TV Review: Ted Lasso, 2×11, “Midnight Train to Royston”

User Rating: 9

The 11th episode of Ted Lasso of season 2 is the climax to all of the storylines from this season. The whole premise of the episode involves Sam being asked by a Nigerian billionaire (guest star Sam Richardson) to captain the Nigerian team as he is aiming for the new football club to be front and center on the national stage. This would require Sam to leave Richmond FC. This is something Sam can seriously consider because Rebecca has not given him an answer on whether or not she wants to be a full-fledged couple. Additionally, the relationship between Keeley and Roy is frayed because he spends 3 hours with his niece’s teacher helping her in the classroom.

When asked whether or not he is in a relationship, he points out that he is not but does not mention Keeley. Conversely, Keeley makes the mistake of taking Nate out to get a new suit, but he misinterprets the time spent with her and tries to kiss her. This is building on his arc of trying to be independent and be his own person. He is frustrated with being knocked back by the coaching staff or other people in his life. Lastly, Ted has to come to grips with doctor Sharon leaving and moving on to her next assignment. Ted also has an ominous text message conversation with Trent Crimm, The Independent.

First and foremost, this is a lot of stuff to pack into one episode. While most shows may make this experience cluttered, Ted Lasso knows how to balance each character’s issues with the storylines they’re demonstrating. I did feel awful for Sam because he worked so hard not only to improve himself as a player but also to support Rebecca in her time of need. The fact that he’s not getting a clear answer is frustrating, but she has to make that decision in her own time, and it should not affect the choice he makes about whether to go to Nigeria. It’s to the writer’s credit that all the characters are so strong and definitive in their personality and choices. They’re flawed; they make mistakes, but they do everything they can to recognize those issues and make them better, except for one character in particular.

The entire second season of Ted Lasso has been about growth and change. We’ve seen that with every character this season. What makes the 11th episode stand out is how their development is demonstrated in how they react to other people and the decisions they make for themselves. This applies explicitly to Rebecca and Ted. Last season, Rebecca was all about revenge until the finale of season one. This season has been all about figuring out what she needs in her life. For Ted, working at Richmond FC this year has been about making peace with the past and finding a way to move forward.

The audience is now aware that Ted has pain based on his childhood, and watching him work through that this season was cathartic for many. I am not sure what impact the reveal that occurs at the episode’s closing seconds will be. I strongly doubt, however, that Ted will be as forgiving as he was to Rebecca. His personal information that the media and the public did not need to know has been leaked. How he reacts to that news and his response to it affects whether it will make him or break him.

For growth and change to succeed, there needs to be self-reflection and good communication with those inside your inner circle. For the landing to stick on all these plot threads, the entire coaching staff and the relationships they are in need to communicate which directions they want to go in life and plot out a way to move forward. If they succeed, then the audience will be ready for them in season three. We are currently at halftime, waiting for the second half. Let’s hope this show can score some final goals.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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