I can’t remember looking forward to a single episode of a television show more than this week’s season-three finale of Apple TV’s Ted Lasso since “Felina”, the series finale of Breaking Bad, which aired on AMC on Sept. 29, 2013. Literally a decade ago, my roommates and I during my senior year of college watched Jesse Pinkman drive away in the El Camino. Sorry, you had more than a dozen years to watch the epic from start to finish. Your loss. But you’re here to read about AFC Richmond and the Emmy-award-winning series that’s more so about the people that work in sports than the football (soccer) itself.
Has this season been as spell-bindingly good as the previous two? No. But that’s whatever comedic equivalent exists to climbing Mount Everest. The first two seasons were easy-watches, the epitome of binge-watching because of how long every episode was and the originality of the content, elevating Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt’s characters that first appeared in ads for NBC Sports to literally and figuratively the Premier League. Season three has been great, with the most satisfying moments in the series hopefully awaiting this week. However season three sticks the landing will be the lasting memory of this block of dozen episodes, instead of the journey to get here, like seasons one and two.
Of the storylines surrounding the season finale, the only one that isn’t straightforward involves Richmond owner Rebecca Welton, who’s gone from pestering boss to trusted confidant. Now her evil side might show again in a takedown of her ex-husband Rupert Mannion. The love triangle between Jamie, Keeley, and Roy should have a touching conclusion no matter where it ends. And somehow, Nate will be likable again. Oh yeah, and the show’s namesake, with Coach Lasso’s future atop a possible Premier League-winning club in doubt of his own accord, after his rare usage of profanity at the end of the penultimate episode brought his insecurities involving his son to the surface.
Ted Lasso’s future remains unclear
The future of the series beyond season three has been heavily speculated with fans unclear as to whether this week’s episode is only goodbye for a little while, or permanently. And my prediction is both. Ted Lasso the character ends after this week’s episode as either Roy Kent or Nathan Shelley will be at Richmond’s helm moving forward, while Lasso moves back to America to be a bigger presence in his son’s life and will only make cameos from here on out. There’s little chance Ted Lasso, as a show, ends. The emotional investment from the show’s fan base will make it next to impossible to not cash in more in a post-Ted Lasso-AFC Richmond, with a Champions League campaign likely afoot, for at least one more season. It would be weird to have the character the show is named after not central to every episode, but Lasso’s influence would be everywhere.
Not only would a Ted Lasso-less Ted Lasso be the end of an era for one of the best shows on television or a streaming service, but it’d also double as the end of an era for sports television. The only sports television show that comes close in terms of quality is Friday Night Lights. NBC had a book and movie to help inspire characters and storylines for its amazing five-season run. Ted Lasso had minuscule source material. With the critical acclaim Ted Lasso has received, I’ve pondered if it’ll open the door for more mainstream sports shows. And just like Million Dollar Baby didn’t course-correct Hollywood, Ted Lasso serves more as a great comedic show with some scenes about soccer, not a soccer show with a little pizzazz.
No matter how season three ends, Ted Lasso is firmly placed as a top-two sports television show of all time. If my theory of Lasso moving back to the Kansas City area holds true, why wouldn’t he try to become the head coach of Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City? He’s a manager with Premier League experience, and MLS clubs have taken way bigger fliers in the past. Maybe Lasso wouldn’t want to lead a team without Beard and Kent by his side. However, Apple TV does have rights to MLS Season Pass, so corporate synergy for the win! And it would be a weird twist to end the character’s arc that makes sense. I’ll have my popcorn ready to see how this all unfolds.
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