Ted Lasso: 2×6 “The Signal”

When the episode starts, Ted is being ridiculously friendly, throwing jokes to everyone. I was thinking to myself, “OK, we get it! He loves to crack jokes! He’s nice! He’s just what we need during the pandemic, BLAH BLAH BLAH!” Luckily I read a review of an earlier episode on NPR that points out that Ted’s friendliness feels off, that it’s become too much, and that’s what I’m reacting to. It’s a very good point and I wish I had thought of it myself! In the midst of all this joke-cracking, there’s a seemingly throwaway moment where Ted gets a call from his son’s school that Henry forgot his lunch, but of course he can’t do anything about it. It’s easy to forget about it because Ted so quickly snaps back into his usual rhythm. Until, that is, it all breaks down later in the episode.

As for the season’s rom-com, Rebecca is still bant’ring with LDN152 while also sleeping with a handsome fella named Luca. But her fabulous single life is interrupted by the arrival of her mother Deborah, who’s left her father. Rebecca takes Deborah to lunch with Ted and Keeley, who listen enthralled to the story of the end of the marriage until Rebecca tells them that this happens every couple years. 

Since Roy Kent’s return, Richmond is doing great–it’s the Roy Kent effect! Roy is a hit as a coach with everyone but Jamie, who he’s not coaching at all. The other coaches basically laugh in Jamie’s face when he asks them for help, which seems… unprofessional? But finally Ted convinces Roy that he’s being immature, and Roy says that it’s Ted’s fault. Jamie was extraordinary before Ted made him nice and thus average. Jamie is pretty excited to be told he can go back to being a prick, even just sometimes. Roy promises he’ll give him a signal when it’s the right time to be a prick. That Saturday, they play a big game against Tottenham Hotspur. It doesn’t go well, so finally the coaches give Jamie the “be a prick now” signal: giving him the finger. Jamie scores from all the way in the middle of the field.

Everything’s going great–but Ted panics. His hands start shaking, just like last time he had a panic attack, in season 1. He runs off the field, telling everyone it’s his stomach. While Beard and Roy argue about what to do, Nate makes three substitutions, gives Isaac instructions to “park the bus,” whatever that means, and they win! Everyone finally gives Nate the credit he deserves. Unfortunately, Nate-like, he gets  a little overexcited and calls himself a “wonder kid” on live TV. Still, the entire internet is now obsessed with him… and he’s obsessed with Googling himself. Dr. Fieldstone agrees to go out for one drink with the team to celebrate, and then finds Ted waiting on her couch, looking like a total wreck. He wants to make an appointment. Aww.

Meanwhile, though, Rebecca runs off the field to look for Ted, as the music thrums. It’s so intense–you definitely think that they’re about to like, find each other and kiss and discover that they’ve been secretly talking to each other on Bantr the whole time. Or at least, I thought that. But the only thing Rebecca finds is Ted’s jacket. She goes home and leaves him a message in a soft voice, telling him she’s worried about him, and that she could use one of his pep talks (for her conversation with Deborah). But Deborah already went back to Rebecca’s dad, so no need. She just has Luca over, while her phone beeps with a message from LDN152, suggesting that they meet. “Oh no, it’s Ted and she missed it!” I thought the first time I saw this. But no. We cut to… SAM!! He’s LDN152!! What a shock! I never would have pictured it.

In a side plot, Beard’s back with Jane. Higgins wants to tell Beard it’s a bad idea, but everyone tells Higgins that’s a bad idea. Still, Jane seems like bad news: she swans off to go through a shoot with a friend who’s an underwear model, as if she’s not trying to make Beard jealous. And apparently she once followed Keeley all the way home to ask if Beard and Ted were having an affair. Higgins finally works up the nerve to say something to Beard, and Beard just hugs Higgins and tells them they’ll never speak of this again. Then Jane pops out and scares him because she thinks it’s funny. What a dick! They walk home bantering affectionately, but I think I hate her. On the other hand, I’m also not very invested because Coach Beard isn’t really one of my favorite characters; he’s not unfunny, but I always feel a little bored by him. This plotline could disappear forever and I probably wouldn’t even notice.

The rest of the episode, though, was really great. The end, which combines the team’s win and Ted’s panic attack, is heartwrenching. And Ted’s face at the end, as he asks for an appointment with Dr. Fieldstone, is even more so. Rebecca’s mother is amusing, although not particularly memorable, but what I love about Rebecca this season is how she’s so unapologetically wanted. After Rupert did a number on her self-esteem, she’s now enjoying having both an emotional relationship on Bantr and a sexual relationship IRL with Luca… and that moment at the end where she strips off her shirt and walks away to get ready for her lover to show up, is really fabulous. Meanwhile, Roy and Jamie’s relationship is always a pleasure to watch, and I love that Nate is coming into his own in a way–though the next episode will complicate that!

Other thoughts:

  • I love how Luca, who has no idea what the story of Rebecca’s parents’ marriage, hears that her mother has left her father to break a pattern and just goes, “Good for you!” What a lovable dummy.
  • Roy actually smiles when Ted says he’s “shipping” him and Keeley. He pretends to be grumpy, but he smiles. The man is in love.
  • Ted’s philosophy is “Never say anything.” Higgins doesn’t love this, and frankly neither do I! If you’re really concerned about a friend, it is OK to at least ask the question! It seems so cold to say that you should just watch them suffer no matter what. Plus, we already know that Roy saved Rebecca from a bad relationship by, ya know, saying something, earlier in the season. (Which makes it even more absurd that Rebecca herself advises Higgins not to say anything later on!)
  • Ted’s no-meddling philosophy arises from the time he cautioned his friend about his childhood sweetheart… DURING a best-man speech. Well, Ted, maybe your philosophy shouldn’t be don’t say anything, but “don’t say anything at the wedding itself!” That’s a very specific situation that you don’t need to generalize to every other situation!
  • Poor Nate, on the other hand, lost his first girlfriend because his own dad told her she could do better.
  • “You know you’re paid to coach the whole team,” Ted tells Roy gently when he refuses to coach Jamie. “Fine, take 4% off my paycheck,” Roy says. Hee.
  • Ted advises Deborah to “leave people well,” but she sweetly says she doesn’t really relate to his situation since she left her husband, and Ted was left. Poor Ted! Now he knows that his boss has been telling his sob story to her parents.
  • Keeley advises Jamie to just agree with everything Roy says to take the wind out of his sails. This blows up in Jamie’s face when Roy catches on and makes Jamie say that he’s an “ugly, ugly boy.” Heh. 
  • Even after this, Jamie says, “If you know how to make me better, I want to hear it.” What a transformation! That’s the Ted Lasso effect.
  • LDN152 sends Rebecca a message that just says, “Hey Bossgirl, thanks for being one of the best parts of my day. It’s you and breakfast tied neck and neck.” Come on, that’s CLEARLY something Ted Lasso would say and clearly NOT something that Sam would say. They were just trying to mess with our heads!
  • I love Jamie’s pink sneakers.
  • The way Ted runs off the field, knees knocking together, really does make it look like he is about to have explosive diarrhea.
  • I’m shocked by the Sam reveal, but on second thought, he’s the only one who’s peppy like Ted, I guess. Still, you’d think this app would at least have filters for age.
  • Nate says he’s not a “wunder kid,” and then asks the reporter, “Can we fix that with editing?” The reporter awkwardly is like, “No, we’re… live.” Hee!!

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