Ted Lasso Season 3 Review – Bad writing unravels one of TV’s most wholesome shows

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 4/5

It’s impossible to not compare a season of TV to its previous ones, particularly when something as brilliant, fun and meaningful as Ted Lasso comes around, you expect it to live up to those qualities throughout its run. But season 3 of Ted Lasso definitely did not. That’s not to say it is a bad season — it is entertaining, heartwarming and got a fair few laughs out of me. But good doesn’t feel enough when you’ve had the best.

A lot of the issues with season 3 have to do with the writing. Season 1 and 2 had clear directions, even in their standalone episodes. It was all moving towards a singular destination. On the other hand, Season 3 is sprawling with storylines meandering all over the place. And there really are a lot of storylines.

This season tried to split the spotlight amongst its characters — Ted going home, Rebecca’s search for love, Sam’s restaurant, Colin’s coming out and Nate’s redemption; these are just a few at the top of the list. Not only are there too many different threads but they don’t tie in with each other to form a whole, as any show with an ensemble cast should.

Several parts of the narrative feel like they are jigsaw pieces in the wrong puzzle — a world-class football player, Zava, joins the team with a lot of fanfare only to quietly disappear by episode 5. Billionaire Edwin Akufo makes a short reappearance with plans for a football super-league and vanishes once they are dashed by Rebecca.

While the individual episodes do have their standout moments, the season as a whole leaves much to be desired. Ted spends a lot of time mooning over his wife and her new boyfriend, and very little actually coaching the team. In fact, he is regaled to the background this season more than ever before. While his journey is an important one, I do think it could have been more fleshed out since the lack of his spirit leaves a mark on the show.

And let’s not forget how the writers suddenly remember that queer people exist and conveniently decided to make a whole set of its characters queer. It is executed well, with a lot of heart, but the last-minute addition is painfully obvious.

Why sit through the whole season then? Because despite the shoddy storytelling, the trademark Ted Lasso wholesomeness does persist. Roy and Jamie, for example, have the series’ best-developed relationship. Having already become grudging colleagues, we see them move on to a mentor-mentee relationship that grows into a supportive friendship. Jamie’s arc through the season, easing into the best version of himself, shows exceptional writing.

Rebecca’s arc, if unsteady at times, feels true to her. And Hannah Waddingham makes every scene an absolute delight to watch anyway. The very last match between Richmond and West Ham has to be one of the most gripping scenes of the show, it’s masterfully executed and you can’t help but cheer how far our underdogs have come.

And of course, there are scenes where the entire team supports and uplifts one another that highlight the essence of Ted Lasso. Like when the team comes together to fix up Sam’s restaurant or when they all sing Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds at the end of the Amsterdam episode. When these moments do happen, they are wonderful and fulfilling.

But the wobbly storytelling inevitably comes back to prick the bubble. You’re left wondering a lot of things. Like would a queer woman really shame Keeley for her sexuality? Why give Roy and Keeley a breakup at all when they could have had one of the healthiest romantic relationships on TV?

Why bring back the love triangle and backtrack on the exemplary development between Jamie and Roy? Why is Jane’s toxicity played for laughs? If Ted is meant to move on from his broken marriage, why leave an open ending with Michelle? Does Nate continue to be an assistant kit man?

However, this is a show whose central message revolves around how people are imperfect, flawed and human. In light of that, even as Ted Lasso’s latest season fails, it still does more for the world than a lot of other stories out there.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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