'Ted Lasso' Season 2 Episode 6 Recap: The Roy Kent Effect

Season 2, Episode 6, ‘The Signal’ So, does this mean that we are back to normal? After two weeks of carefully curated “themed” episode...


So, does this mean that we are back to normal?

After two weeks of carefully curated “themed” episodes that cared less about the plot arc and more cunning references – the first one time, to “really love”; the second, to romantic comedies more generally – we come back to a more typical rhythm.

If this week’s episode, “The Signal,” seems a bit scattered (and it is), it’s largely because it got back to the nuts and bolts business of moving forward. several subplots: Roy’s success as a new assistant coach for AFC Richmond; Nate’s efforts to strike a balance between external success and internal satisfaction; Rebecca’s continued explorations of both her mysterious admirer of Bantr and her not-so-mysterious sex buddy, Hunky Luka; Coach Beard’s latest reunion with his problematic girlfriend, Jane; and… whatever’s going on with Ted.

A brief and seemingly unnecessary subplot about Rebecca’s mother, who periodically leaves her father – only to return days after buying him something expensive and eco-friendly – is tossed into the mix. (This time it’s a Tesla.) That’s a lot of exposure to go through!

To jump straight in: Roy’s arrival as a coach proved to be an immediate adrenaline rush, leading AFC Richmond to a four-game winning streak, a place in the FA Cup semi-finals – a bizarre and fascinating mid-season tournament involving hundreds of English teams – and the widespread adoption of the phrase “the Roy Kent effect”.

(Note: It is remarkable how little time was spent, compared to last season, on the rather central question of AFC Richmond’s success – or, to put it somewhat differently, the question of to know if Ted lasso is actually a good trainer. We know Richmond suffered a series of draws with Sisyphus early in the season and is currently on a winning streak, but neither has had any meaningful context: the team is- is she on track to achieve her explicit goal of overcoming relegation and joining the Premier League? Who knows?)

Roy’s singular flaw as a coach is his refusal to coach his nemesis on the pitch, Jamie Tartt. (See literally any episode of season 1.) But after forcing Jamie to viciously self-criticize not just his game but his hair (!), Roy gives in and explains that Jamie’s problem is that Ted l ‘turned into a good teammate, when his real superpower is to be selfish, rude and disruptive – at least, on the right occasions.

And so we have “the signal”, a one finger hi of the four coaches to Jamie giving him permission to be Bad Jamie. That’s good for a semi-final goal against the big favorite, Tottenham Hotspur. But when Tottenham equalizes, Richmond needs another goal.

Enter Nate, who makes an unusual three-man substitution and an even more unusual decision to focus on defense rather than offense. But it works ! Richmond scores and takes his biggest win in a very long time. Nate is on television and, denying that he is a “prodigychild“, specifies that he thinks he is one.

It’s difficult to know exactly where Nate is on his worrying seasonal trajectory. He is once again unnecessarily disagreeable to the players (he calls Colin an “idiot” in training), and the success of his late-game substitution has clearly puffed his head. Stay tuned, especially if you are the hostess of a third level Greek restaurant.

Rebecca, meanwhile, juggles deep and meaningful texts from her pal Bantr and adult time with her boy toy, Luka. As in, almost literally juggling. She checks on Bantr as she lies in bed waiting for a naked Luka to return. And the show tries to show her alternating several times between the texts of her two lovers.

Forgive me, but this sounds like a tired revival of the ‘Sex and the City’ (and, no, not just ‘Sex and the City’) cliché of the accomplished beautiful woman who can’t choose between her spiritual soul mate and a other guy who is well hung. What’s more, it’s “Ted Lasso. “I think we can say with some confidence that Rebecca isn’t going to end up with Luka. So why bother?

Barring other updates, I would say the same about the subplot with Rebecca’s mom (played, though she is, by the big Harriet walter). It feels half-hearted, crowded as it does with so many other plot developments. So why bother?

The story of Jane and Coach Beard also left me a little cold. He has his moments, but he spends a lot of time on the pretty obvious message of “Don’t tell people you don’t like their loved ones.” And his ultimate reward – Beard’s hug to Higgins – isn’t much of a reward. (Or maybe the reward was the “Oliver Twist” hat Jane puts on Beard’s head? It’s a little better.)

Which brings us to Ted. As I wrote before, the plot arc of the first season was immediately apparent: Can Ted defeat Rebecca and her various other foils and put them all in Team Lasso? (As you may remember, he did.) This season has been a little harder to master. Would it be to escape relegation and come back to the big leagues? Not really. Would it be to win Dr Sharon Fieldstone? Again, not really. She was basically part of the Lasso team at the end of Episode 2.

But there have been hints, and they suggest an arc in which Sharon is likely to be a crucial player.

The show didn’t pay much attention to it, but Ted was more manic than usual, especially around Sharon. In last week’s episode, he seemed almost out of his meds, responding to Sharon’s greeting, “Coach,” with a pointing finger: “Doctor! Floor! Ceiling! Trash!” His fragility is also evident in the call he receives this week from his son’s school about a forgotten lunch for a school trip.

Sharon is clearly worried, repeatedly asking Ted if he wants to talk. And he pushes her away several times. “Hey, I talk all the time, Doc,” he tells her in this episode. “Just follow me for 10 minutes. After five, you’ll want me to shut up my butt.

But, as we saw at the end of the episode, Ted needs to talk. Pretty bad. Will this be the theme for season 2? Does Ted Lasso, who emotionally healed his team last season, now need the team to heal him in return? It’s too early to tell, but the image of Ted curled up on Sharon’s couch is perhaps the strongest indicator yet of where this season is heading.

Speaking of which, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other Big Reveal this episode came up with at the end. After much speculation that Rebecca’s partner Bantr would turn out to be Ted – come on folks, is there anyone whose texts are more identifiable than Ted? – it turns out he’s rather the wonderful Sam. (It might not be a coincidence that he had his best and biggest scene in Season 1 with Rebecca, explaining to her that his fascination with the spells did not come from his Nigerian origins but rather from his love for Harry Potter.)

What should we do with this awkward potential romance? As with Ted’s (and Nate’s) deteriorating emotional state, let’s wait and see where we are next week.

Tips

  • As inevitable as it may be, it was a bit sad to see Roy decline his invitation to join the “Diamond Hounds”. Throughout the season he has offered the best advice on just about everything. There are a few recaps, I called him “Angry Yoda”. At this point, he’s basically just Yoda. (Although he remains, of course, angry.)

  • This also from Coach Beard. Jamie: “I don’t really know how to talk to you.” Barbe: “So it works. “

  • Ted’s extremely detailed greetings on arrival at work for the AFC Richmond staff are almost too much to show off. But the last sentence, the one that earned Liam such extraordinary laughs, was worth it: “Tell your mother a happy birthday to me.” And whatever gift you’ve given her, let her know it’s from both of us.

  • After the last two weeks of pop culture references overload, this was a pretty calm episode. We got a trio of David Blaine, Sue Grafton and Area 51, followed by “HR Pufnstuf”. I’m sure I missed more, so let me know in the comments section. Last week, readers pointed out that next to Roy’s photo in the kebab shop was that of a “Cheers”-era George Wendt, Jason Sudeikis’ actual uncle.

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