Ted Lasso S3, E7 Recap: The Strings That Bind Us

“We all know football is life, but a beautiful life is total football.”—Coach Beard

After last week’s trip to Amsterdam, it’s clear that the players for Richmond are changed. The coaches are changed. And everyone close to the team is changed. But will it be enough to stem the tide of their losing streak against Arsenal? That’s the question facing Ted (Jason Sudeikis) as he implements his vision for Total Football.

It starts with a history lesson from Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt). Still, that does little to inspire the troops, who are worried about learning a brand-new play style in a week before facing a team like Arsenal. Nevertheless, Ted persists. Over a series of hilarious practices, he shakes the players out of their comfort zone. It often has some interesting results.

Like when Isaac (Kola Bokinni) fires a corner kick into Higgins (Jeremy Swift) office window. Or, when Roy (Brett Goldstein) decides the players need to learn teamwork by tying strings around their penis and tying themselves to a partner to be sure they don’t get too far. Yes, you read that right. It is even more hilarious than it sounds. In fact, it’s the biggest laugh I’ve had from the show all season.

But it isn’t all fun and games. As they face Arsenal, the first half is a disaster. Richmond is quickly down 3-0 and looking even more lost. At the half, Jamie (Phil Dunster) continues his complete transformation by figuring out how to make it work. Instead of being the star, Jamie becomes the lynchpin of the attack as the distributor. It leads to a second half of improved play and a goal. Richmond doesn’t win the game, but they’ve figured something out.

As a giddy Trent Crimm (James Lance) proclaims post game, it’s going to work! And you know what, I think Trent’s right.

But Total Football wasn’t the only thing happening this week.

Jack and Keeley

After an episode where they were largely missing, Jack (Jodi Balfour) and Keeley’s (Juno Temple) relationship is in focus this week. And it’s going strong, full of a number of dramatic shows of affection from Jack. This includes proclaiming their relationship to the office, lavishing Keeley with gifts and experiences. Is it all too much? Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is concerned it feels like her relationship with Rupert (Anthony Head), so she urges Keeley to be cautious. Is Rebecca right? Can Keeley and Jack make it work? That’s a question we’ll see play out over the rest of the season.

Sam’s Big Stand

Much of this week’s episode is focused on Sam (Toheeb Jimoh), whose father, Ola (Noso Anozie), is due to visit at the end of the week. Sam wants it all to be perfect, especially at the restaurant that bears his father’s name. But Sam’s friend and chef, Simi (Precious Mustapha), is focused on a British politician taking a hardline immigration stand.

As we’ve seen, Sam isn’t afraid to speak his mind and stand up for what is right. He begins a back-and-forth with the politician on Social Media, sparking something of a backlash. When that results in a heinous act of vandalism at his restaurant, Sam breaks down, just as his father arrives. He’s ready to give up on practice. He’s ready to give up on the restaurant. But his father pushes him to let it go and to forgive those who destroyed his restaurant.

Post-game, Sam decides to show his father the space despite the vandalism. There, he finds his teammates cleaning, repairing and restoring Ola’s. It’s a beautiful moment that shows just how much of a family these Richmond players have become. Sam, in a lot of ways, has been the team’s heart. He was certainly the emotional heart of the episode and I hope we get to see him thrive as the series comes in for a landing.

Nate and Jade

In the final subplot, we see Nate (Nick Mohammed) trying to take a step forward with Jade (Edtya Budnik). He passes by each morning, trying to work up the courage to talk to her. He senses Jade is warming to him, but is that enough? Nate even asks Siri for advice but isn’t convinced.

At a family dinner, he gets some encouragement from his mother and sister, learning that his own father lacked some social confidence. It gives Nate the push he needs to at least put himself out there. He makes a beautiful invitation to a date and, in Nate fashion, trips in the street, drops it and sees it run over by a truck. Undaunted, Nate uses his words to ask Jade for a date, and she accepts.

As the episode fades, we see them on said date. Nate seems happy and closer to the endearing character I was drawn to in Season 1. Nate has certainly become the villain for Richmond and for the series, but is he truly lost? I still want to root for Nate. This week’s episode made me remember that. I hope we get more chances to root for Nate as we cruise toward the inevitable re-match with Richmond.

Best Scene:

It was, without a doubt, the penis string experiment. It was delightfully hilarious.

Pop Culture References:

People and Characters: We got shout outs to Jane Austen, David Mamet, Lady Gaga, Albert Einstein, Madame Currie, Jeffrey Epstein, Charles Dickens, Robert Frost, ZZ Top and the men of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour: Bill Engvall, Ron White, Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy.

Movies, Books and More: We got references to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Sense and Sensibility, and a very clever reference to the film Major League.

Episode MVP:

It’s a tossup this week. I loved Jamie’s speech and evolution, but I’m going with Sam. He was the heart of the episode and had a beautiful storyline.

That’s a wrap on this week. We have only five episodes left, and I can’t wait to see how it ends.

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.


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