Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 10 neatly navigates tricky emotional waters.
It’s weird to say, but some of my most indelible memories come from funerals and wakes. Trading stories about my Gramp’s ridiculousness after his funeral with my dad and his siblings. Talking over shots of Jaeger about how my uncle would let Lou Gehrig (they shared a fatal disease) play baseball in Heaven with him even though Iron Horse was a hated Yankee. As Keeley (Juno Temple) will tell us later this episode, funerals are weird.
They’re also sad and funny and affirming and deeply disappointing. “No Weddings and a Funeral,” from writer Jane Becker (previously of “Trent Crimm: The Independent” from last season) and director MJ Delaney (a now three-timer who last directed Season 1’s closer “The Hope That Kills You”), manages to nail that tone. That’s no easy feat for an episode dominated by death.
In an opening that betrays none of the tears to come, Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) wake up together in bed. A later line will tell us it’s been about two weeks since their first date and the brutal loss to Man City. While Rebecca loves the sneaking around, Sam finds it stressful. Before they can get too deep into talking about going public, Rebecca’s mom Deborah (Harriet Walter), once again letting herself in, informs Rebecca that she hasn’t left her husband this time. He’s left her…via death.
Isaac (Kola Bokinni) recognizes the importance of the titular funeral and lays down the law. Everyone is going, they’re all wearing shirts and ties, and no one is wearing trainers. While the idea of acquiring dress shoes baffles several members—Colin (Billy Harris) is under the impression that he’ll have to wait all night to get a pair as he would for the newest Jordans or Yeezys—they fall into line pretty quickly.
Ted (Jason Sudeikis) or, more specifically, his anxiety proves harder to corral. As he gets ready for the funeral, he runs headlong into a panic attack. Dr. Sharon (Sarah Niles) takes his call and rushes off on her new bike to help. Finding his house unusually disheveled, suggesting he perhaps did not clean it since the Man City loss, she gets right into it with a very ready to spill his guts Ted.
In short order, we learn he was in the house when the trigger was pulled and had to find the body, call the ambulance, and tell his mom. Ted’s “I don’t quit” mentality comes from his feelings that his dad quit on himself, life, and family. A not-too-small part of him hates his dad for that. As a result, Ted never bothered attending his dad’s funeral.
Regardless of its limitations, there is a true motivation at the core of how Ted moves through the world.
We also learn Ted still thinks his dad was a good father and if Mr. Lasso had only known that about himself, maybe he wouldn’t have completed suicide. That aspect fuels another part of Ted’s philosophy, the one that assumes without confirmation that someone isn’t bad just because of what they say or do. As he explains, life is hard, and almost everyone is going through something.
That revelation hits me as Ted Lasso striking a very necessary balance. This season has exposed the limitations of Ted’s approach to life and how it is as much a coping mechanism for him as anything else. This moment though, reminds us that he’s legitimately kind and focused on others’ well-being. Being so upbeat is a way for him to push down his issues, but he’s also honest about how he sees and treats others. His idea that everyone deserves a chance because everyone is carrying pain is not fake or a mask for him. Regardless of its limitations, there is a true motivation at the core of how Ted moves through the world. It isn’t all for show.
It’s unrealistic to declare Ted cured now—that’s, sadly, not how therapy works—but it is a breakthrough. Plus, it’s enough for Ted to get unstuck and arrive at the funeral, albeit midway through the service. I definitely thought they would have him miss it and that felt way too much like forced tension to me.
After waking up in her just as it always was childhood bedroom to the strains of Rick Astley—Deborah’s a fan—Rebecca gets a drop-in from Sassy (Ellie Taylor) and Sassy’s daughter/Rebecca’s goddaughter Nora (Kiki May). Then everyone is off to church.
Good as his word, Isaac gets the whole team there, trainer-free, which Rebecca notices. Rupert (Anthony Steward Head), his wife Bex (Keeley Hazell), and their new daughter are less welcome. They are, predictably, insufferable new parents, Rupert especially. Rebecca slips away to the sanctuary with Sassy, Keeley, Deborah, and Nora, mostly to discuss Rebecca’s love life. Keeley guesses Sam in one. The women have a ball with it until the Vicar kicks out all but Rebecca and Deborah for being too loud.
[Waddingham’s sung eulogy is] both very funny, sweet, and sad.
Mom and daughter begin to discuss the deceased. Intercut with Ted’s therapy session, we learn that Rebecca discovered Dad cheating one Friday afternoon and has spent years hiding it and hating him. To Rebecca’s surprise, Deborah knew the whole time but chose to stay in part out of fear and in part out of love. As she explains, she never needed him to be perfect and he always came back to her.
Her mom’s forgiveness doesn’t make it any easier for Rebecca to eulogize her father, though. After repeatedly trying to start, she instead begins to speak, then mumble, then sing the lyrics to “Never Gonna Give You Up.” When she falters, the just arrived Ted picks it up and turns it into a churchwide sing-a-long. It is both very funny, sweet, and sad. The first time I watched, I teared up; the second, I laughed; the third, I was struck by how much it was a gift from Rebecca to her mom.
Everything back at Deborah’s house was well done, but I want to focus on Sam and Rebeca’s closet encounter. In a good bit of writing, he pulls her into it for what seems like a romantic kiss. Instead, he gives a tight, comforting hug. She then admits she’s afraid of him because he’s a good guy. To Rebecca that means he can hurt her even more than bad guy Rupert ever did. She recognizes that’s an unhealthy attitude and needs to get right before she’s in a relationship.
- Jimoh sinking below the island so he’s not as on display is a small but effective bit of physical comedy.
- I mentioned the show touching on religion in the first episode of this season but more or less immediately minimized myself. You know, like a guy with a lot of confidence. Anyway, it has popped up several times this season since. The latest example is the Diamond Dogs’ (plus Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley) discussion of life after death. It feels noteworthy that no one besides Roy (who doesn’t believe anything comes after due mostly to his unanswered prayers after his grandfather’s death) states a belief. Everyone else has wishes or, in Beard’s (Brendan Hunt) case, brings up that 21 grams canard.
- Ted wasn’t kidding. He does dress to Easy Lover. And aggressively lip syncs.
- Dr. Sharon does great work in this episode. The therapy felt both accurate and helpful. The affirmation of Ted’s feelings without judgment, the checking in (“Do you agree?”) after offering interpretations and observations, and the asking Ted what he liked about his father are all great tools, and the show’s writing nails it. That last one is a great tip for everyone, by the way. Expressing condolences is a super awkward thing for all parties, and often the grieving will be well and done hearing “I’m sorry for your loss.” If you have the time and relationship with someone, saying, “Tell me about them” regarding their lost love one can be so much more affirming for them and probably make you feel better too, not that it’s about you.
- September 13, 1991 was indeed a Friday.
- It’s interesting to me how Ted keeps making sure to note his mom. He did it in the phone call with Dr. Sharon (“That happened. To me. And to my mom.”) and he corrects her in this episode when Doc says his dad took a lot from him by adding, “And my mom.”
- Sudeikis seems to use his real singing voice (albeit with an accent) here instead of the super deep thing that happened in the Christmas episode.
- I hate love triangles in TV series, especially when one is the old partner, so I am not thrilled with Jamie’s (Phil Dunster) confession of love even if it did show he is maturing.
- This is another great episode for face work. Again Sudeikis and Waddingham are MVPs in this department, but Temple, Taylor, Walter, Head, Mohammed, and May all get their moments.
- Bad Dad Alert: A mention of James Tartt. Rebecca’s dad’s philandering. Probably Rupert because he’s, well, Rupert.
- Coach Beard and Jane Update: Beard and Jane (Phoebe Walsh) being weird about funerals feels dead-on (no pun intended). That said, I think Beard turning off his phone when Rebecca goes up for her eulogy after live-streaming the service to Jane before that was a very smart choice. He’s a weirdo, certainly, but he respects Rebecca.
- Bad Nate (Nick Mohammed) Watch: First, there’s the desire to be reincarnated as a tiger specifically to harm others, something that raises Ted’s eyebrow. There’s also the smile he gives over Rupert whispers something to him. Between that, the very obvious shot of Nate’s photo Christmas gift on Ted’s dresser, Rupert giving away his remaining shares of Richmond to Rebecca, and yet another moment of a player putting Nate down, I can’t help but think we’re heading for a big betrayal. I assumed Nate would tell the press about Ted’s mental health issues, but now I’m leaning more towards Rupert’s buying a new team and pulling Nate away.
- Film reference: Besides the title of the episode, I couldn’t spot any.
Let’s Go To The Tape
- “Boxer briefs. Like clunky exposition they leave very little to the imagination.”
- “Whoever figured that out clearly weighed someone, murdered them, and then weighed them again.”
- “Avenge me, Keeley. Avenge me!”
- “Congratulations, mother, you just fat shamed a baby to tears.”
- “It’s not magic. I ate the placenta raw and she knows it.”
- “Oh right. Having a daughter erases all the shitty things you’ve done to women in your lifetime.”
- “That baby’s whack. I hate it.”
- “Sassy and Ted, sitting in a tree, F-U-C-K-I-N-G.”
- “Another man buying you clothes is infantilizing, yes?”
- “Cheer up Keeley, it’s a funeral.”
- “Jesus has no place in the conversation of these damn shoes.”
- “I hate tea. Tastes like a wet paperbag.”
- “I don’t know if this is illegal or something but can I have a hug?”
- “When all’s said and done, what’s more important? Being loving or being right?”
- “There’s something I should warn you of. I’m only going to get more wonderful.”
- “Boss. Ass. Bitch.”
- “I don’t work that way. Once I love something I love it forever.”