‘Ted Lasso’ Finale Gives Fans a Tearful ‘So Long, Farewell’


Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) and Hannah Waddingham (Rebecca Welton) in “Ted Lasso.” (Courtesy of Apple TV+ Press)

By Audrey Hall, Arts Writer


The Apple TV+ original series “Ted Lassopremiered on August 14, 2020, but it all came to a close on May 30, 2023, after three seasons of what could only be described as pure joy. The show follows Theodore “Ted” Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) and his colleague, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) as they are thrown into the world of coaching European football after having won a championship in American football. The finale, while incredibly sad, was exactly what was needed. A spoiler alert is now in effect for the show as a whole, not just the finale.

‘I lost my way for a minute, but I’m on the road back’

Everything came to a beautiful conclusion, from character arcs to long-running jokes, and there wasn’t a single resolution that I wished had been done differently. Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) was one of my favorite endings, as she is reunited with the man commonly referred to as “Boat Guy” or “the Dutch Man,” who she met in the episode “Sunflowers.” Many fans were upset about Rebecca ending the show in a relationship, which is reasonable considering that her character arc revolves around her ability to let go of the pent-up rage she holds towards her unfaithful ex-husband. However, the Dutch Man brought something to her life that no one else did. She was able to embrace her inner child again. She could spin around in a flowy summer dress with no makeup on and her hair down, far away from the pressure of her day job. Rebecca was not a stranger to one-night stands and hookups, so when she told Keeley (Juno Temple) that what they had “transcended sex,” it was clear that he could make her truly happy.

I won’t lie — Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley’s relationship not ending in a proposal was slightly devastating. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that it really was the right decision. Rebecca had to learn trust in relationships, but Keeley had to learn trust in herself above all else. Starting her own company and kicking both Jamie (Phil Dunster) and Roy out of her house after they fought over her while still maintaining friendships with both of them play into her growing independence. On the other side of things, Roy grew a lot in the last few episodes. When he read the note out loud to Keeley and didn’t push her past her comfort zone to try and force her back into a relationship, it really showed his development as a person. The last shot of him in Dr. Sharon’s (Sarah Niles) office secured in my mind that one day they would get back together. This is because he made the exceedingly difficult decision to get help for himself and become the person we all know he can be.

Of course, we have to address the character arc of Ted himself. One of the best parts of the show’s finale is how little glitz and glam there was to it. Richmond didn’t “win it all.” Ted didn’t stay thanks to some impulsive last-minute decision — everyone’s lives just went on as normal. I knew Ted was going to go home to Kansas since the episode “We’ll Never Have Paris,” but I didn’t know it would be so hard to watch him board the plane for the last time. However, it was exactly the ending he needed: he missed his kid, he missed his home. You can even tell by his lack of any devastating sadness throughout the episode that he had been settled in his decision to leave for a long time.

‘There’s no place like home … there ain’t a whole lot of places like AFC Richmond either’

Although there was an air of sadness throughout the finale, there was no shortage of Easter eggs dotted throughout from beginning to end, and I couldn’t help but smile as the couples from the rom-com parody episode took their seats at the final match and Nate’s (Nick Mohammed) “put the money in his mouth” box made its return to the locker room.

In the very first episode, we’re introduced to Tommy, who asks Ted for an “ussie,” saying, “Well, it’s not myself, it’s us” after Ted points out that it’s usually called a “selfie.” He returns a few more times, getting “ussies” with Jamie, Keeley and Roy, but the cherry on top is when Ted runs into Tommy at the airport as he’s just about to leave. Tommy once again asks for an “ussie,” and instead of mentioning once more that he usually calls it a “selfie,” Ted accepts the offer without another word. While it may seem insignificant, it speaks volumes about how Ted has grown into the community around him and how important Richmond fans became to him.

In the episode “The Strings that Bind Us,” the Richmond coaches start trying to introduce Total Football to the team. In order to do so, they tie red strings from one player’s private parts to another’s. Now, fast forward to Beard and Jane’s (Phoebe Walsh) wedding in the finale, where they are performing a traditional handfasting ceremony with — wait for it — a red string. Not only does this tie them both officially to the team, but it seems to seal Beard’s commitment to England for the rest of time.

Finally, my personal favorite Easter egg comes when Ted is performing his celebratory dance at the end of the championship match. He’s wearing red tennis shoes (his own kind of ruby slippers) and at the end of the dance, he clicks his heels together three times as if to send himself home to Kansas. There is no shortage of references to “The Wizard of Oz,” even in episode 1 when Ted states the obvious (“We’re not in Kansas anymore”) but this one is by far my favorite.

‘I believe in belief’

Everything from romance to political activism to mental health is tackled throughout “Ted Lasso”. It all is approached with a beautifully optimistic outlook and the important message that all you need to do in life is believe. There’s a significance to both Ted’s willingness to tear up the “Believe” sign, as well as the team’s commitment to each keeping a small part of it with them through the end. It’s not the sign that gave the team its unity and devotion to each other, but rather the ideals that had been planted like a seed in them since day one of Ted’s coaching.

When Trent (James Lance) named his book “The Lasso Way,” I was already tearing up. By the time Ted suggested the name change and we learned that Trent retitled it to “The Richmond Way,” I was bawling. It was such a subtle but beautiful way to indicate that “it’s not about [Ted]. It never was,” as Ted noted.

In the end, “Ted Lasso” will not be returning for a fourth season. As devastating as it might be, the cast and the writers are all in agreement that it’s the right decision to make. Sudeikis mentioned in an interview with Screen Rant, “This is the end of this story that we wanted to tell, that we were hoping to tell, that we loved to tell. The fact that folks will want more and are curious beyond more than what they don’t even know yet — that being Season 3 — it’s flattering. Maybe by May 31, once all 12 episodes of the season [have been released], they’re like, ‘Man, you know what, we get it, we’re fine. We don’t need anymore, we got it.’”

As Ted would say, “Onward, forward.”


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