Is AFC Richmond’s wayward son poised for a return?
Welcome back to the Dogtrack for Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 2. Declan Lowney’s back behind the camera with a script from Leann Bowen who previously wrote Season 1’s “Diamond Dogs.”
Picking up with the reality show we ended on last week, Lust Conquers All, we arrive just in time to see Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) kicked. It’s, in part we learn, because he had bathroom sex with one woman, said he loved her, asked her to marry him, and then had hot tub sex with another.
Lust Conquers All feels so well observed it doesn’t read as parody or a heightening. Obviously, Jamie’s actions are quite oversized but everything else about it feels pretty much what I’d expect from a British reality show these days.
After watching him being voted out, we cut to Jamie post-gaming it with a morning show. Again, Ted Lasso keeps the morning show feeling realistic for this sort of thing which allows Jamie’s blithe cluelessness to really pop. Especially when he attempts to explain how George Harrison’s death led to his choice to go on Lust Conquers All.
When Jamie finally leaves the studio, having learned Man(chester) City won’t be bringing him back to play, the scene deserves a shout-out. There are just enough people there to let you know Jamie is oft noticed and asked for things in public, but few enough that it makes it clear he isn’t the megastar he acts like. If only the score wasn’t a bit much, it would’ve been perfect.
Ted Lasso keeps the morning show feeling realistic…which allows Jamie’s blithe cluelessness to really pop.
Back in the Coaches’ offices, a couple of subplots seem to be coming into clarity. One is Coach Beard’s (Brendan Hunt) volatile relationship with Jane. Their latest row resulted in him having to sleep in his office because she tossed his keys into the drink over a disagreement.
Two is Nate the Great’s (Nick Mohammed) struggle to let go of his old position as seen by his constant riding of Will (Charlie Hiscock). Will’s sins this week include treating the towels with lavender (hey, that’s the episode’s title) fabric softener and putting the game towels under the bench instead of on it.
Roy (Brett Goldstein) continues to avoid doing much of anything or talking to Ted (Jason Sudeikis) as he drops off Keeley (Temple Juno) and then screeches the hell out of the parking lot before the Coach can talk to him. Before he goes he gets a pretty good joke off about Ted riding on the back of the team’s lawn mower because it is the closest the American can get to a Dodge Ram. What makes the joke especially sing though is the next shot of Keeley climbing out of Roy’s enormous SUV. Methinks the footballer doth protest too much.
After Roy ditches him, Ted finds out that Higgins (Jeremy Swift) signed Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles). It put Ted in a bit of state as he vacillates between demanding he be told about such things and reassuring Higgins that he has no obligation to report every decision in advance.
He keeps the ambivalent fit going by dropping in on Doctor Sharon—a move she immediately criticizes him for—to try and bribe her with his biscuits (cookies to us Yanks). She takes a bite but only under duress as she doesn’t eat sugar. We can tell how badly she’s taking Ted out of joint because he responds to her with the meanest line we’ve ever seen him deliver comparing her rejection to sugar to him no longer playing video games: “It’s just something in my life I really enjoy. But then I pretend that preventing myself from having them will somehow make my life better. But in reality, all I’m doing is depriving myself of something that makes me happy instead of attempting to adjust my relationship to it.”
Jamie, meanwhile, has hiring issues of his own. Specifically, no one will hire him. His agent thinks that maybe they can launch him a television career but no one in soccer wants to touch him. It makes him desperate enough, he approaches Keeley on her lunch break to ask for help. Well, follows her a little. Ok, stalks her for her entire break until she catches him, forcing him to admit what’s going on.
While Keeley is talking to her ex in a coffee shop, Roy is dealing with the disappointment of his niece’s team losing their West London Under-9 Cup. Despite doing a bit of the “the problem with this generation is participation trophies” song and dance, he too clearly loves coaching the girls for that to come across as anything but a goof.
Losing the game doesn’t compare to coming home to find Keeley in bed getting off to his “humiliating” press conference which we finally get a glimpse of. Roy is predictably pissed, but Keeley explains that she thinks it’s hot because he’s both so passionate and vulnerable in it. He hears what she’s saying and finally agrees to give football punditry with Sky Sports a try as a result.
Keeley punted on helping Jamie, sending him to catch up with Ted at the local pub. There he reveals he mostly did the reality show to piss off his dad and Ted points out a couple of people with bad dads who did great work. When Jamie asks about Ted’s dad though, the coach insists his dad was a lot harder on himself than he ever was on his son. Despite Jamie being honest and humble though, Ted turns him down.
The next day, Dr. Sharon observes practice and Ted is sure she’s moving closer every time he looks away. On the field, the team seems chippy and overcranked until Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) rejects a small bit of coaching and storms off. It turns out he saw a picture of Jamie and the coach eating together and assumed it meant Jamie was coming back. Sam becomes quickly apologetic when Ted explains he isn’t bringing back Jamie and mentions that Sam’s dad always says nice things about Ted when they talk.
The show seems to be grooming Sam for a bigger role and this scene shows Jimoh’s definitely ready for it. The way he shows his anger while still being regretful and then even that melts away isn’t flashy but it unfolds at just the right pace.
As a thank you to Keeley for making him try something he was afraid to admit he wanted, he lets her watch the press conference while he using his mouth for things besides swearing and football analysis.
The show seems to be grooming Sam for a bigger role and this scene shows Jimoh’s definitely ready for it.
Waiting to go the air for the first time, Roy finds himself a bit out of sorts. He doesn’t want eye makeup, he doesn’t understand why a former rival would send him a bouquet to wish him well or “How the fuck… he know[s] I love white orchids.” But once he’s in front of the camera, his predictably profanity-laden verbosity thrills the people on social media and in the pub.
Despite his earlier decision, Ted polls the Diamond Dogs to see how they feel about bringing Jamie back. He explains that Sam reminded him not everyone has a good dad and implying that Jamie’s behavior might be more about a bad dad than him being bad himself. Despite that, Nathan and Beard both vote no.
However, after talking to Doctor Sharon—who finally says he can call her “Doc”—and hearing the team seems wonderfully kind but still has experienced eight draws in a row, Ted decides to go against the majority and bring his tempestuous former star back.
It’s a weird end considering part of what made Sam so mad centered on Ted not asking the team how they felt. Then Ted goes ahead and tells Sam Jamie won’t be back only to bring Jamie on without any kind of warning. I guess it is sort of a parallel to Higgins higher Dr. Sharon without Ted’s permission but it still feels a little, I don’t know, inconsiderate on Ted’s part.
- “Easy there Philip, I’m not just a loser, I’m THE loser.”
- I’m very curious how long Ted, Coach Beard, and Higgins will continue to notice Nathan being a jerk to Will before they say something.
- “How do feel about taking Ecstasy every night for three straight weeks?”
- Obviously, “fathers and sons” was a theme in this episode, but I can’t shake the feeling that there is more to Ted’s dad than we know yet. Beyond him and Ted playing darts and him dying young, we just don’t have many details.
- “Jamie, you know you’re like a son to me. Now you’re like a dead son. Which means I love you even more.”
- Ted’s favorite book is THE FOUNTAINHEAD but he can explain.
- “That’s not a bike, that’s a Transformer!”
- Higgins is still hopping around the stadium, spilling his pens, looking for a place to work until Ted and Beard finally offer him a desk in Nathan’s office.
- “I mean that’s why you have friends, isn’t it? To burden them with your issues and anxieties, right?”
- Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) shares Ted’s skepticism of Dr. Sharon’s sugar aversion and therapy in general.
- The way Goldstein makes a meal of the sentence “Fucking brain development” is a thing of beauty.
- “I like watching couples have sex in the woods. Because I could never be that free.”
- AFC Richmond employs a man named Liam who reportedly has such a laugh that not even Higgins can stand to work next to. Waddingham gets to do some great physical acting imitating him.
- “[Bernie Mac uses cusses] like Van Gogh uses yellow. You know, effectively.”
- Roy’s all-black suit is excellent. His entrance to a Sex Pistols needle drop is questionable.
- “He’s basically the male version of Julia Louise Dreyfuss.” “And she’s like the female version of Dave Grohl.”
- This week’s film reference: None. But lots of music stuff in its place.
Catch up with last week’s recap of Episode 1 “Goodbye, Earl” if you missed it.