Ted Lasso, the Apple TV+ show about a feel-good soccer coach who’s having a feel-bad time, takes a trip to Amsterdam this week. After another crushing loss, everyone sets out on their own adventures for a night on the town.
Rebecca meets a most charming man in an uncharming location. Ted and Beard trip on their trip. Roy and Jamie share some secrets over a bike ride. And the rest of the team can’t pick a way to unwind. It’s a revealing little jaunt for this crew and a mostly very entertaining outing.
This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.
Ted Lasso recap: ‘Sunflowers’
Season 3, episode 6: Ted Lasso (played by Jason Sudeikis) is feeling down. AFC Richmond, the football club he coaches, is on a historic losing streak. Ever since star player Zava (Maximilian Osinski) quit, the team’s been playing especially terribly. No one — not assistant coach Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), Richmond owner Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham), her second-in-command Leslie Higgins (Jeremy Swift) or team PR head Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) — can hide their disdain with this turn of events.
They’ve just played a “friendly,” a game that doesn’t count, in Amsterdam — and still lost horribly. Ted doesn’t know how to turn the mood around using any of his usual ways, so he suggests something a little radical: no curfew for their carousing in Amsterdam.
The players find a private party that’s supposed to rage all night, but they need to kill a few hours. Of course, this means they end up bickering all night about what to do first. The only one who bows out is Colin Hughes (Billy Harris), who pursues something a little more his speed. He’s in the closet, so the rest of the world (including his teammates) doesn’t know he’s gay.
The only one who knows Colin’s secret is journalist Trent Crimm (James Lance), who’s shadowing the team this season. Trent follows him when he sneaks off to a different corner of the city. When he catches up to him Colin, tries to play it off, as if he walked into a gay bar by mistake. But Trent calms him down. If he knew and didn’t say anything … he must have had a good reason, no?
Everyone’s on their own in Amsterdam
The only other one who can’t enjoy Amsterdam is Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). Roy — mad that the team is losing and bummed that his ex Keeley is out on her own — decides to use the day off to make Jamie do extra-difficult training. Not to be outdone, Jamie decides to use the training run to see some of the sights in the city. Meanwhile, Keeley just wants to see the aurora Borealis tonight. She doesn’t actually have plans with a guy — or a girl, namely her new donor, Jack (Jodi Balfour). But Roy doesn’t know that.
Rebecca goes for a walk when she accidentally wanders into the bike lane over a bridge. A handsome stranger (Matteo van der Grijn) on a nearby boat tries to warn her, but she gets blindsided and falls into the canal. She loses her phone, so the fellow invites her onto his boat to dry off. His beautiful houseboat betrays the existence of a young daughter and, when he steps out, he leaves Rebecca some tea. The acoustic guitar and mandolin on the score go absolutely insane.
Higgins keeps telling everyone he’s going to the red-light district, but everyone suspects he’s not telling the whole truth. He isn’t, of course. He visits the jazz club where Chet Baker fell to his death in the late 1980s. Higgins enjoys himself enough, but then the musicians ask him to come take a turn on the bass and he wows the room.
Maybe drugs, or a bicycle ride, will help
Ted is out of sorts and makes the mistake of telling Beard, who suggests they do psychedelic drugs. Ted’s reluctant. But after Beard takes his dose and leaves ,and Rebecca doesn’t answer any of his texts (what with her phone being at the bottom of a canal), he finally relents. Ted gets high and hits the streets. He finds himself at a Van Gogh exhibit and has a revelation in front of the fourth painting in his Sunflowers series, Later, at an American-themed bar, Ted has another revelation while watching an old Chicago Bulls game on the TV. Seeing the triangle formation of a basketball play causes him to rethink his strategy on the soccer pitch.
After Roy makes a crack about windmills, Jamie suggests they get some bikes and ride until they find one. Then Roy makes a startling confession: He doesn’t know how to ride a bike. His grandfather was supposed to teach him, but died before he could do so. Roy never got over it. Jamie decides there’s only one thing to do: He’s going to teach Roy how to ride a bike. It takes a little doing, but it works — and they’re off and rolling. Jamie confesses some of his own troubled family history, and the two have a real bonding moment.
Rebecca and her handsome stranger have a very romantic evening, but she falls asleep before they can act on it. However, they share a passionate kiss in the morning. The boys of Richmond wind up staying in and having a pillow fight. Trent and Colin bond over their histories, and end up having a great night clubbing. And Beard comes back in the morning dressed like Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie.
Everyone gets on the bus and they end up singing “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley together. And things were going so well …
Don’t worry about a thing
This was basically a good episode. As usual, Ted and Beard’s narratives were the weak link. The characters’ stories just refuse to be interesting. Roy and Jamie’s adventure, on the other hand, was a bit expected but pretty good. (The show always reaches for very convenient narratives to buttress the bonds between otherwise distinct personalities, and this episode delivered not one but two trauma dumps).
Colin and Trent was great, but could have used a little more time to go deeper below the surface. Colin’s story is still not especially believable. I know football is a macho sport with some very vocally abusive fans, but the guy’s a millionaire, I still don’t really understand why he holds such store by public opinion. He’s on the team coached by a guy who’s a human Live Laugh Love pillow — does he really think the response will be bad if he comes out to his teammates? If so, are they all actually monsters?
But I digress. Billy Harris and James Lance do wonderful things in their scenes together as Colin and Trent. And Rebecca and her houseboat date went off marvelously. It’s the most I’ve liked Rebecca since the show started. Matteo van der Grijn makes for a great foil, and his natural charisma just wafts off of him.
The boys’ inability to decide on a night out generated a few laughs, but was a true non-starter narratively.
All told, that’s not a bad average for Ted Lasso.
Watch Ted Lasso on Apple TV+
New episodes of Ted Lasso season three arrive every Friday on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.