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Ted Lasso Season 3: A Self-Professed Rom-Com Chooses Cynicism

The following article contains heavy spoilers for Ted Lasso, including Episode 312, “So Long, Farewell.”

“So Long, Farewell,” the series finale of Ted Lasso, plays out like your worst nightmare – the kind that wakes you up in a chill, the kind that makes you sink into your bed with relief because it wasn’t real. This time, it was. The beloved comedy series, once hailed for its complex understanding of optimism, took a sharp turn in its third and final season that undid everything it once believed in. As the run time of each episode kept expanding, the self-professed rom-com set itself further and further adrift from its original sentiment and became an island of its own making. Ultimately, Ted Lasso let apathy reign, concluding with a devastating final shot of Ted alone in Kansas.

To say everything about Ted Lasso was unsuccessful would be disingenuous and oversimplified. The show marveled at human empathy when it didn’t get in its own way. Despite a focus on football, Ted Lasso was never about the sport but about overcoming personal trauma through kindness. The entire catalyst for the series was Rebecca Welton’s (Hannah Waddingham) own divorce from emotionally abusive ex-husband Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head). After winning AFC Richmond in the divorce, Rebecca hires Ted (Jason Sudeikis) under the guise of “positive” change. Ted doesn’t know he’s there to burn the club down to the ground, ultimately inserting himself so profoundly into Rebecca’s life with unconditional affection and understanding that she takes what Ted offers: redemption. 

However, when it mattered most, Ted Lasso failed to live up to the nuanced optimism it once believed in. It begs heartbreaking questions: did the breadcrumbs of a deeper connection between Rebecca and Ted not matter? Throughout the first season, the friendship between Ted and Rebecca could also be interpreted as the foundation of a romance. The characters live distinctly parallel, both freshly divorced, middle-aged people who slowly form a close bond. Ted coaxes Rebecca out of her pain and anger following her split from Rupert; Rebecca gives Ted the space needed to realize his marriage is over. Both seemed on a path of healing that included each other’s company.

Source: That Shelf