When Ted Lasso Season 3, at long last, finally returns to Apple TV+ on Wednesday, the hit series will do so in the shadow of sky-high expectations — not unlike, well, the opposite problem facing Coach Lasso’s AFC Richmond this season.
The 12-episode third season of the show opens with rock-bottom expectations for the team, which is now back in the Premier League but assumed by everyone to be headed for a last-place finish (while the punditry expects West Ham, owned by the deliciously smarmy Rupert Mannion and now coached by Nate Shelley, to end up in the Top 4). AFC Richmond thus has expectations it needs to defy, while Ted Lasso the show arguably has the expectations of fans around the world to deliver on — and maybe even try to surpass.
‘All we gotta do is remember to stay connected to each other’
Time will tell if it gets there, but here’s what I’ll say after having watched the episodes that Apple made available to the press to screen ahead of the Season 3 debut:
The old Ted Lasso magic — the optimism, the striving, the all-for-one and one-for-all bonhomie — is back in spades, from Coach Lasso’s neverending stream of folksy one-liners to the way he asks two different people in the first episode “what the heck I’m still doing here.” Richmond owner Rebecca Welton, remember, hired him initially as a joke, hoping that the bumbling, fish-out-of-water American would ruin her ex-husband’s team — not realizing that Lasso had (and still has) exactly what the team needs.
To that latter point, in fact, Lasso’s out-of-the-box response to the team’s flagging morale in Episode 1 (a byproduct of the pundits and newspapers writing them off) results in a particularly memorable field trip of sorts. Lasso takes the team underground, down into the London sewer system, and uses an improbable metaphor to map out the road ahead.
Right now, he explains, everyone on the team is blocked up, whereas all they really need to do is to build an internal sewer system that links them all together. That way, Ted continues, any of them feeling, let’s say, a crisis of confidence — once they’re all sufficiently linked together, that team member can just borrow some of Jamie Tartt’s. Or whoever’s feeling down can use the connectedness to “get some Dani (Rojas) in your life.”
“All we gotta do is remember to stay connected to each other, and let everything else flow right through.”
If you were already a fan, it’s moments like these that keep you coming back.
Season 3 release schedule
What’s coming on Wednesday, by the way, is the following:
Richmond returns to the pitch for Episode 1 of the new season on March 15, making this the first time a season of TV on the iPhone maker’s streamer has launched mid-week. With that in mind, the entire Ted Lasso Season 3 episode release schedule will be as follows:
- Episode 1: March 15
- Episode 2: March 22
- Episode 3: March 29
- Episode 4: April 5
- Episode 5: April 12
- Episode 6: April 19
- Episode 7: April 26
- Episode 8: May 3
- Episode 9: May 10
- Episode 10: May 17
- Episode 11: May 24
- Episode 12: May 31
On Wednesday of this week meanwhile, Apple hosted the world premiere of Season 3 at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, with red-carpet attendees including all the key Ted Lasso cast members as well as executive producer Bill Lawrence (who, incidentally, stepped away from handling the show this season to launch Shrinking, an all-new Apple TV+ series with Roy Kent actor Brett Goldstein that just got picked up for a second season).
Sudeikis: Season 3 is ‘the end of this story we wanted to tell’
In an interview with our sister publication Deadline, Sudeikis said that the new season’s episodes represent the culmination of “this story that we wanted to tell, that we were hoping to tell, that we loved to tell.”
Yes, folks, it’s worth repeating that Season 3 of Ted Lasso is it for the time being, nevermind that reporters keep pouncing on even the slightest equivocation whenever Sudeikis talks about this, trying to get him to concede that the door might be open for more of the hit series down the line.
“I mean, there’s always Cameo, right?” Sudeikis joked in the Deadline interview, in typical Sudeikis/Lasso-ian style.
All kidding aside, there’s a lot of Lasso yet to enjoy in Season 3 before arriving at that “end of this story.” A hotshot new player. The return of Ted’s panic attacks. A secret that one of the Richmond players is hiding. Individual members of the whole enterprise — Jamie, Keeley, Rebecca, and so many others — navigating their own special sets of circumstances, and figuring out how to maybe come out a little better on the other side.
At the end of the day, there’s always a little bit of arrogance involved in writing about any kind of art — not that it won’t stop the hot-take machine from weighing in on the highly anticipated new season of the show. Does Ted Lasso stick the landing? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself, of course, but I can only offer that if you’ve enjoyed the ride thus far, I think the thing you’ll be the most disappointed by here is that the show that encouraged us to be a goldfish — and to be curious, not judgmental — is coming to an end.
One more thing
Coach Lasso was also right, of course, in his exhortation to the team this season that there’s nothing else more important than remembering to “stay connected to each other.” With that in mind, consider this comment from a fan that I came across on Facebook this week: “This is more than a show … I like that it makes me think about the person I am, how I treat others, and just appreciating the life I get to lead.”
As far as I’m concerned, that’s the answer to Ted’s question about what he’s still doing here.