If the season premiere of Ted Lasso’s sophomore outing was about vulnerability, its follow-up was about growth after demonstrating vulnerability. Many characters this week found themselves in situations where their only choice in life was to move forward. Most of the forward movement involved someone’s career, but it was about self-acceptance in other cases.
In the second episode, titled “Lavender,” the audience becomes reacquainted with Jamie Tartt. He was dropped from the Love Island parody and also his football club Manchester City. He is down and very much out because of his behavior the previous season. This doesn’t make the character relatable in any way, but it does make us feel for him. That’s the most important thing we can feel within this arc of the story. I love Phil Dunster’s performance in this episode because you get to see how much he has lost and that no one in his inner circle cares about him unless they are making money off of his talent. That is a harsh reality. I’m glad the show took the time to focus on the bleak nature of his situation.
Last week Roy Kent gave advice to Rebecca regarding settling for second best in life. This week it was Roy’s turn to his own advice. Keeley advised Roy, for the second time, to take a job as a football pundit. Predictably Roy, with his trademark abuse, surpassed expectations, but that’s not the point of his growth. Earlier, Roy caught Keeley masturbating. While he was openly fine with her expressing self-pleasure, he was displeased that her trigger for arousal was the vulnerability displayed in his retirement speech.
I love this moment more than anything in the rest of the episode. The writers perfectly demonstrate Roy’s progressive stance on self-pleasure and immediately showcase how short-sighted he can be about his own vulnerability. Brett Goldstein played an absolute blinder in this episode with his portrayal. Much of his performance is about showcasing how much he doesn’t care about something when it actually means more to him. Goldstein succeeds at this with just facial expressions and grunts. It’s hilarious to watch.
Ted was probably the weakest character of the episode because his moments involved whether Jamie deserved a second chance on the team. The audience was signaled by Ted that he wouldn’t be hiring Jamie through his chat with the Diamond Dogs. What turned the tide was Ted’s chat with player Sam Obisanya. Sam reveals he was brutally bullied by Jamie. This is why Sam doesn’t want Jamie on the team. Who can truly blame him?
In the end, the real gift of this particular episode is that multiple characters are growing because they decided to be vulnerable rather than accept life as it was. This is the power of Ted Lasso. The show constantly demonstrates what it means to make mistakes and then grow and change and evolve. If that’s not a metaphor for life and soccer, then I don’t know what is. Lavender represents that continued evolution. Let’s hope this metamorphosis of Ted and the team shapes up to be something amazing.