Everyone seemingly gets what they want in a thin, but enjoyable enough episode.
It turns out not everyone loved last week’s episode as much as I did. Weird that. It’s like some people didn’t get the memo about my opinions always being correct.
Given people’s reactions to “Carol of the Bells,” though, I do wonder what the consensus on this installment will be. “Rainbow” is still a good one, but it’s the thinnest episode so far this season.
This episode, penned by Bill Wrubel—back after last season’s Dani Rojas-introducing “Two Aces” episode—and directed by new to Ted Lasso Erica Dunton, offers an A-plot, a considerably smaller B-plot, and a few hints of something more around the edges. Those annoyed that last week didn’t move plotlines like the fallout from Sam’s (Toheeb Jimoh) protest forward will be similarly let down here too.
The B-plot concerns Nate’s (Nick Mohammed) attempts to get a seat for his parents’ anniversary at their favorite restaurant. Or, at least, the restaurant Nate’s dad complains about the least.
Actually, Nate gets a table just fine, but not the table he wants. The table in the window he wants as both a commemoration of his folks’ jade anniversary and flex on his increased financial status remains out of reach. Jade, the server, doesn’t even care that Nathan knows Roy Kent. She has a table in the back for him.
After the further humiliation of being denied a free coffee maker—they’re for players only—Nate goes to Keeley (Juno Temple) to ask for help. Specifically, he asks for her to make him famous. Instead, she recruits Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) and the duo attempts to teach Nate to be assertive.
Rebecca reveals her method of overcoming her anxiety in meetings where others try to discount her. It’s a ritual that involves literally making herself big(ger) and sort of making a big cat noise. It’s something to behold. Keeley is absolutely googly-eyed over her friend’s power.
“Rainbow” is still a good one, but it’s the thinnest episode so far this season.
When the Shelleys get to the restaurant, Jade sends them to the seat in the back of the restaurant. Recalling Rebecca’s advice, Nate excuses himself to the restroom and tries to get bigger. When it fails, he finds his own route, which includes spitting on the mirror. Newly confident, he does get his parents the special table but still fails to get Jade’s number.
I have to be honest; I was poised for this episode to get into some racial stuff with the restaurant and their refusal to sit Nate and his family upfront. Maybe it’s just because I’m an American, but every bit of that plot screamed, “Oh, they don’t want brown people in their window for any passer-by to see.” I’m honestly not sure if it’s better or worse that the show didn’t go there.
The much larger plot centers on the team’s ongoing woes. After a particularly sluggish game, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) takes the time to tell them about his theory of Communism. Well, Rom-Communism, actually. Put succinctly, if pretty people can overcome minor romantic derailings, why can’t the Greyhounds’ season improve?
However, when Ted digs into it, Rom-Communism sounds less like a form of self-help where you emulate Meg Ryan’s heyday and more like radical acceptance. This could suggest that Ted’s sunny disposition may be less a refusal to accept reality or a commitment to always being cheery and more of an “everything can only happen one way, the way it does happen, so why kick and scream against it.” Radical acceptance is an incredibly hard concept to wrap your arms around, never mind live by, so if Lasso goes that route, it’ll be pretty fascinating.
Despite his belief in Rom-Communism, though, Ted isn’t a passive man. So, he immediately focuses on improving Isaac’s (Kola Bokinni) state of mind—and hopefully leadership. Ted taps Roy (Brett Goldstein) for help and it becomes evident that the coach is trying to change two people at once. He wants Isaac out of his head, yes, but Ted also wants Roy on his sideline.
Roy comes through by putting Isaac into some neighborhood pick-up games that help the captain find the fun in the game again. It provides an interesting bit of class politics as the pitches are apparently in the dodgy neighborhood where Roy grew up. Isaac’s reaction makes it clear that his childhood neighborhood had a decidedly different look.
Radical acceptance is an incredibly hard concept to wrap your arms around, never mind live by.
While Roy initially rejects Ted’s romcom quote-laden offer to join the coaching staff, the idea still takes root. By the time he goes on air, Roy can’t deny it any longer. He walks off the set in a very rom-com feeling scene and does the classic last-minute run to his love. Except, in this case, Roy’s love is a sport. As the stands rise to their feet, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) gets choked up, and Nate looks super uncomfortable. Then, Roy finally takes his place on the sidelines.
- Coach Beard’s surprised reaction to Ted being into Communism turning to disappointment when Ted amends it to Rom-Communism is quite good. Hunt makes it just inscrutable enough you don’t know if he just hates the pun or he’s upset his friend isn’t a fellow class warrior.
- Nate has an “indoor whistle” now.
- As a sucker for a “Who’s On First” style gag, the Sheffield Wednesday bit and its callback was like catnip.
- I love how much Keeley respects and is into Rebecca. Her reaction to both the idea of AFC Richmond’s owner in pigtails and the power pose is just so wonderfully unabashed.
- The callback to Nate claiming he left Bantr because he was too picky and so were the women is well deployed.
- Higgins’s (Jeremy Swift) story of meeting his wife is wonderfully on-brand, as is his advice to Rebecca. Ted gets all the credit for earnestness, but Higgins seems like he’s been lowkey doing it for years. It also explains why Higgins has the Rolling Stones as his ringtone and gives the episode its title.
- While the quotes were a lot of fun, by far my favorite romcom allusion was the take on the When Harry Met Sally… direct to cameras. I dig that the show took 3 minutes just to do it and it has no bearing on the action.
- The moment where the show cuts from Rebecca on Bantr to Ted smiling at his phone…oh boy. That’s a little too connect the dots for my taste. I’m hoping the show is being a little duplicitous with us.
- Coach Beard is a Lumberjack World Championship qualifier, baby!
- Roy’s game tickets were under Reba McEntire this time out. Impressed Ted made it this deep into the season before playing the Reba card.
- It’ll be great to have Roy on the sidelines, but I will miss him embarrassing the Greyhounds’ former coach on the football punditry show.
- I know there were more romcom elements and quotes (see below) I missed. Especially with the quotes there were ones I recognized but couldn’t remember from what movie. Feel free to comment below or tweet at me the ones I didn’t mention.
- Bad Nate Watch: While I appreciated the result of his psych up ritual, spitting on the mirror and leaving it for some poor server to clean up is pretty lousy. And I didn’t thrill to him whistling and snapping at his parents either. To paraphrase Nate’s dad, his parents aren’t dogs. His reaction to both Isaac’s attempt to give him a special handshake and Roy’s return suggests Nate still feels pretty insecure despite his new higher status.
- Coach Beard and Jane Update: Jane is neither glimpsed nor mentioned this week. Maybe that pagan Christmas gave them a clean break.
- This week’s film reference: Showgirls gets the mention, but it’s clearly the romcoms, specifically the “new classic” decade that When Harry Met Sally… kicked off.
Let’s Go to The Tape
- “That’s a great call, Dani, and not at all a beat too late.”
- “I’ve accepted aubergine and snogging, but piles I will not abide.”
- “He’s a wigwam in a teepeee.” “What’s that?” “He’s two tents.” “BOOM!”
- “Do you think you can make this one post not about Welsh independence?”
- “I have five boys, I never look over anyone’s shoulders to see what’s on their screens…I used to.”
- “Maybe some of those groupies you mentioned earlier. No. No obviously not that. That’s degrading.”
- “I thought it was going to be Wario. Or my great aunt Natalie.”
- “It’s Shelley and you know it, you dithering kestrel!”
- “Fuck you’re amazing. Let’s invade France.”
- “It’s kind of like all the nipples in that movie Showgirls. Halfway through you don’t notice anymore, you just kinda get sucked into the narrative.”
- “I date Gina Gershon once.” “That makes me happy.”
- “I don’t know. He’s 17. He’ll probably have chips for dinner and a wank before bed.”
- “Enjoy the game.” “Fuck you.” “It is you!”
- “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life coaching with somebody, you want the rest of your life to begin ASAP.”
- “You complete our team.”
- “I’m also just a coach standing in front of a boy asking him—”
- “As you wish!”
- “Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at Coach.”
- “Fairy tales do not end nor do they begin in the dark forest.”