Last week’s episode of Ted Lasso was undoubtedly the most emotional of its sophomore season. After such an episode, the show decided to follow up with one of its most introspective yet. Dedicated entirely to Coach Beard, the second season’s ninth episode is the most radical departure from the show yet. Structured, shot, and written as differently as an episode of Ted Lasso could be. Because of this, we get a very interesting filler episode that doesn’t move the plot forward. However, it manages to give us a close examination of one of the show’s more mysterious characters.
After a devastating loss for Richmond in the semifinals, Beard goes on an odyssey throughout London. Brendan Hunt’s given the opportunity to take the spotlight, and he doesn’t waste it. Beard is forced to carry the weight as the lead of the episode and does it well. Paired with some other secondary characters, his misadventures are an attempt to find peace with the outcome of the game and the state of the team as a whole. It’s an interesting concept, but unfortunately not completed to its full potential.
There’s a more polished version of this episode hidden somewhere in its hefty runtime. One in which not only Beard’s given spotlight and development, but the story of the second season also moves forward. Unfortunately, only one of these things is true for the episode. We’re given plenty of time in Beard’s headspace, and seeing him without Ted and working through his issues on his own was refreshing. However, this has little to no significance on the overarching story.
Beard goes through a very surreal set of events throughout the night, finding himself in danger at every turn while dealing with the devastating loss and struggles in his personal love life. While this has been a hanging plot thread of the series/season, using this as a follow-up to the shocking ending of last week may not have been the best idea. Placing this episode after any other episode in this season would have improved its value immensely.
That being said, the production on this episode is bold and entertaining. It’s a surreal odyssey that has odd world-breaking moments. The editing in this episode also feels completely different than what came before. Odd POV shots, time-lapse transitions, and eerie compositions make Beard’s all-nighter feel dream-like and sometimes unsettling. It works to an excellent degree in making the viewer feel as lost as Beard.
Moreover, his unusual encounters throughout the night range from humorous to threatening. The tonal shift is all over the place, though that was perhaps the intention of the director/writers. Beard’s aimless direction throughout the night and watching him adapt to his situations/surroundings as it goes on was entertaining enough.
The emotional arc/crux of the episode, which is Beard’s view on love and his relationship with his girlfriend, has a satisfying conclusion in this episode. Beard comes to terms with discovering what he wants, and in turn healthily addresses it. The climactic scene in a nightclub was without a doubt the highlight of the episode. Beautifully shot, the euphoria of the final scene of the night is definitely a memorable one. Ending on where a usual episode of Ted Lasso begins also makes for a creative conclusion to the episode.
Overall, Beard’s odyssey in this Ted Lasso filler episode was an entertaining one. It’s a creatively bold episode to make and gives us insight into one of the most enigmatic characters on the show. However, its placement and tonal shift may be a bit too jarring for most viewers, especially after how intense the previous episode was. Still though, Brendan Hunt carries it with a strong performance and the episode arguably is a much-needed breather, and an entertaining one at that. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 7/10
Ted Lasso Season 2 episodes premiere every Friday on Apple TV+.