Ted Lasso, the perpetually upbeat Apple TV+ show that blindsided a pandemic-stricken world with a cocktail of optimism and inspiration, comes to a fitting close this week after a remarkable three-season run.
The Ted Lasso finale, entitled “So Long, Farewell,” finds Ted’s team AFC Richmond up against its most fierce nemesis, Rupert Mannion’s West Ham United.
With West Ham’s old coach Nate back at Richmond after an awkward breakup, will the Greyhounds have what it takes to beat the Hammers? Just how optimistic can this show be?
Ted Lasso finale recap: ‘So Long, Farewell’
Season 3, episode 12: Ted Lasso (played by Jason Sudeikis) has … slept …? with Richmond owner Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham)??? No, he hasn’t, I don’t think — it’s a fakeout. Anyway, she’s bummed out because he’s coaching his last game with Richmond before heading home to the United States. Ted, who’s staying with Rebecca because of a gas leak in the neighborhood, is very excited to get back and see his son Henry (Gus Turner).
Rebecca is very upset about his leaving. She refuses to talk to Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) and Leslie Higgins (Jeremy Swift) about hiring Ted’s replacement. She’s a little happier to hear that her ex-husband, Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head), is going down in a haze of bad press (he’s getting #MeToo’d), but she’s considering selling Richmond.
Reporter Trent Crimm (James Lance) has almost finished the book he’s been writing about this last season of Ted’s reign at Richmond, and he gives copies to him and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt). The team sings “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music as a going-away gesture for Ted and Beard.
(No, I don’t believe this either, but hey, last episode. I’ll just let them have it. I won’t let them get away with using a Stone Roses needle drop right afterward, though. That’s cheating. They don’t even raise the volume loud enough to hear it!)
Roy and Keeley and Jamie
Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) is still not sure where he stands with Keeley. He wants them to get back together, but she’s playing coy. He does notice that Keeley and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) are closer than usual, however. So he asks Jamie to go drinking with him later.
Roy tries to ask Jamie to step aside and let him be with Keeley. It goes very poorly, but it’s a great scene: Dunster and Goldstein do this kind of thing well, neither wanting to move an inch. Ultimately they decide to go to Keeley’s house and talk to her (after they’ve beaten the hell out of each other). They want to make her choose. She kicks them both out, understandably.
The next day, Roy talks to Nate (Nick Mohammed), Beard, Trent, Leslie and Ted about the incident. They remind him that change isn’t easy but trying to change, wanting to be better … sometimes that’s good enough.
At their big West Ham match the following day, Richmond gets killed in the first half. Ted gives them one of his trademark speeches and then the team surprises him: When he tore up his “Believe” sign a while back, every player on the team grabbed a piece of the motivational poster. And then they put it back together.
Then they go back out on the field and start winning. Isaac (Kola Bokinni) gets a huge opportunity when the team agrees to give him a penalty kick. It looks like he blew it, rocketing the ball into the stands, but it turns out he kicked it through the net.
Rupert Mannion is furious. He bullies his coaches, and the whole stadium turns against him. Richmond wins the game but fails to come in first in the league.
After the momentous game, Ted leaves with attaboys from everyone. Rebecca gives the team to Roy Kent and, as a bonus, she meets the sexy Dutch guy she had a lovely night out with all those weeks ago.
Farewell, Ted Lasso!
i’m so serious when i say that this is one of my favorite ted lasso moments pic.twitter.com/Z4psN3TaDh
— talia || mourning ted lasso (@mrrorvall) May 31, 2023
I’m not immune to a big finish. I got excited watching the final half-hour of Ted Lasso. Better late than never, but it was finally very exciting to watch Richmond win a game. I did care just enough about this to be in the show’s pocket when it ended.
After how infuriating Ted Lasso has been, it’s not nothing that in the home stretch, I got on board. I’m still not a believer, exactly, but it was nice to see in this show what everyone else does — at least one time — before it came to its inevitable uplifting end.
Watch Ted Lasso on Apple TV+
You can now watch all three seasons of Ted Lasso 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.