“I will cut your eyes out.”—Roy Kent
We have only three episodes left, including this one, so it’s natural we’re in the end game. That’s led to some speeding up of the storylines. Some have struggled with this season. I’ll admit it’s not like previous seasons, but there is an emotional weigh here that’s undeniable. I felt that this week even though this episode wasn’t as strong as some this season.
We have a number of big storylines in this episode. We start with the news that Nate (Nick Mohammed) is out at West Ham. We also have the International Games, for which Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) was left off the Nigerian roster in a major snub. And we have the return of Edwin Akufo (Sam Richardson), who is trying to build a super league.
But this was mostly about Keeley (Juno Temple), Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) taking a step forward into the future they want. And all of it comes thanks to some deep introspection.
For Keeley, it’s forced introspection. As she arrives on a Wednesday morning, she learns Jack (Jodi Balfour) pulled her funding, essentially closing her PR firm, without even telling her. That ominous duty falls to Barbara (Katy Wix). Keeley is crushed and searching for something.
She drowns her sorrows at the pub and gets a little wisdom from Mae (Annette Badland). When she returns home, she comes across Roy. He’s come to a revelation of his own.
It was a big week for Roy, too. It starts at his birthday party, where it turns out Phoebe (Elodie Bloomfield) has planned an elaborate party, bought her uncle a wildly colorful shirt and invited his best friend—Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). Roy protests that Jamie isn’t his best friend—as does Jamie—but their friendship has become one of the best things about this season.
Roy, though he’s not excited, wears Phoebe’s shirt. He wears it to the clubhouse. Then he wears it to her school, crossing paths again with Mrs. Bowen (Ruth Bradley). Phoebe’s teacher points out Roy is changed, that he’s finally unstuck. That pops a lightbulb for Roy.
Which brings us back to him appearing on Keeley’s doorstep. Roy has worked up an apology, written in a letter. Keeley can’t read it, so Roy reads it. It has a deep, meaningful impact on both of them. I always liked Keeley and Roy as a couple. This is meant to be something of a big gesture. Does it mean they are back together? I’m not certain. I’m also not certain it’s right for the overall story, but here we are.
A Call From the Devil
Rebecca, meanwhile, turns to Ted (Jason Sudeikis) for some gossip since Keeley is MIA. It isn’t as she’d hoped. In the middle of it all, she gets a call from Rupert (Anthony Head), titled The Devil on her phone. She ignores it. Later, Rupert finds someone to sneak him into Rebecca’s office. He has a proposition—inviting Rebecca to Akufo’s secret meeting.
After weighing the offer, Rebecca accepts. She enters the room and finds her confidence—especially after a little text from Keeley. Akufo’s proposal could make a lot of money, but it would ruin what football is all about. Rebecca bravely offers a stirring speech, one drawing on Rupert’s own background and love for the game, that rallies the other owners to decline Akufo’s proposal. He doesn’t take it well.
In the aftermath, Rupert makes a move on Rebecca, drawn to the fierce woman she’s become. But Rebecca rebuffs his advance. She has come a long way from the woman we met in the pilot. She’s strong, confident and motivated.
She in turn checks in on Keeley, finally learning of her friend’s misfortune. Rebecca steps up to fund Keeley’s business venture, discovering her reunion with Roy in the process. But that’s not all.
When Rebecca meets with Ted the next day, she’s a changed woman. She tells Ted she no longer needs to beat Rupert. He doesn’t matter to her happiness. But she wants to win for Richmond. Ted does too. Will they get it?
The Wonder Kid Out
We begin the episode with news that Nate is out at West Ham. Most believe he was fired. Some even celebrate it. But early on, as Jade (Edtya Budnik) bids him farewell for a few days, we learn Nate resigned.
When we left the episode prior, Nate had rejected Rupert’s attempt to corrupt him. It seems that was the wakeup call he needed to make a change. While the world speculates, Nate is in a funk. Naturally, with Jade away, he returns home for a few days. His Mother (Neelam Baskhi) dotes on Nate. His father (Peter Landi) frets about his son.
As Nate is playing the violin, he has a moment with his father. Nate’s father was hard on him, pushing him to be the best because he saw Nate’s potential. But he’s seen the impact that had and now, he exhorts his son to simply be happy.
I love Nate. It broke my heart to see his downward spiral last season, but I remained hopeful we’d see the Nate we came to love again. I think we’re on that path. As we end this week’s episode, Nate also sneaks back into Richmond HQ, this time to resume his old job, setting out the players’ gear, and leaving a sweet note of apology for Will (Charlie Hiscock) by way of apology.
We began the season with the Lego model that showed Nate on the sideline with Ted. Will we see it again? I hope we do.
Sam’s Rough Week
Sam is another guy I love, and yet it’s been a tough season. He’s playing lights out for Richmond, and yet he isn’t chosen for his National Team. It’s a heart-breaking moment. Sam heads to the restaurant only to learn all the reservations but one—Akufo—have cancelled.
Sam rejected Akufo last season, and we know he doesn’t handle rejection well. Turns out, he’s on a mission to ruin Sam. That includes opening a rival restaurant, making fake reservations and paying the Nigerian $20 million to snub Sam.
And yet, Sam is strong enough to shake it off. And, as the team watches the England match, he sees his friend, Jamie Tartt, has donned his No. 24 in honor of Sam as he plays for England. We have two episodes left, and I can’t help but hope Sam gets the happy ending that seems to elude him in most episodes.
When Roy comes to work in his new birthday shirt, it’s pitch perfect. From the reaction of the teammates, personnel and Ted to the soundtrack of “Red Right Hand” provided by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It’s pitch perfect and a blast.
Pop Culture References:
People: Madeline Kahn, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Barak Obama and Dolly Parton all get shout outs.
Films: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory factor in here.
There are a couple worthy choices here, but it’s Rebecca. From her rousing speech to her great moments with Keeley and Ted, Rebecca has become the heart of the show.
That’s a wrap on this week. Only two episodes left as we hurdle toward the end. See you again next week!
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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