“Beard After Hours” is a peculiar episode of Ted Lasso. The focus of the episode is specifically the aftermath of the Manchester City match. Coach Beard is the sole focus of the episode. He tries to make sense of why the team lost, placing most of the blame on himself. Here’s the thing, no less than eight crazy things happen to him on his journey from blame to self-acceptance. While that is a long journey by any measure, the episode tells us very little about Beard as a person other than the fact that he is a brilliant improviser.
The episode starts with Beard riding the tube. The world moves super fast while time seems to stand still for Beard. He has a pint at Mae’s and then runs into the Richmond trio. The fans ask him about the meaning of life, the perfect amount of time to spend in Las Vegas, and what Ted is like when he isn’t coaching football. This leads the group of four to sneak into an elite posh bar where Beard talks his way in by making the receptionist think there’s a fire at her apartment building. The Richmond trio then hassles rich snobs at pool while Beard searches for an elusive lady in a red dress. After that, what follows is straight-up hijinks followed by coincidences and good timing that result in something that passes for humor.
The problem with this episode is that I wanted to invest in Beard as a character. The writers’ response to that seems to be, “Why invest in him when you can watch him escape all kinds of dangerous, slightly goofy, situations.” I disagree, as we had seen enough snippets throughout both seasons for the audience to get a sense of how fun Beard could be as a person. My issue is that this episode wasn’t fun. At its best, it was a distraction from how the show had been growing in each episode prior. In fairness to Brendan Hunt, he made everything Beard experienced in his night out believable, but when the funniest thing in the episode is hearing Beard say, “Shut up, Thierry Henry,”” you know you have a problem on your hands.
I really wanted to get a chance to know who Coach Beard was as a person rather than continually having him do funny things. We see the humor in that character all the time. I wanted something different. This episode felt completely cluttered because of the number of random things the coach was having to confront. The worst offense of all of these was bringing back Jamie Tartt’s father. Why have Beard fight an already beaten enemy? It makes no sense.
At the end of the day” “Beard After Hours” was just a detour the show didn’t need, but I also respect that Apple put them in a compromising position by asking for two episodes more very late in the production game. I can only hope that the writers get a chance to tell more stories that further the plot next year than take away from it.