Ted Lasso is back, but is it better than ever? The answer is yes — thousand times yes.
Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 1 wastes no time getting the audience back into the action and improving on what came before.
Ted Lasso became a huge hit because its optimism and commitment to nuanced character work created something irresistibly joyful. Watching it is like eating an ice cream sundae without worrying about the calories.
However, as beloved as the show has become, it doesn’t mean Ted Lasso is entirely immune from criticism.
Since the humor on Ted Lasson Season 1 was low-key for the most part, it raised the question of whether Ted Lasso a comedy or a comedy in name only?
Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 1’s opening sequence of Richmond’s ace-player, Dani Rojas, accidentally killing his team mascot, Earl, the greyhound, and the ensuing fallout seems to be the show’s way of answering, “Yes, this is a comedy.”
The bolder, darker humor and zanier plotlines bode well for Ted Lasso.
This is not a show content with resting on past successes but is interested in experimenting with different styles and tones — using animation during the scene where Dani has a nightmare about Earl, for instance.
Football is death!
Dead dog humor aside, the show is as heartfelt as ever. The writing and Jason Sudeikis’ performance (a sure sign his award streak will not end any time soon) during the press conference where Ted talks about his neighbors’ dog will have the audience as teary-eyed as the onscreen reporters.
The press conference scene was also reminiscent of the darts competition and Ted’s “Be curious, not judgmental” story from Ted Lasso Season 1 Episode 8 but with a key difference.
The “Be curious, not judgemental” story was about demonstrating the strength of his character, but here at the press conference Ted comes across as far more vulnerable than he normally does.
Those feelings of vulnerability only intensify when Higgins suggests bringing in Dr. Sharon Fieldstone, sports psychologist, to help Dani come to terms with Earl’s death and his sudden onset of the yips.
Higgins: Ted, what are your thoughts on therapy?
Ted: Uh, general apprehension and a modest Midwestern skepticism. Why do you ask?
Since pretty much everyone else has fallen to the Lasso charm, it’s up to Dr. Fieldstone to step into the role of “person who reacts in bewilderment to Ted.” She performs the role admirably.
Even more so, her job is to be a foil to Ted. When she asks Ted to drop the false humility and admit he thinks he’s good at his job, it’s clear she has her version of Ted’s “believe” philosophy, albeit a version based more on science and discipline as opposed to Ted’s humanism.
It’s funny to think about the things in your life that can make you cry just knowing that they existed, can then become the same thing that make you cry knowing that they’re now gone. I think those things come into our lives to help us get from one place to a better one. And I hope we helped Earl do just that.
Dr. Fieldstone is not evil, but she is an antagonist because she’s challenging our mustached hero’s core values. Ted Lasso Season 2 is setting Ted (and us) up to question whether the Lasso way is the right way.
On the bright side, Rebecca is proof of how beneficial the Lasso way is to people. Rebecca is in a good place, mentally. It’s exciting to see how far she has come since Ted Lasso Season 1 Episode 1.
She’s the one cheering up Ted this episode, rather than vice versa. It will not be surprising if this role reversal only gets more prevalent as the season goes on.
Besides fulfilling owner and friend duties, Rebecca is active in the dating pool and feeling confident enough in her romance with her new suitor to double date with Keeley and Roy.
The double date subplot accomplishes a lot.
It kicks off Rebecca’s search for real romance instead of settling down with someone decent enough. It also moves Roy’s storyline of what to do now that he’s retired forward.
It provides the already classic Rebecca and Keeley interactions, but it also allows the show to play with new dynamics.
Did Rebecca and Roy ever have one-on-one interactions during Ted Lasso Season 1? Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 1 makes up for that.
You deserve someone who makes you feel like you’ve been struck by lightning. Don’t you dare settle for fine.
How great was Roy when he was telling Rebecca not to settle for someone who is merely fine? In-universe, it proves Keeley right about Roy being a good sports pundit. Out-of-universe, the scene belongs in Brett Goldstein’s awards reel.
Roy generated a lot of laughs, and it’s good the writers are not isolating Roy from other members of the cast even though he is no longer on the team. Plotlines separating one member of the cast from everyone else rarely turn out well.
However, it might be a while before there are any Roy and Ted scenes because Roy is avoiding Ted and the team. It would feel like a reset move, except it is in character for Roy to cut off relationships instead of dealing with the messier, gooier aspects.
Hopefully, the sports pundit job will move Roy back into Ted and the team’s orbit.
Speaking of characters isolated from the rest of the cast, Jamie Tartt has not been forgotten. Since his last appearance, Jamie has become a reality TV star on a show called Lust Conquers All. Where this storyline is going is anyone’s guess.
Was Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 1 a good episode to kick off the season?
What do you think of Dr. Fieldstone?
Does anyone provide better reaction shots than Coach Beard?
Hit the comments below.
Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.