Unlike the success of many comedies that feature despicable main characters, like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Ted Lasso shines in its wholesomeness. It’s refreshing to see him put his best self forward for the good of his friends, his family, and his team. Although not very knowledgeable of the sport, he tries and succeeds to create a true team in every sense of the word. Morally questionable characters become their best selves around him leading us all through their emotional journies toward becoming better people.
Quickly becoming one of the most successful series on Apple TV, it’s no surprise that Ted Lasso has made it to season 3. With new episodes airing from this week and on, it’s important to remember the previous turmoil that the team has faced on its way to emotional, and eventually overall, greatness. Although they’re not the best team, they have the best heart, and this is the most significant element of the entire show. With that being said, there are 10 episodes that stand out from the rest. Let’s rank them!
10. The Signal
In season 2 of Ted Lasso, mental health takes its seat at the metaphorical writing table. The team hires a therapist, Sharon Fieldstone, to work with team members and staff to better their mental health. While her presence makes Ted noticeably uncomfortable, the team benefits from working with her and their performance improves significantly. It’s worth noting that Ted has previously worked with a therapist for his failed marriage, which has given him a distaste for therapy in general. But, in The Signal, things change.
Ted has been suffering from panic attacks for numerous episodes, and in this episode, Ted’s flight response kicks in during a panic attack and he runs off the field. We find him in Sharon’s office, but he still has trouble opening up to her. This episode reveals how panic attacks can affect our daily lives, and many of us can completely understand what Ted is going through.
On another note, Ted’s exit from the field gives Nate the opportunity to shine. This is a pivotal moment in his character development because his skills as a coach gain national attention, but even with that fame, he still faces mockery. Not only that, but Ted’s exit from the field gets just as much attention as his shining moment making him feel less than. The writing of this episode includes key moments in character development for Ted and for Nate as they both face public struggles.
Roy Kent, after the end of his career playing football, tries on new shoes in other careers related to football. He coaches his niece’s team before landing a job at the network on a talk show about the sport. His crude manner doesn’t mesh well with the other hosts, but the audience loves his realness. Roy feels content in this job, but then Ted hits him with a tempting offer: to coach Richmond with him.
While he seems put off by this at first, he transitions to his coaching career in the best way possible. He resumes his job as normal with his co-hosts, but has an epiphany during their conversation that he misses being more involved in the games. This leads us into a rom-com moment with him dramatically ripping off his mic and traveling as fast as he can to the stadium. His journey to the stadium leaves us cheering for him to successfully get there in time to coach, and while the rom-com method may seem misplaced as a TV show on sports, it works well at making us feel satisfied that he is no longer out of place. He is truly where he belongs now.
8. Make Rebecca Great Again
Rebecca, the antagonist of season 1, wants to sabotage the team’s success to hurt her ex-husband. On what would have been their anniversary, Rebecca joins the team in Liverpool for a night on the town complete with her karaoke debut of “Let it Go”. This episode introduces us to another important character in Rebecca’s life who brings a lightheartedness to the series: Sassy.
Sassy helps Rebecca realize that Rupert is not at fault for her disappearing from her and her daughter’s life, and in facing that, Rebecca softens which leads to her providing support for Ted during his first panic attack. These events bring out the best in Rebecca and lead her to truly joining the team instead of actively working against its success. This episode is so important because it makes us like Rebecca and root for the connection between her and Ted.
Another significant takeaway from this episode is that it highlights women supporting women through her bonding with Keeley and re-bonding with Sassy. Often, women compete with each other on-screen, so seeing women bond who usually never would is a breath of fresh air. Not only that, but they have an honest relationship with each other. As an audience, we can sympathize for Rebecca with her demon for an ex-husband, but Sassy holding her accountable for her own actions is essential for Rebecca’s character development.
7. Carol of the Bells
Ted Lasso’s Christmas-themed episode not only invokes the holiday spirit, but also truly shows how much the team has come together as a family of sorts. Higgins states that he typically hosts Christmas for his family with 1-2 players joining them. In this episode, there are the usual 1, and then 2, but then more and more show up as the time progresses. Meanwhile Rebecca and Ted bond over being Santa Claus with gifts for children, and Roy and Keeley try to fix Phoebe’s (Roy’s niece) medically bad breath.
This is truly one of the most heartwarmingly wholesome episodes of the entire series. The ongoing conflicts take the backseat to the true essence of the team’s new dynamic. Despite the criticism that the team faces professionally, the Lasso effect is shown in action with the level of comfort that each character feels with the other. Not only that, but the staff have been integrated as part of the team instead of being excluded.
6. Diamond Dogs
The “Diamond Dogs” are established between the staff of AFC Richmond composed of Ted, Coach Beard, Nate, and Higgins. The purpose of the Diamond Dogs is to discuss conflicts whether they be emotional, physical, etc. which establishes a significant support system between a group of men who would rather not hide their feelings. In this episode specifically, Ted wants to know if he should share his hook-up with Sassy with Rebecca, and is told it is unnecessary.
Brotherhood is tested later in the episode when Rebecca is still intent on destroying the club despite Ted defending her honor. Higgins, part of the Diamond Dogs, quits his job in protest of Rebecca’s efforts. In season 1, seeing Rebecca’s attempts thwarted is so satisfying because Ted absolutely does not deserve it. Despite his imperfections, Ted has never done anything in the series to warrant negative behavior towards him. While he is consistently receives negativity, episodes like this that highlight his support system are an absolute treasure.
5. Two Aces
Two Aces marks the event that truly causes the team to bond. The “two aces” refers to Jamie Tartt and Dani Rojas, another star player who just joined the team as Jamie’s competition for Richmond’s “best” player. At this point, Jamie is still, to put it lightly, a jerk. But, later in this episode, even he joins into the team’s “ritual” to expel a curse that they believe haunts the treatment room that supposedly caused Dani’s injury. As a sacrificial offer to the supposed ghosts, everyone brings beloved belongings to burn.
It is in this episode that we learn why Jamie behaves so arrogantly. During his sacrifice, he shares that his father instilled his winning attitude in him and expressed anger whenever Jamie “underperformed” in his eyes. While the team had been in the process of coming together all season, this is when Jamie joins in and this whole ritual really cements the men together truly as a team. Despite Jamie being traded back to Manchester City, it is still clear that the events of this episode really stuck with him and further his character development.
4. Trent Crimm: The Independent
In another of Rebecca’s attempts to sabotage the team, she sets up an interview with a sharky reporter, Trent Crimm. While Trent Crimm has appeared in the show already, and definitely has the demeanor of a sharky reporter, he is softened by Ted’s overwhelming kindness. Throughout their day together, Ted brings him to an event for children and then to a restaurant in which he eats food way past his spice tolerance to please the owner.
This whole experience establishes a mutual respect between Ted Lasso and Trent Crimm, who conveys the wholesome presence that is Ted Lasso in his article. This developed mutual respect between them is what lands this episode on this list. It also shows that Trent Crimm is not evil, but just a man that is just doing his job. While this near-friendship between Ted and Trent is not a huge focus on the show itself, it still has its benefits for not only Ted’s career, but also his well-being.
3. The Hope That Kills You
As the finale of season 1, The Hope That Kills You has its ups and downs. Although the team gets relegated, it does not break the spirits of AFC Richmond by any means. Nate is promoted to assistant coach after helping with plays for the entire season, therefore giving him a well-deserved seat at the table. But, the main reason this episode makes it to the top 3 is not Nate’s promotion. Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt both have pretty significant moments that rise this episode to the near top of this list.
The game with Manchester City is Roy’s last as a football player, and he goes out with a bang when he prevents Jamie, who is on the opposing team at this point, from scoring. Despite leaving injured, he limps off with greatness as the fans cheer him on. Because of his efforts, Richmond could hope to stay in the premier league. While Jamie kills that hope, the way he wins his team the game showcases his character development because he uses the “extra” pass method (taught by Ted) instead of taking the goal for himself.
Like other sports-themed content, Ted Lasso uses this episode to show that not all losses are losses. Roy still earned his triumphant exit, and Jamie learned to prioritize his mom’s wish for his happiness over his dad’s wish for arrogant success. AFC Richmond’s loss places them in just the right position to become an underdog to leave room for the series to grow and end off with a bang. This episode is the true start of the team’s journey to eventual greatness that reflects the strength of their familial connection to each other.
2. Inverting the Pyramid of Success
As the underdogs who have already faced relegation, AFC Richmond rises from the ashes and earns its spot back in the premier league with the team stronger than ever before. Although it’s not the best Ted Lasso episode, the finale earns its spot in second for one big reason: the way that they earn their ascent back into the premier league. Jamie’s character development is one of the most dramatic in the series, and his decision to pass his penalty shot off to Dani showcases this perfectly. Season 1 Jamie never would have missed his chance to score on a penalty.
To contrast Jamie becoming the best version of himself, Nate’s character descends into villainy. Resentful of Ted, Nate is positioned to become an antagonist for the third season as a coach for Rupert’s new team. While it is disheartening to witness Nate the Great’s new angry persona, it is essential for the growth of the show because it adds a necessary conflict. The final shot tells us to expect a rivalry for the third season, and this opens the door to many new triumphs for our dear underdogs to face.
1. No Weddings and a Funeral
This episode is by far the best one in the entire series. It beautifully captures Rebecca and Ted facing their traumas head on. Rebecca’s dad dies, and the entire team shows up in their best suits… yes, even dress shoes (despite their discomfort) in order to support her. Because of Ted’s panic being triggered by attending a father’s funeral, he is finally forced to be vulnerable with Dr. Sharon. He reveals that his anxiety persists because of his own father’s suicide, and in admitting this, he is finally able to heal with the help of Sharon.
At the same time, Rebecca opens up to her mother about her own fatherly trauma: she once witnessed him having an affair. These two scenes (with Ted and Rebecca opening up) juxtapose each other making this easily the most intense moment in the entire series. To top it off, everyone singing “Never Gonna Give You Up” together to help out Rebecca, who was struggling with her eulogy, is enough to bring you to tears. Many episodes establish the team as a family, but this moment shows what “family” truly means in every sense of the word with unconditional support on cue.