Nate begins freaking out when he sees someone else performing his duties for the club. He desperately seeks answers from Ted Lasso and Higgins but they too have no clue. Suddenly, Rebecca shows up in the locker room and addresses the former kit man by name. Nate is then surprised the team’s owner actually knows who he is. That’s because she needed to properly address his new contract. He’s been promoted to assistant coach and the whole team surprises him and they all celebrate.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead]
AFC Richmond is on the verge of relegation and they’re facing one of the world’s top teams in Manchester City for their final match. Their chances don’t look too good but they have extra motivation when former teammate, Jamie Tartt, disparages the club in a recent interview. Privately, the soccer star is distracted by perceived mind games from Ted Lasso, who has had nothing but praise for him since he rejoined Man City.
The eventual showdown is a tense affair with several different storylines converging. The relegation battle, facing an ex-teammate, the decline of AFC Richmond’s team captain, and the overall underdog story. There’s no shortage of drama with such high stakes and viewers are on the edge of their seats to see if it ends more Miracle on Ice or Rocky I.
“The Hope That Kills You” is an exciting episode to end both AFC Richmond and the show’s season. It grabs you from the start with Nate’s hilarious reaction to seemingly being replaced. He’s come a long way from the stuttering, shy kitman we initially met and has become assertive enough he was ready to tell off the owner. There’s a feeling of pride seeing him on the sidelines in a proper suit.
The Roy/Jamie rivalry continues to provide laughs. Actors, Brett Goldstein and Phil Dunster, play their roles of surly veteran and young arrogant hotshot really well and the two have great chemistry. There’s a believable disgust between them but it doesn’t distract from the playful insults and jokes they have towards each other.
Even though the comedy is at a high level as usual, it’s the performance on the pitch that takes center stage. It places the viewer in the intensity and excitement of a big match to experience the fleeting nature of sports and the extreme highs and lows it creates. It’s quite the emotional rollercoaster. Despite the whole town repeating the titular saying, Ted tries his best to instill his motto, “Believe”.
There are some recycled sports clichés but the execution and personal touches elevate them. Roy has his heroic moment but his body finally gives and the scene where Keeley comforts him in his time of vulnerability is heartbreaking. The club even utilizes some trick plays to catch their opponents off guard including a nice ode to American football. Their names are just as amusing and I wish we could have seen them all.
Of course, there is also the inspirational speeches and Ted Lasso can give one with the best of them. Some coaches become loud and, in your face, to rile up their players but Lasso’s tempered approach instills a quiet confidence and he knows the right words to encourage and comfort his club. Good leadership transcends all sports and AFC Richmond have themselves a natural one. The season finale places some new hardships on the club moving forward but their future looks bright with a coach that has won over his players and an owner who is now fully committed to their success.
The thrilling last episode of Ted Lasso brings the laughs and provides the emotional ups and downs of sports drama. It sets the stage for next season and Lasso has some lofty aspirations that we’ll have to wait to see if he fulfills them.
Ted Lasso can be currently seen on Apple TV+.