Ted Lasso S2, E8 Recap: V is for Vulnerability

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Buckle up and grab a snack, Lasso Nation, because we have a lot to unpack. This week’s episode of Ted Lasso was the longest of the longest of the season thus far, clocking in at almost 50 minutes. Really, it felt like four episodes rolled into one. There was so much happening that it almost felt like whiplash jumping from one storyline to another. This week was all about vulnerability, daddy issues, and – weirdly enough – haircuts. Let’s jump in…

We open with a surprisingly intimate Dr. Sharon Fieldstone scene. Turns out even therapists have therapists, which makes sense if you think about it but it’s also kind of like when you hold a mirror up to a mirror and suddenly you’ve got infinity mirrors. Who’s Sharon’s therapist’s therapist, and so on. But anyway, Sharon’s on a tele-therapy call and she’s venting about Ted, who’s driving her insane. Sharon’s therapist tells her that she and Ted Lasso are actually remarkably similar: Ted uses his humor to deflect; Sharon uses her intelligence. In order to get anywhere with Ted, Sharon will have to let her guard down and meet him halfway. She’s going to have to get vulnerable.

Sharon’s feeling herself on her way to work, jamming out on her weird bike, when all of a sudden she gets hit by a car?! Did not see that one coming. While she’s splayed out on the street – possibly alive or dead, we don’t know – her cell phone is ringing. Ted Lasso is calling her…

Over at Richmond, they need to start practice, but Ted is nowhere to be found. Beard tells Roy and Nate that Ted had an emergency. When Nate (who I’m assuming is still a sociopath, though you wouldn’t know it this episode) asks what happened, Beard says he has no idea – he didn’t ask. This strikes me as odd. The Diamond Dogs have been chummy all season and now, all of a sudden, when Ted has an emergency, they don’t talk about their personal lives? Nate stops asking questions when Beard agrees to let him run practice.

Down in the weight room, we finally get some closure on the Nigerian oil storyline. Which also feels odd considering that happened like six episodes ago and we haven’t heard ONE PEEP about it since then. Did the last four episodes actually happen or did I dream all of that? Anyway, Sam’s dad calls him to deliver the good news: Cerithium Oil has been ordered to stop operating in Nigeria! That’s great, but I wish we’d been more involved in that storyline instead of watching Ted and Rebecca deliver Christmas presents.

After ignoring a call from his own father (the name on his phone spelled “dad” in quotes, no less), Jamie overhears the conversation Sam’s having with his, and the juxtaposition between their relationships strikes Jamie. Sam’s father is supportive and loving and jovial while Jamie’s is… not. We haven’t seen much of Poppa Tartt this season, but he’s still an asshole and the only reason he’s bothering Jamie now is because he wants tickets to their next game.

After the good news from his dad, Sam is feeling invincible, so he decides to take a risk and ask Bossgirl out, despite the fact that she never responded to his last message. Rebecca agrees (though Sam doesn’t know it’s her, of course).

In celebration, Sam asks Isaac to give him a haircut, which is a big deal for some reason? Apparently, Isaac is a master barber but he only gives each player one haircut per season. This is a momentous occasion for Sam – so much so that the team treats the haircut like some kind of religious ceremony. It’s a cute storyline, but it also feels like something we could have expanded or hinted at in earlier episodes to make it feel more important.

Across town at the hospital, Ted’s taking care of his emergency – he’s here to pick up Doc. Turns out she’s just fine, aside from a concussion and stitches. Much to her chagrin, she can’t leave the hospital unattended since she has a head injury – so she’s stuck with Ted for a while. Over at Sharon’s place, Ted’s overstaying his welcome and seeing too many intimate details into Sharon’s personal life, like the array of wine and liquor bottles strewn about. Apparently they do have a lot in common after all. She finally gets him to leave, only to have him blow up her phone later that night, concerned about her concussion. She decides to take her therapist’s advice and open up to him, revealing that she was ‘really scared today.’ Ted’s touched that she was able to be vulnerable with him. It’s a turning point in their relationship.

Meanwhile, Roy’s dealing with an emergency of his own – he’s been called in to Phoebe’s school to talk about a behavioral issue. Phoebe’s been swearing too much. It’s pretty clear where Phoebe’s been picking up on the habit – Roy Kent is every fucking where, after all. Later, he opens up to Phoebe that he’s concerned he’s been infecting her with the worst parts of him, which is pretty heartbreaking. Phoebe insists that’s not true. He’s taught her how to stand up for herself, she’ll just try and do it with a few less swear words next time. Again – this is a cute little plot point, but it felt out of place in this episode.

Later, it’s finally date time for Rebecca and Sam. They show up to the restaurant dressed to the nines, but when they first see each other, it doesn’t occur to either of them that they’re each others’ date. When realization dawns, Rebecca panics. She tells him Sam this thing between them can never happen. She wants to bolt, but Sam suggests they still have dinner as friends.

It might not be what Rebecca expected, but they end up having a great time and she even kisses him goodbye, though she tells him this won’t be going anywhere. No one believes her, though – least of all herself.

The weekend rolls around and it’s finally FA Cup semifinal day at Wembley Stadium. This is a big deal because – apparently – Wembley is way bigger than most football pitches, which is a surprise to Ted who, despite being in his second season of coaching football, still knows precious little about the sport.

Up in the stands, we get a load of Poppa Tartt and his two friends, who are all wearing jerseys for Richmond’s rival and Jamie’s former team, Manchester City. There’s the paternal support you love to see. Down in the locker room, things are getting vulnerable. Ted takes a page out of Sharon’s book and opens up to Roy, Beard, Nate, and Higgins about the panic attacks he’s been having. This leads to them all sharing hard truths about themselves: Roy doesn’t read scouting reports, Higgins messed up on one of their player trades, Nate’s been pretending his ideas are spontaneous when really he’s been thinking them over for months, and Beard was high on mushrooms during one of their games after drinking the wrong tea over at Jane’s house.

Now that they’ve gotten that off their chests, it’s game time! Just like all the drama in this episode, the game happens in a rush and it doesn’t go well. The boys end up losing 5-nil. You read that right. Afterwards, they’re sulking in the locker room when Jamie’s father decides to stroll in and act like a complete asshole, gloating about how great Manchester City is in front of the entirety of Team Richmond. The acting and dialogue in this scene is so on the nose and over-the-top that it’s almost cringe-worthy.

Jamie punches his dad in the face, Beard throws Poppa Tartt out of the locker room, Jamie cries, and Roy runs over to hug him. It’s a big, cathartic scene but it didn’t quite sit right with me. The strange thing is you hoped we were building to a moment like this, but the foundation was never strong enough to support a scene this heavy. It could have been, but this storyline has been forgotten and pushed to the side over the last few episodes in favor of meaningless fluff plots. I wish we’d spent more time with this plot over the course of the season instead of jamming it all into this one episode. It was nice to see Jamie and Roy make nice, I just wish it would have made me feel more… of anything, really.

After the match, we get even more rushed catharsis. Ted calls Doc Sharon again but this time it’s not to check on her, he’s calling to drop some truth bombs. He tells her that his father killed himself when he was sixteen. That’s where some of his issues stem from. It’s another great moment that deserved more than just a phone call and more screen time than ten seconds.

That night, Sam shows up at Rebecca’s house and “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane starts playing so you know shit’s getting real between them.

How do we feel about Sam and Rebecca? Is this something that anyone has been asking for? I love them both. I also love peanut butter and lasagna, but I never want to see them together. They were the least of my concern this episode, though. So much happened and yet, it missed the mark for me. Not because I didn’t want it to happen. Most of the moments were ones we’ve been waiting for, but we never had enough time for those plots to mature. I wish they’d scrapped the last four episodes and expanded this one into four of its own. (That said, it’s lovely to see a genuine connection between a responsible younger man and a mature woman. In the abstract, anyway.)

And the craziest part is that we still have four episodes left this season! I honestly don’t know what to expect, but it’s called “Beard After Hours” so that should be interesting. See you back here next week to unpack!

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The post <em>Ted Lasso</em> S2, E8 Recap: V is for Vulnerability appeared first on The Gist.

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