In season two episode two, titled “Lavender,” AppleTV+’s Ted Lasso has a way of being socially relevant without even predicting that it would be. This week’s episode took a bigger step in the direction of evaluating the mental health of England’s AFC Richmond team, and for Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis, We’re The Millers) himself. With the arrival of the team’s new therapist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles, The Crucible), Lasso and his soccer team are challenged to examine their well-being.
This came at an opportune time as the topic of mental health for athletes was a trending conversation topic last week after Olympic Gymnast and four-time gold medalist Simone Biles removed herself from the all-around final for mental health reasons. Biles had received an outpouring of support for her decision, and it pushed mental health dialogue to the forefront of Olympic coverage. It only feels natural that Ted Lasso would be dipping it’s toes in the mental health discussion as the concern for athlete’s mental well-being is finally getting the attention it deserves.
In this episode, Lasso feels like he’s being held under a microscope as Dr. Fieldstone observes his team’s practices. This is something that clearly makes him uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because he’s used to deflecting his own insecurities with an overly positive attitude and southern charm and Dr. Fieldstone is one of the first people on the show to clearly see through that. While the two of them haven’t had their break-through moment yet, it certainly feels like Lasso’s floodgates will open soon.
To viewer’s excitement or demise, Phil Dunster (Strike Back) has returned as the egotistical Jamie Tartt, Richmond’s former star player that is hoping Lasso will give him a second chance to redeem his reputation on the team. Before his departure last season, Tartt was a parasite to the team. He ruthlessly bullied the other players and only played for one person – himself. However, after secretly witnessing Tartt’s father abuse him, Lasso had sympathy. Lasso wants to give him the benefit of the doubt, so Tartt is back. Now, it’s up to the other players to welcome him, which we can anticipate will make for a dramatic next episode.
Meanwhile, Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein, SuperBob) is getting back into the world of soccer by co-hosting the ESPN-style show Soccer Saturday as a panelist of experts criticizing games. In perfect Kent fashion, he holds nothing back as he ruthlessly tears apart Chelsea’s performance.
“Chelsea was sh*t today. Watching them you’d never know they were playing at home.”
His fellow co-hosts were left with their jaws dropped to the ground while the internet blew up in support of his no-filter critique.
While this episode delivered just as many laughs as the others, a very clear shift could be felt in the tone of the show. It’s getting a little deeper and even a little darker as we see Tartt struggle to make his comeback and Coach Lasso slowly come to grips with whatever he’s been burying deep down. It’s all going to come to the surface soon, and we better have a box of tissues ready when it does.