“Football is Death!” –Dani Rojas
Ted Lasso is back! Let’s all stop for a minute to celebrate that Ted is back in our lives, and the season two premier, which debuted today on Apple TV+ didn’t disappoint. For this second season, I’ll be recapping each episode on Fridays. I’ll be going over the basic plot, picking a favorite scene of the week, recounting the Pop Culture references and choosing an episode MVP. It’s going to be a blast! So, without further ado, let’s jump into the premier episode, Goodbye, Earl.
The main story takes us to the pitch, a place we didn’t visit all that often in Season 1. We’re well into the new season with AFC Richmond now in a lower division. The good news is, through seven games, the team is undefeated. The bad news is they’re also winless, having started with seven straight ties. As Ted (Jason Sudeikis) points out, in the final game of last season they were praying for a tie and couldn’t get it. In the new season, they can’t achieve anything else. Now in the eighth game as we open, the team is tied but a late penalty sets up ace Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernandez) for a penalty kick.
As Dani lines up and fires the ball, the crowd waits with bated breath. At the same moment, Richmond’s mascot, Earl the dog, breaks free. Earl leaps for a bird just as Dani’s kick reaches the net and the two collide. Richmond ends in another tie, this one stained with Earl’s death. And everyone takes it hard, especially Danny.
Unable to get through to him despite several attempts, Higgins (Jeremy Swift) suggests bringing in a mental healthy expert. Though uneasy, Ted signs off and the next day Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) arrives. She meets with Danny after assuring Ted, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) and Nate (Nick Mohammed) she’s very good at what she does. More on that in a minute.
Rebecca is Dating
In the B plot, Rebecca (Hannah Waddington) is jumping back into the dating pool and seems to have found a guy she enjoys. First, she turns to Keeley (Juno Temple) for advice, and sets up a double date with Keeley and Roy (Brett Goldstein) to make some progress. Later, she even turns to Ted for a little relationship advice, coming away feeling more confident of her choice.
At the dinner, things get a touch awkward. Her beau is fine but doesn’t make the greatest impression on Roy. In the aftermath, Roy can’t hold back, telling Rebecca she deserves greatness and urging her not to settle. By the end of the episode, Rebecca has broken it off to search for the relationship she deserves.
In the C plot, Roy is still settling into his retired life. He refuses to go to see Richmond play, despite Ted always leaving him a ticket. Instead, he’s coaching a young girls’ team, bringing his same salty demeanor to that role that he did in the professional ranks. While Keeley urges Roy to get back into the game by becoming a commentator, he resists. He seems happy coaching his team and doing yoga and reality TV with the ladies. At least for now.
Odds and Ends
- Higgins gives up his office for Dr. Fieldstone. It’s a noble gesture but one that leaves him without a real base of operations.
- Nate has let a little power go to his head, especially when it comes to the new equipment manager, Will.
In the end, Dr. Fieldstone is able to connect with Dani and set him straight. Dani comes to realize that football is still life and finds his mojo back on the field. Dr. Fieldstone, meanwhile, expands her work to other players, much to Ted’s dismay. But Richmond has its ace back and can focus again on trying to get that elusive first victory. Overall, it’s wonderful to have the show back and I’m excited for season two!
Episode Grade: B
For the premier, I’m going with the press conference at the outset. After tying the game and witnessing a horrible incident, Ted has to face the press. It’s a quick scene, but one that reminds you right away of what makes the show so great. Ted brings his disarming sense of humor, makes everyone feel welcome and never shies away from a tough question. His tale of the dog who first traumatized him then became his good friend was a beautiful moment, and Sudeikis’ delivery is spot on. Plus, we got to see Trent Crimm (James Lance).
Pop Culture References
This was a packed episode. Below are the drops from Goodbye, Earl.
- Sports References: They got a solid dig in on the futility of the New York Jets. We also got a nod to Chuck Knoblauch and Charles Barkley.
- Personalities: Diane Sawyer made the cut, as did singers Dolly Parton and Shania Twain. Also thrown in were Martin Short and the Marx Brothers. We also got a reference to Shakespeare and the Gin Blossoms.
- TV Shows: The Biggest Loser
- Plays: Stomp and Macbeth got name checked.
- Books: Voldemort and the world of Harry Potter got a shout out.
- Films: The Empire Strikes Back, which gets bonus points for the joke about the awkward Luke and Leia kiss, and the Tom Cruise ponytail double tap of Magnolia and The Last Samurai
For episode one I’m going with Roy Kent. He’s making the most of his retirement. His speech to his girls’ team was impressive, and I enjoyed seeing his yoga group exploits. But, perhaps his best moment was when he stood up for Rebecca in amazing fashion after the double date. I always love Roy, and he was in great form in the premier.
That’s a wrap on Goodbye, Earl. See you again next week for Episode 2, Lavender.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.