Ted Lasso – Season 3 Episode 5 “Signs” Recap & Review


Episode 5 of Ted Lasso season 3 opens with sports commentators describing Richmond’s winless streak for the past seven weeks, ever since their loss to West Ham. Newcastle beat the Greyhounds in yet another match and the following week will see them up against Manchester City.

In the coach’s room, Ted confesses he doesn’t know the problem. According to the rest, it’s the offence, the defence, and the fact that the players leave it all to Zava. Rebecca walks in and basically shouts Ted’s head off, obviously frustrated with the constant Richmond losses. Ted tries to defuse the situation with an analogy about a ship turning North.

Later, Rebecca is at a café considering getting rid of the green matchbook from Sam’s restaurant when she bumps into John Wingsnight, the man she had once dated, with his fiancé. As they banter and narrate the story of how they met with Anthony Hopkins, the fiancé ends up saying the words “shite in nining armour”, much to Rebecca’s shock.

At work, Keeley’s opinion on growing her business differs from that of Barbara. But Jack agrees. Shandy enters the office and tells Keeley she’s starting a dating app for people to get with celebrities called Star Fuckrs, clearly still angry about the whole Bantr incident. Jack offers Keeley some kind words that she could use to fire Shandy. They then go out to get lunch.

Isaac shows the players the news article about Nathan dating the famous model Anastasia, which then leads the conversation to reference the movie She’s All That and its origins. When asked for his opinion, Zava claims to have eyes only for his wife.

While the coaches brainstorm about how to move forward for the match with Man City, Trent Crimm comes up with a suggestion of playing an ‘ol school long ball game’. Ted then gets a text from Michelle about Henry being involved in a bullying incident which gets a long-winded explanation from Roy about how to deal with bullies — it involves a lot of beating up the person with a rope dipped in red paint.

Leslie, meanwhile, meets Rebecca in her office and goes on a long, awkward ramble that culminates in the suggestion that they may need to fire Ted if the team doesn’t fair better. Rebecca overtly changes the subject and asks him if he believes in psychics. He does and his words of wisdom for her are that psychics can help us see something in ourselves that we didn’t before.

Ms. Kakes, Rupert’s assistant, gives Nathan Anastasia’s phone number and tells him to call her. Nathan picks up the phone and confidently asks for a second date. Turns out, it’s his mother on the other line and he’s asking her for feedback on what he’ll say.

Ted and Rebecca pass each other in the hallway and formally greet each other only to turn around and confront how awkward that was. Rebecca apologises for her outburst. Ted makes a comment about being psychic and Rebecca mentions her bully-like behaviour, leading both to leave the conversation with slight bewilderment.

Keeley comes back to work to hear from Barbara that they lost a client because of Shandy’s antics. Unable to push it off further, Keeley calls Shandy in and proceeds to fire her. Shandy is outraged and storms through the office, telling everyone she’s starting her own PR firm and will take this place down. She tries bribing the employees into following her but no one does.

Rebecca goes to visit a Dr. Wagner. After all the Richmond small talk, she tells him why she came to see him — she wants to know if she can still have children. She leaves the meeting looking hopeful.

As the Richmond players seem dejected about their recent form and playing Man City, Jamie begins to give them some encouragement but soon finds himself overshadowed by Zava. As Zava finishes his speech, mirroring much of what Jamie said, everybody cheers.

At home, Ted gets a call from Michelle who reveals that Henry wasn’t bullied. He was the bully.

Match day arrives and Jack accepts Keeley’s invitation to watch it while Barbara declines. Jack has some work to do and decides to use Barbara’s office.

Roy pumps up the team before the match only to find that Zava is missing. Meanwhile, Ted’s been trying to get in touch with Henry but keeps missing. Roy comes in and tells them they have a problem.

In Keeley’s office, she and Jack find a lamb in one of the rooms surrounded by its own poo, courtesy of Shandy.

Nathan takes Anastasia on a date to his favourite restaurant. He even gets her his coveted window table by speaking with Derek. But his efforts seem wasted as she doesn’t like the place.

Rebecca gets a text from Keeley about not being able to make it to the match. Leslie arrives with bad news. By the field, Beard and Roy are both fuming about Zava’s absence.

After getting rid of the lamb and its by-products, Keeley and Jack settle down to have a drink in her office. They use Shandy’s work vodka that Jack chugs straight from the bottle, as she learnt during her college days in Denmark.

Nathan tries to win Anastasia over with the restaurant’s food but she wants to leave. When he opens up about how important this place is to him, she leaves to ‘take a call’ but heads out to join her waiting friends in a car outside.

The Man City match is another loss for the team, this time with no goals on their end and four for the opposing team. Leslie sends Rebecca a link about Zava retiring from the sport. She then calls Dr Wagner for her test results and seems to get bad news. She tries calling Keeley, but the latter is chatting and laughing away with Jack. They talk about exes and Keeley decides not to get into her deal with Roy. Keeley says dealing with the lamb that day was the most fun she’s had in months. After a second, she kisses Jack who reciprocates.

Jade, the restaurant waitress, brings Nathan his baklava for two. When he makes the suggestion, she agrees to share it with him and they even laugh about his behaviour in front of Anastasia.

In the coach’s room, Ted’s fingers begin to tingle as a panic attack comes on but it goes away when he gets a call from Henry. Henry admits his fault and tells Ted that he even apologised to the other kid, rap style.

The Richmond team watches a video from Zava where he says he’s played his last match and will now shift focus to his family and his avocado farm.

As Ted gets off the phone the anxiety returns but he’s able to take deep breaths and calm himself, telling himself that Henry is fine. He goes out to meet the team and pumps them up despite the loss against Man City.

When Sam asks about Zava, Ted says that they never needed him anyway. He’d rather win with the people that actually want to be here. He emphasizes their need to believe just as the Believe poster falls down again. Seeing the team’s intense reaction, Ted tears the poster further and tells them the belief needs to come from within. And then no one can rip it apart.

As the team soaks in Ted’s words, Jamie asks Roy about training at 4am and the latter confirms.

The Episode Review

While the previous episodes did fair better, this one finally seems to be sagging under the weight of all these different storylines. Certain plot developments feel random and not in sync with their character, like Keeley’s and Rebecca’s. Even Nathan’s sudden change in behaviour.

Of course, the performances are on point and carry the stories even when they seem offbeat. Zava seems to have entered and exited without the usual poignancy of a Ted Lasso plotline. Match wins aside, he’s not made much difference despite having a lot of potential to do so. What is promising? Jamie and his trajectory to becoming Richmond’s next leader.

Most importantly, Ted has become so disconnected from the sport itself. And while this is intentional, I’m not sure this is the right way to set up Ted’s exit from Richmond. The whole point of the show and his eccentrics was that it works, it makes them a better team. And that element of satisfaction is simply missing. The coaching is missing. The directionless nature of these plot points may very well change though, it all depends on how things move forward.

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You can read our full season review for Ted Lasso Season 3 here!


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