The big reveal at the end of the finale—that Ted’s assistant coach, Nate (Nick Mohammed), had taken on a coaching job at AFC Richmond’s biggest rival, after secretly selling out Ted to the press for having a panic attack during a game—got everyone’s attention. Nate had been growing increasingly devious over the course of the season, taking out his insecurities on anyone he deemed beneath him, and this reveal sets the stage for a huge source of conflict in the upcoming season. How will Ted handle this kind of betrayal? How can AFC Richmond compete against a rival who now knows their every move?
While that will provide some drama, the real antagonist of season 3 is…their own inner demons. The introduction of Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) and Ted’s panic attacks have set the stage for this, as well as the moments when Nate trash-talks himself in the mirror, spitting at his own reflection in disgust. Every major character is at a crossroads—Keeley (Juno Temple) in launching her own PR firm and becoming more than “a footballer’s girlfriend,” Ted in addressing his repressed grief, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) in owning her power (and her feelings), Jamie in stepping out of the shadow of his father’s expectations, just to name a few.
What makes us so sure inner battles will be at the forefront of season three? About 42 minutes into the season two finale, Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) reveals that he’s turned down the role of a lifetime to keep playing for AFC Richmond. In doing so, he delivers three lines that foreshadow everything to come, not just for him, but for the entire team: “I wish I could say it’s because of my feelings for you. But the truth is, I think I need to stop worrying about how others feel about me. I’m staying because it’s what’s best for me and my personal journey.”
If season one was about staying upbeat in the face of hardship, and season two expounded on that by showing that optimism doesn’t mean denying your pain, the great “Yes, And” of season three is that positivity isn’t people-pleasing. It isn’t denying your needs to the point of numbness or until you’re choking on your own resentment. It’s about making the tough choice that’s right for you, even if it disappoints or confuses people. And being OK with that.
What further evidence do we have to feel confident in this theory? The mere fact that in confirming a third season of the show, Lawrence shared that Dr. Fieldstone and Trent Crimm (James Lance)—the reporter who lost his job after telling Ted that Nate was the source leaking the panic attack news—would have significant roles in the future. Dr. Fieldstone’s parting words to Ted are that “the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off,” underscoring the theme, and Crimm mentions he’s looking forward to exploring who he is, beyond being a reporter. Ted Lasso’s superpower is its catharsis cloaked in comedy; season three will simply take things to a new level.
OK, with the big theme out of the way, let’s have a little fun, shall we? Here are two other predictions for season three.