“Sharing with you has made me a better therapist. Which is really saying something as I was pretty fuckin’ brilliant to start with.”
Just like a David Bowie best of record, Ted Lasso Season 2 Ep. 11 starts to bring on many potential ch-ch-ch-changes.
Welcome back to the GateCrashers coverage of the sunny tonic water that has been Ted Lasso S2. I am once again Justin Partridge III, filling in once again for starter ace Ethan, and I am still just truly happy to be asked. Normally when I am asked to do something, it’s usually like “help me move” or “keep this bag for me, but absolutely DO NOT OPEN IT” so I am just still so tickled I get to talk with y’all about this super sweet show (and I don’t have to possibly incur any criminal charges while I do so).
And what another grand episode it is! “Midnight Train to Royston”, written by Sasha Garron (formerly of Santa Clarita Diet and Schitt’s Creek fame), finds a lot of our footie heroes at a crossroads. It is Dr. Sharon’s last day with AFC Richmond and Ted is aiming to give her a grand send off. One supported by a parting gift (an envelope filled with cash) and a performance from the boys of an ‘NSync track. But inside the clubhouse, bigger decisions are on the horizon. Decisions like if Sam Obisanya should stay with Richmond and if Nate should be playing a bigger, more visible role in the coaching staff makeup.
While I think the former Sam-focused narrative is a bit more successful, both of the plots carry major weight for the show overall. The Sam stuff really gets to the wacky heart that Ted Lasso has been making good use of for a bit now. Though we still, regrettably, don’t get too much by way of resolution for Sam and Rebecca (at least outside of my fanfic), I am very happy to see Sam getting more and more narrative focus. Especially when that focus ALSO brings in our favorite recent scene-stealer Sam Richardson! Playing an affable, but laser-focused Ghanan billionaire who has designs on Sam. The hinge of the plot is classic, pulled-between-two-expectations kind of storytelling, but I think episode writer Sasha Garron gussies it up a bit with some choice zaniness.
The Nate stuff however…is a bit harder to swallow. You see, while Sam is being wined and dined by his potential new boss, Nate is still…feeling himself. And manifesting that toxic confidence in equally toxic, and self-serving ways. I don’t want to give away some of his worst missteps this week, but trust me when I say, it’s about as bad as you would expect. And just as worse to watch, as a viewer. I was really hoping that the show would start to deal with Nate’s consistently inflating ego (alongside his newfound major hard-on for abusing new kit-man Will). But I was NOT expecting how it would pull the show’s top couple Keely and Roy Kent into it. Forcing THEM also to deal with the revelations of “No Weddings and a Funeral”, in which both Roy and Jamie declared their love for Keely.
It all just makes it like the perfect home for Oscar the Grouch. A big ‘ol MESS. Especially going into this season’s rapidly approaching finale. Honestly it’s just disappointing, really! Nate has gone from a character that I truly root for and want to see get the things he wants to a character that I want to headbutt, Roy Kent-style. I am truly hoping that the season’s thesis of facing one’s darkness and dealing with it appropriately eventually fully finds Nate. If only just so the character gets some sorely needed consequences and reconnection to what made him Nate The Great in the first place. Personally, I blame Rupert Giles. Whatever he whispered into his ear last episode surely corrupted him.
But all in all, “Midnight Train to Royston” is another substantial episode for Ted Lasso’s sophomore season. One that brings the heart, jokes, and narrative forward drive that we have come to expect from the show. While also shifting its own ongoing narratives and dynamics around entertainingly as we barrel toward the end of S2.
Once again I wanna thank y’all for letting me walk this beat some more. I am sure glad I get to spend it here, talking about such a warm and genuinely funny show. Now I’m gonna make like a Fortnite guy and just drop now.
Inferno #1 Fucking Ruled,