Do you believe? After a year and a half away, Ted Lasso Season 3 premieres March 15 on Apple TV+. Expectations couldn’t be higher for the third (and potentially final) season: For the past two years, the show has dominated at the Emmys, winning Outstanding Comedy Series back-to-back, and converted millions of viewers into AFC Richmond fans. The team may be fictional, but the love for Ted Lasso is real — just ask Apple, which revealed the Season 2 premiere scored the biggest audience of any original film or TV show on the platform.
Ted Lasso is a show that runs on good vibes and heartwarming moments, but there was actually quite a bit of drama in Season 2, and given the 18-month hiatus, it’s only natural to forget a key plot point or two. Ahead of the Season 3 premiere, here’s a refresher on where we left the major characters, and what’s at stake for each of them moving forward.
Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) had a rough go of it last season. After suffering his first panic attack in Season 1, Ted continued to struggle with anxiety, ultimately revealing to “Doc” Sharon (Sarah Niles) that his relentless kindness emerged as a response to his father’s death by suicide. As he told Sharon, “I knew right then and there that nobody was ever going to get by me without understanding they might be hurting inside.” Translation: Everyone deserves grace, even those who have wronged you, because you never know what people are going through.
The moment was a major turning point for Ted, who previously resisted opening up to the team’s sports psychologist, and it went a long way towards explaining his curious reaction to Nate (Nick Mohammed) in the finale. Ted knew Nate told The Independent’s Trent Crimm (James Lance) about his panic attacks, but even though Ted was hurt, he continued to support “Nate the Great.” Whether Nate believed him is a different matter entirely...
In the final minutes of Ted Lasso Season 2, Nate’s transformation from good-natured kit man to gray-haired villain became complete. Despite being promoted to assistant coach, Nate’s insecurities consumed him, and he began taking out his bitterness on the less-powerful in the clubhouse, including new equipment manager Will (Charlie Hiscock).
By the end of the season, his misplaced fury settled on Ted, and in the finale, he accused Ted of discrediting his contributions to the team. This was a laughably false accusation (just weeks prior, Ted ensured Nate was hailed as a “wonderkid” in the press), but Nate couldn’t see past his hostility for a man he believed to have discarded him. After the final game, he ripped down the “Believe” sign hanging in the Richmond locker room and stormed off, never to be seen again — until the closing flash-forward scene, when the show revealed he’s now the head coach of Rupert’s (Anthony Head) rival team, West Ham United. Welcome to the dark side, Nate.
While Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) made great strides in Ted Lasso’s first season — hiring Ted to tank her ex-husband’s football club now feels very out of character — Season 2 brought out new sides of the AFC Richmond owner. She began an ill-advised relationship with player Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh), only to break up with him because she was afraid of being hurt (and not because of the problems posed by their power imbalance). Later, when faced with the prospect of Sam leaving the team, Rebecca explained she couldn’t give him an answer about their future, but hoped he would stay, regardless. They more or less left things there, but now that Sam is firmly rooted in Richmond, anything could happen in Season 3.
Elsewhere in her personal life, Rebecca worked through her complicated relationship with her father in the wake of his death. In an emotional scene, she revealed she once walked in on her father cheating and has hated him for it ever since that day. Rebecca believed her mother Deborah (Harriet Walter) was in the dark about her husband’s infidelity, but Deborah explained she always knew — and that’s why she was so proud of Rebecca for leaving her disastrous marriage to Rupert.
Speaking of Rupert: At Rebecca’s father’s funeral, Rupert returned his new wife’s shares of AFC Richmond, giving Rebecca near-total ownership of the team. Of course, this wasn’t exactly a magnanimous gesture, as he went on to purchase West Ham United and hire Nate away from his old club. As a result, Rebecca is even more determined to defeat Rupert, but with Richmond projected to come in last in the Premier League, she’ll have her work cut out for her.
Oi! Roy Kent’s (Brett Goldstein) transition from player to assistant coach has been rocky, but at least he’s had his girlfriend Keeley (Juno Temple) by his side through it all — or has he? The second half of the season presented a few obstacles for the gruff but lovable character, including a flirtation with his niece’s teacher (Ruth Bradley) and Keeley’s solo success, which triggered a fit of self-doubt. Roy and Keeley were able to overcome these problems, but a flash-forward in the finale called that progress into question when Keeley declined his offer to go on a six-week trip. Ted Lasso has always suggested Roy and Keeley are endgame, but there’s no denying that they enter Season 3 on shaky ground.
If Roy is a man questioning his sense of self, Keeley Jones is a woman on the rise (just ask Vanity Fair). After successfully leading the team’s marketing efforts, Keeley was given an opportunity to start her own PR firm, and though she was hesitant to leave Rebecca’s warm embrace, she accepted. (It helped that Rebecca, Keeley’s mentor and big sister-figure, was wholly supportive of her career move.) Even if it threatens to complicate her relationship with Roy, the job is an important step forward for Keeley, who has spent the past two seasons supporting everyone around her, and it will be exciting to see the show, and these characters, expand beyond the world of AFC Richmond.
Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) is such a great sidekick to Ted that it’s easy to forget he has internal dilemmas and romantic problems of his own — which is why his standalone episode, “Beard After Hours,” came as such a surprise. Over the course of one very long night, Beard stumbled around London searching for answers about his relationship with Jane (Phoebe Walsh), the team’s most recent loss, and his role within the organization. His journey eventually led him to a church-turned-nightclub, where he and Jane reconciled, though it’s up for debate whether this toxic relationship is really the best option for our wise assistant coach. Still, the experience helped Beard quiet the critics in his mind, a skill he’s going to need as his underdog squad fights to succeed in the Premier League.
Once Rebecca’s punching bag and lackey, Higgins (Jeremy Swift) has become a key player in the team’s front office. As Ted, Rebecca, and even Keeley faced various dilemmas, Higgins remained the voice of reason, doling out helpful advice — as when he encouraged Ted to move beyond his hurt and read Sharon’s goodbye letter — and offering a shoulder to cry on. With Nate gone, Higgins will likely need to focus a bit more on the logistical challenges at hand, but in an ideal world, we’ll still be treated to another round of Mascot Idol.
No one has grown more over the past two seasons than Phil Dunster’s Jamie Tartt (doo-doo-doo-doo-doo). Yes, he told Keeley that he still loves her, throwing a wrench into her relationship, but he took ownership of his actions and apologized to Roy without hesitation. His personal development also carried over onto the field: With a chance at promotion on the line, Jamie handed off a key penalty kick to Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández), an act of selflessness and friendship that ultimately paid off. For a man who started Season 2 as a contestant on a Love Island parody, this is real progress. Here’s hoping it continues in Season 3.
After turning down Edwin Akufo’s (Sam Richardson) lucrative offer to join a powerhouse African soccer team, Sam is poised to take on a leadership role within the squad. Football-wise, Sam’s future looks bright, but his personal life is far more uncertain, particularly as it relates to Rebecca. Sam and Rebecca ended Season 2 with question marks hanging over their heads, but by staying, he left the door open for a potential reconciliation. It will be interesting to see whether Sam lives up to his promise to prioritize his own needs, as he told Ted and Rebecca in the finale, or whether he’ll fall back into old habits of “worrying about what others feel” about him.
Ted Lasso Season 3 premieres Wednesday, March 15 on Apple TV+. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.
TOPICS: Ted Lasso, Apple TV+, Brendan Hunt, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Swift , Juno Temple, Nick Mohammed, Phil Dunster, Toheeb Jimoh