sassy if he can take her on an actual date. Sassy laughs and outright rejects him, claiming he’s a “mess.” Sassy explains that she’s a more advanced version of a mess, like a “disarray.” She’d rather keep their arrangement as is with all the 2011 vibes. Side note: thank you, Ted Lasso, for shedding light regarding No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits. What a confusing time for “buddies who f**k” movies.
Then, we see Sassy hop into her Uber while Nate drives by. Across the road, Roy sits on a bench and watches Jamie train. Suddenly, Jamie pukes, as one does. Meanwhile, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) reads Rupert’s remarks re: the upcoming West Ham/Richmond match to Keeley (Juno Temple). Barbara (Katy Wix) enters Keeley’s office and asks for tickets to the match because their boss, Jack, who funded Keeley’s PR firm, will be in town.
Higgins (Jeremy Swift) listens to Roy and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) brainstorm their plan of attack to throw Nate off. They hope to have Zava execute Nate’s “false nine” play when he least expects it. Higgins asks if Zava would be up for that. Welp, it’s back to square one. Ted wanders into the office and reveals that Sassy spent the night with him.
A Diamond Dogs session commences after Ted asks the bros if he’s a mess. Once the Dogs get the pageantry accompanying their meetings out of their systems, Beard tells Ted he agrees with Sassy. Our fave Midwestern coach is a hot mess. Who isn’t?
Next, the Greyhounds seem discouraged after listening to the pundits predict the outcome of their match with West Ham. Zava (Maximilian Osinski) encourages Isaac (Kola Bokinni), Sam (Toheeb Jimoh), Dani (Cristo Fernández), Jamie, Colin (Billy Hughes), Thierry (Moe Jeudy-Lamour) and the others to ignore what the pundits say. “Dream big, and you’ll never wake up.” Golly gee, he’s deep. Side note: notice when Colin jokes that Zava’s all his Trent (James Lance) glances his way? A little nod to the ending of last week’s episode.
Meanwhile, Nate paces outside the Taste of Athens restaurant, particularly the table in the front he fought so hard to get for his parents. He finally heads inside to pick up his takeout order from Jade (Edyta Budnik), the surly hostess he tried to ask out. Jade doesn’t remember him. Nate brags about his cushy new job as the manager at West Ham. Jade’s manager recognizes him instantly and gushes about his work as West Ham’s wonder kid. He insists that Nate’s food is free.
Later, Keeley watches while Shandy (Ambreen Razia) directs a commercial for the new Bantr initiative she’s spearheading. It includes Richmond’s single players. To Rebecca’s disappointment, Sam isn’t involved. My guess is he’s dating Simi. Dani records a bit for said commercial, as does Thierry. Erm, I mean Van Damme. Thierry’s changed his name to Van Damme after Jean-Claude Van Damme because of Zava’s motivating speech. You can be whoever you want to be!
Shandy expresses interest in Jamie, spurring Keeley to rant about her ex-boyfriend’s flaws. However, while watching him on camera, Keeley realizes how much Jamie’s evolved since they broke up. Shandy clarifies that she only wants to sleep with him — no strings attached. Like the movie.
Meanwhile, Roy, Trent and Beard show Ted footage of Nate ripping the BELIEVE sign in the Season 2 finale after the team discovers it was tapped together. The other three laugh when Nate falls in his attempt to destroy the sign, while Ted is the epitome of sadness. He sees someone who’s suffering. Ted forgoes taking action regarding the footage.
Nate sits in his office, reading an article about his highly anticipated showdown with Ted. Rupert (Anthony Head) asks him if he’s burning the midnight oil. Nate voices his concerns, claiming he and Ted separated on bad terms. Perhaps he owes Ted an apology. Yes, Nate. This is the Way. However, Rupert discourages Nate from being the bigger person. He insists all Nate needs to do is shake Ted’s hand and then beat him. Nate thanks Rupert and the latter corrects him with, “Mr. Mannion.” Uh-oh.
Then, Ted reads the same article on his phone when Rebecca pays him a visit. She senses something’s amiss with our Ted. Rebecca says, “Oklahoma,” meaning Ted must be honest with her regarding his feelings. He calls himself a “work in progmess,” which I may have to steal for myself. Rebecca acknowledges that while Ted’s a mess, that’s why they get along. She asks him to beat Rupert for her before departing. Notice how she leaves the door open this time — a metaphor for Ted finally opening up to her?
Later, everyone converges at West Ham for the match. Rebecca runs into Rupert and Bex (Keeley Hazell). Keeley makes a friend in the bathroom, who hands her a tampon for when the flowing gets tough (Get it?). Ted reunites with Nate in an elevator, even though the latter attempts to hide in a corner behind a bunch of people. Nate attempts to dole out an apology, but Rupert calls for him once he and Ted arrive at their destination.
Keeley emerges from the bathroom and meets Jack (Jodi Balfour), who’s a woman and the one who gave her a tampon. Rebecca urges Jack to get her drinking in now since they can’t bring anything into the stands. Now, it’s match time! Ted shakes Nate’s hand on the pitch, much to the irritation of Roy and Beard. Zava scores one goal in the first half, but Richmond is trailing behind West Ham. Ted chats with Rebecca while Roy and Beard head inside the locker room to boost team morale.
Rebecca emphatically and vehemently states her belief in Ted. He can do this! She goes over the top with it, shouting to the heavens that the Greyhounds will rise victorious. Ted enters the locker room to find his team on fire. Beard and Roy showed them the footage of Nate shredding the BELIEVE sign. They insist that what they did was the right thing to do.
However, once they’re on the pitch again, it all takes a turn for the worst. The Greyhounds act out in abject anger, pushing the West Ham players and violently putting the latter in their place. It costs them goals and, ultimately, the game, as West Ham walks away in triumph. Beard and Roy expect Ted to tear into them for showing the crew that video, but Ted merely reminds them they tried something different that didn’t work. Oh, well. That’s our Ted.
Meanwhile, Ms. Kakes (Rosie Lou) gives Nate a VIP pass to Bones and Honey (last seen in “Beard After Hours”) courtesy of Rupert while Nate contemplates approaching Ted to deliver that apology. Unfortunately, by the time Ms. Kakes leaves, Ted’s nowhere to be found. Rebecca spots Rupert canoodling with Ms. Kakes and calls him out before he departs with Bex. He tells him that Bex and their child deserve better and he should stop f**king around. Mic drop. That’s my girl.
Keeley learns that Shandy changed the tagline on their Bantr initiative to “What to f**k a rich celebrity?” which results in Bantr trending on social media. Keeley asks Shandy to change it in front of Jack, who doesn’t look too impressed. Later, Nate arrives at Bones and Honey to find the whole room celebrating West Ham’s victory over Richmond. Everyone congratulates him. Rupert hands Nate a drink and offers him the company of a beautiful woman. He’s in the big leagues now.
Next, Ted calls Michelle (Andrea Anders) and tells her how he feels. He’s not comfortable with her dating their ex-couples counselor. Ted digs deep and unearths what he’s been suppressing. He insists he loves their little family, no matter what shape it takes. They have to raise Henry together. Michelle listens intently. After they hang up, Ted sits in the dark, absorbing what transpired, while Michelle sits in the light in her living room. She smiles.
Ted’s growth has been a joy to watch over the past three seasons, especially once he started therapy. His conversation with Michelle is raw and honest. Season 1 Ted would’ve never even attempted to share his feelings in such a manner. I want to think Michelle smiled because Ted was finally honest with her. The lighting for Michelle and the lack of light in Ted’s flat could serve as an omen for the latter. Our fave coach will wade through some sh*t before finding his happiness.
Besides the Ted/Nate parallels, “Big Week” zeroes in on Ted and Rebecca. These two perpetually parallel each other, and this outing is no exception. Both have moments of honesty (albeit Rebecca’s is a bit more brutal) with their exes. While Sassy claims she can’t date Ted because he’s a mess, Rebecca reminds him that that’s why they get along — they’re both “works in progmess.” And that “Oklahoma” callback shows she genuinely cares about Ted. Nobody else has asked how he’s truly doing.
Nick Mohammed makes us root for Nate again as the West Ham coach navigates conflicted waters before and after the match with Richmond. Rupert incessantly manipulates him, especially when he forces Nate to call him “Mr. Mannion” when Nate displeases him and “Rupert” when Nate makes him happy. It’s gross. Nate views Rupert as a father figure, and like his biological dad, Nate bends backward for acknowledgment and gratification.
Baby Nate’s inherent awkwardness shines through in “Big Week,” and Mohammed reminds us why he’s so adept at comedy. We even see a few callbacks to earlier moments in the series. For example, the press conference after the match is reminiscent of the one where Nate calls himself the “wonder kid,” and the reporter corrects him. This time, a reporter calls him out for not shaking Ted’s hand, to which Nate claims he did. Another example is Nate secretly spitting out his drink at Bones and Honey. Mohammed endears Nate to us through the character’s idiosyncrasies and vulnerability.
Overall, “Big Week” is a character-driven outing that delves into the intriguing dynamics between our leading players, developing them organically and beautifully. It’s funny and heartwarming, as is the modus operandi for every Lasso episode. I’m curious to see where we go after this match.
Ted Lasso drops new episodes every Wednesday on Apple TV+.