After becoming a surprise hit, “Ted Lasso” has once again graced our screens with the premiere of the show’s second season with an episode entitled “Goodbye Earl.” This premiere brings back the laughs and emotionality that viewers have come to expect from watching the first season, while setting out the building blocks for the season to come.
“Ted Lasso” is about an American football coach, the titular Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), who is hired as a soccer coach in England. He makes up for his nonexistent soccer knowledge by being positive and kind with everyone, even when they don’t do the same for him. Throughout the show’s first season, audiences see that there is more to Coach Lasso than they might have initially noticed and slowly find out that Ted’s influence improves the lives of everyone around him.
As season two begins, some time has passed since the end of the last season. Now that Lasso’s team, AFC Richmond, has been relegated to a lower division, they have opened their season with seven tied matches in a row. Fans are seeing the team play well, but a few unlucky breaks have kept them out of the win column.
The main focus of the episode is on the team’s star striker Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández). In one of Richmond’s matches, an unfortunate accident scares Dani, turning him from a skilled footballer with an infectiously chipper attitude to a dour player who can’t hit a shot. After nothing seems to be working, assistant coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) and director of football operation Higgins (Jeremy Swift) convince Coach Lasso to bring in a sports psychologist to help Dani get back to normal. Ted is initially apprehensive about calling in a therapist due to his own negative experiences with therapy, but eventually agrees to bring in Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles). Dr. Fieldstone is a welcome addition to the cast, with her stern and focused demeanor contrasting perfectly with Coach Lasso’s trademark positivity. This storyline also hints that Ted could use some therapy himself, potentially teasing a future plot development for later on in the season.
Adding a serious character like Dr. Fieldstone around the clubhouse is also important now that last season’s stoic foil for Lasso, football star Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), has retired from the team. Roy appears to be enjoying his retirement, spending his time coaching his niece’s soccer team, developing his relationship with his new girlfriend Keeley (Juno Temple), and enjoying wine night and reality TV with a group of older women. All seems to be well, but there are a few lingering issues that Roy has to handle. First of all, Roy has been offered a job as a football pundit and, despite everyone saying he would be great at it, Roy is not interested. He shuts down the idea, but it could be an opportunity that sticks around for the rest of the season. A bit more mysteriously, several characters have alluded to something happening at Roy’s retirement speech. The speech went viral and everyone is talking about it, while Roy wants to forget about the whole thing. It hasn’t yet been revealed what exactly happened at this press conference, but it sounds big enough that it may be an interesting reveal later on.
Meanwhile, Richmond owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) is back to dating for the first time after her divorce. Rebecca makes plans to go out with a man named John, partly helped with girl talk from Keeley and Ted. She and John go out on a double date with Roy and Keeley as she gets to know John better. Despite coming a long way from the cold and cruel beginnings of her character in season one, it is clear that Rebecca has a lot to learn as she gets back into dating.
One character who is notably absent from the episode is Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). He makes a brief appearance on a reality program (much to Roy’s chagrin), but is otherwise unseen. Jamie was left in an interesting position at the end of last season as he made an unselfish play for the first time to defeat Richmond, his former team. Afterwards, Ted saw Jamie being berated by his father for not taking the goal for himself and later Lasso gave Jamie some encouragement for doing so. While it remains unclear exactly what his future will hold, Jamie is perfectly set up for some interesting character development as the season progresses.
Overall, all of this adds to what made audiences fall in love with “Ted Lasso” in the first place. This episode used all of these characters’ situations to hilarious effect, while also imbuing their stories with realistic character struggles and plot developments. This creates a balanced narrative that few shows manage to nail as well as “Ted Lasso” does. The episode also gives plenty to build off of which is sure to make viewers excited to see what is to come. This premiere sets “Ted Lasso” season two off to a strong start.
New episodes of “Ted Lasso” premiere every Friday on Apple TV+.
By Ben Lindner