Season 2 looks ready to deliver everything Season 1 did right without the early shakiness.
Eleven months ago, nearly exactly to the day, I first fell in love with Ted Lasso—the show and, I suppose, the man too. As several people, including myself, have proclaimed, it seemed the perfect show for a population battered by the isolation and fear of what felt like a possibly endless pandemic at the time and, for Americans especially, the ugliness of a looming election. Lasso proved the wonderful good-hearted surprise so many of us were so in need of.
It can be hard to replicate that kind of sensation. For one thing, viewers have expectations for the series now. There’s no sneaking up on anyone with season 2. For another, the state of the world, while not what one might call “good” likely at least feels a bit lighter than it did less than a year ago.
What a great delight it is, then, that Season 2’s opener feels every bit as welcome—if not a touch bit self-assured—as Lasso did in its concluding episodes of Season 1.
We rejoin the relegated AFC Richmond several games into their schedule. The show has nicely found a way to give Richmond a different but similarly frustrating position to struggle against as last season. No longer is Richmond the joke of the Premier League with their very owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) pushing for their humiliation. Instead, everyone is on board and the team looks good. Undefeated good, in fact. But in true Richmond fashion, the nature of their undefeated season is uniquely unsatisfying for fans, players, and coaches alike.
This is just the first of several signs that the show creators Bill Lawrence, Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso, himself, of course), Joe Kelly, and Brendan Hunt (pulling double duty as Coach Beard as well) have found a way to let Ted Lasso be the Ted Lasso without making it all feel like it is stuck in neutral. How it keeps departed players like Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) in the show’s orbit while still giving more room to personal favorite Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) and everyone’s favorite Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández) is smart and subtle.
On top of that, the first episode introduces two new characters. Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), the sports psychologist brought in for one player’s crisis of faith, much to Ted’s discomfort, and John Wingsnight (Patrick Baladi), Rebecca’s new Broadway enthusiast boyfriend. Both characters have just two scenes and yet feel compellingly well-drawn.
Ted Lasso Season 2 has found a way to pack each installment with plenty of plot without making it feel overstuffed or draggy.
If the first episode is any indication, Ted Lasso Season 2 has found a way to pack each installment with plenty of plot without making it feel overstuffed or draggy. The 38-minute first installment goes by quickly while watching, but it is difficult to see how it could’ve only been one episode when you pause to consider all that happened.
Another thing Lasso boasts plenty of is excellent performances. Higgins (Jeremy Swift), Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammed), Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) all return as wonderful as ever, while showing signs of personal evolutions.
In general, the story of Season 2 seems at this point to be everything you loved with a bit more confidence. Looking back on Season 1, it was episode 3 before the show began to take shape and episode 4 being the first real standout effort. This time out, Lasso comes out of the locker room ready to play from the first whistle. The jokes land correctly from the start, the characters seem as rich or richer than when we last saw them. Happily, Ted Lasso looks poised to dodge any sort of sophomore slump.
Ted Lasso takes the pitch on Apple TV+ July 23rd, with new episodes running weekly.