“I dated a professor from Oxford and I listen more than I talk.”—Coach Beard
The bottle episode is a staple of the television medium, often allowing a show to focus on a character usually relegated to the sidelines and explore something in a fun, new way. In this case, we get an episode dedicated to Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt).
We pick up right where we left off last week. Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) has stepped out to call Sharon (Sarah Niles), while Beard is storming off after helping James Tartt (Kieran O’Brien) exit the locker room. Beard says he doesn’t want to ride home with the team, he needs to be alone. Ted reminds him there is a coaches meeting in the morning and he’s supposed to bring the coffee. Beard storms away, leaving Ted slightly concerned.
Beard makes his way to the train and steps aboard. A montage with a special cut of the theme song plays along with credits to indicate time has passed. Beard is still angry when he arrives at his stop and heads home. He cracks open a beer and pops on the TV to an after show hosted by Gary Lineker and Thierry Henry. Soon, Beard imagines their criticism is pointed directly at him. He realizes he’s still too upset and heads out.
He arrives at the pub where Mae (Annette Badland) commiserates with Beard and asks who will be joining him. That’s when we learn that he has more on his mind than a bad game—he’s on the outs with Jane (Phoebe Walsh) because he can’t commit. She texts him, anyway, including a picture in front of a neon purple cross.
Beard turns to a new set of drinking buddies—Richmond supports and pub regulars Baz (Adam Colborne), Jeremy (Bronson Webb) and Paul (Kevin Garry). They have a number of questions, which Beard answers. They close the pub down but none of them are ready to head home. Instead, they dress up and head to the exclusive Bones & Honey club. After some trickery, they get in and soon a woman in a red dress (Charlotte Spencer) catches Beard’s eye.
He buys a round of drinks for the lads who are hustling some posh gentleman at pool. He fools the crowd by spinning a tale that he’s a professor at Oxford, Professor McGonagall. While the lads play, Beard slips off to a private room where he manages to tear his pants and get thrown out. He meets the woman in red, who invites him back to her place to mend his pants.
While she sews Beard gets a loner, a pair of sparkled pants that give him a unique style. The two talk of love and relationships when she gets a call from her beau (Charlie Rawes). She has Beard answer and it doesn’t go well, leading to him fleeing. Soon, he realizes he’s without his wallet and phone, walking down an alley toward home.
That’s when Beard runs headlong into James Tartt and his pals. James hasn’t forgotten his locker room troubles and a fight seems inevitable. With Henry and Lineker there to narrate, Beard does his best but it’s a losing cause. When it looks most bleak, James Tartt gets whacked on the head and passes out. Turns out the woman’s jealous boyfriend has calmed down. He saves Beard, returns his wallet and phone and sends him on his way.
Beard sees he has a million messages from Jane but his phone dies before he can call her back. Frustrated, he begins walking again when a limo pulls up. Seems the lads won big, rented a fancy car and found Beard on the way back home. He has them drop him off then sends them on a mission, one he assures them they’ll like.
Beard arranges for Baz, Jeremy and Paul to get some time on the AFC Richmond pitch, and it’s all they had hoped it would be. Beard, meanwhile, can’t catch a break. He tries to open his door and the key breaks. Then it starts raining. Beard takes off and comes across a neon purple cross.
He enters the church and talks to God, mostly about Jane. He hears rhythmic beats and follows them, finding a neon rave below the church. He sheds his jacket and begins to dance. As he does, Jane appears. She offers him a hula-hoop. They dance together and all, finally, seems right in the world.
The next morning Ted, Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Nate (Nick Mohammed) await Beard’s arrival. He does, indeed, show up with coffee, looking a little worse for wear. Ted suggests it’s time for them to re-watch the Man City game. The coaches protest but Ted has a secret up his sleeve—they’re going to watch it at 10x speed with the Benny Hill theme playing beneath it. As the game plays, Beard lowers the brim of his hat and drifts off to sleep.
It was a different episode of Ted Lasso, but a powerful one. Coach Beard has long been an MVP behind the scenes but in this episode he gets to be the star of the show and it’s a fun and wild ride.
Episode Grade: B+
There were a lot of fun scenes this week but I’m going with the rave at the end. Beard really cuts loose and it’s brilliant. And when Jane arrives, it becomes magical.
Pop Culture References
As you might expect in a nearly Ted free episode, the references were lighter.
People and Places: We get a reference to Las Vegas, Cher, Oxford, Cambridge, Prince Andrew and Melania Trump
Pop Culture: We got the audio and verbal nod to Benny Hill, and of course to Harry Potter via a reference to Professor McGonagall.
Episode MVP: It’s pretty easy this week, it’s Coach Beard. He’s the focus of the episode and makes the most of it.
That’s a wrap on Beard After Hours. Check back next week as we look at the first of the final three episodes of the season.
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.