As revealed the previous episode, Ted Lasso is receiving a special visit from his family. He is pretty nervous for their arrival and he begins talking Rebecca’s ears off during their morning biscuits with the boss meeting. His apprehension is warranted as he confides that he is experiencing marital problems and couple’s therapy hasn’t worked. The coach’s constant optimism has grown too much for his wife to manage and part of taking the job at AFC Richmond was to give her space. Can Lasso rekindle that spark when his better half comes to town?
[Slight Spoilers Ahead]
One romantic relationship that has come to an end is between Keeley and Jamie. The former grew tired of the latter’s antics and felt it was time to move on. That doesn’t mean they can’t continue collaborating professionally. Keeley is so good with Jamie’s branding that Rebecca hires her to help publicize other players on the team. The two seem to be making it work but things can easily get complicated when doing business with your ex. Especially when one of Jamie’s teammates has been talking more with Keeley.
Though Ted Lasso is happy to have his family in town, it appears all the previous issues still remain. He must see if his marriage is salvageable while keeping a positive front as not to worry his son. If the domestic problems aren’t enough, he still has a job to do.
The club is on a four-game skid and are now in a relegation battle. In their next match, Jamie’s individual brilliance is the only reason they’re competitive but the star’s me first attitude and attempts to show up the coach place Lasso in a precarious situation of choosing between earning his first win or benching his best player for his insubordination. Lucky for him, he ends up having his cake and eating it too.
“New Underwear” provides a different glimpse of the protagonist as we see a more human side to him. On the field, he can take that “L” as long as he feels his team did things the correct way and gave it their all. However, it’s more difficult for him to deal with in his personal life. He can absorb all the hits from the media, the fans, and his players in stride but the moments we’ve seen him the most vulnerable so far this season are when he speaks with his wife.
They obviously care about each other but he comes to understand that things can’t be forced. As Higgins says, “When you’re with the right person, even the hard times are easy.” Maybe Ted Lasso sees that’s not where he and his wife are right now and realizes he must let go. It is bittersweet when his family had to head back home, but it seems like a logical resolution. The show is returning for a second season so one would assume he’ll still be coaching and it’s best not to drag out the storyline. And at least he was able to share his first victory with them.
The episode also gave us our first real in-game scenes, which can be surprising since it’s the middle of the show’s season. The allure of most sports stories is watching the underdog overcome the odds and build the late drama as they eke out a win in the closing seconds. There’s plenty of that here but the team also serves as a parallel to Lasso’s marriage. Change can be scary (like not relying on your star player or letting someone go) but a lot of positive can come out of it when you move on. With great chemistry and teamwork, AFC Richmond can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Though sports stories can be feel good, they can also have the tendency of being too cheesy and corny. We’ve already seen how douchey Jamie can be but his antics in the match take it to another level and seem too over the top. Then the scene where Lasso asks for permission from Rebecca to bench Jamie is just as silly. Both were done for comedic effect but they fell flat.
Though coaches of your favorite teams can be placed on a pedestal, they are still as fallible as any of us. “New Underwear” gives a humanizing look at Ted as his strained relationship with his wife reveals his vulnerabilities. In addition, the episode delivers our first on the pitch sports drama that brings those feel good moments of triumph.
Ted Lasso can be currently seen on Apple TV+ with new episodes released on Friday.