AFC Richmond Just Keeps Getting Better

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Ted Lasso season 3 begins with trepidation that is only natural given how much is at stake, but as the AFC Richmond players find their footing so does the show. Known for its unrelenting positivity in a television landscape full of the dark and gritty, season 3 of Ted Lasso mines the less enthusiastic moods that can overcome even the biggest optimist. It’s undoubtedly fitting at a time when Ted himself is still grappling with the end of his marriage, raising his son from across the Atlantic, and the very real possibility that his team will be relegated again at the end of next year. Ted Lasso season 3 retains its hope and wacky one-liners, sometimes going even wackier than necessary, but it’s also learned to play with nuance.

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When season 2 ended, Richmond was finally back as a Premier League team but lost their assistant coach Nate to West Ham in the process. Ted Lasso picks up on the eve of their first match of the football season, and no one seems to be feeling that loss more than Ted himself. The season 3 premiere opens with a more somber Coach Lasso, though he tries to mask his hesitation for the sake of his son and colleagues. Masking in, in fact, what several characters are doing in their respective storylines — which contributes to an overarching theme that happiness is not guaranteed regardless of how far success has taken one thus far.

See also  Which Relationship Triangle Led To Love Is Blind Season 4 Heartbreak

Related: Why Ted Lasso’s Season 3 Villain Means Season 4 Needs To Happen

afc richmond in locker room ted lasso season 3

Thankfully, one set of Ted Lasso characters who are high on life in spite of circumstances are the players themselves. Unlike earlier seasons, where one football player or another would receive a special spotlight for the audience to better understand them, season 3 sees them gelling more as a team and reaching an “us against the world” mentality that’s refreshing. Of course, this does not change the fact that a new player does join the team. Zava, played by Maximilian Osinski, is a superstar who leaves many bewildered but all in awe — and yet his presence serves more as a centrifuge that sets every character around him spinning. Some of the sillier gags include his character and others’ reaction to him, but the show is careful to pull itself back from the edge most of the time.

The internal journeys of the coaches and owner of AFC Richmond seem to be the main focus of Ted Lasso as the season kicks off, especially as Rebecca’s renewed determination to defeat her ex-husband Rupert and his West Ham team clash with Ted’s unusual passivity. They’re not the only ones experiencing minor crises, as newly-minted Coach Roy Kent is going through his own bout of self-doubt. His problems are only compounded by the current status of his relationship with Keeley, whose problems at her start-up PR firm start to overwhelm her in turn.

rebecca and keeley holding hands ted lasso season 3

Once again, there is a bright side to all the insecurity popping up in Ted Lasso season 3. Keeley and Rebecca are given the chance to lean on each other more than ever before, making their fabulous friendship one of the highlights of the first few episodes (which were provided for review). Each woman lends the other strength, and the lack of petty squabbles between them is a primary argument for why conflict doesn’t always mean quality content. Romance takes a back seat in season 3 (except for one surprise ship that is sure to delight viewers), but the value of platonic friendships has never been better displayed.

As for the villain in everyone’s mind and the character audiences love to hate, Ted Lasso wisely continues its high-wire balancing act with Nate the Great. Just when it seems like he’s a man with no remorse and no redemption in sight, a twist comes out of left field to even the score. The best part is that his arc is perfectly in character with what was shown in season 2, but also further expands on why his previous heel turn was so galling.

Ted Lasso may not be in the business of delivering as much joy to as many people as possible this season, but it very much seeks to deliver enlightenment. Whether or not it succeeds will be decided once the (supposedly final) episode has aired, but for now the game it’s playing is well worth the price of admission.

Next: The Biscuits In Ted Lasso, Explained

Ted Lasso season 3 premieres March 15 on Apple TV+, with new episodes released each Wednesday.

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